Wow...Just wow. This article spoke volumes to me about a relationship I was in from 2008-2013. Just about 5 years of my life spent learning a hard hard lesson. I wouldn't say it was a complete waste. I learned so much about myself once I got out. But that above statement reminded me of the struggle that I went through. '
To be completely honest the first year is always the best. Everything is literally sugar-coated and you are too twinkled eye to see the bad or the harmful things. I guess that's why it's called the honeymoon stage. You build a future in your mind with this person. They are totally everything you ever wanted. Why should you pay attention to the bad things? Why should you question their intentions towards you? Aren't they the same as yours?
ABout 8-12 months into the relationship though, I did begin notice things going arwy. My friends (my BFF in particular) started noticed my at the time boyfriend texting them. A random hello.....I thought nothing of it, but my friends thought it was weird. As the years kept passing by and as these texts became more frequent when I was away from my at the time boyfriend, I realized it was his sneaky way of keeping tabs of me. He had to make sure I was where I was with whom I said I was going to be with, so he would text my friends. This is before the time of Find My iPhone was around. I am sure if that was around back then, he would have used it as well.
I began to lie to him sometimes about which friends I would go see. Well, no. I only lied about one person. My boyfriend before him had a really cool sister. We were still good friends and would catch up from time to time (like once or twice a year). I would tell him it was a friend from the dorms, and left it at that. If he would have known it was a previous' boyfriend's sister, it might as well been the end of the world. I would have been yelled at about betraying him. I would have been forbidden to see her if he would have known. I had to lie. I would do it again if I was in that situation again.
Things got worse of course. During the time that I was with him I was putting myself through court reporting school. My parents were NOT supportive of my career choice or boyfriend. It was so stressful. I secretly wished that I would get killed in a freak accident every day. I wasn't suicidal, but if I disappeared from the would, it would have been okay by me. Anyway, during this time I worked part time in the evenings. I didn't make much, and what I made was going ALL towards my schooling, paying student loans, gas, and necessities like deoderant and food. But when we went out on dates, guess who paid most of the time? Yup, me. I even gave him $750 to repair his car. I never asked for a dime back. Did he ever pay my tuition? Nope. Sure he would buy me nice gifts and sometimes treat me out to dinner AND a movie, but it's not the same as $750. Another time he used my credit card to buy concert tickets for a band from Mexico....$500. He paid about 60% of it. Also one lovely Black Friday, he jumped on board my Express credit card to buy himself some "work clothes." The total? Another $500. He paid me about $100. That's it. I never asked for a dime. I paid off all these expenses by myself, and paying tuition and everything else.
Yet, despite all these wonderful things I was doing for him, I was still the bitch. Yes, he did call me that. I wasn't spending enough time with him. Keep in mind, I was attending school FULL TIME and working part time. We live about 18 miles apart. We would see each other once a week on the weekends. I also had homework and family obligations. Once a week was not enough for him. He wanted to see me more. So I was a brat for not giving him more time.
Oh, another time we were at a party with my classmates from elemtary school. I was so happy to see them all! I had spent 7-9 years with these people (I went to private school)! At that time it had been a couple of years since I had seen them. I did my best to introduce him to everyone, but I am not perfect. I know I missed a few. Welp, when I was having a conversation with this guy I sat next to, he freaked out. My ex was sitting right next to me, and this other old classmate was across the coffee table on a separate couch. We were catching up on college life! But my ex took it as me being interested in my old classmate...what. the. fuck. We got into a huge argument. I don't even remember how it ended. He always brought this moment up years later and threw it at me like I was some terrible whore from the street.
So despite all these terrible things, why the hell did I stick around? "He didn't know what he was doing. It wasn't on purpose. So I couldn't blame him." a direct quote from that huff post article. This was my mentality. He had somehow convinced me of this. I tried to break up with him twice. He went crazy. He showed up at my work with a bunch of roses...I had to stay with him, but in my heart I knew that I was done. I stayed with him because he made me promise not to break up with him again. So I stayed. I became more and more distant. I was so unhappy. And he would even ask me if I still love him. I would say yes, but the truth was, I didn't. I had stopped loving him about 2 years into the relationship. I wanted out, but I didn't know how. I wanted him to hit me so that I could leave and press charges.
