As it turns out, I was not wrong.
The simple truth of the matter is that I have terrible taste in men. It’s cliché, but I look for love in all the wrong places. The good news is that I’m getting a lot better at advocating for myself in situations that I know aren’t right.
Emotional abuse is the kind of abuse that’s not talked about as much as the other kinds. It’s harder to see, and therefore harder to hate. Even though it will never leave visible bruises, marks, or scars, emotional abuse still has the power to do significant damage.
In July, I posted about dating someone who may or may not be a male chauvinist. (Answer: was. is. always will be.) That should have been the only red flag I needed, but stubbornly I took it as a challenge. I should have heeded the early warning signs rather than blatantly disregarding them.
I was starting to feel neglected, devalued, ignored. His sarcasm was one thing. His constant comments about how inferior women (and me) are were another. His emotional unavailability and unwillingness to engage in serious discussion was yet another. His lack of respect for and interest in my life. His disrespect, his inability to engage, his repeated insistence that I’m stupid and incapable. These began to pile up, past the point of his “I’m only joking!” explanations. When I stood up angrily the other day and asked him why he’s never told me that he cares for me, he brushed me off. My blood boiled.
The death knell of our relationship sounded when he told me that I would probably enjoy being raped, among other crude things.
I gathered my things from his apartment yesterday – with his permission, although he was away – and haven’t heard from him since. I imagine he knows that it is finished because my pillows are gone, the refrigerator no longer has my kalamata olives or my veggie sausages in it, and his Kindle has been placed on his table, only 43% of the last book of the Hunger Games trilogy finished. I left my wine, all the shampoo, my favorite t-shirt, because I didn’t have enough arms to carry it all and I couldn’t find my shirt and I just wanted to be gone.
I thought it might be better this way, leaving it all unsaid, because I know he’d never let me say it anyway. I tried this week, and was rewarded with silence. Better to bail than to try to make them see reason. I think I’ll miss his friends more than him.
The next time you judge anyone for getting into something quickly and getting out of it just as quickly, you might want to pause for a moment and consider the alternatives. I’m counting myself lucky and grateful that I’m better at recognizing the signs than I was at fifteen. I’m also overjoyed that I recognize my need to be respected, cherished, and appreciated.