He showed me what I don?t want and will never put up with again.
Photo by Elizabeth Tsung on Unsplash
I didn?t meet my first boyfriend until after college. I waited a long time before getting into a relationship for the first time. I spent a lot of that time observing others in their high school and college relationship drama and being thankful I didn?t have to go through that.
I would always tell myself, ?I?d never put up with anything less than I deserved.? I never saw myself being with an asshole and staying, until I was. Hindsight is 20/20, but at the time I was blindly in love.
I was with my ex-boyfriend for about 2.5 years give or take, on and off. I had never dated anybody before him. He was my first boyfriend, my first romantic commitment. I was twenty-three years old and completely naive to what makes a healthy relationship.
I loved having a boyfriend. I?d been dreaming of having one for so long. This was the first time in my life that I was really giving myself to somebody and he seemed to adore me.
In the beginning, he was very sweet and we had a lot in common. We met having worked together, which at the time seemed great, but looking back, it was not a smart idea to hook up with my coworker.
I would learn that lesson down the road. But in our honeymoon phase, we were inseparable, the ?it? couple at work, and I felt happy with him.
Now that we?ve got that nice little intro out of the way, on to the part where he started showing his ass.
I Felt Like I Had to Take Care of Him
Shortly after we started dating, like maybe 2?3 months in, his best friend moved back to the city and needed a place to stay. My boyfriend decided to give him his room in the two bedroom apartment he was sharing with a roommate.
He figured that he was always at my place anyway, so he could just live with me now. My boyfriend told me it was temporary until his friend found another place. Surprise surprise, the friend NEVER found another place.
But I was happy. We were playing house. We worked together, would sleep together and now we were basically living together. Cool. We were always together and I was in love.
Was he paying rent towards his new living situation with me? Nope. He claimed to still be paying rent at his old place even though he wasn?t living there. I chose to ignore that red flag.
He never pitched in for groceries but had no problem eating them. He also was pretty damn messy. Worst part ? we stopped having sex consistently. He claimed he wasn?t in the mood that much anymore, another red flag I just ignored.
Whenever we?d fight, I?d still let him spend the night because in my head He doesn?t have anywhere else to go. Fuck that. Yes he did, but I liked playing the ?I?ve got you no matter what? card. What a stupid card to play if you?re the only one playing.
He Entertained His Ex in Front of Me
All of his friends were still friends with his ex so she?d always be around. Always. And she made no attempt to hide the fact that she still wanted him.
Apparently, he got together with me only a month after they broke up. I think she and I maybe exchanged ten words during the whole time I was with this guy.
She was annoying as hell. And yet, I still stayed around because I thought I was winning. He was going home with me and not her. In my twisted head I thought, well she might want him but I have him, like he was some prize to be won. Dumb.
There were several times we?d all be out at a busy bar and I?d wonder where he disappeared to and I?d spot him up by the bar with her in his ear. I?d see her all over him at different parties and he never did anything to stop it, even though I was always there.
He just kept telling me that nothing was going on. They were ?friends.?
This led to me being extremely insecure and always wondering if he was texting her, talking to her, or seeing her behind my back. Turns out, all of that was true, but it literally drove me crazy until I found out for sure.
I stayed in the situation because I thought I was proving myself to be the mature, ?secure? woman in not showing that I was annoyed. I kept trying to play it cool, but the whole thing was so disrespectful and so juvenile that I hate that I kept myself in the middle of that for so long.
Not surprisingly, he ended up cheating on me with her and the only reason I found out was because I checked his iPad messages after the fact. Trust your gut, seriously. It?s right most of the time.
He Would Shut Down on Me If We Were Fighting
He was a grown man acting like a child. If we were having an argument or a disagreement, it was usually one-sided because he?d always back out claiming I was being irrational and there was nothing to talk about.
He refused to ever communicate about anything and he?d usually just walk away, leave me to get space, and not call/text until much later. Then, when he?d come back, he acted like nothing happened.
I hate conflict and of course, nobody wants to be seen as the crazy person who keeps bringing things up so I bit my tongue. I was just glad that he came back.
Even after all of the red flags he was flying in my face, I refused to acknowledge them. I preferred a room full of red flags instead of an empty room by myself. I didn?t have enough self-esteem at the time to realize I deserved so much more.
When We Broke Up (each time) I Became Nonexistent
I might as well have been a ghost. We still had mutual friends so I?d continue to see him around and I got the cold shoulder every single time. It just made things uncomfortable for everyone around us and unfortunately, they were his friends before mine so I always felt left out.
But of course, as soon as he missed me a little bit, he?d pop back up and ask to talk. Next thing I knew I was taking him back, like an idiot. I swear first love can completely blind you to all the bullshit.
Looking back at all of this, I hate that I was that girl. It?s so embarrassing and if I ever have a daughter one day I would do my best to make sure she never feels like she should put up with anything close to how he treated me.
Heartbreak is hard. It?s understandable if you want to try to make things work, but you should never feel belittled or like you don?t matter.
Real love doesn?t behave like that. Real love doesn?t disrespect like that.
When you see the red flags, take off your rose colored glasses and realize that yep, they?re still red. Red is not always the color of love.