The Unhealthy Relationship I Gave my All to

by E
(Washington, DC)

I was with a man who sometimes in my head I still refer to as the love of my life, and we had a very, very similar pattern. My prince charming, the one that made me feel lucky, the trifecta of gorgeous on the outside, intelligent and noble on the inside, and what felt like true best friendship. I gave my heart to his man who I had met at my church in college, and was determined this was the relationship i wanted to invest in for the long term.

After 4 years of tears, triumphant get-back-togethers, late night talks working things out, precious "movie" romantic moments, love poetry, good sex, celebrations... and disappointments, shocks, emotional breakdowns, verbal, emotional, and physical abuse in the rare...

The romantic build up, where he would set the scene for me to place my every confidence in him, to give him continually more, only to crush me... he used to beg for me back, then after the first 2 years, it was only me doing the begging.

After 4 years, I had to ask myself the last time he drew close to me and my vulnerable heart, claiming we were soul mates and life best friends, only to tell me months later on the phone one I moved "I really thought we'd just fade away..."

I had to ask myself, is this REALLY what I want?

do I really want a love that is not the consistent love I had wanted it to be all along? Even though when the relationship is "on," it's the best thing Ive ever tasted or can imagine? and on the days I wasn't hurt or angry, I was 125% sure I did want it! You could not have convinced me there wasn't a problem we couldn't talk, cry, or pray out.

But the days where I was repeatedly hammered by his flip-flopping ways kept coming. More and more frequently than the magic, passion, truth, and friendship...

After his "fading" comment, he continued to contact me on his terms when he wanted as if we were still good friends. After 4 years of being desperate, without pride, unashamedly giving all I had to the relationship - time, emotional energy, lost friendships... the romance DID fade, and I stopped responding to his calls, having moved to another city and finally seeing him for the giant disappointment he was.

Of course, within 2 months, he found a new community, new friends, and a new lady to worship him. He also graduated and will soon be a surgeon, "living the dream," that was once mine too.

Anger took over for awhile... I even found a new relationship. But the pain I have felt from the shattering of trust in the man I most wanted to trust, and in what I had dreamed of our future together... has still haunted me and changed me in curious ways. Even though I ended contact two years ago and have had a good relationship with someone else since, there are days I ache, I burn, I mourn.

There was a time I had made up my mind that my life was only good if he were in it. I still believe that a certain amount of determination is important when you are committed to someone... I just have no idea how I will ever be able to joyfully give love to someone again without that bedrock of terror clutching my heart that I'm not worth staying with, that I drive love away because I can be difficult. Even the man I am with who has proven he can earn my trust and respect, I feel very much afraid, which turns me cold although I used to be a very warm person.

Even after 2 years since we ended contact, I still don't feel whole or myself again. That relationship, even though 4 years is not long compared to a marriage, feels to me like an ex-partner, and I have a hard time knowing how to move on from it without feeling ultimately defeated.

There are times I still acutely speak to him inside my heart, pleading with his imaginary image about why did he have to fail me? that I would have given everything if only his love had been real like I dreamed it was. why did he repeatedly choose to let my hope that the person I knew during our first year wasn't imaginary, he let them down so hard?

I can attest to the difficulty of trying to remove yourself (without going back!) from relationship toxicity before it continues to kill you from the inside out. these relationships can be such sacred tumors in our hearts, I wanted to protect the beautiful times we had, and didn't want to admit to myself that it was do or die. Yes, I finally cut it out of my life - his irrationality became too blatant and consistent to ignore, and the distance helped give me some courage - but even then i had hope that he would turn around and want me "for real."

I heard people say things like "you are worth more" and all that would mean to me was that I was justified in sticking around with him because he would change the way he treated me to what I really deserved. I hung in there through 2 dreadful years as his emotional prey waiting for him to recognize me as worth my worth. It is a hard lesson to learn that we cannot beg our worth from those who we want it most from.

I thought time and space and new relationship would erase the pain in my heart, but it's only morphed: dull pain most of the time, mainly I don't laugh as much. I am petrified of that kind of depth in a relationship again, and frankly I only had that with him, because in my heart, we were going to get married. anytime my loving boyfriend mentions the future, I feel a tiny death. I don't wish for this internal response, and I don't want my ex back... I just don't know what to do with my grief anymore.

