Some days I wonder if I will ever fully be myself again, and unfortunately, those days seem to be happening more than I would like to admit. Yes, relationships take a lot of work but relationships are supposed to be fun. When you are with the right person, relationships are simple. Nobody deserves to be in a relationship that they are afraid of their partner, yet that is more and more common these days. I am ashamed to admit that I stayed in a relationship that I was fearful of the man I was with.

All it took was one day, one day where I had enough courage to walk away. Walking away was the best decision I have ever made, I had let someone take so much from me, and if I didn’t have the courage to walk away I don’t know where I would be today.

I dated someone who made me lose my self-worth.

I lost my smile that once lit up any room I walked into because he couldn’t stand to see me happy. My smile was a bother to him. Once he charmed me into falling for his act he knew he had me hooked and he knew he could manipulate me. He knew he had me wrapped around his finger and he knew I wouldn’t leave. Because of him, I couldn’t even look at myself in the mirror anymore because he made me feel lower than I ever knew was possible.

I dated someone who made me lose my self-confidence

Because of him, I lost my self-confidence and care-free attitude. I was the girl that ‘didn’t deserve to be told compliments because I didn’t need them.’ Because of him, I felt worthless.

I dated someone I thought I knew.

I spent so much time convincing myself that he was going to go back to the man I had first met that I was completely oblivious to the fact that it was impossible. I so badly wanted to believe that it was all just a phase, but it wasn’t.

I dated someone who I didn’t even know who he was.

The man I first met wasn’t him; it was who he wanted to be perceived as. He turned out to be nothing but a liar and a cheater. I constantly made excuses for him and disregarded his wrongs. I wanted him to so badly be the man he pretended to be that I was blind. And because of this, I made our relationship picture perfect on Instagram. I thought if I made it look perfect then it would be perfect. Because of him, I lied to everyone that asked me how we were. I lied because I thought if I lied about it enough it would be the truth. I deliberately chose to ignore all the signs because all I wanted to do was see the best in him.

I dated someone who made me question everyone.

Because of him, I realized that maybe some people just don’t have any good. Because of him, I stopped being the person who saw the best in everyone. The person who gave everyone the benefit of the doubt.

I dated someone who was incapable of loving anyone but themselves.

I thought if I just brushed everything aside and loved him with everything in me that it would make him love me back. It took forever to understand but I now understand that it is impossible to make someone love you who only knows how to love themselves. Because of him, I felt alone while being physically next to him. I was dating a man who refused to kiss me and refused to look at me. Because of him, he made me feel unworthy. No matter how many times I had a huge smile on my face and was excited to see him, I was never worth looking at. I was dating someone who intentionally put me down so he could have the power. It was like it was a game to him; the worse he could make me feel, the better it made him feel.

I dated someone who I let manipulate me.

Every time he bailed on me or ignored my calls he somehow made me feel as if I deserved it. He made me feel as if I didn’t deserve to be spoken to. Every time I questioned him cheating, he somehow turned it around to me. It was my fault he hid things because ‘if I trusted him, he wouldn’t have to hide it.’ It was my fault he messaged girls on social media because, ‘if I trusted him, it shouldn’t matter who he talked to’. He manipulated me into believing I was the crazy one.

I was dating someone who was jealous of me.

Because of him, I stopped greeting everyone with a smile who I made eye contact with because he was jealous so many people knew me. Because of him, he made me feel guilty for being friendly. Because of him, ‘I was a whore’ for knowing so many people of the opposite gender. Because of him, I convinced myself I must really be a whore if he says I am a whore. Because of him, I stopped being my bubbly self in order to try to make him love me. Because of him, I thought if I made myself less of a person he would stop making me feel guilty for being me. Because of him, every time someone complimented me on something I didn’t want it to be true. Because of him, I wanted to be less of a person than I am.

I dated someone who had to put others down to build himself up.

He was the guy who was always in a relationship. He was and still is the guy who jumps immediately into a new relationship because he can’t survive without manipulating someone. He is the guy who jumped into a new relationship 4 days after we had broken up. I truly feel sorry for the girl he is with (and the girls after her) because he will continue making girls feel the way he made me feel. He will never be happy with himself and the only way he knows how to try to fill the void within him is by putting others down.

I dated someone who made me stronger.

Because I left him, I feel even more empowered than ever. Because I left him, I remember what it’s like to be the girl who is always smiling but I remember the person who took that away. Because I left him, I got my corky sense of humor back. Because I left him I have met so many people that admire me for who I am and don’t knock me down for it. And never again will I tolerate someone who does. Because I left him, I know what it feels like to be truly loved.

Because it was in leaving him I learned to love myself again.


By A.J. Ecton
Printed with permission