I have closure. A sh*tton of closure.
And I got it for me, not him.
But that doesn’t mean I’ve forgotten.
He beat me down and broke my spirit.
And I have the scars to prove it and remind me for the rest of my life.
First love’s cruel sting.
Although I laugh dryly about it now, I thought I’d hit the jackpot with my first love.
He was handsome, blue-eyed and had a British accent to boot.
I remember thinking to myself how lucky I was, and how there was no chance I could ever regret dating him. How many people can say they dated a cute Brit with an accent as smooth as honey?
I guess the joke’s on me now.
I was young and foolish and didn’t know any better.
Because behind that charming exterior was someone who was going to come into my life like a bulldozer, destroying everything in his path, and leave nothing but ruins in his wake.
So yes. I can confidently say that I wish I had never dated my first love to begin with. And I’ve always considered myself an optimist who can see the bright side of anything.
Although there’s very little bright side to this tale, there is always a lesson to be learned.
He was an emotionally abusive SOB.
Man, oh man, was he ever manipulative.
And it was in just about everything, too.
He would lie about where he was, then bring me flowers and chocolates to shower me with the “love I deserved”, after sleeping with another woman and feeling guilty about it (as I would later find out after breaking up with him and connecting some dots).
He was very opinionated about how he wanted me to look and dress. There’s a fine line between a partner letting you know they have a preference for red lipstick, and literally telling you what you should and shouldn’t wear and getting mad when you aren’t willing to accommodate the demands. I recall asking him at that time,
“Why don’t you just love me for me? Am I not enough?”
He would complain that I was depriving him sexually and would demand blow jobs whenever we were together because I was “refusing him sex” through my personal vow of staying a virgin until marriage. Here he was, claiming he was “sexually deprived” and pushing my boundaries with every sexual encounter, when the entire time he was sleeping with other women behind my back.
If he didn’t get his way because I wouldn’t accommodate his demands, he would blame me for creating unnecessary drama in our relationship and would freeze me out. For days.
He would punish me with psychological torture because it was his goal to train me into submission.
Because I loved him, getting the cold shoulder was hard for me. Because I would remind myself over and over that “relationships take sacrifice”, I would eventually surrender and take the blame. I didn’t realize at the time that, while they do take sacrifice, they also require mutual respect. That did not exist.
If I ever approached him to address something he had done to upset me, he would spin it and make it out to be my fault. Even if the thing I was upset about was how he was inappropriately behaving with other women while in a relationship, or speaking to me in a way which was demeaning and disrespectful.
He had a talent for spinning anything to put the blame on me.
He continued to instill this belief of everything being my fault until he conditioned me to automatically believe it myself.
He violated me, leaving me traumatized.
I’m saving myself for marriage.
He agreed to my boundaries before we started going steady, but as I would later find out, he was planning to do all he could to talk me out of it from the very start.
When we were a year and a half in, and I still hadn’t given it up, he tried to rape me.
There’s an especially cruel reality to being sexually assaulted by someone you love.
Because there’s no way that after their attack you can look at them the same way again.
And despite the fact that they have violated you, you still love them.
Because life can be cruel in general. And falling completely out of love with your boyfriend the moment he tries to rape you is the stuff of fairy tales.
In real life, you’re left with incredibly confusing and conflicting feelings that are hard to make any measure of sense out of.
To top it all off, trauma marks you like a curse. I required therapy to help develop coping skills to be able to navigate the PTSD and anxiety left behind as consequences of his entitled actions.
The injustice of it all still courses through my veins. The extraction process of those feelings as I continue to heal is particularly difficult — the injustice painfully calcifies in your bloodstream.
It’s a work in progress.
To those who say “the lessons I learned were worth it”.
Sure. So I figured out, pretty definitively with him, exactly what I didn’t want in a partner.
I don’t buy this whole “it was an invaluable experience” bull crap. And I can tell you why.
On the days when I’m sitting in my living room, fearful and on the brink of a panic attack, I’m trying to convince myself that he doesn’t know where I live, he likely won’t come back to get me, and my retired neighbours live close enough that they would be able to hear me scream. Plus, I stay away from the windows. Sometimes I even close the drapes to take the edge off of my anxiety.
Those were some parting gifts he left me: paranoia, anxiety, and panic attacks. Which sometimes leaves me feeling unsafe in my own home.
But what about the good times? Don’t you remember the good times you shared together?
Actually, no, I don’t. They’ve all gotten overshadowed by the cheating and abuse and sexual assault, to name a few. Funny how a slew of horrible memories can make it hard to remember what it was like to be happy with someone.
Because although I don’t remember what it was like, I do know for a fact that we were once that: happy. We dated for a year and a half. He was my first for many things, some good, many bad.
But he was still my first. And I truly, deeply loved him.
It’s not my fault that he took every ounce of sincerity I offered him for granted.
At the end of the day, I deserved better.
I’ve been through some sh*t in my life, and a lot of it happened in the midst of this terrible relationship. At 19 I had a repressed memory resurface from a childhood trauma, and in that same year, the ex in question sexually assaulted me.
I didn’t deserve that sh*t.
No one does.
And if going back in time and erasing his entire existence from my life were possible, I would do it. In a heartbeat.
Because what breaks my heart is that I can’t go back in time; I can’t protect that innocent girl from all of the darkness he would bring into her life.
She was so wide-eyed and pure. She deserved so much better.
I deserved so much better.
Instead, I now live with this feeling of persistent injustice, because of another person’s misplaced sense of entitlement over my body.
I’m the one who has to live with the consequences of his actions.
And that’s just not fair.
I Got Revenge Against my Abuser at the Grocery Store
It was my ultimate moment of redemption against him, and it happened in the most mundane way possible.