It’s hard for me to put into words what you were to me. First real boyfriend, first love, first person I felt like I could be my complete self with. The beginning was beautiful. You arrived at just the right time. You were exactly what I was looking for. I was vulnerable and I latched on to you because you made everything feel safer. We both fell hard, felt too much too fast. What I was too naive to realize at the time was that by putting so much faith in you, I lost myself.
My world revolved around you. And you crushed me.
I remember one morning waking up with your arms around me, you breathing one word into my neck: “happy.” I remember how you’d look at me, how good it felt to be wanted. I remember how excited you were to introduce me to your mom, how nice it felt to be someone you were proud to bring home.
I remember starting to feel like something was wrong. I remember wondering why you acted like you didn’t want me around your friends.
I remember the first time I thought I had to break up with you. How we laughed and held hands at a concert, in my head happier than ever, but how afterwards, walking to a bar, you yelled at me so much in front of your friends that I cried and turned around to walk home alone.
I remember how you didn’t come after me.
I remember the next day, how you didn’t immediately apologize. How when I brought it up you told me, “You must have done something to piss me off,” when what I remembered thinking that night is that I had done everything right for you to accept me.
I remember staying with you anyway. Because I was afraid to lose what I thought I had.
I remember moving in with you.
I remember how things got worse after that. You yelling at me in the car, me with silent tears wondering what I did wrong.
I remember you coming home multiple nights, blacked out drunk, making it to the door of our building but me having to try to support all 6 feet of you into our apartment and into bed.
I remember Thanksgiving. How my family invited you to dinner but you told me the night before that you weren’t going to go because you’d be “too hungover.” I remember us fighting, me not understanding why you were putting drinking ahead of our relationship. I remember that night, going to a party at your friend’s house. How I drank too much and how you left me there with people I barely knew. Not remembering anything from you leaving until I got home that night to an empty bed, feeling bad about something but not knowing what.
I remember the next day, coming up with an excuse and lying to my parents about why you weren’t with me rather than telling them the truth: you just didn’t want to be there.
I remember the first time I felt scared.
You were beyond wasted, and I had just gotten you inside when something in you snapped and you pinned me against the wall. I remember freezing, not knowing what to do. I remember being relieved when you let go a minute or two later, but telling you of this the next morning and neither of us expressing much concern. I remember letting it go.
I remember how the next time you were sober. How you were driving me home from my shift at work, yelling at me for holding you up on your lunch break, me with silent tears again. I remember not having my key, so you had to let me in the apartment door. I remember walking up the stairs crying, you behind me, and not expecting it, a hard shove that made me stumble. More crying, and you laughing and going out the door and back to work. I remember the sick feeling in my stomach.
But I remember letting that one go too.
I remember the second time I thought I had to break up with you, laying in our bed crying myself to sleep one night when you were out with your friends. And the next morning, telling you that I had thought this, but changing my mind in the same moment.
I remember Christmas. How happy I felt to be loved by you. How naive I didn’t yet know I was.
I remember a few days later, you calling me drunk in the middle of the night and breaking up with me. I remember the next 24 hours were a blur, in the end only to realize that you were breaking up with me for one mistake I didn’t remember making that night before Thanksgiving in the midst of feeling completely rejected by you.
I remember the next four months desperately trying to get you back. Trying to hold on to what made me feel so bad in the first place.
I remember the months after that until now, with the help of a social worker, finally seeing our relationship for what is was. Finally seeing that what you did to me was wrong. How I loved you more than anything and you treated me like shit in return.
It’s been almost a year since you called that night and broke my heart into a million pieces that I’ve been picking up ever since. I’ve learned three important things: (1) No one should be made to feel like they are less in a relationship, (2) You shouldn’t base your entire self worth off of one person, because it gives them the power to take all of that self worth away and (3) It is possible to deeply miss someone but never, ever, want them back.