T O P I C R E V I E W
Member # 31769
posted 12-08-2006 07:45 PM
My boyfriend and I have been together for nearly a half of a year now and we are very in love with each other. As much as I love him I'm still troubled by a few events that I can't seem to get over. I feel very confused, and would greatly appreciate help.
I was so awestruck when I had met him because of our unbelievable connection. I'm in my late teens and he is seven years older then me. Normally I would never even consider dating someone that much older than me but I felt like I was drawn to him no matter what. Our age difference hasn't seemed to have been an issue. In the beginning of our relationship there had been a moment where we were kissing and he touched my butt, it made me very uncomfortable. I told him I didn't want to do anything like that, he was extremely comforting, he told me that everything was okay, and it was just fine if I didn't want to do anything like that. He asked me lots of questions about my past relationships and if I had intercourse before, which I hadn't. He is extremely friendly to my family. Especially talking to my brother who is near the same age as me, just being very friendly, talking about what my brother is interested in. I consider my brother pretty much my best friend and we get along very well. At one time my brother was going to come over to my place to visit while my boyfriend was there. I told my boyfriend that my brother was going to come over and stay the night there at my place. Since my boyfriend seemed like he really liked my brother I thought he would be happy for him to come over. I told him and he seemed troubled, acting irritated, he wasn't in his cheery mood like he was in before. I asked me what was bothering him and he told me that he was upset that he wouldn't have his "alone time" with me. At first I didn't know what to think, I realised it bothered me and didn't pay attention to him for awhile after that. Despite his mood at times we both couldn't seem to get enough of each other. After a couple of months and a few weeks in between of being apart I decided to go live were he lives since he lives pretty far away. I had more of an opportunity to move being a student, he was tied down with his job. After awhile of being together I didn't plan it. It just happened and seemed to be spur of the moment we had sex. Of course at first it wasn't at all enjoyable for me. It seemed to be pretty normal as time went on. I felt some sad from time to time. I was far away from home, family, and all my friends. I also kept getting the flu off and on. I spent allot of time just hanging out alone while he was at work. We were lying in bed one time. I was wearing a baggy T shirt and my boxer/pantie things which I wear often and never seemed like it was ever anything suggestive to him before. I was generally sick, tired, achy and just resting there. We kissed for awhile and I rolled back on my side he was behind me. I got the idea that me might be excited and maybe doing something... but I didn't think anything of it. He started to kiss the back of my neck and hump me. I wiggled away from him and told him I didn't feel like anything like that now but he kept doing that. He pulled down the back of my panties and tried to go in me and I resisted and pressed my legs together and move away from him. He came up to me closer and grabbed my elbow and pulled my back closer to his chest. He started to go in me and it was extremely painfull being that my legs were together, he was trying to get in me from behind, and I wasn't wet at all. I was making whimpering sounds and telling him I don't want to do this, and "no". Whatever I said didn't seem to affect him at all and he continued. I felt frozen and blank. Eventually he came and went into the other room to clean up I saw he used a condom which was good but he acted like nothing was wrong. After this had happened I felt like I was in shock and I didn't know what to think. I would have never though being as nice and romantic as he is that he would ever do something like that. I told him that had really bothered me and he became very upset, crying and wouldn't leave me alone until I convinced him that I was okay with what he did. After that had happened I felt like my trust was violated. Earlier he had gave me the password to his email, I wanted to see what was going on so I looked through some of it. What I saw was pretty much normal, but I saw a few conversations with his friends that bothered me. Things like "trying to get rid of a girlfriend" "upgrading" "hot girls" suggesting cheating to his friends. I thought how is this even possible. He acts the opposite of that around me. I confronted him about this. He said that he was unhappy with his relationships, bitter, was saying things to "fit in" with his guy friends, and was a long time ago. Which was only about a year ago. I guess he was like this all through out high school and college but he says he is changing now and can't imagine saying anything like that now that he is with me. It's hard to know what to believe or what to think about little things about him anymore. Little things are starting to disturb me. I have a headband that has a red bow on it. It almost looks little girl like. Every time I wear it he thinks it's very sexually attractive. Did I mention I have braces? He always mentions to all his friends how old I am when I'm really sure it isn't necessary and his friends make it clear that I am much hotter than his ex girlfriends. He always tells me he is always so surprised that I am even with him speaking superficially. Despite all of these things that I question I am completely in love with him. I've never meet anyone like him before and he is pretty much my best friend. I wonder though if I am overreacting to what has happened or how serious these events are and what I should do. I want to be a good girlfriend, but I want to do what is best for myself. I would greatly appreciate any help anyone can give me. Thank you for taking your time to read this.
