I was 19 when I started dating my now ex-boyfriend. At first he seemed charming, witty, funny, and adventurous. I fell in love with him right away.
For the first couple of months everything was great, but then the fights started – at first over very petty things, like my not having a special ringtone for him on my phone.
It escalated into things about my behaviour – suddenly everything I was doing was wrong, and I found myself apologising to him several times a day for things I did that upset him, which was nearly everything.
I felt like I was walking on eggshells around him because literally anything I said or did could upset him.
Later, after discovering that he had been sleeping with an ex-girlfriend of his, we fought more than ever. Somehow I held the blame for this too, but yet I still stayed with him. Eventually, we even moved in together.
After thinking that we had finally gotten things right, he left me abruptly. And I found myself alone and with no friends.
How I coped
During our relationship, I had no way to cope except to keep journals that I knew he wouldn’t find. I had unintentionally driven away all of my friends and had no outside support. And I could not talk to him about the depression and anxiety I was experiencing as it would “upset” him and turn into an argument.
Writing down my feelings was a very good outlet.
How the situation changed
My situation changed after he left me for another girl. At first I was devastated, but after looking back and seeing all the abuse I was put through, I was grateful that he left. I only felt sorry for the next girl that he dated.
What helped me
At first, I only had myself to rely on. I had to remind myself that I was strong and independent and that things would get better for me without him.
Later, I reconnected with all of the friends and family members I had driven away during our relationship, and they helped me to realise that this experience has made me a stronger and more driven individual.
My advice to others
Learn to stick up for yourself and don’t let yourself fall under the control of a partner. Also, don’t take the signs of abuse lightly, and don’t brush off your partner’s behavior. Just because he’s not hitting you does not mean you’re not being hurt.
If you feel unhappy in your relationship and feel that you’re not being treated as you know you deserve, seek help and do everything you can to get out of it. You deserve to be cherished as the person you are.