Realizing that a man we love doesn’t treat us right and accepting that he doesn’t deserve us is one of the hardest things for any woman to admit. But, it is also one of the bravest. Because that is the first step of the healing process.
When I was younger, I looked at women who were mistreated by their partners and me kind of judged them. I knew many of these women personally and I knew most of the things they were going through. I also knew these were smart women and it was impossible for them to be unaware of the way their partners treated them. After all, everything I knew about their relationships was what they told me- so if they talked realistically about their partners, it means they were aware those men didn’t deserve them. These women were not financially or in any other way dependent on their boyfriends or husbands, so nothing was actually stopping them from leaving. But, they tried so hard to keep this man and I couldn’t understand why. So, I thought of them as cowards. I am ashamed of it now, but I judged them.
Until I became one of them.
It was then when I finally started looking at things from their perspective. At the beginning of my toxic relationship, my then boyfriend treated me like a queen. He did everything in his power to win me over. I thought this was the guy I’ve been waiting for all along. And even then, when I talked to some of my female friends who had partners who didn’t deserve them, I couldn’t understand how come they don’t leave them and what are they fighting for. How come they didn’t see that there are great men out there, similar to my boyfriend, who can give them everything they deserved?
And then karma hit me. And it made me regret every bad thought I had about these women.
After some time, I’ve started loving my boyfriend deeply and our relationship has become serious. And I didn’t hide my feelings from him and from anyone else. But, the moment he felt he can be sure in me, he changed drastically. At first, he started belittling me. Then other forms of emotional abuse began. Then the cheating started to happen over and over again.
And I knew that wasn’t love. Deep down, I knew things shouldn’t be like that between the two of us. I was very well aware of the fact that he wasn’t treating me right and that he didn’t deserve me. Everyone around me also started to see that. But, somehow, I didn’t take any of the necessary steps to leave him. Actually, I tried very hard to keep him next to me.
You may ask yourself why it was like that.
Well, first of all, it was out of fear. Don’t get me wrong- I was never afraid of him and he never physically abused me nor did he ever threaten to physically do me harm if I left him. I was afraid that I would never be capable of loving a man the way I loved him. I knew my worth and I knew he didn’t deserve me, but all those years of bad treatment and disrespect had left a mark on me. I wouldn’t admit that to anyone and it took me years to admit even to myself- but deep down, I was afraid that no man will love me the way he did. I knew love wasn’t supposed to be that way, but I believed he loved me in his twisted way. He managed to distort my view on men in general and I thought I would only find someone worse, because he convinced me everyone was the same.
Another things that was holding me with this guy were all the years we spent together and all the history we had. I actually didn’t want to let go. I never once thought of all the happy years that were waiting for me if I leave him- I only thought about our past together. I knew how much nerves, health, time and energy I’ve invested in that relationship and I wasn’t going to let it go without a fight. It took me long before I realized that I was actually playing the role of Don Quijote and that I was fighting the windmills. I wasn’t fighting with my man alongside- I was fighting against him.
But, most importantly, I wasn’t ready to let him go because I hoped he’ll change. And that is the most common mistake women make. Of course, there was a little voice in my head that was trying to get me back to reason, telling me he’d never change, but I’ve did everything I could to silence that voice. And with time, it became quieter. I tried everything to make him change. I’ve tried being the best possible girlfriend, I’ve played the conciseness card, and I’ve even tried behaving similarly to him. Nothing worked. But, I kept on hoping. Being aware of the fact that I was staying with a man who clearly didn’t deserve me was devastating to me, so hope was the only thing that kept me alive.
I’ve tried leaving him more than once. But, I didn’t actually want to leave him. I just wanted him to chase me, because I saw that as the only proof of his love for me. And he did chase me. But not because he loved me- he did it because I was a suitable victim of his emotional manipulation.
You probably wonder how I have finally left him for good. Well, one time, he didn’t chase me. He let me go. I left him, waiting for him to call me, waiting for him to come. But, that never happened. And somehow, I’ve managed not to be the one to contact him. I assume I still had a bit of pride left.
And that bit was what saved me. I am not going to say it was easy. Him not calling me and me forcing myself not to call him broke me even more than the way he treated me during the relationship. But after a lot of emotional pain, a lot of introspection and a lot of time, I’ve succeeded.
Of course, it took me even longer to heal from him. But, finally, I’ve found the man who deserved me. And all I can tell you is that all of my fears were for nothing. Yes, I’ve found a man who I love much more than I loved my ex. I’ve found a man who showed me what true love is. And no, they are not all the same.
So, if you are going through a situation similar to mine, I won’t be a smart ass and tell you to leave. Of course, this is what you should do, but you already know that, don’t you? I will tell you to stop hoping he’ll change because he won’t. I will tell you to stop holding on to the years you had with him, because happier moments and years waiting for you.
I will tell you to try to find peace and strength inside of you because I know you have it. I will tell you to spend some time with yourself and your thoughts and rewind your relationship back in your head. But, don’t remember the good times only. Be realistic. Write bad and good situations that have stuck in your brain on a piece of paper. Do the bad outweigh and outnumber the good ones? If they do, you yourself know it’s time to leave.
You don’t have to do it right away, but start preparing yourself for that move. See it as your final goal to reach. If you think you can’t leave him this second, find bravery in yourself to slowly cut this man out of your life. Visualize your happy future without him- think of all the things you’ll accomplish, of all the negativity you’ll get rid of. Think of the love and respect you deserve and are not getting in return. Think of your happiness once that love happens to you. Because it will. All you have to do is let go.
I know all of this seems unreachable and impossible, but it’s ok to take baby steps. I believe in you and I know you have what it takes to walk away and to choose yourself.
I’m not going to lie- it will be painful. But, trust me, it will be worth it.