10 Reasons Why

This is a short story about my experience in a bad relationship, and ten reasons why I will never let myself stoop that low ever again (and why you shouldn't, either).

This is the story of a girl who got cheated on, lied to, manipulated, and eventually left to clean up after the boy who destroyed her mentally, spiritually, and emotionally. This is the story of a girl who became a woman. This is the story of a girl who got stuck in a four year relationship with the worst kind of person: An abuser. This is my story.

It started almost six years ago…I was at a birthday party for a friend, having a great time. Almost done with high school, on my way to getting my life together and preparing for being an adult. Yeah, like most kids my age, I was barely getting everything figured out. I knew what I wanted to be when I got out of high school. I knew how to get there. I had had my heart broken many times, and I was still healing from the most recent tragedy: Being her second choice. For reasons I won’t disclose, I’ll call her Jade. Jade and I had gone to this party together, and we both ended up leaving alone…I’m getting off track here though. I had my heart broken by her for the last time that night. I was hanging out with a friend in the backyard, drinking, trying everything I could to not look like I wanted to blow my brains out. It was then that I heard it… the laugh that brought me out of my misery for a little while. I thought to myself, I need to find out who this is coming from.

When I figured out where the laugh came from, I went to see who made it. There he was, like an angel in disguise. I thought I was so in love with this boy, even though I hadn’t even asked for his name yet. For the purpose of my story, I’ll call him Tony. Tony was, in my eyes, so handsome. We talked for a little while and I had all but forgotten about Jade. We exchanged numbers before he had to leave, and we talked for a while over the next couple of weeks. School had started again for both of us, so we weren’t talking much, and I was dating someone, so I decided to halt our conversations for a while so I could make my current relationship work. About six months after we’d met, he posted a status on Facebook for a “To be honest…” post. I liked it, of course, because I was curious to see what he thought of me. It was then that he told me he liked me, right where all my Facebook friends could see it. I was overjoyed, but in a sticky situation again; I was seeing someone. It wasn’t really working though, so I ended things and decided to wait a little while before saying yes to Tony. That was my first mistake.

I texted him and let him know that I’d love to try things, even though there was some distance between us physically. He lived in a different city than I did, and I’d had some bad luck previously with a long-distance relationship. I decided to give having a relationship with him a chance. Things started off so well. I decided to go visit him, and I was so nervous. We met at the elementary school I went to when I was a kid, hung out there for a little while and caught up on everything we’d missed in each other’s lives for the time we weren’t talking. I had laid my head in his lap and we were talking, and out of nowhere, he kissed me. I felt like the world had stopped moving and I had butterflies like crazy. After that, we decided to go to his house and hang out for a little while. We smoked a bit, got pretty high, and he and I went to his friend’s house until his grandparents came home and went to bed. He snuck me in, and I stayed the night. That was my second mistake. (Ladies, if you’re reading this, don’t give yourself to someone before you’ve even had your first date. It’s a trap.)

Things went well for a little while. We were happy. We were making it work. Then, roughly three months after we got together, he broke up with me. He said he needed a break to get his life together enough to handle being in a long distance relationship. (Breaks in relationships aren't real. It's a guy's excuse to go out and sleep around... I learned that the hard way.) After about a week, he asked me if we could try again. I, like an idiot, said yes. This happened every few months or so. We never actually stayed together long enough to even celebrate an actual anniversary because it didn't feel right.

All of my friends told me I was stupid, and I should have listened. Tony would constantly spend the money he would make on weed, and then I'd help him out with his bills (I'm now in debt $5000 because he wouldn't help me pay for school like he promised me he would, so I had to drop out). About a year after we got together, I was at work when he called me and left a message to call him back. I didn't know what it was about, so when I went out for a smoke break and called him, my world shattered around me. When he picked up, he told me we had to talk. That's never a good sign... I sat down on the bench outside where I worked at the time, and sobbed heavily while he was telling me he'd blacked out at a party and cheated on me (Never EVER let anyone, no matter how much you think you love them, use a mental illness like schizophrenia as an excuse to make you feel like less of a person). I lost it. I couldn't sleep or eat much for days. But, me being the idiot I am, I took him back (This happened eight more times that I know of after this, but I didn't find out about five of them until almost four years into the relationship).