Member # 3
posted 12-08-2006 08:08 PM
I'm going to be pretty frank here.
Being raped by your partner -- you have described a rape -- is almost always a matter of incredible conflict for anyone who is put in that situation. No one needs to tell you or anyone else that is is beyond difficult when you love a person who also sexually assaulted you. If anything, I'd say you're underreacting. Even if we put all the other stuff aside, staying with someone who has raped you is incredibly dangerous, physically, emotionally, psychologically, and thinking about if you've been a good girlfriend is not a sound direction to be going in. Where are you at in Minnesota? I would be happy to point you towards some good sources of support where you can get sound counsel on this, support for your assault, and counseling to help you figure out what's best for you.
Member # 31769
posted 12-08-2006 11:57 PM
One of my biggest fears is what do I do about this next? What do I tell him? I believe that he really does love me and care about me although.... obviously I feel as though I can not completely trust him. I can tell he feels horrible about it even if I slightly mention something about it. Even though I am seeking advice on the internet. I can't even imagine myself talking to someone in person or on the phone. I would be extremely shy, embarrassed.
Member # 3
posted 12-09-2006 10:10 AM
I'm honestly not quite sure what to tell you here, because personally, love me or no, I could not, would not, remain anywhere near someone who had raped me. I earnestly thank my lucky stars that I never had to see those who did ever again. The idea of getting into bed with -- or even hugging -- someone who had makes me earnestly ill. I sympathize with you, and I know enough about victims of partner-rape to intellectually understand your conflict, but emotionally, willingly staying in anyway near to or intimate with an abuser is not something I can understand.
And from a professional standpoint, I'd never advise anyone to stay with a rapist: it simply isn't safe, in any aspect whatsoever. And in your case, it's pretty clear that this isn't the only troubleing behaviour here. If it's all bothering you every day, then that voice is trying to tell you something. Might you try and put the shoe on the other foot? If, for instance, in the middle of the night, when your partner felt safe with you in the same bed, you had come in and put a knife in his gut, would you expect him to ever be able to trust with you again? To ever feel safe sleeping in the same bed again? To even want to? if you had a friend whose partner did this to them, would you advise them to stay? By the by, YOU were (and given some of the behaviours you've posted about, may still be) the victim here, not him. And the one thing I can say is that if this cannot be deeply discussed between you, if he's not been interested in, say, counseling for himself to address this -- all by himself, without you suggesting it -- or helping you get support, then again, it is simply not doable for the two of you to even attempt to work through what he's done to you and the relationship in doing this. And any counselor who is an expert in partner violence and rape would never advise, even if he was working on this, that you be in the same bed/home while he did. That he feels bad should not be a barrier to discussing this, nor is his feeling ashmed or uncomfortable when you try to discuss this ANY indication he has "changed," or will not do this again. [ 12-09-2006, 11:43 AM: Message edited by: Heather ]
Member # 3
posted 12-09-2006 11:40 AM
Also, since it sounds like you're not ready yet to seek out in-person support -- which again, I'd really advise -- I thought I'd give you links to a few articles that might help you have some context for all of this:
survivors of partner rape are more likely to be raped multiple times when compared to stranger and acquaintance rape survivors. As such, partner rape survivors are more likely to suffer severe and long lasting physical and psychological injuries. -- Partner rape at RAINN Finkelhor and Yllo noted four responses in their research on marital rape (3). These were: Betrayal and shock that somebody close to them could hurt them that way. Humiliation and a sense of being "dirty" they felt that if somebody who professed love could do that to them, they must be bad, or have deserved it somehow. Anger and Guilt they felt that if they had been better partners or at other aspects of the relationship, it would not have happened. -- Effects of partner rape How does Sexual Violence/Abuse occur in a Relationship? -- This may include, but is not limited to: - Using force, coercion, guilt, or manipulation or not considering the victim's desire to have sex. This may include: making her/him have sex with others, forcing unwanted sexual experiences, or involuntary prostitution - Exploiting a victim who is unable to make an informed decision about involvement in sexual activity because of being asleep, intoxicated, drugged, disabled, too young, or dependant upon or afraid of the perpetrator - Laughing or making fun of another's sexuality or body, making offensive statements, insulting, or name calling in relation to the victim's sexual preferences/behavior - Making contact with the victim in any non-consensual way, including unwanted penetration (oral, anal, or vaginal) or touching (stroking, kissing, licking, sucking, or using objects) any part of the victim's body - Exhibiting excessive jealousy resulting in false accusations of infidelity and controlling behaviors to limit the victim's contact with the outside world - Having affairs with other people and using that information to taunt the victim - Withholding sex from the victim as a control mechanism From Hope Harbor [ 12-09-2006, 11:41 AM: Message edited by: Heather ]
Member # 31769
posted 12-09-2006 01:01 PM
Thank you for all this information it's helping me understand.
