Trigger warning: Abuse
I never in a million years thought it would happen to me. I used to hear about people in abusive relationships and always told myself that it would never be me. He was my first love; I lost my virginity to him. I was head over heels. I thought I was going to marry him one day. We had been dating close to a year before he ever laid a finger on me. The first time he hit me was when I found out he was being unfaithful.
He was a master manipulator, made me feel as if it were my fault that he was cheating. He cried after the first time he hit me and apologized profusely. He told me it would never happen again, he was just angry, he just lost control. I was so young, I didn’t know any better, so I believed him when he said it wouldn’t happen again. I foolishly stayed with him despite everything because I thought I loved him enough to move on.
He quickly became very possessive. I had never seen this side of him before. Suddenly, I wasn’t allowed to see my friends; he would get upset when I would see my family. I knew something wasn’t right anymore, though it took one specific night to fully realize it.
It was my birthday, and my friends threw me a party, but I never showed up. To this day, they think I just stood them up, but the truth is that he didn’t let me leave his apartment. Once again, he put his hands on me, and it was bad this time. It was the one time in my life where I feared for my life.
After it all, the apologizes poured in with his tears. In that moment, I decided to pretend like I forgave him. So he finally let me go home, and I silently cried myself to sleep that night. I needed out. How can someone who loves you make you feel so little?
The next morning, I woke up to bruises on my face and body. Enough was enough. I told my mother about what had happened, we went to the police station and got a restraining order on him. I had to get my number changed because he would leave dozens of voicemails. I was so disappointed in myself, but that toxic relationship made me strong, and whether I like it or not, is a big part of who I am today.
I was abused mentally and physically. Dating someone who was in an abusive relationship could be tough. I was single for a long time. It was lonely at first. After some point, I embraced being single and found it empowering.
I quickly realized that I didn’t need anyone to make me happy but me. I learned so much about myself. I started writing again, dancing. I was learning more and more about myself. I got comfortable with being alone. It was hard for me to connect emotionally with a man. I was happy alone, and once that happened, it was hard for me to open up to anyone. Once someone gets used to being alone and taking care of themselves, it becomes hard to become dependent on anyone.
So, if you meet someone who went through what I did, just know that it may require a little extra attention, a little extra effort, and some time, but if somehow you manage to get them to not want to be single anymore, then you’ll get a person who is whole again and ready to love and be loved again. Sometimes, patience and love is all that is required.