My biggest regret has nothing and everything to do with my ex. As much as I want to separate him from it, or include him even to the point of blaming him, I know that’s not fair. There is no point of the finger or easy fix to this. And it haunts me.
This will take some explaining.
I was a 16 year old high school graduate (I know I was young — but homeschooling does have its advantages sometimes)… who wanted to go to college, but whose parents were completely against letting their underage daughter on any university campus. As a compromise, I agreed to go to a very conservative, private Christian college where the dorms had curfews and class attendance was mandatory, so I would be well watched. I was.
I started out as a religious studies major, as I’ve always loved world religions and how man interacts with them. I met my ex, my first real boyfriend. We started dating in February, and by May I was convinced he was “the one.” I spent the year in France studying the French language, and fell in love with what felt like my people and my home. I visited the little French village my grandfather lived in and the home he stayed in during World War 2. My heritage, my home.
Coming back to the States made me an emotional wreck. The first few weeks back at college were terrible. I was depressed and homesick. Now 18, I considered running away… but with a zero balance in the bank knew I wouldn’t get far after I charged a plane ticket to my credit card.
I remember sitting at my desk in my dorm room, crying. Sobbing. I was mourning my loss. I had wanted to stay – another 2 trimesters and I would have been ready for the DALF exam to gain access to French Universities — and then just run off into the sunset of French education. But no, I rocked myself in my chair, arms crossed, and wept.
I was stuck… the ex and I were now engaged, and I remember thinking, as I rocked in my chair, how dangerous continuing this relationship was. I wasn’t sure if my love for him was as strong as my love for France/Home. I remember saying aloud, “I hope I don’t hurt him.”
The wedding was 4 weeks after graduation. I ended up a dual major, French and Psychology. I loved both equally. In French I found myself, in Psychology I pursued my interest in sex and research. Every project I completed was related to sex.
My senior project had a huge representative sample size and showed a statistically significant correlation between pornography use and sexual activity on our campus. Entirely shocking for our extremely conservative campus; I liked to talk about what no one else would.
Graduation. We both wanted grad school. I was torn – French, or Psychology? In French, I could teach, write, talk, travel. I could still connect to that Home. In Psychology, I could continue learning, teaching, and researching. I loved the research. I couldn’t decide, and he did. We mapped out our future like this:
2. He attends grad school for 5 years while I support him
3. I attend grad school for 5 years while he supports me
4. We start a family and live happily ever after
Here’s the problem: I had 2 degrees that require either a teaching certificate or Masters in order to work in those fields, so I ended up working in business — an area I had no interest in, but could use my ability to teach and work with people to become a trainer and problem solver.
During his 3rd year of grad school, I was already tired of waiting for my turn. I could feel the clock ticking on my ability to transition to a grad program where either a knowledge of very advanced French grammar and vocab OR statistics and all those personality theories would be required. Each semester he was in school, I felt like I was bleeding knowledge. French words came slower; some were forgotten. I wasn’t using the language and it was dying inside of me.
In my free time, I researched programs. When I read about Middlebury College and its language programs, part of me died. It was the heaven I wanted in a grad program! But it was so impractical – we were married. Spouses don’t just up and live across the country and neither one work and both go to expensive grad programs! So I would wait. And the clock ticked. And more language died in me.
I turned back to Psychology — and sex. And fascination grew. I loved sex – reading about it, studying it, researching it — and yet, my sex life SUCKED. I hated sex in real life…. I was so unhappy. Disconnected.
I did research. I tried to fix things. Resentment grew for many reasons. But could I actually go down the route of Sexual Psychology? Sexual Anthropology? Counseling Psychology? If I was such a fail in my own life, how could I even consider it professionally? And so the dream died within me.
When I was out of options, I turned to TESOL. This was a program that worked with languages and could be used in the USA or anywhere in the world where an English teacher was needed. If I were ever on my own, I could go anywhere… and not be stuck wasting my talents where I wasn’t sure they belonged. So during his fourth year of grad school, I researched schools and planned. During his fifth year I applied, and three months after his graduation, I started my own grad program.
At another private school. A year after his graduation, we were getting divorced. In the mess of things, I didn’t stop to think about this consequences of this program, until I was 2 semesters from graduation and realized: my monthly student loan bills + rent + transportation would eat up almost my entire paycheck in this new career field. And that was positive thinking.
I quit the program. Officially I’m on a leave of absence for personal reasons while I consider throwing away 18 credits of grad school in a career and degree I’ll probably never use.
So, now what? I’m 28. I owe nearly $60k in student loans. And now, more than ever, do I regret not making the choice to make Psychology and my love of sex a career. I started reading otherwise dull, academic books about sex while I was an undergrad. I am made for this career.
I love to teach. Talk. Listen. Challenge. Research. I’ve had such a journey from sexual mismatch horror to such perfect connection…. I know so much about exploration and kink. I come from a conservative background – something I still wrestle with in understanding how I think about things.
I’ve talked a lot about why I’m a sex blogger: Joy. Joy that has to be shared. Joy spilling out. The simple fact is: I love sex. Not just experiencing it. I love the biology of it across all animals. I love the emotional aspect. I love the cognitive process of sex. And that’s a major reason why I write this blog: It’s my passion.
My passion is sharing, exploring, and hopefully helping others explore and find their satisfaction. I write because if I don’t I cannot focus on anything else until its done. I have to write. I’ve limited this blog to my own sexual experiences for the most part. Perhaps I need to expand to include some of the books and articles I read.
But deep down, there’s nothing that I want more than to make this my career. But at $60k in the hole on student loans, I’m not sure I can even afford a student life, not to mention the bill for when in 2-7 years I completely program and press “restart” on my career and debt repayments.
I feel stuck. Trapped. At the bottom of a well.
There is no one to blame. I could blame my parents for limiting my scope of choice in a college and the possibilities connected with that. I could blame my ex for stealing 6 years of possible grad school from me and being OK with me throwing my dreams down the toilet in the name of “love.”
Really, I can blame myself. I do blame myself. All along this story I’ve made choices, and they were ones where my gut was always conflicted. Torn. Uncertain. I’m not sure I ever chose the right road.
Right now I feel conflicted, torn, and uncertain. I don’t know what choice to make.