Six Months of Being Without Him
Shared by therapyjourney
It’s been six months since the most significant relationship of my life so far ended abruptly. I wanted to reflect on how I feel about it, now that the dust has settled, and it’s important to me to do this publicly, on a medium that he or anyone else that knows us might read. For one reason and another, I still find myself thinking about the relationship as I unexpectedly find myself back in ‘our’ city.
Most of the time I don’t feel particularly wounded by what’s passed, but I am aware there is something deeper in me that hasn’t been reconciled. Time is a great healer, but I do feel pissed off with myself still. I am pissed off that I chose to stay in the relationship long past the point where it was fun or loving. The damage we did to our relationship in the early days was irreparable – filled with so much lasting hatred, it was a wonder we lasted as long as we did. What kept us going was blind faith that somehow we were meant to be, in spite of all evidence to the contrary. This, I now believe, is a dangerous and sinister place to be in.
We had waited 8 years to be together. Six months after we started dating exclusively, we fell to pieces and it all happened at once. We had started living together, I had given up my job to spend more time with him and we were moving abroad to live in his house. The excitement soon turned to resentment, as I felt a deep loss at giving up my freedom and I was horrified by how much he drank. Our first huge fight happened just before we boarded the plane to start our new adventure abroad. We sat separately on the flight and didn’t speak until the following day. It was a horrible way to start the new chapter, and we didn’t ever really recover from it.
I look back on myself during the relationship and I see a little girl. I balk at how subservient I acted, how much criticism and blame I took, and how we both blindly plodded on. I would have done anything to make him happy, including debasing myself. I gave him money, paid for trips, made regular financial contributions, gave him loans which were never repaid, and a car. He never gave me anything of value.
The biggest mistake I could make in his eyes was to “doubt the relationship”. If ever I made “threats” such as venturing the painful but valid opinion that I wanted to leave him, he simply wouldn’t accept that that was how I felt – and I frequently wanted out. He would go nuts and start calling me every name under the sun and he’d throw me out. I’d see how upset he was and I would start being super nice, out of guilt more than anything upset with myself that this amazing man was now crumbling before my eyes and it was all my fault. I have never said sorry so many times in my life.
I have heard every mean insult. I have been on the receiving end of words that take time to stop believing. I have heard “I never loved you”, “I hate you”, “I don’t like you”, “You’re a shit person”, “I wish I’d never met you”, “fuck off”, “You’re selfish, nasty and immature”, “You’re evil”, “I never want to see you again”. I have been thrown out of his property, I have had every single one of my possessions packed into my car, I have been locked out at 7am in a foreign country with nowhere to go. I have been spat in the face at, I’ve had carpet burns on my face which are still there to this day, I’ve been dragged by the ankles in the pouring rain, I’ve been kicked in the stomach.
I’ve also punched him unprovoked, left his neck bleeding, bent his fingers backwards which caused permanent damage to his writing hand. The very first incident of verbal or physical abuse should have ended the relationship there and then, but such was the bond between us, not to mention our stubbornness, that we simply ploughed on every painful and exhausting day.
Arguments were commonplace, usually numbering one or two a day, with huge fights erupting about once a week. We once counted that in our two years we never went more than three weeks without a fight – and that happened on only one occasion. One of our frequent sources of contention was that he would repeatedly blame me for whatever incident had got out of hand, never for a moment accepting any responsibility for his part in the drama. I tried to explain that I cannot and will not be blamed but still the back-breaking load of criticism continued even after we were together. I never got any kind of apology until some weeks after we split up.
Now that I am on my way to becoming a strong woman, it’s inconceivable to think that was me on the receiving end of all that bile and blame. I’d like to think I’d never let anybody treat me like that again, but in the heat of the moment with passions running high and feelings taking over, I am all too aware of how easy it is to slip into a situation like that and not even realize it until it’s over. I felt wrapped up in our little world, completely impervious to the judgments of others. This too was dangerous.
I could never miss him. I lived in relative fear of him from the very first time the bomb exploded, that time in the airport. I relished the times we had to be apart, for example my trips to visit his mother and sort out his business back home when he couldn’t make it there himself. Unbelievably, even when we were apart we’d have arguments over Skype and email. The entire duration of our relationship we had such a grip over one another, there was no freedom and no joy, just fear and pain.
For the sake of balance I’m trying to locate the happy memories, the sort you keep in your heart forever even after the relationship ends. I cannot think of even one memory that wasn’t tainted by conflict or my being blamed for something. My only good memories of being around him were from before we began seeing each other exclusively. They are from when we were friends – friends that always got drunk together, sometimes slept together and our times were simple.
It’s very hard for me to rise above how I feel on the one hand – like I wasted my time. I think of all the hours I spent cooking his meals, sometimes in tears, keeping house, keeping his admin in order, listening to his incessant hare-brained ideas. Wishing and hoping that all the madness would abate and we’d find the key to happiness, but it eluded us.
I’ve been badly stung and won’t go back into the water yet. I was told repeatedly I am no good, I needed help, I’m bad, I’m evil, I’m fucked up from my childhood. I resent that somewhere along the line, I gave him permission to attack me so viciously. I was stupid enough to stay even when the manipulation continued, and I was even told that I should be the one seeking professional help because I was an abuser and had psychiatric problems.
Above all I feel incomprehension. I am writing this out of a deep-seated confusion – did I hate myself that much to allow myself to be walked all over? Will I ever let it happen again? Did I believe the things he told me? Is there long-term damage in my psyche? Does pain leave a residue?
But rise above it I must, and I will let him go without hatred.
Do you love to write? If you have a story, article, post about dating or love, please Share your Heartbeat! We would love you feature your writing.