The funniest thing looking back now is that one of my great great friends was in a similar situation with her at the time BF Mike. We both had these deadlines for them about getting their act togeter. Finding full time jobs, getting a career, etc. I remember our conversations over the phone "Okay. So if they don't have full time job by Summer 2011, we will break up with them in September." We never stuck to any of those deadlines. I wasn't strong enough yet. It would take me more time.
He finally broke up with me. It was hard. It was unreal. I was scared I would never find anyone to worship me the way he did. I didn't really want him to leave once it happened. But deep inside me I knew I wasn't going to try to repair this. The long awaited break up finally happened. The day after the break up my darling cat was hit by a car and died. This was hands-down the WORST time of my life. I spent the entire week crying in my room with the drapes drawn. I stopped going to school and even missed a couple of days from work. It wasn't the break up that was killing me now, it was the loss of my cat. The next couple of months I was in a daze. A month and half after our break up I found out he had a new GF. He did repeatedly try to meet with me again to work things out, but I couldn't. I just couldn't. I was in the midst of testing for my CSR license (you need a 97.5% in California to pass). I didn't have time for his bullshit. I was finally gaining the strength and courage he spent so long supressing.
I know for the month following the break up he repeatedly tried to contact me through my friends. He was even asking some of my friends to meet him late night at bars. What a piece of shit. I trully have exceptional friends who saw through his bullshit before I did. What a creep.
"It was some time before I realized I loved the potential of who he could be, not who he actually was." <-- Yes. This is what I had held onto for too long. This was my mistake. I love the potential of him being a paramedic and less oppresive. But that was not the reality of things. He was a guy with the worst credit on the planet, living with and supporting his parents, youger sister, older sister, brother-in-law, neice and nephrew working part time as a teaching assistant making just barely above minimum wage. That was the reality of the situation.
The year following the break up was one of the best years of my life. I found my inner strength and courage again. I was meeting up with some great guys. It was amazing. I loved this new-found freedom I had to talk to whomever I wanted and do whatever I wanted again. I started going to goth clubs again. I explored new events like AnimeExpo, Comikazee, and Bat's day and met some wonderful guys at each of those events! I knew I wasn't super ready for a realtionship yet, but I wasn't going to stop one from happening if things were headed in that direction.
I was finally out of this abusive relationship and I could not be happier.
In March 2014 at a birthday party for my BFF's oldest brother, I met the greatest guy on earth. I was going to this party expecting to see my family, because trully I was. I didn't get all dolled up. I was going there for some good drinks and a mechanical bull they rented. What ended up happening was I had some good drinks and a drawing session and a conversation that lasted till 2 in the morning with this crazy guy who I thought was a 32-year-old sociolgist but turned out to be a 24-year-old 3D animator (He's turning 26 next week!). This world is crazy. I am still taken aback by how this guy broke down my defenses so easily that I had kept up with the dozen other guys I had dated before him. Now that I have been with him for a year, I see how he did it. He was trully an amazing person. He is so kind, patient, laid back, independent, and a creative thinker. I can spend hours lost in conversation with him about everything. I am so blissful with him. My life has taken a turn for the better. Five years ago, if you would have told me this would be my life, I would not have believed you. I was stuck in this relaitonship that at the time I did not realize was abusive with no way out.
I am grateful he stepped down to let a real man in my life. I am grateful he took the initiative to get out of my life so someone better could step in. I am not grateful for the abuse but I am grateful that I came out a stronger, wiser, more confidnet woman. I think more voices need to hear about this type of abuse. Abuse doesn't mean it will leave bruises and physical scarss; abuse can mean it will make you fear for your own safety.
I can't believe how much I have written. I still hold some anger about this relationship. I don't know if I will ever be completely over it, but wriitng is a great way to get that anger out. Sometimes I forget it ever happened. But articles like this can trigger that anger to come flooding back. I have been very candid in this entry. I have censored nothing. I am not even sure anyone reads this anyway, but at least it is here for my own memory. Or if anyone ever searches Strawberryzink, I know it will come up. This was my struggle, my secret for so many years. But here I am, happy, healthy, and in the most romantic dream-like relationship ever. Little Mermaid, Cinderella, Mulan, and Jasmine have nothing on me. My own fairytale is so much better.