I am no longer dizzy from the emotional impact, but I wonder is it normal to still feel the need to cry sometimes when I remember the intense disappointment I felt / feel? It seems I just need to let the disappointment bleed out of my heart in the form of tears, but this quiet sadness is getting a little old...

I just have lost hope in commitment in general. I was so happy he gave me hope, and now that my heart is crushed, it just seems that as its healing, it's become deformed. I mourn my loss of innocence. and i'm just wondering how long do I need to keep waiting before life tastes vibrant again - starting to lose hope in that too.

Comments for The Unhealthy Relationship I Gave my All to

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May 06, 2013
Going mad!!
by: sarah

I was only with my ex for 14 weeks we met on a dating site, it started of well, then he started letting me down when we were meant to meet, so my heart took a battering as I was up and down all the time. He did it a few times and then I lost all my trust in him. We would fall out then make up he played with my emotions and has made me into something I'm not, the final straw was when he went out and totally blanked me and then turned his phone off, I ended it as I have totally lost all my trust in him, I need to break away from him but can't do it as I'm to weak. I'm 39 and have lots of good things going on in my life, promotion at work, new home coming soon two healthy kids, so why do I feel like I have lost my soul mate, there isn't anything that is good bout him I know deep down its just habbit and we play with eachothers feelings, I believe he has one behind my back but cannot prove it I just need closure and can't do it as I'm to weak, I'm really insecure which don't help at all. I just need to let go of him once and for all...

Apr 24, 2013
Have to comment!
by: Disheartened

This post has not been commented on in some time, but I came upon it searching for 'ways to get over my ex'. I am a very succesful, attractive, intelligent, lovable woman. My ex and I were together for 5 years. I broke up with him 2 years ago after he stooped to a new low uttering an insult that was very personal and betrayed the trust I placed in him when I shared in my childhood trauma.
The relationship was so amazing the first 6 months--I really opened up, allowed myself to be vulnerable, share my story, give whole-heartedly and receive in ways I never knew. He was the one. Then I realized he drank more than he led on, smoked weed daily (to calm him down, which is ok, I just didn't grow up like that), he had an incredible temper, traits of narcisissm and could turn very critical and unfair in arguments -- always expecting me to admit I was wrong or I messed up....often blaming me for our struggles. He triggered me to the point where I began having flashbacks of sexual abuse by my dad, in fact they had similar personalities. I know there is a connection there, and as controlling, manipulative & abusive as he was and despite me ending it -- I still love him immensely. I miss him so much. The good parts...he helped me open up to new ways of living life, laughing, music, socializing, just having fun being me! I never realized how shut down I was or afraid of living and fun. I am so grateful for that but so hurt at the ultimate betrayal and insensitivity to my trauma work when I got into counselling. It was inconvenient for him to have a partner with an issue to work through. I don't know if it's low self-worth, a pattern of relationship that echoes my dad (co-dependent/abusive), or that he helped open me up that is keeping me feeling so attached. We are both seeing new people, in healthier relationships but recently he told me he still hopes in time we will get back together. He says he doesn't love her the same way. Sadly despite my wonderful partner, I feel the same. Is this a hook I can't get off b/c it's a classic co-dependant pattern I lived as a child (narcissist and care-giver), is it love that should be given a second chance? All I know is I have a hole in my heart I feel only he can fill, and yet no one has hurt me this much before who claims they 'love' me (well, my dad I guess).....I am doing great recovering from childhood trauma issues it makes me wonder if love would have a better chance between us or if that is wishful thinking b/c I am being nostalgic......closure was not there though we had some good discussions well after the break up. *sigh* I have no idea if anyone will read, comment, offer advice.......I just know the shared stories on this post really hit home. For all I wish love and a light heart.......waiting for that....

