I’m writing this because I haven’t been able to tell anyone. For five, very long months. I just want to share my experience.
We met at work, and immediately we had a very strong connection. I tried to not like him, I tried to put a barrier up because if there was thing I knew how to do, it was how to choose men who broke me. But I did. He said the right things, did the right things, and then BAM. I was him. As things usually start, things were going so well. He was sweet, he was kind, and he made me feel sexier than I’ve ever felt. And then things changed.
“You’re not the only one.”
I read and reread that message until it was just a blur. When confronted with it the next day, he said it wasn’t true. He was angry that I “believed” it even as I only asked him. He was so angry, he even went as far to say that he was done. I felt like I had been hit. The heat on my skin, as well as anger and embarrassment. Who the hell did he think he was? I didn’t accuse him of anything, I had simply asked. And that reaction? It had to be true. I. Was. Done.
I texted him to leave me alone and then there he was. He pulled me into a hug, telling me he was sorry, that he was just so mad but not at me and it just came out wrong. I was SO angry, but he was so genuinely sorry, I couldn’t be too mad.
Things progressed. We spent everyday together, I went over to his house multiple times a week and he was always sweet and loving. Always showering me with love and kisses, and comments like “You’re so beautiful,” “You’re so sexy,” “You’re so cute,”.
It was such a different way of love, a way I never knew before. It was beautiful.
Throughout the entirety of our relationship, we only had about two big fights. That doesn’t sound awful right? The truth is, we only had two because I honestly never brought up how I truly felt. Anytime I started with how I really felt, he would become even more upset than me. And as I knew that the time we spent together was growing shorter and shorter, I told myself why be upset with such little time? So I mostly kept my emotions to myself.
Feeling spontaneous and trying to be a good girlfriend, I decided to buy him some food before going over. He was so surprised and happy! I couldn’t believe what a small gesture like that could make him so happy. I did that a few times but then stopped as we began to work different hours, and I wanted to spend as much time with him as possible.
Then one day he texted me and said he hadn’t eaten in three days and asked if I could buy him food. How could I say no to someone I loved when he was hungry? I nodded to myself and digged into my meager savings. Twenty dollars this one time wouldn’t hurt. But then he asked again, and again, and again, and before I knew it, I no longer had a savings account. He asked again and I told him I couldn’t and his reply was “You don’t love me,” which flared my anger to text him “I can’t buy you food because I don’t have any money left.” He didn’t reply for an hour or so but when he did, he praised me with love and affection and told me that he appreciated me and everything I did for him. But that didn’t completely erase the taste in my mouth.
Unfortunately as we moved into the third month of dating, reality set in. I was off to school soon and he picked up another job. There wouldn’t be time to see each other anymore. Also around this time, my birthday was nearing. I remember having this recurring nightmare that he forgot my birthday and we had a HUGE fight which resulted in us breaking up. I tried to shake it away. He wouldn’t forget, I mean he could remember one simple date couldn’t he? A date I had been constantly been reminding him of since we started dating…right?
I wasn’t expecting roses and a dying declaration of love. All I was expecting was a two letter text, and maybe some of his time. That was it, that wasn’t asking for too much, right?
Well the week of my birthday arrived and you guessed it, he forgot. I waited all day for him to text me, even just once, and nothing. Midnight rolled around and he finally texted me, but there was no “how was your birthday?” or “Happy birthday!” He just started with his usual, “hey”. I was hurt. I was hurt because he had forgotten my birthday, but I was devastated because deep down I knew he was going to, but I had really hoped he would prove me wrong. It showed me that he didn’t listen to the words I truly spoke.
That pretty much gave me gas for my following comment of “I realize you forgot my birthday and that hurt my feelings.” His response? “Don’t start. I’ve had a long day.” I was stunned. Are you fucking kidding me? Don’t start?! It was my fucking birthday and all I wanted was a fucking text, but somehow I was in the wrong? I was so angry because I didn’t lose my shit as I had wanted to, I kept it cool and calm and TOLD HIM HOW I FELT and he completely me blew off. We went on and on, arguing and arguing and then…he threatened to kill himself.
