Caitlin was raised in a fundamentalist Christian household and admits upfront to PLFM that she had very little experience dealing with men until her college years.
Of course, we're not saying Caitlin was completely unfamiliar with boys; Caitlin actually dated a guy named Larry for a while, but Larry also had a fundamentalist Christian background, and refused to hug Caitlin because he felt it was "too physical" and "would cause sin" in the eyes of God. So, in retrospect, I guess we are saying she was completely unfamiliar with boys.
Unfortunately for Larry, the overworked and underpaid estrogen glands in Caitlin's ovaries began to threaten a body-wide mutiny unless they started getting some serious non-Christian action. Larry and Caitlin amicably went about their separate ways, leaving Caitlin free to venture out into the world and whore it up in the hugging department.
Team Estrogen 1, Jesus 0.
After her breakup with Larry, Caitlin got together with another fundamentalist Christian man named Daniel, who was a family friend and fellow university student. Daniel was charming and handsome, and more than willing to provide Caitlin with hugs and more. Caitlin and Daniel became an item soon after Caitlin's arrival at school, and from there we begin our brief and ugly journey into Caitlin's first real relationship with a man, followed immediately by her first attempt at seeking a form of government protection against him.
In the beginning, Caitlin and Daniel's relationship was all kittens and rainbows. Daniel was kind and gentle, and he had one of those playful, ham-hock type asses that most women might generously applaud had he suddenly decided to scurry up a nearby tree. Daniel always went out of his way to make Caitlin happy, and Caitlin enjoyed his affectionate manner.
But that all changed when Caitlin had some difficulty setting up some of her computer accounts with the university, and Daniel, a computer science major, generously offered to step in and help Caitlin establish her new IM and email accounts. Caitlin appreciated Daniel's generosity, and took a back seat as Daniel spent a few hours fiddling around on her computer. Gosh, what a nice guy!*
*unless you keep reading
What Caitlin didn't know was that Daniel also conveniently decided to install a port that automatically transferred the entire content of Caitlin's instant messaging conversations to his own personal computer. Daniel began monitoring who she was talking to, and what she was talking about.
Caitlin didn't discover Daniel's antics until about a month later, when Caitlin logged into a private online diary she kept on a computer in her home. Daniel had made a crucial error in hiding his tracks; namely, after hacking into her computer, he decided to leave his own commentary in her personal diary. After reading through Caitlin's private thoughts, Daniel left his own entry and berated her for not sharing her feelings with him. Daniel concluded his entry with the following statement:
"I know I've really complicated things by reading this and for that I am sorry... If I don't hear from you, I'll take it as a sign things are over."
Caitlin was mortified her jackass of a boyfriend had hacked into her computer and read her personal diary. Before she could even absorb what had just transpired, Caitlin stepped out into the hallway and found Daniel waiting for her, twiddling his thumbs and whistling innocently while looking up at the sky. We'll let Caitlin describe what happened next:
"I was still so dazed I didn't know how to react and he somehow managed to get me to stay. I really don't remember how. But he was good at pitching emotional fits to get me to react to him and pay attention. Plus, forgiveness is always good, right? A fundamentalist background doesn't prepare one for dating in ways other than making a hug into some sort of sexual sin.
That said, I REALLY should have known better."
PLFM will now allow our readers a few moments for low-pitched groans and light eye-rolling.
It's OK Caitlin, we understand. You had to learn the hard way. A lot of us do.
Caitlin and Daniel resumed their relationship and dated throughout the rest of the semester. At the conclusion of the semester, Caitlin began a summer research internship in another state. Over the course of her internship, Caitlin made a remarkable transformation in her life: She began to question the principles and beliefs of fundamentalist Christians. She'd expressed her reservations about religion to Daniel before, but now, away from the cacophony of religious zealots in her immediate environment, Caitlin was free to examine her own thoughts about her religious upbringing.
Caitlin ultimately decided it was all a bunch of nonsense. Secure and confident in her decision, Caitlin completed a full and immediate transition to "atheist," and called Daniel to deliver the news.
Daniel exploded when he heard Caitlin no longer believed in God, and reached deep into his arsenal of emotionally manipulative tricks to change Caitlin's mind. First, he tried his screaming and ranting routine, which failed miserably. Defeated, he moved on to Phase II, the "crying hysterically" routine, which Caitlin had already seen one too many times from Daniel. Phase III was the ever-popular "silent treatment with arms crossed" move perfected by resilient 6 year-olds the world over, and when that ultimately failed, Daniel moved on to Phase IV.
Daniel unequivocally terminated their relationship because Caitlin had denounced God.
Daniel said he never wanted to hear from Caitlin again, and immediately blocked her from instant messaging him. But of course that didn't mean Caitlin would never hear from Daniel again, because he continually called and messaged her, crying and weeping, and generally coating Caitlin's keyboard and phone receiver with a thick, viscous solution of spittle, phlegm and random Bible verses.
