This is never something I thought I would write. Three years ago, when I was fully encompassed by what I would later recall to be the worst relationship dynamic in the world, I couldn’t fathom the thought of my then-boyfriend someday treating another girl better than he had been treating me. If you are a loyal reader of mine, or someone with access to my personal life, you may know that I spent much of my past relationship waiting for my ex to change. Waiting for my ex to stop cheating on me. Waiting for my ex to stop lying to his family about me. Waiting until the day I would no longer have to make excuses for him. Waiting for him to show me off to his friends. Waiting for him to wake up one morning and finally see me; finally have that epiphany that oh, wait, he did in fact have the perfect person right there at his fingertips, patiently waiting for – no, actively hoping for – him to accept the love she was willing to give.
At first, I thought I was willing to wait forever. I thought that I loved him, that I was meant to be the one to fix him, and that I would be able to reap the benefits of this (extremely difficult) project. However, three years of my life had passed, and I realized that they had been spent unhappy, degraded, and ashamed. He wasn’t adding a single positive thing to my life. I finally came to terms with what I had secretly known for two and a half years after our relationship began – it was time for me to end things with him.
The reason I hadn’t been strong enough to end this relationship once I felt it going downhill is something that I chalk up to pure hopefulness. I had so much hope he was going to change, and I was so nervous that once he did, he was going to find someone else to treat the way that I should be treated. I can even recall telling him during one of our many fights that I didn’t want to be his practice run, and that it would hurt me so badly if he were to move on and treat another girl significantly better than he treated me. I viewed myself as an abandoned puppy dog, sitting cold in the corner of an alley way, waiting for my owner to take me home.
It isn’t easy to admit that I was making a conscious choice to be in a relationship with someone who I knew didn’t deserve me. In fact, it makes me feel stupid every single time I think about it. I still shudder when I think about the lies – the compulsive, frequent lies – he told me. I wince thinking about my best friend screaming at me, asking me why the hell I was with someone like that. I practically get nauseous when I remember the time I was in the hospital and my mom asked me why he wasn’t there, and I didn’t know the answer. I get embarrassed when people bring him up, because they used to believe the elaborate excuses I would make up for him. They thought he was great, and I couldn’t disappoint them.
I was in love with the idea of love. I thought that if I wished and hoped and prayed for him to change, that it would work. I would suddenly be happy with him, and my first boyfriend would be my forever boyfriend. This is another thought that is vomit-inducing to me now. Why in the world did I think that I should throw everything I have into such a toxic situation? Why was I so obsessed with someone who didn’t even understand who I was as a person? Why did I put so much effort into trying to love someone who couldn’t even admit to his friends that we had gotten back together?
Even though thoughts like those are cringe worthy, I am mature enough to realize that my relationship was something I was meant to go through. I do not forgive his actions, but in some sort of twisted way, I am thankful for them. They made me realize the kind of love I deserve, and I will never accept anything less than that ever again. Upon ending that relationship one year ago, I was the happiest I have ever been in my life. My smile was more genuine. I became significantly more adventurous. I didn’t worry whether or not someone else will be okay with my choices. I had no desire to apologize for who I am as a person. I felt a physical weight lifted off my shoulders on the night that I ended that chapter of my life, and I watched my anxiety set with the sun. Getting back together with him was never a possibility, or even a fleeting thought.
Until it was. A month or two after I broke up with him, he tried to enter my life again like it was normal. Like he always did after a break up. Not this time. Nope. I wasn’t having it. I was happy, and I wasn’t going back. Other boys were in my life now. I had written so many posts about how strong I was now, about emotionally abusive relationships, about my bad experience with him… no. Thinking about being with him again would be taking one step forward and sprinting six miles back.
I denied his efforts at first, proudly. But slowly, I became weak again. He promised that he changed, he swore he finally had the epiphany I was desperate for. He was in love with me now, he finally realized. Everything I was waiting for came true. So I quietly gave it a chance. I reluctantly went to his house in December, after very much convincing on his part, and found that nothing was different at all. His father asked me if I had ever been to Long Island before, and I was immediately bombarded by flashbacks of all of the times he made me feel like he was embarrassed of me. The time I gave up my shift at work to drive five hours to his house, only for him to tell me he decided it was more important to see Derek Jeter’s last game with his friends (who, of course, didn’t know I was coming, and probably didn’t even know we were dating at all). It took everything I had not to inform his father that his son had been lying to him about me for three years. He had texted his friends and told them that he couldn’t go to the Knicks game because “I know it’s stupid but DG’s (the nickname they used to call me) on the island so I told her I’d hang with her” even though he begged me to come. He didn’t even have the decency to call me by my first name. I immediately regretted giving him another chance, and I went home feeling defeated and annoyed. Since when was I that kind of timid person who let an insecure, immature boy push me around? Since when did I let other people make me feel inadequate?
He kept trying with me. I won’t go into the details of his valiant efforts, but it is clear that this time he is pursuing a serious relationship with me. And in his defense, that’s what I had originally said I wanted from him. I thought maybe that if he tried hard enough, I could forget every lie, every other girl, every mean word, every cold shoulder, every awkward fight. But I can’t. As horrible as they were, they made me who I am today. I choose to believe that the negative experience I had was meant as a lesson for me to learn.
I’m assuming that after reading this, if he reads this, he will stop trying. He will give up on me, and I will finally be okay with that. I have moved on, and despite every bad thing that came of my relationship with him, I hope he moves on, too. It is unfair for him to focus his efforts on me when I am not focused on him at all, and have no plans of looking back on that time in my life.
If he tries to contact me again, I will confidently tell him that what I had said in that aforementioned fight was false. I do not want him to have an epiphany that I’m the one for him and reach out to me. I do not mind if he loves another girl like he should have loved me – I genuinely WANT him to have that. I am fine with being his practice run, because he was my practice run, too.
I do not believe that my ex has a new girlfriend. But if he did, the first thing I would say to her would be “you’re welcome.” The second thing I would say to her would be “I hope things are different for you,” and I would wholeheartedly mean that. I do hope that whoever he is romantically involved with next has the opposite experience that I had with him, because it will prove that our messed up relationship was not a waste of time. I learned so much about myself in the past year, and I am so proud of everything I have accomplished, and I suppose I somewhat have him to thank for that. I want him to be able to feel this way, too.
I am happy, truly happy; something I never felt when we were together. Something I always wished I would feel with him. I still look back on those years and think about how differently I looked at life, how narrow my perspective of love was, and am mind blown.
If you are currently in a situation that isn’t working for you, but you haven’t had the courage to get out of it, pull the trigger. Take the jump. It WILL be worth it, even though it hurts like hell right now. Maybe it’ll take you an entire year to completely and totally move on, like me. But I promise you, the way you will feel once you have become the person you want to be is worth the wait.