Nov 19, 2012
To have loved and lost
by: Wiser

Wow-I know just how you feel-I gave my all and all for 3 years to a workaholic man,mamas boy and he put everything ahead of me,I was determined to be the one,the one who could heal him so thhat he could love me, Some how I got addicted to him right away-good looking and charming-he had the bible memorized-amazing, also stingy with his money and time,also severe ladies man,
I would cry often and would feel desolate often,finally he dumped me for another woman.
Do you know how people get addicted to gambling?Scientists call it intermittant reinforcement,even if you are mostly losing,if you are occasionally winning you get hooked,
Maybe those of us who get addicted to bad relationships are nothing more than Pavlos dogs.When you have mostly bad with some good mixed in it can get you hooked on someone you know rationally is not good for you but your emotions are totally attached,herion addicts probably dont like being addicts either,but its hard to stop,
Im sure some ex heroin addicts still have a fond thought of using,
i have avoided forming new relationships-1st year I was sad and the second year I feel more healed and im glad Im not crying anymore or grieving anymore-Im glad I gave it all a break, A long time ago I was 21 and in love with 31 year old Larry-he had some major issues which made a healthy relationship immpossible,yet after a year I couldnt seem to break things off with him,Upset withmyself I confided to my mother-I know Larry is no good for me but I dont seem able to break things off-she said you have to go thru every step of the way,you might have to hurt a little more and be disappointed a little more,then you will let go of Larry-her sage advice was such a relief to me,instead of beating myself up for loving him,it gave me a quiet confidence that eventually Id have the strenghth to let go=and I did,years later I tried not to look at the relationship,but all the things Larry taught me-photogrphy,gardening,cooking,travel,being assertive, and honestly Im glad I never married Larry

Jun 28, 2012
by: forever jaded

I'm heavy hearted to know there are so many like me yet kindred spirits make me feel less lonely. It has been 14 months since I ended my relationship. I didn't want to end it but had too. I was lied to and cheated on for months yet my heart still aches. It's not the raging ache that plagued me for months and months but still always there. If I hear something about him it intensifies. Someone saw him at the mall or saw that he got a new car. I wonder who he is sharing his life with now and if he is happy. I still can't get my mind around the fact that he would give up what we had. I had to let him go...not because I don't care but because he didn't. I have been seeing someone for a few months who seems sincere and honest but I can not let him in. I can never suffer like that again.

Jun 17, 2012
I can relate
by: Anonymous

First: I just wanted to thank you for sharing your story. None of my friends or family members understand what i'm going through and your story has let me see i'm not the only one in this situation; helping me feel a little less alone with it. Although my unhealthy relationship did not last as long as yours did. It was the first real relationship I had ever had and with the only guy I ever gave my love and trust to. Someone I was naive enough to believe I would be with forever. He's the only guy I ever let in and the pain and betrayal from that still hasn't healed. We were together three months and following that he kept wiggling his way back into my life only to disappoint me again and again. I thought he would change and mature enough to be in a relatinship with me again, but after a year and a half of the same old bs I'm finally beginning to stay angry at him for all he's put me through. I haven't texted him back the last few times he's tried contacting me and I can feel that this is it; me finally cutting him out. I don't want to be with him anymore and haven't for a while, but that pain still looms and the still mourning feeling remains. No matter how he treated me I still believed in him and had hope for us. It's such an awful ache and I know how you feel. I hope it gets better.

Aug 15, 2011
I hope it gets better
by: Anonymous

I was in a relationship for about two years with someone I gave my all to and loved more than anything. I ended up with a broken heart and It's been two years since i have last had contact with him and now I am in a relationship with the most wonderful person but yet I still can't help thinking about my ex at times. I even cry when certain songs come on or if I see something that really tugs on a Memory. I feel like I need closure of some sort. I hate feeling this wAy! I wish I cld just forget and give the wonderful person I'm with my all but it just seems impossible. I want to get married and have my own life but it's just so hard when the thought him makes my stomach ache and my heart sink...Is there anything that has helped others?

Mar 29, 2011
You put my heart on paper
by: Anonymous

This story is mine to. I was 19, he was 27 and we were together up and down for 4 years. Halfway into it I met sometime who turned out to be my best friend, the only person I'd opened up to about all of my issues, and who I thought about introducing to my parents. I almost left my ex for him, he healed me in so many ways and made me happy, he made me feel less numb from my past. He was genuinely a nice guy. But my ex pulled me back again and I ended up ruining the relationship with the nice guy, the one I should have gone for, with all my lies and seeing my ex behind his back. Its a decision I still regret and haven't forgiven myself for. But anywho, just out of the blue, after all these years of my ex telling me that we were soulmates and be together forever, which I started to believe, he said he didn't want to be in a serious relationship. I gave up everything for him, broke someone elses heart for him, in the process breaking my own heart having to accept the loss of my best friend, and after all that, he tells me no. I don't want this. I don't want a girlfriend, I don't want seriousness, and this can never work. And he stopped calling me, left for vancouver without telling me and didn't care. I'm just so hurt, I'm destroyed, shattered, burning, crying, crazy, enraged. I'm nothing. The girl I used to be is gone and I lost my drive, my focus, resiliency, and happiness. I've been fighting a losing battle to depression and take recreational drugs to feel something, and dull the pain. I'm only 23, but I'm just so lost. I can't love again because they just aren't him, and I'm terrified to ever experience anything like this again. I wish you well.

