Hi my name is “Jaiyna” and I’m a 24 year old woman. I come from a pretty strict Catholic family.
At the age of 14 I decided to run away. I guess I just didn’t like the rules my parents had for me so I left with a friend and that’s when all my troubles started.
My friend “Rachael,” aged 17, had a pretty rough childhood and told me she was leaving to go to New York to live with her “brother” Julio, since she was kicked out of foster care. She made it sound so cool, so I left with her. When we got there her brother, who was 26 years old, was living in a roach infested apartment with 3 other guys. None of this seemed to bother me at the time and I stayed. We immediately all clicked and started doing drugs heavily. Her brother and I also clicked and he took my virginity that same night. Her brother and I began a “relationship” and he immediately started to beat me. One time he beat me so hard I fell unconscious. I soon found out that Julio didn’t live in that infested apartment and he soon started to come and go. The only time I saw him was when he would have sex with me and beat me. Eight months into all of this and I found myself pregnant.
He told me since we was going to have an extra mouth to feed that I was going to have to get a job. I told him I was 15 and couldn’t get one and he told me that I could sell something. I was confused at first, but then realized what he meant. He told me if I didn’t do it then I could leave, and me being stupid I did. He told me that Rachael could show me the ropes. I had no idea Rachael was doing any of this and he was her pimp. The first time I slept with another man I threw up. I cried so hard that the guy put his clothes on and left. Julio immediately came in and beat me senseless. For the next 6 months, until I started to show, I was selling my body. I can’t tell you how many guys I had to sleep with. By the time I gave birth to my daughter the doctor told me I had contracted Chlamydia. SMH!
Being dumb and naive I thought that now since I was the mother of his child he wouldn’t have me selling my body, but, boy was I wrong. I found myself pregnant again with twins not knowing who the hell my children’s father was. After I gave birth to the twins things went from bad to horrible. We found Rachael dead in the apartment. She apparently had overdosed. Julio being scared immediately packed up my stuff and told me to get the kids and get in the car. He pulled up to a shelter and told me to get out. He said that I’ve gotten fat and that my “product” was worthless to him. Plus, me being 17 and him 30, he would go to jail for rape.
I was scared, alone, grieving of my friend’s death and had 3 mouths to feed. Julio wouldn’t even tell me about Rachael’s funeral. I tried to call my parents, but they didn’t want anything to do with me and my children. I didn’t know what else to do so I went back to selling my body and stripping. I ended up moving into a place with a friend I met at the club. I took the money I made from selling my body to pay for my GED, and to get into college.
I also decided that it was time to stop selling my body and get a full-time job at Burger King while my roommates watched my kids during the day. I ended up bumping into Julio and he acted like he didn’t even know me. He was with his wife of 10 years and 5 children. I also found out that he wasn’t Rachael’s real brother and he was just a pimp who also got her pregnant at the time of her death. Everything in my body kept me from exposing him but I just wanted to be done with that life and I never thought of him again and that was 4 years ago.
Two years ago I met this wonderful man. Seriously he’s my soul mate. He does any and everything for me and my kids and vice-versa. He turned my life around even more. He got me out of the city and now we live in a house in New Jersey. I’ve never felt so content ever in my life. Writing this I cry because I think of how my life was and where it is now. I’m completely out of that lifestyle and I make a pretty decent living as a CNA. He asked me to marry him 6 month ago and now we’re in the process of planning our wedding. We’re in marriage counseling upon the request of our pastor and I’m now faced with the dilemma on should I tell him about my past or just take it to the grave. He constantly asks me why I have no family and what’s up with my children’s father. Every time he asks I cringe. I don’t want him to leave me once he finds out because who would want a hoe as a housewife. Should I tell him or not? – Ms. Dilemma
Dear Ms. Dilemma,
What a damn life! You left home at 14 years old to follow a friend to New York City only to end up being prostituted, raped, beaten, then stripping and being on drugs. You have lived a hard life. And, it’s great that you turned your life around, many people who end up in a similar situation never make it out. They either end up in and out jail, still stripping, strung out on drugs, still prostituting, or dead.
Now, you have this dilemma whereas you met this great guy who loves you and your children, wants to marry you, but he has questions. You don’t have a past, or your past is mysterious and sketchy. You have lied to him about your past, or failed to disclose it, and to keep the lie going you create another lie. Your entire background and relationship becomes a lie. And, in order to keep up with what you told him you have to remember all the lies you keep telling. That will get exhausting and draining, and unless you remember all these lies at some point you are bound to slip up. You’re not going to be able to remember the original lie, or the other lies you told. He will start to question your lies, and how things are not adding up.
Thus, I recommend that you tell him the truth. You’re in marriage counseling, and you say it was upon the request of your pastor, which means you have some spiritual guidance. So, make an appointment with your pastor to speak with them alone. Tell them your story, why you have withheld it all this time, and your fears for not telling your fiancé. I am sure your pastor will work with you on how to tell your fiancé, and on possible next steps for you. This is going to be a devastating blow, and who knows how he will respond, but I feel it’s best to be honest with him. Withholding key information about your life, and who you are is deceptive and manipulative. And, you don’t want to go into a marriage based on a lie.
For example, let’s say you and your fiancé are out and someone from your past shows up. Then what? What happens when these sketchy individuals start conversations about what you used to do and what you used to be like? How will you handle it? What about customers who remember your stripping days? And, they ask you in front of your fiancé where are you stripping these days. Or, what about one of the men you slept with. What happens if you encounter these people, how will you handle it? And, what are you going to tell the children, especially the twins, about their fathers? At least you know who the father is of your first child, but what about the twins? How are you going to explain this to them?
And, let’s not forget that your fiancé’s family is going to start asking questions, especially his mother. They will want to know about your family, why you are not close with them, are they coming to the wedding, why are you being so evasive and discrete. They will inquire about the children’s father/s. You are going to find yourself telling more lies in the effort to keep your past hidden.
I don’t believe you should be deceptive with your fiancé. This man obviously loves you, but he doesn’t know you. Everything you’ve told him up to this point has been a lie. He’s involved with someone he barely knows. Your past has shaped the woman you have become. Your tragedies, your overcoming, your perseverance, and your determination to be better is what made you who you are today. And, I’m sure that you do love him, but how can you say you love someone and keep the truth from them? Who you are, your past, and everything about you is something that is important for your future husband or wife to know about you. How would you feel if you found out he was keeping some deep dark secret from you, and you realized that he was not the man that you thought you knew? You would feel betrayed. You would be hurt and angry.
I am a strong believer that you should never take someone’s ability to choose from them. When you take someone’s choice from them, then you are deciding for them. You do not allow them the opportunity to decide what they want to do, and that is selfish. Therefore, by you not telling him, and by you hiding your past, you are taking your fiancé’s choice from him. Hell, he may very well decide your past doesn’t matter to him. What happened to you will not make a difference because he sees the person you are today, and how you came through all of that.
Yes, I know it is hard. It will be difficult. It will be a huge blow to him. But, at least you will no longer have this on your back, and you won’t be cringing each time he asks you questions about your past and your children’s father/s. You have to live in your truth and be honest. You have to allow him to decide for himself whether or not he wants to be in this relationship, and if he wants to marry you after learning the truth. You can’t take that from him, or decide for him. Trust me, if you wait until you’re married, and you are confronted by your past, and the truth is revealed, then, he will leave you and it will be even more difficult. It’s time to grow up, take responsibility of your past, your life, and who you are, and own your truth and your life. – Terrance Dean
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