The Trap

Three years ago I began my college career as a journalism student at James Madison University. As a result of not having a boyfriend in high school, I came into college with the mindset of finding my first boyfriend. After 4 years of high school experiencing immature, selfish boys, I thought that these older men would be ready for a relationship. Boy was I in for a reality check. I soon learned that college boys were no different than high school boys. And I am realizing now, my actions were not much different either. 

Throughout my freshman year, I met two guys; one in the beginning and one at the end. In my head, I could see myself dating them. I found myself getting attached to both, all to find out that a relationship was farthest from the thing they wanted – which was sex. It didn’t matter to them how many girls they were hurting, from my experience, all they cared about was themselves and their pleasure. You would think I would have learned from my freshman year, but as sophomore year began, so did my “non-relationship” full of toxicity and lies.

There was a guy that I had befriended at the end of my freshman year who had just gotten into a fraternity and was finally thriving. He was fun, energetic, which are qualities I believed we shared. When we hung out it was fun and careless and entertaining. I developed a crush. The beginning of my sophomore year this friend and I left a party together, and from there on out I was hooked. I liked the way he would wrap his whole arm around my body, holding me close to his, when we cuddled. I liked waking up in the same position after falling asleep without realizing it. I loved that when we kissed I could feel the butterflies in my whole body. I was happy and relaxed. I found myself thinking about him more often than not. He would text and snapchat me. And in my head that meant that he cared about me. As time went on, these thoughts intensified. and I felt myself always wanting to be in his presence. 

None of my friends liked him from the beginning. Now, looking back I realize how important it is to listen to your friends. All they want is the best for you and when they tell you something, it’s something that you probably can’t see. They could see the type of guy he was. I knew what type of guy he was but at the time I was blinded by what I thought was love. You would think I would stop after he made out with multiple girls in my sorority right in front of my face. You would think I would stop when he then continued to try and kiss me immediately after this. You would think I would stop when one night, I was hanging out with his roommates after a night out (who were also my friends) and he came home with another girl on his arm. But I couldn’t stop.

The fighting started when he began taking Xanax every time he went out. He would black out and become a different person. Almost every night we went out together, he would argue with me over nothing. The Xanax made him cruel and verbally abusive. But of course being the person that I am, I wanted to help him and I didn’t want to stop trying. But, I started to see how selfish of a person he really was. I would cut him off for weeks at a time; start to feel okay about it, and then the calls and texts about how much he missed me would begin again. And once again I would fall right back in.

My friends would tell me over and over again that he didn’t truthfully care about me the way he said he did, but I would ignore it because at the time, I was doing what made me happy. And this guy knew how to make me believe every word he said. When we went home for school breaks, he would facetime me for hours. I thought this meant he cared. I learned later that most of those calls he was on Xanax. When we got back to school for the spring semester, we didn’t stop hanging out but the fighting got worse. I questioned him over and over again about why he wouldn’t commit to me. He would tell me he liked me and enjoyed being around me, so why couldn’t I be the only girl he saw?

I thought that because he wasn’t treating the other girls like he treated me it was okay. I have since learned how wrong I was. All I wanted was to be able to see him and that alone ruined me. I let him do things that were not okay, I would forgive him for things that should not have been forgiven, and I even did things that I am not proud of. I had to learn it all on my own though. I couldn’t hear it from my friends because it wasn’t what I wanted to hear. So I continued letting him take advantage of my emotions. I continued going back to him every time, even though I knew it wasn’t right.

I was trapped.


By Hannah Sternberg

Hannah is a rising Senior at James Madison University majoring in the School of Media Arts and Design with a concentration of Broadcast Journalism. She works for her schools weekly newscast called Breeze TV as a reporter in training and this year will become a full time reporter. Her dream is to become a reporter but she also enjoys the entertainment production industry. One of her favorite things to do to relieve stress is dancing. 

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