Should you have walked away from him sooner? Probably. Did he deserve all the sweet things you did for him, all of the cute texts and passionate kisses and second chances? Probably not.
However, since you cannot turn back time, since you cannot talk sense into the younger version of yourself, you should stop thinking about how much time he wasted on him. Instead, think about how much time you are saving yourself now that you are through with him.
Screw the passive aggressive friends who say I told you so and it’s about time when you break up instead of giving you their support. You don’t have to justify yourself to them. You don’t have to explain how you were blinded by love or how you didn’t have anywhere else to go or how you didn’t think you would be able to live without him. It doesn’t matter. It’s over now.
You should stop being embarrassed about how long you dealt with his bullshit. You should stop calling yourself an idiot for not seeing the signs sooner. You should stop criticizing yourself for making mistakes in the past and start congratulating yourself for waking up.
You could have stayed trapped with him for much longer. You could have wasted another month, year, or decade of your life with him. You should be proud of yourself for getting away. You should be proud of yourself for realizing you deserve more. Not everyone has as much strength as you — and don’t you dare shake your head. Don’t you dare argue about being called strong.
It doesn’t matter how many times you forgave him for cheating or lying or screaming. It doesn’t matter if there were times when you sobbed your eyes out over him and begged him not to leave. It doesn’t matter if your love for him made you feel weak, if it made you do things you are not proud of doing.
Despite what happened before, you are strong for living without him now. You are strong for deciding you have had enough of him. You are strong for surviving this heartbreak — even if you still cry over missing him, even if you are still tempted to text him, even if you feel lost without him. You are strong.
You cannot keep moping over how much time you wasted with him. You have to make the most of your time without him.
You should also recognize your time was not completely wasted because you learned from him. You learned you should not put your whole heart and soul into a relationship where you are the only one giving. You learned you should listen to your head over your heart when they are pulling you in separate directions.
You learned you should raise your standards and your expectations for how you should be treated in a relationship. You learned you are better off loving yourself than chasing someone else in the hopes they will love you. Most importantly, you learned you deserve respect.