“I promise it won’t be like before,” he said as he held my hand, looked into my eyes, and had me convinced that he’d stop hurting me.
“Losing you was the biggest mistake of my life. I understand where I went wrong. I spent years wishing I hadn’t treated you the way I did. I promise, this time will be different.”
I believed him.
For a while things were different. He went the extra mile to show he “cared”. Would do cute things and remind me how special I was to him. He made me a mug of all our photos together over the years, and one for himself as well. Because we were “meant to be”.
When asked WHY I’d go back to him, I would justify all his previous actions by blaming myself, believing I must have done something wrong, and forgiving him for the hell he put me through — I must have triggered him to act that way, after all. If I just changed myself, he’d change too, right?
Then the same patterns started again: the manipulation, the secretiveness, the cheating, the lying, playing tricks on me knowing I’d be upset, the emotional unavailability.
Still, I convinced myself “he’d changed” as I grasped at straws because I couldn’t bear to hear, “I told you so” from the folks that had warned me against him.
I began the process of moving in with him, and then something clicked. I recognized that I needed to save myself and told him I couldn’t do it. I wouldn’t do it to myself.
He went back to his old self that night: he was abusive, he told me lies and then proceeded to treat me like I was trash — his reign of terror lasted a few months – within the evening, he was back at his ex-girlfriend’s house begging for her back. I was angry, but more so thankful that my gut had saved me from him before my first moving box hit the floor of his house.
I had a really nice time smashing the mug he’d given me of our photo – I would break it just like he broke me.
This story isn’t about ME – it’s about the girls who I know who I see go through these patterns over and over. It’s about knowing that THIS doesn’t have to be the way a girl is loved – it’s POSSIBLE to feel love without hurt. If you think he’s going to change, HE WON’T, and if you think you need to change so that he’s a bit less awful to you, YOU DON’T.
Love NEVER hurts, and I know that now.