Mar 10, 2011
Your story is my story
by: Anonymous

I do not know if I have ever read something that expressed my exact feelings and pain so well. I felt as if I am you and we are in the same pain. I was engaged on and off for 3 years to a man I still love. It has been a year since he called it quits on me. I long so badly for him and it is so painful. I feel no joy, no hope, only hurt. I wish I felt nothing...nothing is better than this hurt. I wish I had another boyfriend who could at least dull, at best, the pain, but I don't even have that. I feel so alone. I don't trust and truly, my heart still is with my ex. But just like your experience, his behavior was so inconsistent and it was as if he was a massive ship, but a pebble dropped in the water would rock him and us. I'm so sorry for your pain. I wish I knew something to help, but know that I feel your pain and care. Wish I could do more. I hope you can heal completely, but I know only God can help with that. I'm trying, but nowhere near healing yet. I'm still in darkness. I hope we can both get out. Hang in there!

Feb 24, 2011
I feel for you dear one
by: linda williams

My son was dating a girl for less than 6 months, and her memory and the loss of that relationship has tormented him for a year now.

God bless you and your healing.

Jan 28, 2011
I can relate in many ways
by: J.B.

Wow. Reading your story, I was intrigued to continue reading to the very end because I could relate to your story so much. I posted my story in a different area of the blog a few weeks ago. I was in a very similar relationship with a guy for almost 5 years. Mind you, we started dating when I was a 9th grader & I finally managed to muster up the courage to break things off during my sophomore year of college.

He went through a lot during the time our relationship went south with turning 18/graduating & going on to college/the whole major life transition from child to adult, then his mom got very sick (cancer), it's understandable why his behavior changed so drastically...but in the end I realized I didn't deserve to be treated like that anymore. And just as you shared..this was THE one, the man I wanted to marry, have his children, & live happily with the rest of our lives. When it was good it was the best, most amazing thing ever..our connection was indescribable, but when it was bad it was HORRIBLE.

He said & did a lot of terrible things to me and for once in our 5 year relationship I finally called it off (he always did all the breaking up..and I did the pleading, mending, and making up). To make this long story short, I lost him to suicide & have spent most days for the past 4 years full of guilt, anger, sadness, mourning... it depends on the day.

Your words really spoke to me, though, "...and now that my heart is crushed, it just seems that as it's healing, it's become deformed. I mourn my loss of innocence. and i'm just wondering how long do I need to keep waiting before life tastes vibrant again - starting to lose hope in that too."

I am married to his best friend (someone my ex had known since he was 5 years old). My husband treats me a lot differently and though we have our rough patches they have never stooped as low as w/ my past relationship. I really do feel, though, like my relationship with my ex & how I ultimately lost him forever has forever changed me. I used to be so warm, loving, affectionate, submissive, and LOVED love. Now I have such a distorted outlook on love/relationships/commitment and my overall demeanor has changed.

I am no longer the person I used to be & I miss being that person. I don't want to continue being cold, aggressive, irritable, irrational, all of those things I used to deal w/ from my ex.

I guess I responded to your story because I have shared a similar experience and might feel the same way as you do (in some ways). I, too, would like to know how I can feel "whole" again & start celebrating the love and the life that I have. Let me know if you ever discover the secret.

Jan 27, 2011
It will happen.
by: Anonymous

It took me about 5 years to let go of someone like that. Five years after he was gone, that is. One spring, I realized with wonder that I didn't begrudge him, but I didn't ever care about seeing him again. It was very freeing. It will happen to you. :) Take the wonderful lessons you've learned as just that: wonderful. You are stronger. You know where your boundaries are. You are free of his negativity in your life. Owning the mistakes you made and being thankful for them is a huge step in healing.

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