“Date From Hell” is a monthly series featuring dating and relationship horror stories and the frustrations—and triumphs—of being a single Mormon feminist.
*Name has been changed.
During my last semester at BYU-Idaho, I started the day off with Culture and Gender, a psychology course that quickly became one of my favorites. The atmosphere in the room was so relaxed; we sat in comfy reclining chairs and talked about anything we wanted to. There were no fixed assignments and the topics were entirely up to the students. It was one class where I was able to be myself. I felt like I could talk about anything and there was always someone there to listen.
After Culture and Gender I had a horrid hour and a half to sit and do basically nothing. I hated downtime between classes. Not wanting to tackle homework just yet, I would waste time watching YouTube or a DVD. There were days when I hated lugging my laptop around with me, and on one of those particular days, I decided to head up to the third floor of the library to use a computer.
The minute I reached the doors of the third floor, a voice in my head told me, “You’re going to run into *Simon. Be on guard.” I brushed off this feeling, rationalizing that with all the students in the school, I really shouldn’t be worried about running into Simon. But the minute I walked through those doors and picked out a nice computer spot…BAM. My eyes met with whom other than Simon, right across the way from me. I felt a wave of panic and nausea hit me, because he was the last person on earth I wanted to run into.
Simon and I had been on-again-off-again for a couple of years. We dated a month or two at a time, with vast spaces of time in between. The first time we dated, it quickly fizzled because not a lot of effort was made by way of affection; he seldom held my hand and he never kissed me. The second time we dated, he explained that he only kissed girls he “really, really liked.” For a while I was okay with that; I told myself I could be patient.
One night, he asked me out to a movie. From the moment he picked me up, it was apparent that he was out to do some serious damage by the end of the night. He was awkwardly silent and barely said a few words to me. We drove to his apartment to carpool with a few of his friends. We sat in the back and he put a friend in the middle so I wouldn’t be next to him. He did the same thing at the theater; his friends were strategically placed between us so that I was miles away from him. When he dropped me off at my place, he told me that he kissed another girl.
Based on our previous conversation, this little confession meant that he “really, really liked” this other girl, and he wanted me to know it. The funny thing was my gut reaction when he spilled it to me: “Uh…So?” I wasn’t angry that he kissed someone. That wasn’t the reaction he wanted, so he offered up some reasons why were weren’t compatible: I was 20 and hadn’t received my patriarchal blessing; I didn’t have the desire to serve a mission or get married; my home didn’t display any “evidence” of spirituality, such as images of Christ or the temple or a Book of Mormon in plain view; he had never heard my testimony and doubted if I or members of my family even had one. So I ended things.
After eight months of not hearing a word from Simon, I was surprised when he called me out of the blue and wanted to get together. After two times around and not much success with the whole situation, I was less than enthusiastic about hanging out again. However, I let my mom talk me into it. Her philosophy was that it couldn’t hurt.
It didn’t hurt the first time we hung out. We talked about his issues and how they contributed to why we were on-again-off-again. He explained that his confession about kissing another girl was meant to elicit a strong reaction. All of his reasons why we weren’t compatible were made-up garbage because he didn’t get the response he wanted. He took back all the things he said about me not being spiritual enough. I still wasn’t impressed, and I ignored the voice in my head that told me I should leave things be and end things with Simon.
The second time we hung out was the last time, because Simon went berserk. He invited me over to his apartment, and rather than relaxing with a movie and just enjoying each other’s company, he wanted to enjoy it in another kind of way that gave him all the pleasure, and me all the grief. For the sake of my sanity, I am not going to go into all the details. Let’s just say I felt totally taken advantage of and to this day I cringe at the thought of it. What I experienced that night was kind of like a waking dream. Simon did a complete 180 from how he had previously addressed intimacy. I felt like I was a dummy, a mere object that he felt he could let out his pent-up sexual frustrations on. Why did this continually happen to me? I should have high-tailed it out of his apartment the minute he started thinking he was Brad Pitt.
As more and more guys like Simon pull these awful little stunts, I realize how much I long to find someone who is unlike any guy I have ever known. I crave respect, I crave consent, and I crave someone who is head-over-heels in love with me. Finding a guy that possesses the qualities I both desire and deserve is a lot like finding that rare class with the comfy chairs. I want to be enveloped in an atmosphere of security and unwavering confidence with whomever I choose to date. I want to be able to tell him anything and know he is listening.
I plan to do some listening of my own to the voice in my head that—more than once now—was right. Call it my gut, call it intuition, call it the Spirit; it doesn’t matter. I don’t want to ignore that feeling and wind up in another situation with which I have found myself far too often.
Lindsey loves listening to indie rock, watching movies, reading comics, traveling, and designing geeky graphics. She is an alumnus of BYU-Idaho and Bond University in Australia, where she received her master’s degree in communication. She currently lives in Rexburg, Idaho.