I am from a rural area in Northeast Nebraska and was living on a ranch in rolling hills. There was a boy who lived in a small rural town nearby – roughly 30 minutes drive as long as we speed along on the dirt roads. We both are profoundly deaf and have cochlear implants and sign language interpreters. Since we were two years old, we were running around in diapers together and were best friends. We told each other everything – I mean EVERYTHING!
At my high school graduation, my best friend Tyson surprised me by showing up and giving his congrats. I was so shocked when he showed up because when I told him I wanted to see him there, he said he had work. I really wanted to have someone to talk to since we were the only deaf people our age in the area.
After he came back from college, we caught up a lot. I found out that he had flunked out of college. I was merely disappointed in him and was very blunt. I told him that he had to straighten up and stop drinking and smoking. Despite his family background, he told me that he didn’t want to quit because he is stressed out by his mother who was going through her second divorce that time. I rolled my eyes at him and walked away. I caught up with my family members who at the time had driven more than 4 hours to see me.
The next morning, I got a text from him and he told me he wanted to talk. I was dumb-founded since it wasn’t usual for him. Unfortunately, I did not have my car that time and my parents were not crazy about him due to his family dynamics. So, I told him to text me. Unexpectedly, he said he wanted to take me out on a date. I replied, “Are you fucking joking with me?” He wasn’t. Speechless, I decided to try it out despite the fact he had turned me down twice. I realized that we had nobody else to date in the area.
Our first date was a joke. I should have seen that as a red flag but was too desperate for a love since everybody in my class was already dating or screwing. I also wanted to get away from my parents as much as I could.
I went to his house nearly every weekend and hung out with his family, and I had to pay for every single meal whenever we went out. We never had a traditional date during that summer. I kept my mouth shut because I knew he would freak out on me since he has ADHD.
I was the very old fashioned type of girl when it comes to dating; he pressured me to kiss him after a month and a half dating. I finally gave in and we kissed. . . and I felt nothing. I thought it was normal.
July 4th weekend came around the corner. I finally convinced my mother to let me stay overnight at his house where I swore I would sleep on the couch (I am sure she knew it would never happen). I was speechless when I found out that he spent over $400 on fireworks for the evening. In the back of my head, I was thinking, “Why the fuck didn’t you take me out on dates and cover the bill?” Yet, I kept my mouth shut.
I lost my virginity that night. . . it wasn’t a pleasant experience since we had limited inputs about that topic because nobody would chat with us due to our disability. Imagine never discussing sex with anyone and then just giving it a go. Yeah, that’s how it was.
I went to college in August 4 hours away. We still dated – mostly long distance – throughout my first school year. He would only come to visit me as long as I paid for his gas and food. When we were apart, he would complain that he had nobody to talk to (deaf people). I had always told him to come here for a couple weeks and hang out with deaf people in the city where I was attending college.
Finally, my love-blindness began to dissolve in February, and I realized he wasn’t in love with me. He didn’t care that I was deaf and can communicate with him. He was dating me to use my body for his fun, and to use my money to buy drugs and sell (while never giving me a share), use my money for gas, bills, and food, and use my place to hang out with his ‘long-lost college buddies’.
My mother sat me down in April. She told me that I needed to break up with him. I was so defensive at the dime. As I was driving back to the city, I had a long deep reflection. My mother was right. When I settled down in my dorm, I texted him. I basically told him this was not working out, and I was done.
It was so hard for me since I had nobody else to talk to me and understand my life as a deaf person.
Thankfully my finals were a week away, so I could head back home ASAP. I told my mother – and my mother told me to apply to Gallaudet University. I was defensive and didn’t really want to move across the country. But my mother told me to think about all of the cute deaf guys on campus – I couldn’t help but chuckle. It turned out the best decision I ever made.
When I graduated from Gallaudet University, I met up with him when I was visiting home for a while. Immediately after he came up to me, I was so thankful that I got away from that toxic relationship. I couldn’t believe how he ruined my embraces towards deaf-n-deaf relationships.
I am so upset that he ruined my trust towards deaf men, while there are so few of them out there in the world. He has become my worst enemy I ever had in my life.
I hope I find that trust back and trust a worthy deaf man in my life.
– Katelynn, 24