He didn’t have to say the words; I could tell by the way he was acting that my boyfriend wanted to break up with me. And not just break up—he was moving across the country without so much as a tear in his eye.
I had known from the beginning of our off-and-on relationship that he wasn’t one for commitment. But I craved his attention enough to put up with the uncertainty of never knowing how attached to me he really was. And now I was finding out: He didn’t even consider my feelings when he decided to move out of state.
Three months before, he had clearly begun to lose interest in me. Our lifestyles didn’t mesh well together. He loved parties and crowds; I preferred quiet conversations over a nice dinner. But more than that, my boyfriend was used to people coming in and out of his life—girlfriends included. When I started feeling his attention wane, I did the only thing I could think of: I slept with him.
Sleeping with my boyfriend was a big deal for me. I didn’t have many physical boundaries in high school, but intercourse was one. My parents had always emphasized how connected sex is to our spiritual and emotional wellbeing. They told their children it’s better to wait until someone has made a commitment to your overall wellbeing through marriage before sleeping with them. Despite the fact that I disregarded much of their advice during that time of my life, the serious implications of sex had always stuck with me. I didn’t take it lightly, and I strongly considered waiting until marriage to do it.
But even with that foundation, I eventually gave in to the idea that sexual intimacy would make my boyfriend more attached to me. Never mind that it hadn’t done so for any other girl he had been with. I still held out hope that as long as we were sleeping together, he wouldn’t want to leave me. I was wrong. He moved away, leaving me with a shattered heart.
It took me quite a while to recover from the heartbreak of losing my boyfriend when I had done everything I could think of to keep him. I felt like I had lost part of myself, and I wanted it back. I began to suffer from crippling depression. Through counseling, journaling, and friends who were willing to listen, I eventually found healing.
By the time I started dating my future husband, I knew I would never be willing to use sex to try to keep him. If he was going to leave, he would leave whether I violated my personal boundaries or not.
When we were engaged, we talked about waiting to have sex. He actually agreed that was something he wanted to do too. In both of our minds, sex represented a life commitment to each other. It only made sense to wait until we had actually made that commitment.
When I look back on my relationship with my high school boyfriend, I wish I hadn’t used sex to try to tie him down, because it only harmed me in the long run. I am glad I was able to learn enough from my mistake to make different choices to ensure a healthy marriage with a man who I know really wants me.