We all have that one friend who calls us crying about her boyfriend all the time but no matter how much we advise her to leave him and express our concerns, she goes back to him.
Well, I am that friend. Despite knowing that my friends were right and looking out for my best interests, I ignored them ’til they got tired of hearing me complaining. It wasn’t until I finally did leave that I understood why I stayed, and I think my experience might be relatable to you too.
I Thought Love Could Conquer All
I always thought that as long as you loved each other, you could get through anything. I had to learn the hard way that love simply isn’t enough.
It’s a great foundation to build on, but without trust, mutual respect, and communication, we had nothing.
I Was Holding Onto Hope Of Change
Although I was only given glimpses of change, that never even ended up lasting, I kept waiting and waiting. I got to the point where I was only living for the future and going to bed hoping the next day would be better.
My life was passing me by and I was wasting time during which I could have been a lot happier.
I Was Afraid Of Change
For me to pack my bags and leave meant I would have to find a new place, pay for rent alone, leave the pets behind, buy all new furniture, etc. I simply didn’t want to deal with it so I was taking the easy way out.
Except I realized I was actually choosing the harder road, one where every day was full of self-doubt and arguments.
I Naively Listened To Empty Promises
If I had a dollar for every time my now-ex apologized and promised that if I was patient and stayed he would give me everything I wanted, I could now be living in a mansion right on the beach.
Instead, I believed him, thinking I was doing it out of love.
I Justified Toxic Behavior With Excuses
I would make up ridiculous excuses like he only was texting me 48 times when I was out with my friends because he cared about me, not because he was possessive. Or that he threatened the guy who looked at me because he’s protective, not jealous.
Tell yourself that enough times and you start to believe it, and even normalize it.
I Worried About What People Would Think
My best friend was getting married and my Instagram was filled with friends my age already having their first kid, and here I was not even able to get my partner to tell me I’m pretty.
I didn’t want to “fall behind,” but I also didn’t others to judge my relationship. Instead, I struggled in silence.
I Dreaded Starting Over Again
I had heard enough Tinder horror stories to be completely turned off by the whole process. I couldn’t even fathom going on a blind date and building back up a whole relationship.
I liked the comfort of being able to predict what my partner was at least thinking or feeling and wasn’t ready to play dating games again.
I Thought It Was Better Than Being Lonely
We might argue three times through the movie and not even make it to the end because I’m left crying and he’s too tired from yelling that I picked a bad movie, but at least I had someone to even watch a movie with, right?
I was wrong, and now I at least get to choose all the rom-coms my heart desires.
I Thought It Was All My Fault
I felt personally responsible for their actions. Not that I can really blame myself, because this was something my partner did very deliberately.
He had mastered the art of gaslighting without even being familiar with the term. Whatever it took for him to avoid accountability, even if it meant shifting the blame on me gradually until I always volunteered to take it.
I Was Holding Onto The Past
I was waiting for the day the relationship would go back to feeling like it did in the beginning and my partner would go back to being the romantic charmer who made me fall for it all.
Except, it was all a facade that he carefully crafted to get me under his grasp. Even if it might have been real, I had to come to terms with what was happening in the moment.
I Convinced Myself I Could Fix It
I’m not sure if I thought I could fix the relationship itself, or if I treated my partner as a project that I also could salvage. Either way, it shouldn’t have been my responsibility to fix either one alone.
Especially when it came to my partner. He would have had to have been willing to work on that himself. Not to mention, I was breaking too and had to fix myself first.
I Was Afraid No One Else Would Love Me
If this person who supposedly loved me so much was treating me like this, then surely I deserved it, I thought. My self-esteem took a hit the longer that I stayed, and I became afraid of never being good enough or worthy of more.
I was scared of being rejected in the future as I didn’t think I could handle it.
I Was Confused About What Love Looked Like
I had watched enough rom-coms to fall under the impression that for the couple to work out at the end, the guy must do something very wrong for which he needs to make some grand gesture to apologize.
Add in the fact that my parents were divorced and it makes sense that I didn’t have a healthy relationship standard to compare to.
I Held Onto The Ups
It didn’t matter that the downs were much more frequent and made me miserable 90% of the time, and that even the ups ended in some sort of argument that tainted them anyway. I convinced myself I’d be bored if it was constantly good anyway.
A healthy relationship shouldn’t have such drastic ups and downs, and should remain constant to some degree.
I Felt Guilty For Leaving
Somehow I forgot that my partner was a fully grown adult who was fully capable of taking care of themselves. The relationship dynamic had unequally shifted so much that I had taken on the role of their giver and felt responsibility for even their basic needs while getting nothing in return
Our codependent relationship had me convinced that they would fail without me and that it would all be my fault.
I Missed Them When I Left
It’s not like I never tried to leave, but I always came back. I thought that now they’d realize my worth and treat me better, except that we would fall right back into the same cycle.
They do say that the average person in a toxic relationship will attempt to leave seven times before finally leaving for good.