If this is love, then why does it hurt?

Toxic relationships burn, but taking care of yourself and valuing who you are is a good salve for that.

Artwork by Hailey Mosher

Toxic relationships burn, but taking care of yourself and valuing who you are is a good salve for that.

Being in love and being manipulated are two different things that people can mix up.

If someone is willing to hurt you emotionally, verbally or physically, it isn’t love. Take it from me, a girl who has been through the worst relationships and still has the courage to speak out against all odds. 

My first boyfriend was a boy much older than me. Anytime he did something he knew would make me upset he would buy me things, even when I refused them. Upon fighting later on, he’d pull the “well I bought you all these things” line. 

Being sick and tired of the treatment, I decided to break up with him. He was so angry he swung a bag of candles and bath bombs at my face, which busted my lip, and then locked me inside the car. I told him to let me out, but he grabbed me and tried to kiss and hug me.

But it only made me afraid of him.

He guilted me into taking him back after months of not speaking. After months of being together and having no issues, he started to live at his barber school. For the longest time he told me he was living with another guy, until I found out he was with a girl all along. That’s where I drew the line and we broke up for good. To this day we do not speak. 

Two years later I met a boy with a kind heart, and hurt deep within him just like me. In the beginning of our relationship he started off sweet and was everything I could ever want. He understood me and what I have been through. Then one day, something malicious formed inside him. 

It started with him talking about his ex everyday. She broke his heart after living together for two years. How could I compete with what they had? When I brought up how much that really bothered me, he treated me as though my feelings weren’t valid at all. 

He had a group of guy friends who liked to party a lot. He drank every night until he blacked out, and every night was a new fight. He started to get aggressive to the point where he would punch things next to my face, throw things, or even scream how much he didn’t love me.

He would break up with me whenever he wanted. One night he dumped me and told me to wait for him while he figured out what he wanted. I felt like I was gonna fall apart. I loved him, or so I thought. I stayed home and cried so much that I couldn’t eat. 

He had turned on our locations so we could see where the other was at all times. Being the detective I am, I looked at his location and it said he was in Bedford at some random building.  I searched the street and a gas station near it until I found out where he was; at a strip club with his two friends.

They later went to the stripper’s house and would go there often to hook up. My heart raced and I could feel everything go numb. How could he do this to me? But I was angry and wanted him to feel the way I did, so I started hanging out with my guy friends. He got so angry and threatened all of them and made sure they didn’t talk to me anymore. 

He didn’t want me but nobody else could have me.

He would cheat and hook up with girls all the time and then come back when he had no one else. One specific night he hooked up with a girl, then the next morning told me to come over. Of course I had no idea what he did. 

He proceeded to pressure me into doing things with him, he then drove me home like that’s all he wanted from me. Later that night he told me what he had done previously, which made me feel absolutely disgusting.

He would send me pictures of other girls in his bed with him, and even went as far as adding my friends on Snapchat and flirting with them.

One night he showed up to my house with an engagement ring and told me he wanted me to be his fiancée before he went off to the army. Wanting him to love me so bad, I just agreed and for months that stupid metal ring meant nothing. He made me believe he owned me and when I wanted to take it off he would freak out.

He made me feel so unloved and loved at the same time. He made me believe he cared. For a while he showed me he did. Until he would hurt me a hundred times worse than before. But I stayed because I wanted to fix him.

For the longest time I had to realize what I deserved and how this wasn’t love. I couldn’t do this anymore and I learned the way he treated me was toxic. I contemplated on what to say to him for hours until I finally got the strength to do it. After receiving a text admitting to cheating, as well as coming forward to tell me he didn’t ever love me, he just felt bad that I was happy and he wasn’t.

It hurt, but it’s the proverbial band aid I needed to rip off. 

A work in progress is what I call myself, but I made it out and now I am in such a happy, loving relationship, and I am truly happy with myself. If you ask me, leaving my toxic relationships and putting myself first was the best thing to ever happen to me. From that I learned to love myself. It allowed me to grow as a person and realize how much more I deserve. 

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