The Unhealthy Relationship I Gave my All to
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.