I wonder did his hormones just make him lose control? He says he really didn't mean to do that, saying he got carried away... How common is this in partners? Until now I've never really heard of rape like this before. I'm pretty sure like most people I have a stereotype of what it is. Someone you don't know, violent. I feel like I'm completely re-learning the meaning of rape now. Like most people I thought it was clear that something like that wouldn't happen in a relationship like ours. I have a hard time convincing myself that it really is rape because he wasn't very violent or anything like that. Also that he is almost overly caring, and romantic. Outside of the bad things that have happened I think pretty much anyone would think he is perfect partner for the rest of my life. Do you think a past relationship could be effecting him? From what I know about his last girlfriend he was very unhappy and she did not treat him nicely at all. She had a "spoiled brat" attitude, drank allot, and it seems like the have very emotionless sex. Maybe some of that is rubbing off on me.
Member # 3
posted 12-09-2006 01:14 PM
Our hormones just don't compel us to act. There is no data that has ever shown that some sort of hormonal surge is at fault or root of rape.
He CHOSE to do what he did. Look at your post up there: even if we pretend he couldn't have seen or heard your first reservation, what about the second, the third? What about your total lack of sexual response? Partners who rape KNOW what they are doing and choost to do what they do. I know that that's incredibly hard to accept, but that is the truth. Did you read those links? Rape isn't always physically violent in terms of the sterotype of being punched or kicked or shot at. In fact, violent/or forcible rape, is a lot less common that rape just as you're describing it, by partners, friends, family, acquaintences. This also isn't about a past relationship making him behave this way. The idea that an unhappy woman could incline a man to rape other women is not only flawed, it yet again points to a woman as ever the fault of rape. For all you know, honestly, she may have been unhappy because there was abuse in their relationship, too. Have you actually spent extended time with her, or are all the things you know about their relationship just from him and friends of his? This is HIS behaviour, and even the other smaller behaviours you've posted about are likely all part of the same pattern. I really can't urge you enough to read up and please rethink the idea that a partner who would rape you is the "perfect partner for the rest of your life." Again, I know you're porbably not anywhere close to there yet, but I would very strongly advise you start at least trying to consider not being with this person anymore. Really, listen to your instincts, which are not allowing you to "get over" abuse: that's your survival instanct talking, luv, and it's saying smart things. Six months of dating is a VERY short time, and in terms of patterns of abuse, it's very typical for abusers to not start to abuse until an extended "honeymoon" period like this has passed. Statistically speaking, if the rape and the other things you've listed are what you have seen in the first six months, it is more likely than not that as time goes on, these things will get worse, not better, and happen more often, not less. [ 12-09-2006, 01:15 PM: Message edited by: Heather ]
Member # 29292
posted 12-09-2006 01:21 PM
Hon, rape really does not have to be violent. A lot of the time, it isn't. It can simply imply a partner having any sort of sex with you without your consent. You said you told your partner ''no'' and he did it anyway, that IS RAPE. That IS RAPE. And you don't have to be raped by a complete stranger, you can simply be by your partner, most of the time, this is what happens.
