If only there was a way to go back and hold your hand through some of the difficult times that lay ahead. However, these moments shaped you into the woman you are today and you should be proud.
You were only starting in university when you thought you met the “love of your life.” You were on a high with your new found independence, new course, new people to bond with and a new relationship. Everything was wonderful and you were on cloud 9. Then, you started to get that gut feeling that something wasn’t right. Year and a half in, you were told that he was texting someone else. You confronted him and received this “heartfelt” apology, tears and all. You gave in because you loved him. You wanted to work on things and not give up on the relationship because it’s the “right thing to do.” Two years later, you go on holidays together with some friends and realise that his hurtful comments on your weight, “too skinny, eat a burger” or “you’re wearing that?!” or his comments on other girls, are not only noticed by you, but your friends. They pull you aside to have a chat with you, about how those comments make you feel. In the end, you confront him and receive another “heartfelt” apology and you forgive him. However, those friends can no longer stand to see you upset and confront him and it ends in turmoil. You choose him over them. You stick up for him because you love him.
Year 4 and you’re starting to see the end of your course. Working hard through assignments and clinical hours to achieve that 1.1. You notice he isn’t as supportive as he used to be. He has taken the year out to work because he has to repeat a year, he’s going out more, coming home at 2am, drunk when you’ve to be up at 7am for clinic. You want to see him and spend time with him but he doesn’t seem to be on the same page. You have another talk. You know that “talk” that gets your adrenaline pumping, your gut is wrenching because you know that it can only end in one of two ways. Well, this talk ended in him saying “he doesn’t know anymore and loves me but feels like he’s just not happy with life, us or anything, anymore.” You feel you have to accept this as the reason for his behaviour and give him the space he wishes for but in the end, he still doesn’t cut ties. He still has a hold on you and drunk calls you, wants to come over, wants to text you because you’re the one who cares. On one hand, you want to keep in contact because you “love” him but on the other hand, you know this is not right. He puts on this persona for everyone else while drinking with friends. However, he reaches out to me for his counselling as he knows I will be there. You reach out to his mother to encourage him to seek the help that he desperately needs.
He has started a new blog and you get a notification that a new blog post has been entered. You come across the title and quickly read through and realise that he is speaking about you! That you have “betrayed him.” You reached out to someone to help him and you can’t be trusted. You run to the bathroom to cry in privacy. In this moment, this is where I want to put my arms around you and tell you that you will be ok. You are strong and these words amount to nothing. You muster up the courage to partially finish another entry in your thesis. You make the decision to persevere through the last 4 months of university because this is your future, NOT his. You work your ass off during the day, but cry yourself to sleep because you see his texts and posts coming in and want to ignore them. One thing that has helped you overcome all this turmoil are your friends. Mom always said “never forget who your friends are.”
You finish your final year of University and achieve your 1.1. You head off on a girls holiday, single and free from stress for 5 weeks. However, he still manages to reel you back in with texts and late night calls just to keep tabs on you. To know what you are doing. You come back from America and he is at the terminal waiting for you and you are back in “love”. He’s done it once again. Do you notice the reoccurring theme here?
So you give things another go and decide that this time, all is going to work out. You move in together and start over, again. About 8 months in, he starts drinking again and getting aggressive. He stops coming home to you. He starts spending more time out. You decide to stay at a friend’s house one night. He shows up at that friends doorstep and demands to get inside. We call a taxi for him but while on the phone, messages from a girl in his class start to come through. “Where did you go? Come back to mine. Why are you ignoring me?” Come to realise, it was a girl in our university class. However, that wasn’t the only message that came through his phone that night. Three other girls text him suggestive messages. At that point, the adrenaline was pumping again, that gut wrenching feeling was back and you couldn’t sleep that night. You went into work, red eyed and feeling empty. How could he do this to me, again ? That night, you had taken screenshots of the messages so that he wouldn’t be able to deny it, like other confrontational times. A good friend of yours printed out the messages on an A4 sheet, you wrote a heartfelt letter, and you packed up your things from your house, without him knowing. This was it. You were finally leaving. There was no going back. Once you handed him the envelope, he knew he could not deny it. You both cried but you felt a sense of relief that you were leaving.
Yet again, he found your new house, reeled you back in with an apology and wishful words for the future. He knew the buzz words to use to entice you back and you were sucked back in.
At this stage, you were 6 years on and off. You “loved” him, so you gave it one more go. He had his good days and his bad days. Once again, he started drinking to the point that he was starting to regress back. Then you were back to square one. He chatted with you and told you that “you’re the common denominator in my unhappiness.” This was the final straw. You packed up your things before his dad came to the house. You rang one of your dear friends and she housed you until you found a new place. The next day, you went into work, and got on with things as if nothing had happened. You were resilient. You knew this was finally it. He wrote you pages in an email, tried to call you, his mom even called you but this time you were DONE. You received the “heartfelt” apology but you weren’t forgiving him.
I just want you to know that even in the times of torment, you still carried on. Your compassion never wavered. Those cruel words chipped away at your confidence but I want you to know that, looking at you now, they amounted to nothing.
Those dark days of not feeling worthy, not feeling loved and not feeling happy, are only temporary. The best decision you made, was walking away from that toxic relationship, deleting social media linked accounts and finally putting YOU first. Never compare yourself to those on social media outlets, you are enough as you are. This relationship did not define you, you weren’t giving up on someone. It revealed how hard you would fight and love the right person.
Now, you’ve moved on, you live a very happy life and have two wonderful pups and a man who deeply respects and adores you. You’ve learned from these past moments and I hope that if anyone finds themselves in a toxic relationship and feel there is no way out… there is. Please don’t forget about your friends, they will be there when he/she is not. Please don’t allow your family relationships to dwindle because they will provide you with unwavering support. Don’t ever let someone you love, put you down or make you feel inferior. Don’t be afraid to communicate your feelings for fear they will be rejected or overlooked. Communication is key with ANY relationship. You are worthy and you are deserving of love, respect, support, and happiness. You have a bright future ahead so do not allow this period of time to dim your light.