On the first date, I knew that this guy was not right for me, and yet something inside me ignored the voice, and I dived straight into a full-on relationship. It took two years to recover myself and realise, however little I had, it was worth a whole lot more than being with him. Why did it take me so long, you may ask? It’s a question I have asked myself many times, and the truth is, I think it was several things. Mostly fear, not of him but myself, of having to deal with me and the world on my own. I couldn’t understand why I could not make it the perfect relationship, why I couldn’t make him see that I was so much more than all the horrible things he would say to me. It was not a physically abusive relationship but emotionally abusive. He enjoyed putting me down so much; with a mocking smile, he would corner me. For him, it was a game. For me, the more he dragged me down, the more I tried to make things better.

My family did not like him and said so, although they included him in family gatherings. He was from overseas, and in the long summer holidays during my studies, I stayed with him and his family. My father told me he did not want me to come back with him. As much as I knew I was not happy, I still felt it was a relationship worth fighting for. I went to stay with his family, who were lovely; his friends were welcoming and fun. And yet he was still the same towards me. However, I noticed that, as much as I tolerated how he spoke to me, I did not like how he talked to his mother, and she just seemed to take it as if it was normal. It made me realise that it was not just me; it was him that was at fault.

Something inside me shifted, and slowly I started to look at our relationship from a distance. He would insult me, ridicule me, and try to humiliate me; however, in my mind, I started to question his behavior. He lived near the sea. I would go to the beach and swim and think about how everything around me was beautiful except our relationship. Amidst all of this beauty, why was I choosing to have something so ugly in my life? Despite this, I still carried on, and as the holidays were coming to an end, I thought we would go home together. That was until one evening when I came to join him and a group of friends, and in front of them, he looked at me and smirked and said,’ hahaha, you’re not happy, are you!? And I looked straight at him and said,’ You know what I am but just not with you.’

A few days later, I left without him. I was so fragile on my return and felt drained of everything as if someone had scraped all the energy, life, and light out of me. And yet within the darkness, I knew I had planted a seed that was unstoppable, that needed nurturing and care but was strong and resilient. I did not look back. With time I saw the relationship as a lesson of what I did not want in life, of what I did not want in a relationship. I realized that I was more than enough, that, while he tried to make me feel that I was not good enough for him, the reality was he was not good enough for me.

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