I had a pretty good job selling appliances but I was getting frustrated with my future. Although I had built a relationship again with my family, I was still pissed at my mother for not helping me get into college. Now I had too much debt and bills to consider taking on anything else and just needed to work and make money. Most of my friends were getting married, having babies and buying houses. I lived in a little house with a roommate who was going to be graduating college in two years so I needed to think about being a full-grown adult. Even thought I had debt, it was good. It was getting my credit score up and I was making more money in sales so I knew being completely self-sufficient wouldn’t be a big deal.
23 wasn’t really exciting until right before I turned 24. My life pretty much consisted of work, church and friends. I went to visit my family at Christmas, Thanksgiving and once in the summer. My mother came to visit me once for a weekend. She was proud of me despite the fact that I didn’t do what she wanted. She seemed to warm up to the fact that I was trying to be a responsible adult. That year she was relatively pleasant and I didn’t have any major drama with her.
There was a guy at my work, Joel, that I had a crush on. He was hot, hot, hot. Ok, he was very handsome! He was such a gentleman, too. He was also a Baptist. As much of a crush I had on him, I knew that it wouldn’t work out with my pentecostal background. Crazy right? A mutual friend of our was getting married at the beginning of June. I had just accepted a job at a higher-end appliance company so we weren’t working together anymore. He got a hold of my phone number and called me out of the blue one day and asked if I wanted to go to the wedding with him. Of course I did! The wedding was outdoors and just beautiful. I was so nervous too! Truthfully, though, I was bored. He didn’t drink (which was fine because I wasn’t a big drinker either) and he didn’t want to dance. So, we left after the cake. I wore a girdle under my dress so I could look my best and I got super uncomfortable. On the way home I had to have him pull over so I could go to the bathroom. I was in so much pain from that damn thing! I also didn’t bring a big enough purse to put it in so I came walking out of the bathroom with my girdle and had to explain that I was really uncomfortable. He chuckled. He didn’t call back again either. I’m pretty sure it was the girdle incident. As much as I had a crush on him, this ended up being ok. A week after my date with Joel, there was a knock on my door. I quickly looked out and noticed it was a hot guy. I didn’t recognize who it was at first. It was Todd! I couldn’t believe that I thought he was hot! I was a little embarrassed but it had been a while since I saw him last and he “blossomed!” The “reason” for his visit was because my roommate and I were moving into another house and he was there to take a look and ask how I liked it. I had seen him about a month before at church. I did notice that he was paying more attention to me but I was so caught up in other people who I didn’t really pay attention back. A few days after his visit, I went to Starbucks with a friend. I thought it would be funny to hit on him. I had a very co-ed group of friends and we all hit on each even though it didn’t always mean something. I told my friend, “hang on a sec. Watch this…” He didn’t notice that I was there. I sneaked behind him and grabbed a sugar packet that said “sugar” in big letters. I dropped it on the table in front of him and said, “hey, I think you lost your name tag!” He looked up at me a blushed a little. We chatted for a few minutes and then I went along with my friend. A few days after that, my friend Ginger told me that he asked if we could go on a double date. She was engaged to Todd’s roommate but her and I had also been friends for a while. We went on the double date and had a blast. I felt so comfortable around him. I had always been nervous when it came to dating. I really never dated until this point either. The sexual abuse always came up in my mind and made me feel awkward. Even though I had been asked out, I always turned guys down or I’d go on one date and then no more. I was nervous about sex, no doubt. My brain was so messed up that I felt I couldn’t function around guys unless we were just friends. I felt comfortable around Todd. That surprised me.
A week later, we went on our own official “date.” He asked to kiss me goodnight. That never happened before. All of the kisses I ever got were always forced and unexpected. He was a gentleman and polite. He was also very caring and deep. Within a few weeks, I opened up to him about Dave. I explained that it’s weird because I still talk to my parents and I really didn’t know what to do. I never got therapy or counseling. I was still confused. I told him mainly because when and if sex were to come into the picture, I wanted him to know that if I was weird about it, it wasn’t him. He was gracious and understanding of me. He was the one. The more I got to know him, the more I knew he was exactly what I needed and the man I wanted.