Setting Myself Free

He could lure me in with just one look… one simple little grin… one physical touch and I was stuck battling my head and my heart. I knew better than to let someone treat me the way he did… I never thought I would ever be weak enough to stay in a relationship like that. But I did for a year and it almost killed me…

It all started when I was hanging out with him and his previous girlfriend. I saw how he treated her and knew what I was getting myself into, but I thought maybe I could be the one who could “change” him. He had never treated me like he did to her during the 6 months that we had been friends before starting a relationship. He was really sweet to me and did special things for me. One time I broke my Seahawks bottle opener and he handmade me a new one and surprised me with it. I was totally under his spell.

During the first two months of our relationship I had lost an important member of my family. They didn’t die, they actually tried to sabotage my relationship and my job over some stupid rumor. She had sworn that he would end up treating me like he did the other girl. I wanted to prove her wrong. I think that is a lot of what fueled me to keep trying to salvage the relationship.

This guy is what some would call a ‘honeymooner’. He loved the feeling of new and exciting things and he loved being around women in general. He was great at the start of the relationship, then he changed. He stopped doing nice things for me with out complaining afterwards, and was constantly talking to other women that I didn’t even know. He would comment on their profile pictures on Facebook saying how sexy they were etc. I was so stupid. I did not care. I was the girlfriend, he chose me over them so I shouldn’t worry… right?

I never actually had proof of him cheating on me but I definitely had strong enough suspicion and eventually convinced myself he did and to just let it go. He was still with me, that meant he wanted me more than the other girls… right? These are the horrifying things I would tell myself because I didn’t want to be alone again.

He house-sat for his parents for a week on their farm in Auburn. I was working in Seattle so I couldn’t stay with him during the weekdays. So instead of me, he had a female coworker stay with him “in the spare room”. He told me after I drove down there to see him that weekend. I brought it up that it bugged me and he replied “so I can fuck whoever I want as long as they don’t spend the night?”.

He turned the whole situation around on me saying that I was sleeping with my friend and lying to him, trying to put all the blame on me and manipulate me like always. I broke up with him that night over a text message thinking that’s all he deserved.

Then he tried to make me look bad to his friends saying how “hurt” he was that I broke up with him in a text message after telling him he had to ask permission to have a friend stay in another room overnight… I only wanted to set some boundaries, and I wanted him to have enough respect to tell me ahead of time instead of afterwards, knowing I wouldn’t like it.

Eventually I caved. I was miserable, vulnerable and alone… He texted me that he missed me a week later and I fell back into his arms… He never apologized specifically for all of this but I let it go anyway.

I guess I should mention that he was a recovering alcoholic. He had been sober for 3 years. I knew he would come with baggage but I didn’t know how bad it truly was. He was always so angry. He never actually told me his story, he always said it hurt too much. I knew his anger came from stress and other things but his anger made him constantly snap at me for no reason. I could simply ask him something while he was staring at his phone and he would snap and snarl at me that he was “busy trying to do something!”.

We could never go anywhere in public without him getting irritated for some reason. I’d ask him if he wanted to go to the store with me to get dinner items and sometimes I’d forget to check if we had a certain item already at home. He would embarrass me in the store by raising his voice asking me why I didn’t check beforehand. He always made me feel so small… so stupid… his words were like knives.

One evening we were out at his friend’s birthday party having a lovely time. I drove us that night all the way from Puyallup to Seattle. We were looking for parking near a building entrance. He told me to park in a spot that had a bus sign. I didn’t see that it said after 8pm parking was available. I drove past the spot, went around the block and then parked there. He yelled so loud that I know our friends could hear him that I never listen to him about anything. Then he listed a bunch of times that I never listened to him. I was mortified…

I almost sped off after he shut the door. I wanted to leave his ass there on the side of the road and never speak to him again. I didn’t. I went to the rest of the party pretending nothing was wrong fighting back tears.

Another time he treated me to a day at the fair and we actually had a wonderful time. Later that evening he lashed out at me complaining that he had spent $100 on the fair. He told me that he waited until that specific weekend to go because I said I would have money. That was before I was sick for two days and missed work… I specifically told him I couldn’t afford the fair anymore before we went, but he offered to pay.

I responded to his argument that we never had to go to the fair and that he had gotten free tickets so it wasn’t like he was obligated to take me anyway. It turned into a bigger argument and then he later apologized. I was really done that time. I had packed my stuff and was ready to leave until he met me at the door and gave me that look… I melted.

Money was always an issue with him. I never understood that because he always paid his bills on time and didn’t seem to struggle. I always drove from Seattle to Puyallup to see him on weekends which sometimes would take up to 3 hours depending on traffic. I hardly ever let him pay after our first argument over money because I once assumed he would pay for me, and I guess I didn’t thank him after he did.

I never wanted him to think I was broke or lazy so I would literally go broke paying for everything on the weekends I was with him and then leave myself nothing the rest of the week… At some point I even resorted to trying to buy his love and affection. I never went to the store with out getting him something. I could never pass a bag of Swedish fish with out getting it for him.

I wonder if he even knows what my favorite candy is… or my favorite color or even my middle name… I know he didn’t truly love me or care about me. I always knew that but I kept trying to win his love anyway.

He acknowledged that he treated me like shit and apologized to me sweetly and sincerely. I was convinced that he was sorry and would try to change but it only lasted so long. I honestly felt bad for him more than anything because I knew deep down he wanted to be nice but his anger would always get the best of him. It’s like a sickness and I wish I could just take it from him and heal him but I know I can’t.

I let his words and constant negativity chip away at the strong person I used to be. I had been single for 2 years before I met him. Granted, I wasn’t exactly put together; I was wild, young and made many mistakes. At least I was strong and had some self-respect.

The emotional and physical abuse almost drove me to commit suicide many times. I lied to my friends that I had broken up with him when I was still seeing him. I didn’t want to hear anymore about what I should and shouldn’t do. I didn’t want to feel ashamed of myself.

Anytime someone tells me I can’t do something I will do whatever I can to do it. So I guess in some way my own stubbornness caused me to stay in that relationship…

I’m finally done. I’m free and have no idea where to go from here, but at least now I can look ahead and see any sort of a future.

One thing for sure is that I will never be the same. I will never trust anyone with my heart like I did before him. Dating is now so hard that I wonder if I will ever find someone. I get anxiety so bad in public that I can hardly go out anymore. I let this guy take my dignity away from me and I want it back!

I know I will get it back someday, hopefully; but for now I am just going to keep my focus on putting my soul back together.

It is so hard to let it all go and sometimes I do miss him. I miss the good parts of him, there were some good memories and good days…

I feel like such a coward for staying as long as I did. That’s another thing I am trying to work on, is to not blame myself or be too hard on myself. I deserve better… Hopefully someday I will find a man who I can trust and who loves me for all of my flaws.


4 thoughts on “Setting Myself Free

  1. Wow. I don’t know what to say. That had to be hard to put that all our there. Probably feels good to say it though. I know that you blame yourself for a lot of what happened. Deep down you know it’s not you who was unhealthy, but it’s hard to fight that feeling. You see him when he was good and it’s amazing. You think maybe you can change him. It’s very hard to stop that feeling. It’s very hard to quit even when you know it’s the right choice. I commend you for finally calling it quits and sticking to it. Now the healing can begin. It will take time. Your life can begin again.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your kind words. I find it hard to accept the Ugly Truth and I constantly make up excuses for other people’s behavior even when it goes against my better judgement. The hardest part about writing this piece was conveying the true emotional destruction that resulted from it all. I’m taking it one day at a time. Getting stronger everyday 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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