This Is How My Toxic Relationship Changed My Life

woman sitting on bench during daytime
Christian Kielberg / Unsplash

My relationship began when I was 21 years old.

I was ready to start partying like a rock star and I definitely did. We knew each other, but we didn’t really know each other. You weren’t 21 yet, but that didn’t stop us. We were out every night closing the bars down. We ended up back at your house and in your bed almost every single night. Neither of us knew what we were getting ourselves into, and we sure as hell didn’t know that it would drag on as long as it did.

We went through serious shit. Serious shit that we still keep secrets about. Serious shit that we’ll always keep secrets about. It became so toxic that we needed it. You were like my own brand of heroin and I was yours. We wanted something from the other that neither of us were actually willing to give.

Instead of walking away, we made it work. We made it work over and over and over. We got through the lying and the cheating and all of the other bullshit. But for what? To eventually call it quits six years later? To stand by me when my father died? To help get each other through college? To be there for each other when no one else was? Honestly, we’ll never really know.

Six years later. Throughout those six years, I changed. I became a person that I never thought I would. I began slowly making myself smaller to make you feel better. I eventually stopped going out unless it was with you, even though you were out all the time without me. Fighting with you just wasn’t worth it.

But soon, even that wasn’t enough. You’d come home, completely wasted, wake me up and begin screaming at me about a nude you saw of me on someone’s phone from years and years ago. I would find myself crying and apologizing for something that wasn’t actually my fault. I then made myself even smaller. I made myself so small that I didn’t even recognize myself anymore.

That’s not love. You don’t do that to or for the people you love.

I knew what was happening while it was happening, but I didn’t realize how bad it was or how long it had been going on. Enough was enough. I needed to find my own happiness. I needed it to be without you.

It ended.

It wasn’t easy, but it did. It needed too. I needed an out, desperately. And you finally gave it to me.

Now I’m the happiest version of myself. Now I do what I want, when I want, and how I want. Now I don’t have someone degrading me, disrespecting me, and telling me things like how I deserve to be cheated on. Now I tell my story. I tell the story of the girl I was and the woman I became.

Because I’ve shared my thoughts, I have begun empowering other women to do the same. I had no idea that other females had gone through similar things as me. I had no idea that other females felt just like I did. I had no idea that my story and my words had the impact that they did.

I am forever grateful for you being the best and the worse damn decision I ever made. It has allowed me to shine a special light on female lives everywhere, and for that, I am eternally grateful.

To all my girls out there, keep reaching for the stars. You know who you are and you know what you deserve. Don’t settle. Give yourself every bit of what you want. You’re the only thing stopping you. TC mark

More From Thought Catalog

Sponsored by Homecoming available now on Amazon Prime Video

The People Bringing You Delicious Dairy

A new Thought Catalog series exploring our connection to each other, our food, and where it comes from.

Meet Rosemarie Burgos-Zimbelman
This Is How My Toxic Relationship Changed My Life is cataloged in ,