The sex was great. That wasn’t the problem in my four-year relationship with Rob. He knew what I liked and how I liked it. The problem was the mandatory shower and praying afterwards. The hours we'd spend at church on Sundays. The talking about how we were going to hell.
When I started dating Rob after my freshman year of college, I wanted to have sex, but he said he wasn't ready for it because he was so religious. Rob was raised Protestant, but his closest friend had been really Catholic and told him that no one was mentally ready to have sex before they were married. He took it to heart. I chose to respect that, but I got so many mixed signals. Rob would escalate things, and we’d almost have sex, almost undress, and then he would stop and say we couldn’t go any further. There was a point, and he made the conscious decision to have sex — then a few weeks later, he felt really guilty and said we shouldn't do it on a regular basis. It continued like that for the next four years, even when we lived together and slept in the same bed every night.
I would get him drunk, telling our friends to feed him shots. I’d lie around our apartment studying in a G-string. I had a few sets of lingerie that I knew would work when I was desperate. I would do almost anything to have sex with my boyfriend. Sometimes it would happen a few times a month, maybe a few times a week if I was lucky. Then he'd swear off sex for weeks, until he couldn't take it anymore.
Even though the church bans the use of birth control, Rob was okay with using it. God forbid I get pregnant — abortion would never be an option.
Even though we shared an apartment, we technically kept separate bedrooms. His had a twin bed with a crucifix on the wall and a little desk where he studied. My room was the one with the big bed and the candles. He ended up every night in there with me.
We never missed church. We’d leave our friends or stop watching a game, drop everything to be there for mass on Sunday. A few times a month, we would stay after mass and confession and say the rosary. It would take an hour, 45 minutes if I did it quickly. I was a Catholic, I was raised in the church, but even this was a lot for me.
The guilt consumed him. He would try to convince himself that premarital sex was fine because he was going to marry me anyway. He was going to be with me forever, or so he justified it. But even that wasn’t the case. The fall after we graduated from college and moved into a new apartment with both our names on the lease, he cheated on me.
I found out through a friend of his. It destroyed me. This was the man I was going to marry, had spent four years with; I had put up with all his issues. And then he goes and sleeps with some girl from grad school.
He’s still with her, probably because he feels too guilty to leave her. They’re having sex, I know that. I think that is what broke him, crossing that one line he said he would never cross. As for me, I’m married to a wonderful man now, one who doesn’t make me feel like a temptress whenever I want to get laid.