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I met Nate* when I was 15 and he had just turned 18. It started off innocently – texting and some phone calls after the initial meeting. He soon became my first boyfriend and was everything parents don’t want their daughter’s first boyfriend to be. My mother wanted me to have nothing to do with him.
I was an honors student who never partied, lied, or did anything bad. At first, I thought he was ahead of the game like I was trying to be. He might’ve dropped out of high school but he got his GED, was already certified to have a welding job, and had finished some classes at the local tech school. But as time went on, I realized Nate wasn’t on the same path I was — or really any path.
He smoked weed all day, every day. He started selling coke, and addicts would show up at his door at 3 in the morning. He called me names, told me no one would ever want me, that I was disgusting and terrible, and more. He shoved me into a nightstand and he threw a golf ball at me that dented my car because I wouldn’t let him in with beers in his pockets. He cheated on me the whole time we were together, and that finally pushed me to give up. I got smarter and moved on.
He reached out once about a year or so later and asked to hang out. I tried to be nice and said I would only see him if my current boyfriend was there. We went to the movies. It was super awkward.
More time passed and eventually he met someone else. I’m not really sure why that brought me back into his mind, but apparently something did. His girlfriend requested to be my friend on Facebook and I accepted – if anything, I just wanted her to see I was absolutely nothing to be concerned about.
But when they had a kid they must have started fighting because he reached out to me on Facebook and began sending me messages. He wanted to see me; I told him I was too busy, but I kept things polite. He started sending me messages about his custody issues, telling me how great I was, and how he wished he'd known it back then.
Things started getting weird when he messaged me telling me he knew what car I drove and said — I thought jokingly — that he’d be following me now. I told him I didn’t notice him driving by me, and he seemed offended or that he thought I was lying; he told me my head had “spun around” when I supposedly saw him.
Later that year, he asked to meet up and, again, I said no.
The following year, he started sending messages again, asking to hang out, and saying he would love me forever. I started being more firm, telling him I didn’t look at what we had with fond memories but wished him luck in his life now. He told me he wished he could feel my touch just once more. He sent me a music video of some song about not knowing what you had until it’s gone. I told him I would never see him, and if he wanted to talk to me at all it would only ever be through Facebook messages.
This didn’t seem to sway him, though. He asked again to meet up and I said no. Another month passed — then more messages came asking for just one more chance and saying his kid would love me. I told him no again and asked him to respect my wishes.
He followed up by saying he found out my brother lived nearby, that my brother was always a good guy, and he still hoped for us to get back together in the near future.
That was pretty much the end of it for me. I told him no further contact or I would take whatever action I deemed necessary. This set him off, and he said I could’ve blocked him and I didn’t need to threaten him. Thankfully, he blocked me at that point.
Four months later, however, he unblocked me and again began messaging, just asking for contact on Facebook again. I followed up with saying I wanted nothing to do with him, and I blocked him.
It's been a decade since we dated — you’d think my point would’ve gotten across. But earlier this year, he showed up on my doorstep with flowers and a teddy bear. I hid while my sister answered the door told him I wasn’t home.
That’s when I first called the police. After all, I had made it clear I didn’t want contact. They told me I could try to get a restraining order or order of protection, but it wasn’t technically stalking or harassment until he did it more.
He came back at 11 p.m., pounding on the front door. My sister’s boyfriend told him I wanted nothing to do with him and that he was not welcome back.
I called the police again to keep record of the incidents. A police officer came by the house that night and advised me to get the restraining order the next morning. He also let us know that it was criminal trespassing if he came back since my sister’s boyfriend had told him he wasn’t allowed to.
The temporary order was easy. I went to court, filled out the incidents of the day before and anything I knew about him (which wasn’t much since I was now 25 and I hadn't been involved in his life in years). A woman from the local domestic violence organization came and helped me fill in some details. The temporary order was granted within a half hour and he was to be served that day.
Two days later, I woke up to two voicemails of just breathing. I called the police, who confirmed the number was his, and they told me the order had been served, this was a violation, and they’d be going to see him. They listened to my voicemails and had me write a statement. He was later arrested and held in jail for the weekend until his bail hearing.
My mom went to both bail hearings so I wouldn’t have to, and she told me they had to have everyone leave the room when they brought him in because he was being so aggressive and was claiming he wasn’t mentally stable. He was released five days after his arrest.
My mom insisted on hiring an attorney for my final order hearing. The lawyer went through all the Facebook messages I saved, filed an additional motion with more of our past history, and coached me on how to handle court. My mom had to borrow $5,000 for my lawyer fees and really fought this battle for me. She was the one who went to court over and over, called the lawyer and the prosecutor daily, and made sure everyone took this seriously.
The court date came, and by the end he was apologizing for continuing to contact me. He said he just thought we’d get back together and now realized that wouldn’t happen.
A couple months later, he had his violation hearing and my mom handled dealing with the prosecutor to offer a plea deal I agreed to — a suspended sentence with an additional no-contact order for two years, as my lawyer suggested. This way, if he did contact me, it would be in criminal and family court and he’d have to serve some jail time. He agreed to the plea as long as he wouldn’t have to see me or my mom in court again.
All of this pretty much brought my summer spiraling to a halt as I started to fear everyday life. I felt like I had done everything right — gone to college, got a job, moved on with my life, and yet I was getting this thrown at me anyway. I drunkenly cried and hung my head on my cool toilet seat in between throwing up and telling myself that I didn’t deserve this and had done everything right.
I never thought the guy I dated when I was 15 would really come back to haunt me, but it definitely made me wish I had listened to my mom back then.