(Disclaimer: This will be the second of a miniature series of blogs that will reference a less-than-loving past relationship. This is the story of my abusive relationship and how I wound up in and out of it over the course of three years. Please see Content Warning before reading if you are concerned about the nature of the story, as I will not be leaving out any details. All names, places, and identities will be altered for no other reason than to avoid conflict. Changed names, locations, and other things deemed necessary will be marked with *.)
So it was certain. He had cheated, right off the bat, or rather, never stopped considering himself single. He was the one who screwed up, but I was the one who was almost dumped over the whole ordeal, and was told I was crazy and obsessive. Thus, I was the one begging for mercy when he threatened to dump me over his mistakes. Pathetic, right? It gets worse.
I forgave him, of course. Or did he forgive me? I stopped keeping track of how that went. I just knew that I could “fix” him. I became obsessed with the idea of having the perfect boyfriend, and so instead of being patient and waiting for a loving, caring, and kind gentleman to come along, I was working with what I had. If you’re reading this and you are in a relationship where you have essentially convinced yourself that you can “fix” your partner, get out. Now. You can’t, and you won’t. People aren’t fixable. They are treatable, sometimes; but most assuredly not fixable. Especially when they are narcissistic and manipulative.
At this point in my life, all of my boyfriends had cheated on me at one point or another. Every single one. So I was use to baring the burden of looking like a desperate fool. I wanted to forget about it and move on with our relationship so I could continue fixing him.
A few months went by, and my family was going to visit my aunt and uncle at their house and go boating on the lake while we were there, and the biggest mistake I could have possibly made was inviting Jesse. At the time I just wanted everyone to like him, I wanted affirmation. But if I knew then what I know now I would have never even told a soul I was dating this guy. But for whatever reason, my parents agreed to let him come. I think I had to beg everyone, my parents and Jesse. I had to beg my parents because they hated Jesse, almost right off the bat. They didn’t have a high opinion of him, or our relationship. And I had to beg Jesse because if he came with us, it would mean that he had to step outside of his microscopic comfort zone, which he didn’t ever do. He agreed to come, but only if his friend, *Justin, could come. Lucky for me, Justin and Amy were starting to like each other, so we made a road trip out of it. We took my car and met my parents there.
The whole thing was a colossal mistake. The first couple of days were OK. But the third day there, I received yet another message regarding Jesse and other girls. We were out in the pool house with our friends when I got the message. I told Amy I was going to go lay out and asked her if she wanted to come (I gave her the look that said “yes, you want to come with me”). So we went outside where everyone else was and laid our towels off in the grass where no one could hear us. I assessed the situation with her to get her opinion on the matter. I was starting to wonder if someone, somewhere just wanted to make me mad so I would break up with him, or that some other girl just really didn’t want us together. Instead of letting my mind wander, which would have made me crazy, I called the source. When I was told about what happened, I called the girl it had “happened” with. She basically laughed about the situation and confirmed the story. I was livid, yet again.
I marched back into the pool house, hardly able to contain my anger. I showed him the message and he told me to shut the f*ck up about it. He told me I was being psycho again and that he wasn’t about to go through this with me again. I rattled back, “I cannot believe I invited you to come here,” and off he went. He was calling his mom, who was, in my opinion, an enabler, and she agreed that it wasn’t good for him to be here. I think arrangements were probably made for him to leave. But in any case, as I was about to leave the pool house, I was crying hysterically. I opened the door to leave when I felt a shove on my back followed by an excruciating blow to my foot. I screamed out in pain; then, I noticed that everyone was still outside. All eyes were on me from the sound of my yelp and the slamming door that followed it.
Embarrassed and in pain, I had no time to entertain the fight that was going on. I hobbled up the steps and slipped out the side gate so that I could cry and relieve my anger in peace. Amy followed me. I think she was just as struck as I was from watching the whole ordeal. We sat in the front lawn, silent for a minute, and then she spoke up. “You really can’t let him get away with this. He’s a piece of shit.” She admitted that since the first time he cheated, she wanted to tell me that she no longer cared for him whatsoever, and that the only reason she hung around was because she liked spending time with Justin, which was warranted because Justin was actually a great guy.
Unfortunately, everyone was scared of Jesse’s explosive temper. If any of us would have even thought about suggesting that he “calm down” or “take it easy”, all hell would have broken loose at my expense. So we said nothing.
