He was the guy. The guy I had always wanted to be with. Not the tall, dark, and handsome type. The rocker, tattooed, and sensitive type. The type you know you are walking into trouble with.
It started fast and strong.
We were inseparable. Every moment, every day, we were intertwined. We wanted to talk to each other. We wanted to see each other. We wanted to know that the other was thinking about them. We were young. We were naive. We were desperate to fall in love.
The storm clouds rolled in.
The wind shifted; he changed. He needed to know where I was at all times. He needed to know who I was with at every moment. He needed to be with me to know that I was behaving myself; that I was not cheating. He needed assurance that I had loved him. He needed to fill his obsession. He needed me to need him but made it look like love.
Thunder was on the horizon.
The rain started to come down; I changed. I started to feel myself buckle under pressure. I started to give in to all his needs while pushing my family, friends, and myself aside. I started to lose all sense of direction, letting him win every battle to avoid another fight. I lost my freedom, I lost my pride, I lost myself, but that is a way to show him that I love him, right?
It ended in slow motion and as quick as a car crash.
And then the world went black.
It was over. He didn’t need me anymore. He found someone else. There had always been someone else. It was my fault. I didn’t love him enough. I was the fool.
My world crumbled. Where did I go wrong? How do I begin again? Where do I go from here? I needed him. I didn’t know life outside of him; Just the way he wanted it.
It was abuse. I didn’t have the bruises to prove it. I didn’t have the physical damage that you could see. I didn’t have the proof that some do, I had everything crumbling inside of me. He had damaged my heart, my pride, my mind.
How did this happen to me? I was always the strong one. Why did I not see what he was doing? I am better than that. What kind of person let’s this happen to them? Me.
It took me so long to recognize it. It took me longer to admit it. It took me even longer than that to get over it. To see it wasn’t me. It wasn’t my fault. I wasn’t damaged goods, I was just broken and needed repair.
And then the sun began to rise.
He came back. After every failed relationship, after every girl that wasn’t me, after every bad moment where he needed the girl that did everything he needed for him. He was wrong. He was sorry. He was still in love with me. He needed a second chance. And I could finally say no.
Eight years. It took eight years to feel whole again. It took eight years of other men trying to make it better. It took eight years to finally be able to look in the mirror and know that I am not the woman he made me out to be. It took eight years to see the strength in myself that I never thought I would be able to see. It took eight years of soul searching for me to feel comfortable to be on my own.
Feature Image via Nicole Elizabeth.