“Fine, I’m always stressing you out, I’ll just go kill myself so you can be happy. I’m such a fuck up. I’ll leave you alone forever, sorry.”
The words ran through my mind over and over again and all I could see was the multiple times I had to pick my mom off the floor, how her body just felt like it was made of lead, how the panic would cause my breath to catch in my chest. Tears streaming down my face I texted him back telling him that we had gotten in an argument but he didn’t have to hurt himself because it was just a fight. We were going to get through it.
It took the better part of two or so hours for him to finally relent and say he wasn’t going to hurt himself. He promised me he wouldn’t said he had to work, and went to bed. I couldn’t sleep a wink. I kept picturing him cold and lifeless in his apartment, all because of me. That weekend was my birthday weekend but I was so shaken up I cancelled my plans and just stayed in bed, crying all weekend. Everyone who knows me knows that I love to have a good time and kick back with a cold beer, this person, this wasn’t me. The concern was growing, making it worse for me because I just didn’t know what to say, I didn’t know what to do, so I withdrew further into myself and away from those I loved.
Another week went on and the light in which I used to see him had changed. He texted me as if nothing had happened, and for a moment I thought of just letting it go. No need to bring back such unpleasant memories but I couldn’t. So I bought it back up and just like a light switch, he went from being loving to threatening to kill himself again. Again, I told him it wasn’t something he had to hurt himself over, to use his words, to tell me how he felt, but to no avail. Finally, I managed to get him to calm down and promise that he wouldn’t hurt himself again. I couldn’t sleep that night either.
I began to wake in the middle of the night from terrible, haunting nightmares. All of him committing suicide because of me. His mother’s face contorted in agony as she looked down at her baby boy, his father crying at the loss of his football star, his grandmother glaring at me because it was my fault. I couldn’t do it anymore, but I was so afraid. What if he really hurt himself? I was in shambles, my emotions so raw I felt like my skin was going to split. But after much thought and much perseverance, I told him we needed to talk.
The day arrived and I was a nervous wreck. I had never broken up with someone before, let alone someone I truly cared for. But I knew it was something I had to do.
Sitting across from him, he couldn’t look me in the eyes. He avoided my gaze at all costs, picking at him pants, playing on his phone. We both knew why I was here. I wanted to explain why I was making this decision, I had it all planned out point by point, but he stopped me. He looked at me and whispered “Just say it.” I nodded and told him I couldn’t be with someone who could threaten me with his life because that was not love.
He nodded, apologized and said he never meant to hurt me, that it was just something that came from his past but that it was just because he loved me so much. I told him I understood, but that didn’t change my mind because quite frankly, I was so done with this bullshit. We hugged and I told him to take care of himself, and then I went home and cried. I cried for two days. Heartbreak, frustration, sadness and more than anything…relief.
It took me an entire month to come to terms with this up and down relationship, it took an entire month to accept that it really did happen to me, it took an entire month for me to find myself. How I’ve missed myself.
Perhaps because he never hurt me physically or my self-esteem, I didn’t see it as quickly as I should have. But in retrospect, I can see all the signs as plain as day. He used my love for him to hurt me. He was extremely jealous, controlling, always making things my fault, always guilting me into succumbing to his will, even threatening me with his life.
I never thought I would be someone to say I was once in an abusive relationship, but here I am today saying I was once in an abusive relationship, and it almost broke me. No one ever thinks they will be hurt by someone they love but it does happen, and it is NOT your fault.
You are not weak, sad, or pathetic because you loved someone with all your heart. You are not at fault because you believed in the good of another person.
Don’t let this stop you from loving. Don’t let this turn you bitter or angry. You are beautiful, you are worthy of love and to be loved, and you are so loved by me and by the universe.