And I personnally think you don't have to find any excuses for him to having rape you. I know this might make more sense to you, I totally understand that but the thing is I don't think there is even one good excuses for him to having raped you honey. Seriously. I don't ever think rape is a excusable behavior. Nor it is simply a little mistake from his part. And rapers of course will often try to find excuses for their behavior in order for you to believe them. It's common, not something particular in your case. And that is not something that proves he loves you and regrets his decision at all. I can believe how hard it might be, believe me. I know you might think how can she know that, she hasn't been in a similar situation. Believe me I do. Not having living it doesn't mean I can't understand your situation, really, it doesn't make me less qualified to understand what you're living. It is always really hard to admit that a guy you really loved and who seemed to love you back also really RAPED you and does not love you. It's hard. That's really hard. Sometimes, you choose to ignore all of this, thiking it might get better. But getting away from this really isn't the best solution. Dealing with it is. And accepting to face the truth although it hurts as hell. So please before you make your decision, please rethink about all of that has been said here. It's for your own best. In the end, hon, it is a decision that is entirely yours to make, not ours but we can help you to make the best choice as possible there is for YOU. You certainly did not feel 100 % comfortable being in this relationship since you've come here to ask us about it. That should tell you something, no ? [ 12-09-2006, 02:05 PM: Message edited by: cool87 ]
Member # 3
posted 12-09-2006 01:24 PM
(Of course, some of the issue is a problem with how some people define violence.
Because even without punching or hitting or kicking, someone forcing something into an orifice of your body, holding you down to do it, knowing you do not want that IS violent. That fits every dictionary and literal definition of violence there is. But in a rape-culture, which we all live in, rape has been excused away so many different ways that somehow, forced sex is often not thought of as violence, but a punch to the gut -- which usually does far lesser damage, especially emotionally and sexually -- is. Too, in a culture where so much male-female sex often is coercive, or not directed by women, or feels/is kinda rape-y as it is blurs those lines even more. Just an FYI for supporters posting who have NOT been raped: really, no one has to claim to be able to understand someone to support them. One can sympathize and empathize without having been there -- both of which are valuable -- and it's often not very helpful to have someone say they can fully understand where you're at with a situation they haven't been in. But when you have been, having people tell you they totally get where you are when they haven't been there can really feel -- even if not intended as such -- ishy.) [ 12-09-2006, 06:58 PM: Message edited by: Heather ]
Member # 25425
posted 12-09-2006 04:09 PM
Just wanted to add a few thoughts from someone who's been there.
A little less than two years ago, I was raped by a person who I considered to be, at the time, one of my closest friends. My boyfriend and I had just broken up, and my friend offered to come stay with me for a few days to help my get through that really tough time. He apparently thought this was a really great time to put the moves on me, and I was needy and frustrated enough to go along with it for a while. It was okay until it wasn't, and he refused to accept my "No". There is a whole lot more to this that I don't think I need to get into, but to make a long story short, I ended up feeling a lot of the things you're feeling now. I told myself that it couldn't have possibly been a rape, since this guy was such a close friend. I'd always trusted him with everything. Not to mention that I felt like I was at least partially to blame, since I had initially been been quite happy to go along. At the time, I let him stay at my apartment and shared a bed with him for another couple of nights, something that I can't think of now without feeling sick to my stomach. It took me several months to realize that what he'd done was wrong and that continuing the friendship with him was unhealthy for me. So, do I know how difficult the situation you're in right now is? Oh yeah. But I also know how destructive it can be. In many ways, staying with him is an attempt to prove to yourself that it's not so bad. You're still in a relationship, he's a really great guy, what happened wasn't so bad and you can get through it. It's easier than admitting that something really really horrible was done to you. Than admitting that a person you trusted has betrayed you in the worst way. But it has happened. And denying that is just going to make things worse in the long run. So, as tough as it sounds right now, your best bet is to talk to a trusted friend, relative or, better yet, a counselor. Once you've found yourself an ally, get out of this. I wish you all the best. [ETA: Wanted to add that things can absolutely get better. After I terminated that friendship, I got some counseling to help me through it. And I got back together with my boyfriend, who is the most amazing guy and has been helping me through all of this, as well. I still struggle with it, but I cannot change the past. But I can make sure that I am taking care of myself and not staying in situations that I know are bad for me.] [ 12-09-2006, 04:15 PM: Message edited by: September ]
Member # 13388
posted 12-10-2006 08:45 AM
quote: Originally posted by September: Just wanted to add a few thoughts from someone who's been there. Me, too.
