I’ve been and still am in an emotionally abusive relationship. For women in similar situations, please know you aren’t alone.
A year ago, I thought I met the perfect guy. He smiled at me with his brown eyes and made me feel like I was the only girl in his world. When I spoke, he would stare at me as if I was the only person in the room. I remember after meeting him, I told all of my friends that this was the one. This was the guy that was perfect for me. Finally, there is someone out there that could treat me right.
Well that “perfect guy” lasted for exactly one month.
One month into dating him, he suddenly needed a place to stay. The situation at the place he was living at wasn’t working out (or so he said) so he had to leave. I kindly offered him my place to stay until he found a new home. All of my friends kept telling me he was just using me, but in return I kept telling them they were wrong. He was so kind hearted, he wouldn’t do that to me.
He lived at my place the majority of our relationship. Didn’t pay rent, barely paid for any essentials. A few months into our relationship, he started randomly going home (two hours away) all of the time. He told me he was visiting family, but two times a month turned into every weekend, which later in the relationship turned into weekdays. I kept telling myself he just misses his family and friends, nothing was going on.
Around 5-6 months into our relationship, I noticed he began talking to another girl. He told me she was just a friend, nothing was going on. However in the back of mind I kept wondering if he was going home so often to see her.
Our relationship started taking a dip when the summer started. We fought all the time, and this time when he got mad, he really got mad. He never hit me, but he would use his words and insult me as much as he could. He told me how annoying I was, how much he hated being with me, he joked about my appearance all the time. His number one phrase would be “I could just leave.” But I could never let him go. I kept telling myself that he is a better person than this, and it would get better.
It never did. I noticed he was talking to that girl more often, and going home more often, and of course I got more suspicious. I tried to bring it up to him, and all he would reply back with was “you’re crazy,” and say that nothing was going on. Even when I noticed a text from her including a kissy face, he still convinced me that nothing was going on.
Around 8 months, I told him that he needed to move out. Our fighting was getting worse, he was going home every week, and we decided it may be best for our relationship if we had some time apart. That time apart did not help. He became more distant, and would get mad at me over every little thing. If I texted him too much, if I asked too many questions, he would threaten to leave. And yet I begged him to stay. He was supposed to be the love of my life, the guy that I thought was “the one.” I kept telling myself this would all get better.
It never got better. He started talking to me less, and became very secretive. He hid what he was doing from me all the time. At nine months, I had the smart idea of asking for a break. I explained to him that maybe he needs to get whatever out of his system so he could start taking us more seriously. A week into our break, I missed him too much and asked him to make a decision about what he wanted for our relationship. He dumped me. He told me he wanted to have sex with other people. Really, he just wanted to have sex with that girl he’s been talking to for most of our relationship.
Fast forward to four months later, and we’re still talking. A week into our break up, we tried hanging out as friends and boundaries got blurry. We still were intimate, and then I found out that he had a girlfriend, the girl he dumped me for. At first I was upset, I was grossed out, I couldn’t believe that he would do this to me. And then, somehow I convinced myself that this was okay, that I just wanted him in my life, even if he had a girlfriend, even if he didn’t want a relationship with me. We continued to sleep together and have been till this day. He treats me like completely dirt, and I am the token “side chick,” however he remains in my life. I am not proud of myself. However, I am also not going to beat myself up for this either.
Why? I’m stuck in an emotionally abusive relationship. For the whole nine months that we were together, he pushed and pulled me back in. I’ve been through a lot in my life, and he took that to his own advantage. He knew that I just wanted someone to love me, he knew how forgiving I was, and used it. He knew that every time he would do or say something mean, I would take him back right away. All he had to do was throw a few pebbles my way, and he would be back in my good graces. He could say or do literally whatever he wanted, and I would still want to be with him.
That is emotional abuse. Someone who emotionally hurts you, but reels you back in every time by throwing a few pebbles each time. For me, those pebbles are his attention. If he texted me, if he called me, anything to show that he still cares. I still want so badly to think that he cares about me, that someone out there cares about me. That this relationship wasn’t all one big lie.
You may think I’m weak. You may think I’m a slut. You may think a lot of things about me. I’ve beaten myself up so much, with wondering why I continue to let this go on, why did he choose her over me, why can’t I just get rid of him. I guess when you truly, honestly believe that someone is “the one” and you were tricked for months into thinking this person loved you, it’s hard to let that fantasy go. I’ve realized that I want the fantasy of being with him, the fantasy of how he was when I first met him. That fantasy is never going to come true.
The truth is, I’ve felt so alone since I moved to this new city. He was one of the first people I made a true connection with. I’m afraid to let that connection go. If I lose him, I lose probably the closest connection I’ve had since moving here. With all that said, throughout the last two months, I have been working on strengthening my relationships with the others around me. I have been hanging out with friends more, have been reconnecting with old friends. I don’t need him anymore.
I stand here today knowing that I (and you) will get out of this someday. It may not be today, or tomorrow, but someday soon. I am slowly getting the strength to let this man go. I am slowly realizing that I deserve someone who chooses me first, and not someone else before he decides he wants to be with me instead. I deserve to be happy.
I just want to say that if you are in a similar situation, please do not beat yourself up for this. Losing a relationship is mourning a loss. It is okay if you need one or two more times for that person to treat you badly, for you to realize enough is enough. But that day will come. You are strong enough to let go.