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In the Shadows of Men

  “You’re always mean to me, and I’m always nice to you,” he would say more than once. Patrick was cold. Let me re-phrase that. My body turned cold when I was around, and would eventually sleep with, Patrick. There was rarely eye contact. Little kissing on the mouth. I could not, still cannot define what our relationship used to be.     I didn’t talk about our sexual relationship with anyone because I did not think anything was wrong. He wasn’t controlling or violent. But he was arrogant and manipulative. I figured we would have sex eventually, just not the way it happened on his parents’ bed with an unlubricated condom.    Maybe he was the one who made me afraid of men. Maybe, he’s the reason I internally convinced myself that everything that happens with men should always be my fault. It would be easier that way, I told myself. Put their feelings first, put mine away.   He had this emotional power over me, even while living in a different state. He’s the kind of man you only want to

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