So we got that folks?
Daniel dumped Caitlin.
Got it? Let's say it as a group:
Daniel DUMPED CAITLIN.
Now, Caitlin was a little bit upset her relationship had ended, but really it was more like the way you might feel when your two-year contract with Sprint Mobile ends. Although she was having a great time away from Daniel, he kept haranguing her to re-connect their internet messaging program to talk "as friends." Caitlin finally relented and agreed to re-connect with him, as long as they remained friends ONLY.
Daniel then sent the following email after he broke up with her:
This is the easiest way to re-add you. Just reply with something.
I'm sorry about tonight. My feelings for you have changed and I don't know how to relate to you anymore, especially when I come away frustrated every time we talk even though I don't know what I wanted in the first place. I just don't know anything anymore and I can't trust anything I thought I once knew. Things have been pushed back to the beginning and I don't know if I want to even try to build them back up, but of course I don't know why. I know I must not be making any sense at all.
I'm also wondering what you think. You said that you see me as a friend and I'm not quite sure how to take that. In one way, I'm almost hurt you were able to release your feelings that easily, if you ever had them at all. I can guess at this point you'll be pretty annoyed that I don't believe you, but I don't see how I can believe you. I did trust you, but I can't anymore, not after what happened. You shattered my trust at a very very deep level. I just don't know what to think.
Now you're most likely looking over this with unemotional eyes picking holes in the things I say and you'll give me back something akin to a red marked paper with a bad grade at the end and a note to do better next time. You seem to be jumping to conclusions with the things I say a lot more lately.
Yeah, Caitlin, you big trust-shatterer. Illegally recording someone's personal conversations and hacking into their computer to read their personal thoughts is one thing, but expressing your true feelings to a loved one? What a fucking travesty! Shame on you!
Caitlin immediately began to regret allowing Daniel to instant message her again. Over the next few weeks, Daniel sent Caitlin numerous missives regarding her internship. His favorite topics included:
1. How can Caitlin no longer believe in God?
2. Was Caitlin fucking those reckless, drunk college kids that didn't believe in God?
3. Most importantly, was Caitlin enjoying fucking all the guys she was working with, or just fucking some of them?
4. When fucking them, in what style was she fucking them, how often was she fucking them, and what were her personal feelings regarding her free-for-all fuck-a-thon of an internship?
As Caitlin's internship came to a close, Daniel knew Caitlin would return to school, so eased up on his questioning in anticipation of her return.
Upon her return, Daniel went right back into boyfriend mode. Although he had dumped her, he constantly questioned all her relationships with her male co-workers, complained endlessly that she wasn't spending enough time with him, and repeatedly accused her of getting pregnant during her internship. "That guy even got jealous of my homework," says Caitlin. She quickly tired of his endless harassment, and began to avoid him at all costs.
A week or so after Caitlin returned from her internship, Caitlin's sister was scheduled to be baptized in a local river, and Daniel was invited to the ceremony in order to take photographs for the family. He also attended the reception afterwards, where Daniel became insanely jealous of Larry, Caitlin's "no hug" ex-boyfriend who had the nerve to strike up a conversation with Caitlin.
Then suddenly, Daniel disappeared.
A few hours later, Daniel re-appeared and asked Caitlin if she wanted to come with him to a party where everyone planned on playing a game called "sardines." "It's like hide-and-seek in the dark," he said, "and at the end, everyone's squished together in one place!" Needless to say, at this point Caitlin preferred to cuddle with actual sardines. She refused his offer.
Later that evening, Caitlin's phone rang. She recognized the number as Daniel's, but no name came up on her cellphone screen. As it turns out, when Daniel had gone missing at the party, he had actually gone inside and found Caitlin's cellphone and deleted the entirety of her call logs and some of her stored cellphone numbers.
Furious, Caitlin didn't answer her phone, so Daniel proceeded to call her obsessively on both Caitlin's cellphone and her home phone. Caitlin's exasperated mother finally answered and told him he was no longer welcome in their home, nor was he to attempt to contact Caitlin again.
Of course, Daniel then immediately sent Caitlin an email, to which Caitlin responded:
I am not talking to you, it is not negotiable.
Daniel responded to Caitlin's email with yet another email:
I'm really distressed and confused right now so I hope this makes sense. I'm going to assume this has something to do with me deleting myself from your phone. I was using XXXXXX's phone when I called your house and had a really bad connection. I couldn't hear your mother hardly at all so I hung up and went looking for another phone. When I tried again no one answered.
