things you learn in a relationship
Relationships

#MyStory: I Was In A Toxic Relationship For Three Years And I Learned Something Important

The most painful thing is losing yourself in the process of loving someone too much, and forgetting that you are special too.”― Ernest Hemingway, Men Without Women 

Before we begin this story, I want to ask you, do we end up loving someone too much, or do we fear loneliness? Sometimes, I feel that the years (3 years to be exact), I wasted on what I thought was love was actually the fear of being alone—the fear of not having anyone love me. And, I think this fear is what makes us fall for wrong people.

So, let me put out this advice right at the beginning. Never stumble into a relationship without genuinely knowing somebody. Never ignore any red flags and always trust your gut because when it’s new, everything feels right. The butterflies in your stomach and the attractions blurs away the reality we are supposed to see.

Like anyone who meets a guy when attending an all-girls college, I met him through a common friend. I still remember the first time we met (unfortunately). Once when a couple of my friends and I were out to see a movie, he was there with his girlfriend, and my best friend, let’s call her Aarti, she made the introductions saying he was her school friend.

I was actually in awe that day. He was charming with movie-star good looks, and when he spoke, he was so polite and courteous. A few days passed, although I had developed a small crush on him, I kept it to myself because he had a girlfriend. My friend Aarti had guessed it, and so when the news of his breakup traveled to her, she wasted no time in telling me. She wanted the shy-introvert me to make a move. So, one day, after gulping down some beer, I hit that friend request button. Then you can take a guess. We chatted day and night, soon exchanging numbers, and chats turning into conversations. He would always make me feel like I was the only girl in the world, and then, I was on cloud nine.

We would meet each other after college, take long walks in the park. Soon, all my free time was spent with him. And hey, I know there is nothing wrong with it. When you are in love, and especially when it is new, you want to spend all your time with your partner. It was absolutely fantastic for a few months, and like a bad tele-series, it soon took a u-turn.

It started small, I would see his comments on photos of girls. I even caught him talking to multiple women online. And, when I would confront him, he would say it was all fun and games. At that point, I would beat myself up for being insecure and not being *chill* enough.

I should have realized his pattern. He would shower me with love and attention when he had no one. But when he had options, I was ignored. Once he refused to acknowledge me when he was with his friends. And, I went home with tears in my eyes. Of course, I confronted him, and he gave me a lame-ass excuse saying his friends were jerks, so he didn’t want to taint me with their company. And I like a fool believes him.

It is not like subconsciously I didn’t know nor was I a meek person. But the fear that he would leave me kept me going. During my final year in college, I asked him about marriage. I wanted to know if he saw his future with me and that’s when he came up with another lame excuse saying that he can’t because of our religious backgrounds, and he didn’t want to hurt his mum. However, we could continue to stay in a relationship until his family found someone for him. For a minute, I was numb, I won’t lie. I truly believed I loved him. It bloody hurt!

But a few seconds passed, and I realized what utter bullshit it was. I don’t know from when I got the courage. Nevertheless, calmly, I told him he was an asshole. He wasted my three years. The years when I was supposed to enjoy my college life, I was stuck with him. I called him out on his bullshit act, again calmly. I broke it off with him and told him to never contact me again. He tried very hard for a week to reconnect with me, but I was firm in my decision.

I won’t lie to you. I took a break and went home for a few days to help me move on. One day, I even broke down in front of my mother because my heart was broken. And, in a few months, I was okay. I realized the fear was unnecessary and there were a few life lessons I learned. They are;

Don’t Compare Life To Movies 

In movies or books, our heroes are dark and brutal, but they fall in love, and voila! The heroine turns him into a good man, and they lived happily ever after. And we think we can do it too because that’s what I did. He was rude, a flirt, and sometimes an outright jerk. But I tolerated everything because I believed that my love could change him. Make him a better man. Well, that’s not supposed to be our problem. Instead, fall for the right person, someone who deserves you, and shower them with unconditional love. It is reciprocated!

Don’t Make Excuses 

I still remember it was a friend’s birthday and everyone was going to get their partners to the party. When I asked him to come with me, he refused, saying he doesn’t want to meet my friends. That’s it—no other explanation. I requested and requested him, but he didn’t budge. Instead of reasoning it out like I was supposed to, I made excuses for him in my head, thinking he was probably tired or maybe he was feeling low. And, I made excuses to my friends too. I should have spoken to him about it. Asked him for a valid reason and when this behavior continues, you know there is something toxic, and you move on.

Make Yourself A Priority 

One of the biggest mistakes I did was I stopped loving myself and put myself second. Why? If you don’t take care of yourself, who else will? As much as you love your partner, you are supposed to show the same amount of love to yourself too. Make yourself a priority too.

Enjoy Time With Yourself 

I come from a loving home, but being a single child and an introvert, I wanted someone who was my person. I wanted a best friend and a partner and being alone was something I wanted to avoid. This was one of the reasons why I jumped into a relationship. Now, if I had learned to enjoy my own company, I could have avoided this. So, go on dates with yourself, talk to yourself, and learn to enjoy time on your own. Become self-sufficient. This will ensure you don’t enter any relationship for the wrong reasons.

Don’t Neglect Warning Signs 

All the signs were right in front of me. His behavior sometimes made me feel uncomfortable. And, I should have listened to these signs and moved on. So please, if your gut is telling you something is wrong. If your partner makes you uncomfortable or unhappy or is abusive either mentally or physically, break it off with them. A relationship is supposed to bring you joy and not tears or fears.

Find Someone To Talk 

If you ask even my closest friends, they cannot tell you anything about my then relationship because I guarded it like a national secret. That should have been the clue there was something wrong. The only thing my friends knew was I was dating this guy, but apart from that? Nothing! Because one, I was ashamed of the way he treated me and didn’t want my friends to judge, and two, our relationship was like a routine and a lot of hard work on my part. So, with my friends, all I wanted to do was forget about it.

However, imagine, if I had spoken to my friends or family about what I was going through, they would have offered me a sound council, which could have helped me move on from my toxic relationship. Therefore, don’t ever make the same mistakes I made. Let your friends and family in.

So yes, this was my story and my learnings. Looking back, I do sometimes regret it, but that’s also diminishing because I am a changed person today and for the better. I am fearless and accept myself the way I am. But that being said, learn from my mistakes and never stay in a toxic relationship. You deserve all the happiness, romance, and love!

 

Nupur Awasthi

Writer. Feminist. Ambivert. Prefers animals and good books to humans!

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