I have fallen for toxic people before, people who manipulated me, people who took control of every aspect of my world — but the reason I handed them my heart was not because I was desperate for love.
Most people assume I stayed in an unhealthy situation because I could not stand the thought of being alone, because I wanted to date someone, anyone, but they have it all wrong.
I did not stay because I was terrified of being single again, because I needed someone to keep me company, because I was uncomfortable falling asleep in an empty bed at night. I’m actually fine on my own. I don’t mind being single. I don’t need a relationship in order to feel validated.
I chose to enter such a poisonous relationship because I held strong feelings for that person. Because I failed to see the red flags. Because I thought they were worth the effort.
I was fooled into believing that I was reaching out of my league. I didn’t realize I was settling. I thought I couldn’t do any better — and not because of low self-worth. It was because I thought that person was perfect in every way. I thought they were the ideal partner.
I know some people assume I was desperate to be loved and held and called baby because I stayed for so long, but staying had nothing to do with desperation either.
I knew that leaving would probably be easier, that it would make most of my problems disappear, but I made the decision to trek down the difficult path. I realized every relationship had its faults and I wanted to fix the ones in mine. I wanted to fight to make things work. I wanted to give us another chance.
Looking back, I understand I made the wrong decision. I shouldn’t have stayed for nearly as long as I did. I should have recognized how unfixable the relationship had become. I should have packed my bags and saved myself from gaining more baggage. I know that now.
But that doesn’t mean I stayed out of desperation. I was never under the impression that I wouldn’t be able to find someone else to date if I left. I wasn’t afraid that no one else would ever love me the way that he loved me. I knew I had options. I knew losing him wouldn’t mean losing love forever.
I didn’t stay because I was desperate. I didn’t stay because I felt like I had no place else to go. I didn’t stay because I was afraid of the loneliness. Those things had absolutely nothing to do with my decision.
I stayed out of love. I loved them, even though they were toxic. I wanted to save them, even though they were supposed to save themselves. I knew I could live without them, but I didn’t want to live without them.
I stayed in a relationship that hurt me in a million different ways — but not because I was desperate. It was because I was so fucking in love that I could not see straight.