December, I've also been in a simillar situation. I read your post a few days ago and have been trying to think how to phrase my thoughts. I was also raped by my then-boyfriend; it also didn't seem "violent" and I didn't call it rape until people were like "that's what it was!" But I did sense something was wrong. I stayed with him after the incident and continued being sexually active. It was incredibly stressful, but I figured that, for whatever reason, that the longer I stayed with him, the more times I initated sex, then I could somehow make that bad situation become neutral or go away. That it would have been my choice somehow... But it still felt wrong, and it got almost unbearable. I was so incredibly relieved when the relationship ended; not because I wanted to, but because my family sensed something was wrong and forbid me from seeing him. (I kept secretly seeing him, and he got even more manipulative and abusive. I felt like it was my fault that things turned out the way they did, that I should be a "good girlfriend" and try to correct them.) Hardly atypical, he had gone through pretty much the exact same situation with a previous girlfriend two years earlier– I can only assume, unfortunately, that he's done the same thing again. There was also that weird friend vibe on his part, as well as acting saintly around his family and other adults. To make me look ever so more like the one who was missing a few screws... Like September, it has ended well for me: it took a few years for me to work things out, such as even recognizing it as what it was. I know what a healthy sexual relationship is like. I realize how f***ed up it to be with someone who doesn't respect your boundaries; I'd like to think I'd never again be in a simillar situation, because I could recognize the warning signs. But at that time I didn't know what was good versus wrong, so how could I have known? And how could you have known either? But now you do know. It's not your fault, no way, that he did what he did. But now it's in your hands to get out of it. I ask you to; easier said than done, but I've done it myself and know it can be done easier than you'd think. I'm still a bit fuzzy on all the details six years later, but I know it felt wrong. I think you'd feel really relieved, at least initially, once you end the relationship. Honestly, if it takes the help of other people to keep you away from him (although he should be the one kept away from you), then that's what it takes and is fine. Have you/have you considered talking to your brother about this? Since you say he's like your best friend... One of the "mistakes" I made was not talking about my boyfriend's behavior enough. My best friend was wonderfully supportive throughout, but had I discussed it with more of my closer friends, the sooner I would have realized it was not a healthy relationship. I'm not saying immediately talking about the rape if that's too hard, but starting by describing what he's talking about with his friends, for example. Telling your brother: "You know, ______ is super nice around the family, but sometimes he acts really differently, and it's scary...." And just see how it goes from there.
Member # 3
posted 12-14-2006 12:33 PM
December, we haven't heard from you in a little bit. Are you okay?
Member # 31769
posted 12-20-2006 10:26 PM
Thanks for the concern. I recently just had surgery so I've been recovering. I've been having a hard time lately. Not only because of my sickness (I have a bone tumor) but my relationship. To me it feel so difficult to get out of. Right now he is at my childhood home for the holidays. I am with him constantly, he never lets me out of sight. Although right now he's showering, and I'm feeling better a bit, so I can post this reply.
I feel so stuck. And I think he knows it too. He is the closest real life version of "prince charming" with a dark secrect that only I know about. Any chance he has with my family he trys to get as close as possible with them. Now our parents almost seems like they are working togeather to keep us togeather. His mom is convinced we are getting married. I feel alot of presure from both families and I feel like if I were ever to "dump" him I don't think anyone would understand and think I am careless or something. I recently just had surgery a couple of days ago. The day that I had it I was on alot of medication and I barely remember anything. He mentioned I passed out for awhile. Whenever I talked about that day I could tell he was really unconfortable. I mentioned something about him going a long time without sex. I was very serious.... then... he smirked? After a few more questions I was able to put it togeather that he had done something while I was out. I don't think that it was intercorse, I think that I would have noticed but who knows because of all the pain medication I was on I doubt I would have felt a difference. I walked out of the room bawling. Oviously my mom noticed. I talked to her for awhlie far away from him. I really snapped. It was really ovious to everone that something is seriously wrong. I didn't go into great detail but I made it clear that physical things happned that I didn't want to happen. She said something like "that's not right". Rarely ever does she talk about anything emotional and she was very unemotional through this talk. She didn't say much about what I should do other than him not sleep on my floor in the bedroom anymore. I got the feeling that she thought that it was partly my fault for starting to have sex with him in the first place. I could tell she was dissapointed about me doing that. Uhhh... nothing else to say.... : /
Member # 25983
posted 12-20-2006 11:20 PM
I'm so very sorry this happened -- how unbelieveably awful of him to do something like this, especially when you were recovering from surgery and in physical pain. You need to get away; he's proven capable of repeating his behavior, and WILL continue to do so. It's sad that your mom won't take this seriously, nor does she look likely to support you getting away. Is there someone else in your family you can turn to? Do not let anybody suggest that you were "asking for it" by starting to have sex, or by letting him sleep in your room. Rape has absolutely nothing to do with the choices you make. This guy knows full well what he's doing, and is choosing to keep raping you knowing full well how harmful it is. That isn't characteristic of someone who cares. Please, start making plans to get away from him ASAP. If there is anything at all we can help you with, don't hesitate to post. If you're feeling bolder, we can look into finding some places for you to call in your area, to start.