I learned later that when things like this happened, when Jesse was caught in a lie, everyone else had to take cover. He would not be caught dead taking responsibility for his actions, no matter how serious they were or how much they hurt someone. I have no idea what arrangements were made for him to leave, but I wanted him gone. I was humiliated in front of my family. It was all so awkward now. I just wanted him to leave. So when he texted me from the pool house about an hour later, because he was too much of a coward to show his face, he informed me about his plan to leave. Justin would drive him back in my car and Amy and I would stay. I agreed, and went on with getting ready for the night. Amy and I weren’t about to let this incident ruin the remainder of our time.
I guess he wasn’t quite expecting me to want him to leave, so then to my surprise he became pitiful. He finally came out of the pool house to coax me into believing that he was sorry; not for cheating (because he denied that), but for pushing me and slamming the door on my foot. He said it was an accident. Somehow, seeing him beg me for forgiveness for a change made me forget all about why I was mad at him in the first place. He was a master manipulator, I have no idea how he even did it, but he could make me do what he wanted and act how he wanted just by using his own actions to steer mine.
So that was over. I decided not to speak of the incident for the rest of the trip to avoid being confronted about it by a family member.
When we got back from the trip, I was still OK with having some space. I couldn’t get the scene out of my head. For a few days I just went home or to a friends house after school. I lived in the small town of *Belkin and Jesse lived in *Ruford City, which wasn’t a long drive. I usually went straight to his house after school, because God knows he wouldn’t be caught dead making an effort to come to my house. Plus, he didn’t have a car.
So after those few days of not seeing each other much, I asked him if he wanted to go to with me to pick out an outfit for the weekend. He agreed to go with me, so I picked him up after I had left school. We were in the mall, walking, talking, laughing, holding hands, getting along just fine. I saw a girl from school, Sarah, with her mom so I stopped to talk to them for a minute. I introduced them to Jesse out of politeness, and right off the bat Sarah’s mom gave him a stand-offish look and I couldn’t figure out why. Sarah’s mom was usually one of the cooler ones. During our conversation, I looked directly at Jesse to see what she could possibly be disgusted about. When he went to take of his hat to pull his hair back I saw exactly what she was seeing. Hickeys covered his neck. There was no mistaking what they were. My stomach dropped so far down in that instant that I completely forgot where I was or who was surrounding me. Nevertheless, I snapped out of it and said nothing. I hurried to end the conversation with Sarah and her mom and stormed out to the car.
Jesse apparently couldn’t detect my rage, because he followed behind me as though nothing were wrong, texting on his phone the whole time. When we got back to the car I started bawling.
“What is that, Jesse? Who the hell have you been seeing?” I pleaded, pitifully.
“What the f*ck are you talking about?” He screamed back, as if he were completely oblivious to what I was referring to.
“You neck looks like you were mauled by a tiger, what the hell do you think I’m talking about?! Who is she?” At this point, I was yelling. And I was done.
“Those are from you, chill out.” He said, almost laughing.
It was this day in particular that I realized just how stupid he thought I was. He and I both know well and good how tacky I think hickeys are and that they disgust me, on anyone. So I threw that in his face, timidly.
“You know I can’t stand hickeys, and I don’t recall having done THAT in the last three days because I haven’t even seen you. Hickeys do not last three days, that happened recently. You’re lying.” I said.
“Whatever. Take me the f*ck home.” he replied, still not looking up from his phone.
So I did. I was silent about it the whole way home. When I dropped him off, he slammed the door without saying a word. I was distraught. Defeated. Done. I couldn’t go through this anymore with him. I was beyond annoyed and knew how idiotic I looked by letting this happen time after time. We hadn’t hardly been together for six months.
I went hours without hearing from him. I don’t even know who texted who first, and he never even told me who the hickeys were from. It was just understood between us that they were most definitely not from me. I think I opted to not know about what had happened.
Every time something like this happened, I found myself sitting in a clinic waiting room, all alone, making sure I hadn’t contracted anything from his scandalous behavior. I have no idea how I dodged that bullet, but I did.
He was so mad at me while we were texting back and forth about it. Telling me, again, how crazy I was, and so I just said, “Fine. Don’t f*cking be with me. Bye.”
It felt good to be the one to say “good riddance”. It felt even better because it threw him off. I realized that he was starting to form patterns in his behavior that correlated with mine, so I threw him for a loop. He was teaching me how to manipulate, and I am not proud to say that, but I became excellent at playing his game. I learned how to win his game.
