All Articles Tagged "suicidal boyfriend"
The truth is, I don’t even remember the first time I met Lawrence*.
I do remember that he had a girlfriend and I had a boyfriend, so he and I were just platonic. He was fun, attentive and unpredictable. He and I went to church together and were both very involved with the youth group. I called him my best friend and he called me his. I found out later that he had a crush on me, but I was “in love” with every guy I ever dated and therefore totally oblivious to any men sitting on the fringe waiting for their shot. Lawrence and his girlfriend broke up at some point and his pursuit of me became obvious…and awkward.
When I found out my boyfriend was cheating on me, it was a Wednesday night and I was already at church, but I decided to break up with him via a payphone outside of where the youth group met. Lawrence was playing ping-pong ball not too far away from the phone, so I asked him if he had a quarter. He tossed one to me and I called my boyfriend and ended things right there. (Did I also mention I fell out of love quickly with every boyfriend too?)
Predictably, Lawrence and I started dating the next day. At first it was awesome. It’s always awesome before it turns into a disaster and you realize that you’re dating a kid who just dropped out of ninth grade, who lives in a one-bedroom apartment with his mom and seven sisters, and is secretly suicidal.
I was fourteen and way out of my league.
This guy, who was my best friend in the whole world (er…church), turned out to be the worst boyfriend I’ve ever had.
All I can say is that he was crazy. He would call me on the phone in the evening and want to talk to me until four am. This is how I found out he had dropped out of school because I had to go to school the next morning and he clearly had zero plans. If I told him I needed to hang up and go to sleep, he would say that if I hung up he was going to run in the street and kill himself. What do you say to that?
I was totally blindsided by this kid. One minute we would be having fun together, chilling like a young Cory and Topanga in love. The next he would blow a gasket over something tiny. When I would tell him I was going to the mall with friends he would say I was only going to the mall to meet guys. (Who knew the controlling behavior and neurosis started this young?) I was a free-spirited fourteen-year-old who wasn’t going to let some boyfriend play parent to me. As a result, we would argue incessantly and our arguments would invariably end with him threatening to kill himself. I wanted to dump him, but I felt I was being held hostage in the relationship. Night after night, I would talk him off the ledge telling him how much I loved him and how much his family loved him and reminding him that his family and friends would be devastated if he killed himself. He was so up and down, and his downs brought me down though I had nothing to be down about — except the fact that I was dating him!
One evening, we were walking outside together and got into an argument. He stormed away yelling that he was going to go lay in the middle of the street. He stood in the street while I was hysterically screaming, crying and begging him not to get hit by a car. He finally walked back to sidewalk, laughing and saying that he wasn’t really going to kill himself. I wasn’t amused and I finally told my mom what a crazy person I was dating. Needless to say, she was livid. She told me, I couldn’t “save” him and that I was too young to be dealing with that nonsense. He apologized to me and my mom and she told him that he better never put me in that situation again.
Not too long after, out of nowhere on a Sunday morning in our packed, 5,000 seat sanctuary, my pastor called him up on stage and prayed for him. During that prayer, the pastor mentioned depression and suicide. That completely blew me away because I didn’t think my pastor knew what was going on with him. I was bawling. Not because I was sad, but because I was free. I told him that the pastor had prayed for him, therefore he was no longer suicidal and I wasn’t staying in that relationship for another day. [Older now, I realize that suicidal thoughts are not easily “prayed away” -- although I do believe that heartfelt, fervent prayer changes everything.] Surprisingly, he didn’t pull the suicidal card and, in fact, he said that he wasn’t suicidal anymore and promised that he wouldn’t threaten to kill himself ever again. Too litte. Too late.
Mental health is a serious issue in the black community and too many people don’t get the help they need. Still, I would hope other women don’t feel pressured to remain in these sorts of relationships. Suicide is serious and there is little non-professionals can do to administer help. In my case, Lawrence may not have been suicidal at all, but instead just incredibly controlling and manipulative and knew that threatening to kill himself was a way to keep me around. It’s hard to tell because, according to Facebook, he is still alive, has a kid by some girl he dated after me and seems to be dating a different girl now. If he wasn’t suicidal, that’s a cruel weapon to wield on someone whom you supposedly love. And if he was, I’m guessing he got the help (coupled with intense prayer) that he needed. Either way, I stayed in that relationship entirely too long and am glad I got out when I did.
Have you ever dated someone who claimed to be suicidal?
Follow Alissa on Twitter @AlissaInPink
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