Is there a particular story you've been wanting to tell?

Not even a throwaway.

My high school friends wondered why I was always reserved and kept secrets. They often point to the fact that I had a girlfriend for over a year without telling any of them. Not just that, but almost no one knew we were together. We were just both naturally shy and private individuals.

None of them know why.

When I was young and in high school my first girlfriend and I met when we were working together. She had some mental health issues. Her then boyfriend at the time was abusive. It was long distance, but still when he came, he sexually assaulted her. After that she ended it, and we ended up becoming a thing for a fair while. I lost my virginity to her and was very much infatuated. I had never told my parents. They only knew because neighbours told them she was walking in and out of our house occasionally.

After we'd been seeing each other for 6 months issues started to develop. She tried to withhold affection, and use sex as a tool to get what she wanted. And I was not fond of her methods. I tried to be mature--but at 17, really how mature can one be--and it backfired. We got into a number of fights and made up. Finally, I decided I had had enough, and was going to end it.

She must have sensed that. Because, one day she called me and told me she was pregnant. I freaked, but still kept it to myself. Told her we should talk and that I would support her no matter what. Even as I was seeing my life flash before my eyes, imagining myself as a deadbeat teen father stuck in my shitty small time town.

She ignored that text. And the calls that followed. For three days I hadn't heard anything, and this was march break so we had no contact. When I see her on Monday, I tried to talk to her and she brushed me off, with an, "After school."

After school we walked home and she told me she had terminated the pregnancy. I was immensely relieved, I won't lie. I probed for more information, asked why she hadn't reached out to me. She said she didn't see it as an issue anymore now that it was “taken care of,” and didn't want to talk about it. I had a feeling she wasn't telling me the truth, but didn't press her. Not sure if I was a coward, or trying to be supportive.

In this moment though, I come full circle to wanting to end it again. And I decide to wait it out for a few weeks to make sure she's okay. Things are awkward and clunky between us, and finally in mid-April I decide timing won't ever get better.

When I try to do it, she just looks at me deadpan, and says "No. We're not breaking up. Because if we do, I will tell everyone about us. But I'll tell them that you got me pregnant and then forced me to have an abortion. I will tell everyone that I tried to end it with you and you abused me, then when I became pregnant from your abuse, you forced me to terminate my pregnancy."

I was flabbergasted, and didn't believe a word of what she said. When I protested, she just looked at me, and said, "I know how to lie to convince everyone. My friends already believe it. They'll support me. Either you stay with me or you go to jail."

I stood there for about 5 minutes, staring ahead without really noticing. Then tried to argue about it. After the same back and forth for 20 minutes, I screamed something. She just looked at me again and said, "Careful. Not helping your case much if my grandparents hear you."

I stayed. For another 11 months I stayed. It was a nightmare year; I was more isolated that I have ever felt before. When I first met this girl, I fell off the face of the planet socially. My time was dedicated to three things: video gaming, working, and this girl. My friends never saw me, my parents never saw me, and I was okay with it. I had invested a lot into her before our issues started to develop. Once they developed I regained part of my social life. Started texting friends, and going to the odd movie again. However, once she dropped her ultimatum, that disappeared. I still spent some time with my friends, but when I was operating on auto-pilot, like Adam Sandler’s character in Click.

I had no idea of a way out. She had thought of the obvious ones. She had print outs of abusive boyfriends attacking girlfriends and how police treated rape suspects to deter me from going to the police. Her and her friends created rumours about me amongst our school. Just small ones, that were annoying to deal with, never her real weapon. But enough secrets that I had only told my girlfriend to know the source. Every so often she would mention them in passing, “oh, someone at school mentioned how you fell off the cruise ship during your holiday today at school!” knowing full well, I’d told no one but her. She did it with a curve of the lips that I knew she was enjoying this newfound power, and that she could and would put out the abuse story within a week if I did leave.

After a few months she began flexing her control over me even more. She would use other secrets and threats to get me to do anything she wanted, and in time she began taking open pleasure in taunting me.

The cycle of emotional abuse continued until December the year before I left my victory lap, and it only ended because her family moved away, with her. She made me promise to keep in touch, or else. But it was so much easier to fake everything from far away. And, without the enjoyment of seeing me panic, she moved on by summer.

TL;DR: The thread’s about the story, so go fucking read it.

/r/AskMen Thread