Member # 8067
posted 12-21-2006 06:26 AM
I'd actually say don't assume that your mother won't help until you've tried talking to her again (or to other family members).
Right now, if you're at your childhood home and he's a guest there, this may be a really good chance to get away. It may be really hard, but can you be honest with your family about what he's done - that he's raped you repeatedly, that he is seriously abusing you? You can try making it clear to them that how he behaves to them in public is completely different from how he's treating you privately. If they're willing to support you, then they can demand that he leaves the house immediately, and protect you from being alone with him again. If you've been living with him, someone else can go and collect your belongings for you. You are in serious danger here, and entitled to do whatever it takes to get this guy out of your life. [ 12-21-2006, 06:27 AM: Message edited by: logic_grrl ]
Member # 31769
posted 12-23-2006 12:01 AM
I hope these posts arn't being too persistant. The situation changes all the time and I feel like I am making changes but it's happening slowly. I talked to my mom also.... with my boyfriend. He was oviously very uncomfortable but my mom was much more open to the situation and very calm. At first my mom was shocked and said something like never see him again. Although she does see the good person in him. He really is a good person with a very serious problem. The best solution we could come up with is he seek a counsler, we don't sleep together (in a differnt room), and no sex. Nothing would come back untill some progress was made through the approval of the counsler. I know I would like to "just date" but it's nearly impossible given our distance apart and I think I mentioned that before. I live pretty much near Canada, MN. He is in Texas. Besides his ovious problem if it is fixable I would like to try because he is worth it to me. Everything is already aranged for me to go back there 2nd symester. While I'm here I feel safe, my mom is making sure nothing like that would happen again. I know when I am just with him again I know I can not trust him with anything like that and I'm trying to be as carefull as I can.
Member # 94
posted 12-23-2006 03:24 AM
Honestly-- I don't buy that he's a good person with a serious problem. I see that as an attempt to shift the focus from you taking care of yourself, and putting it all onto him. Furthermore, even if that were true, and he sought out counselling, I don't think that this relationship could ever be healthy. Your partner raped you, and you need to be dealing with that yourself, rather than shifting all the focus onto his "problems." The fact that he has raped you means that there will be a dynamic between you that will make it very hard-- pretty much impossible-- for you to ever have a fair and egalitarian dynamic between you. Read Heather's earlier posts in this thread again, they have some great advice.
And that's only in the best case--and INCREDIBLY UNLIKELY-- scenario, in which he really did change. Believe me, we've seen a LOT of young women with abusive partners come here over the years, many of whom have sought counselling, and I can't recall a SINGLE case in which the abuse did not re-occur, and I see no reason why your relationship will be any different to those. He used up his last chance for you to trust him and help him with any problems he might have the moment he raped you. I'm sensing that you're still pretty uncomfortable with the idea of being with him-- I think you need to acknowledge that continuing this relationship in any way is unhealthy for you, and put an end to it as soon as possible. We know that this isn't easy for you-- as Heather said, it's a hugely conflicting situation-- but you need to do what is healthiest and safest for you, and that means getting this guy out of your life as thoroughly as possible. And don't worry about being "too persistant" either-- you're just fine, you post here whenever you need to okay?
Member # 31769
posted 12-25-2006 12:51 AM
Heather I think that I am ready to talk to a counsler of some sort in my area. It took awhile for it to sink in how serious this is.
Is there anyway I could email you my city? I'd rather not make it public on the internet. Thanks.
Member # 3
posted 12-25-2006 11:25 AM
December: no problem at all.
You can reach me most easily at heather(AT)heathercorinna(DOT)com.