So when I basically told him to kick rocks, he turned desperate. I ate it up, and I loved feeling like HE wanted ME instead of vise versa. This time, I made him work for it. I told him I wasn’t going to agree to a relationship with him unless he proved to me that he could stay true to me. If he couldn’t do that, then we had no business being together. Much to my surprise, he got it together pretty quick. At least, I think he did. Whatever he was doing behind my back was unbeknownst to me because I stopped receiving hints and messages from different sources. I am amazed at how I let other things slide, so long as he would not cheat on me. He admitted to me, several times, that he had stolen money from his job. One time he bragged to me about taking Xbox and an expensive hair straightener from a friend’s party, then turning around and selling them.
I couldn’t confront him about these things, though. If I did, he would become angry and violent like he did when confronted about anything he did wrong. So I kept it all on the hush-hush.
Then one day, months later, for whatever reason, we got into a small fight and it turned bad. Bare in mind, we had plenty of fights. We were absolutely terrible together. People hated being around us and I don’t blame them. I don’t remember the details of this particular fight, I just remember him screaming at me to leave. I didn’t want to leave because I wanted him to calm down and talk to me, I didn’t even know what I had done wrong. His mom told me that I was making the situation worse by not listening to him. So I gave up and left. I just remember him overreacting (imagine that) and feeling like it was my fault because I said something that made him uncomfortable, according to him.
He didn’t even have the decency to break up with me. He just stopped talking to me and returning my calls, altogether. I got really depressed, and to my surprise, I stooped to a level of pathetic that I did not know even existed. I wrote him a letter, tried to called him, tried to text him, I begged for forgiveness. I just wanted to know what I had done so wrong to make him shut me out like that. No such luck.
When a week or so went by, and I finally realized that contacting him was a lost cause, I gave it up and decided to try and move on. I felt so unlovable. So raw. So vulnerable. I was a mess. At this point, we had been together about 8-10 months, and I had already stopped hanging out with my friends months ago so that I could spend more time with Jesse. They saw how obsessed I was with him, so they weren’t interested in hanging out with me either. After all, I was the girl who cut her friends off because her abusive boyfriend didn’t want me hanging out with a “bunch of sluts”, which they were far from.
So there I was, all alone, not many friends to turn to, and too embarrassed to confide in anyone anyways. But I saw the light at the end of the tunnel. It was faint, it was vague, but it came in the form of three guys in my class who cared about me a lot.
They took me with them almost everywhere, let me come hang out with them after school, told jokes to me, listened to me, and genuinely cared about me. No sexual feelings or romance involved, I just always meshed better with guys than I did girls. I was thankful for their friendship. I was probably closest with *Channing, although I cared about them all the same. I can remember one time in particular, Channing drove all the way out to my house to help me retrieve my keys after I had locked them in the car. I just remember thinking “Jesse would never do this. He wouldn’t even care.”
After he successfully retrieved my keys, he started to leave. I didn’t want to be alone and I think Channing could sense that.
“Wanna go do something with me today?” Channing asked, sitting in the driver’s seat of his pick-up.
“What are you going to do?” I asked, curiously. I never knew what the hell these guys were getting into. It was always fun, though.
“I’m going to get a tattoo, come on. You can help me pick it out, plus, your skinny ass needs a cheeseburger.” he said.
I was more than willing to tag along. Even though it had been weeks since our break up, I couldn’t get my mind off of Jesse and I had lost about 10 pounds of stress weight. I hopped in with Channing, and off we went. One of the other guys met us there and I hung out with them more and more each day.
One weekend we all committed to going fishing at a nearby lake. I was excited to be in the warmer weather with a fishing pole again; Jesse never liked doing that stuff with me unless he could bring his pot. Even then he wasn’t into anything that had to do with the outdoors. It had been about five weeks since I had last heard from Jesse, and I was starting to be just fine with that. I was annoyed that he had let me go so easily, and instead of being depressed, I became mad at him which helped the healing process.
Channing was looking for a place to park the truck when my phone went off. It startled me hearing my phone because the only people who ever texted me were the ones I was with, and neither of my parents could text at the time.
I looked down at my phone, only to confirm what was already racing through my mind. It was Jesse. What I read was dangerously close to the statement that follows:
“Have fun hanging out with your new boyfriend. Don’t ever talk to me again. Delete my number because I am for sure done with you now you f*cking slut. I can’t believe I was considering getting back with you. Bye.”
To be continued…