You really can't take a joke can you. I've done things to my friends phones before like, delete myself, change their banner, background image or things like that. I intended it to be taken like you goof now add it back. You seem to have taken it completely wrong, like I did it maliciously. If I had been malicious wouldn't I have deleted XXXXXX's, or XXXXX's or XXXXXX's number instead of my own?
I will admit I was a little bit annoyed with you. You seemed to be spending quite a bit of time with Larry and just barely saying anytime to me. Now there were a lot of explanations for this so I wasn't going to jump to conclusions and was going to bring up the issue later.
Seriously, that is what I was going to do. I was also going to ask you what you thought about your sister getting baptized, but I was going to leave all those questions for a later time. My hope was that you were happy for your sister and that it could be a happy day for you seeing people and celebrating your sister's baptism. I seem to have unknowingly destroyed that.
As I said before I was a little annoyed with you when I left. That's why I ignored you at first. Then I realized I wasn't thinking of you again and came back. As far as your "I'm tired" for not wanted to come that evening. I believed you, you did look tired.
Once again, Caitlin did not respond, yet was forced to later in the day when Daniel arrived at her place of employment to discuss why Caitlin was not responding to his emails or phone calls.
Caitlin again thoroughly explained why she was through with Daniel's habitual boundary and privacy violations, and was concerned because Daniel was obviously having issues with continued contact despite her repeated requests to stay away. She walked right past him and left, once again instructing him not to contact her anymore.
Undeterred, Daniel sent Caitlin another email that evening apologizing for his behavior, followed by yet another email the following evening.
You looked horrible today. Like something was really bothering you. Now I'm not going to even attempt to figure out what that is, but I did want you to know that no matter what happens I still care for you and always have even if it doesn't always seem that way. I'll be praying for you.
"I was not bothered at all that day until this email showed up, I was having a great day, fun classes, hanging out with normal friends, beautiful day out etc......."
The next day, Daniel decided to corner Caitlin on campus after one of her classes. Caitlin told him to leave her the fuck alone and tried to hurry away, but Daniel relentlessly followed her and Caitlin's classmate all the way to her next class. When they arrived, Daniel pulled out a CD and threw it on Caitlin's desk. "Here's your baptism pictures."
Another email followed:
I still wonder if you know how cruel you're being? Are you not aware that your actions are cruel or do you know and still keep doing them? The Caitlin I know wouldn't do something intentionally cruel.
It still doesn't make sense that you went from smiling to the coldest I've seen. That isn't you. What happened? You're not one for quick decisions, but from my view you did this time. Now you must have yourself in quite a mess. To go back you would have to admit to yourself and everyone involved that you were wrong in your actions. The you I know would have at least told me what was going on and then told me what you were going to do about it. Instead you completely severed everything with no explanation, why?
And in case you were wondering, it does hurt. I'm not sure if that brings you joy to see me hurting, but it's the truth. To see someone that I dearly care for treat me like this it does hurt, but the truth is I still do care even though you are treating me the way you are.
Again Caitlin didn't respond, so this time Daniel barreled into one of Caitlin's classes to harass her about not taking his calls or answering his emails. Caitlin repeatedly asked Daniel to leave the room, but he refused. She physically tried to push him out the door, but he still refused to leave. Finally, a classmate came to Caitlin's aid and instructed Daniel that he was to leave the grounds immediately.
Daniel refused to leave until Caitlin returned the CD of baptism pictures he had given her, so Caitlin happily returned his CD as Daniel was escorted out of the room. "I really didn't want to put the CD on my computer anyway," says Caitlin, "for fear of viruses or other Trojan stuff he could have put on it."
Caitlin then received her final email before the school finally took action against Daniel.
This is so ridiculous as to almost be funny. You stop communications with me and never tell me why and when I attempt to ask I get something like I'm not talking to you and leave me alone. This has got to be the worst way to handle a situation I've ever seen. Seriously I have no idea what this accomplishes other than people getting hurt. What am I supposed to do? Figure out what I did out of thin air? I always thought of you as a logical person, but where's the logic in this?
After several weeks, Caitlin had finally had enough. She prepared a large folder of Daniel's emails and took them to university officials and explained the entire situation to them. His constant harassment, his continuous and baseless accusations of her sleeping around even though they were no longer together, his insane jealousy and his inability to cease contacting her despite her repeated requests.
The university called Daniel in, and informed him he was to have absolutely no further contact with Caitlin.
And to this day, Caitlin hasn't heard a peep out of Daniel.
But, of course, we'll let her finish him off.......
"For the next 8 months every time he saw me on campus sidewalk he'd give me a Nazi salute and say "Heil Hitler!" He did it loud enough for me to hear, so if he was a ways away it would be yelled. Once when I was reading outside with a good view of several sidewalks I noticed that he went out of his way to go past me so he could give me the salute from closer. Oh well. The rest of the student body must have thought he was a Neo-Nazi or something."