I was 18. He was 42.

Updated: Mar 10

I’ve wanted to start a blog for several years. I went to school for journalism, which then morphed into a business degree. I interned at Lancaster Newspapers for my Senior Project, and before getting involved with a 42 year old man at the age of 18, I was headed to Mansfield University.

I had some scholarship money, I had toured the dorms twice and I had a class schedule. Suddenly, that August that I was supposed to start in 2006, I changed my mind. I was staying home. I was commuting. I “couldn’t” be 3 hours from home.

Why couldn’t I? My …boyfriend? man who was married that I was seeing? friend with benefits? Whatever he was, I couldn’t leave him. He had an emotional grip on me that no bond was going to break.

Originally, the plan was for him to visit me at college, I would visit him when I came home, we’d meet halfway – whatever it took to make it work. Deep down, I knew the reality would be that I would only see him when I came home.

I met him at Walmart on a sultry night in August 2006. Classy, I know. Sitting in his 1985 Chevy truck, he told me that he got another woman pregnant.

Gut. Punch.

Didn’t I just plan my whole college career around you? My whole life?

I had never really had a boyfriend. He was really the first. First for all of it. I was always way too caught up in school, sports, band and clubs for boys. Plus, I always thought I was fat and undeserving of a boy. Oh, and there’s the whole thing where I put on a tough front like I didn’t want to be loved.

At that moment, I immediately forgave him. (How is that even possible?)

I drove home. Bawling my eyes out all the way down Route 30. The next morning I scrambled to apply to HACC Lancaster, so I could commute.

I so distinctly remember my mom coming down the stairs and asking me why I had papers all over the living room. Imagine her dismay when I told her that all my hard work in high school, being 11th in my class, always striving for straight A’s, doing multiple extra curricular activities – was heading to HACC.

I don’t exactly remember what she said, but I know she wasn’t happy. Could I blame her? Good heavens. As a mom now, I’m not sure I would’ve been calm. Or happy. Not that HACC is bad, but I had invested SO much time in my prep for Mansfield.

I sent my application in, gathered everything I needed for financial aid – and that was that. I was accepted right away, and I told Mr. I’m Now Having a Baby with Another Woman that I was staying home for him.

I started at HACC for Journalism. Eventually, I switched to Business.

Prior to all of this, I thought I was a hard ass. I wasn’t getting married. I wasn’t having kids. I was moving to D.C., and I was going to be a big bad journalist.

Joke’s on me…

God had it all lined up. He knew what the plan was.

Wait…I should mention that I was Atheist in all this mess. It’s ok to chuckle. He really does pull my life together eventually.

So I stayed home, did some of my classes online, some at the campus and finished my Associates Degree in 13 months. Honestly, I cruised through. I went to school, worked three jobs and messed around with the man of my then dreams in my spare time.

Until October.

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