The beginning of October rolled around—my birthday month—and he broke up with me again. I was spending time in his city with a few of my friends for my birthday week. I was so depressed over him leaving me again that I was becoming somewhat of a drunk. I don't think I spent much time sober that week. He asked me to go back to him the night before my birthday. I, stupidly, said yes. Some people are really good at tricking you into thinking they love you, especially if you're a naïve 18-year-old. (Don't let yourself go through this, ladies. They don't love you... They love the idea of you. They love having control over who you are. I lost myself hardcore throughout the course of this relationship.)

Things went smooth for a few months until he wanted to take another "break." That one lasted about three weeks. He said he was having issues with graduating on time and needed to focus on that instead of a relationship. (Don't let your man or woman use their education as an excuse, especially if you know they're on track to graduate or make all their deadlines.) We got back together once I realized how difficult it was to be without him... I had become so dependent on this boy. I became dependent on the boy who told me I needed to shave before he would touch me. I became dependent on the boy who used every excuse in the book to go off and sleep with other people simply because I was two and a half hours driving distance away. I became dependent on being with him because I couldn't think for myself when I was with him.

A couple months after our second anniversary, I decided I was going to get a piercing. My mom took me to get my septum pierced. I sent him a picture, and he said he could get used to it, but he "really doesn't like facial piercings." (Ladies, do whatever the hell you want with your body. Your body, your choice. Not someone else's). The time came for me to get my second and third tattoos. He and I were building a really nice collection of tarantulas, and I wanted something a little more dangerous. I wanted a black widow. I knew someone I could get them from, and I knew how to take care of them without dying. Tony wouldn't go for it, but he was completely okay with having tarantulas that could kill you. So I decided to get a couple of black widows tattooed on my back. He didn't touch me for a month, even after they were healed.

Skip forward to when I got my Pokémon starters tattooed down my leg in September of that year... He told me it was the dumbest idea I'd ever had, and he didn't know if he would be attracted to me after I got them done (I didn't let that stop me, of course, though I was crushed). He would hardly look at me while they were healing. The entire process took about three months with the coloring sessions.

One night, shortly after my last session of color for my tattoos, his grandparents invited me over for dinner. I was visiting my dad, so I didn't have a problem with it. We were all hanging out and having a good time. He went into his room to check on the tarantulas after we got done eating, and I felt a stinging pain right on one of my tattoos I'd just gotten touched up. I screamed out in pain and he started cracking up telling me that if I hadn't moved when I did, he wouldn't have hit me with the BB (When you're in an abusive relationship, everything is your fault).

Come around his birthday time in March, he wanted to take another "break." I understood because I was swamped with work. I had just been made manager, and I was running an entire store pretty much by myself half the time. I thought nothing of the fact that it was his 18th birthday and he was having a party with some friends... That was another mistake. He told me flat out before we got back together that he'd slept with someone else and that was the only reason why he wanted to take a break in the first place. But, once again, I still took him back.

I found out in November of that year that he'd cheated on me again, and again he was using his schizophrenia as an excuse. I believed him, but I drove to see him and we talked it out for a while that night. By this point in our relationship, we'd broken up at least seven times and we'd seen other people a couple of times. We always ended up gravitating back to one another. Toxic people have a way of drawing you in and changing everything about you to tailor to their needs and wants.

Things went well, from what I knew, for a few months. He just started a new job, so he was struggling with money. I helped him out with his phone bill and added him on to my plan... I was stuck paying a bill of $150 a month. I got tired of it and separated him off my plan. When I did that, I turned my phone off and got with a different service provider and he took over his own phone bill. After a while, it got a little expensive for me on my plan because I made a job switch. I was a server, and servers don't exactly make a lot of money when they're starting out. By this time, we'd been together for just over three years.

When I became a server, he was constantly complaining about my hours and how I needed to find an actual job because I wasn't making enough money. I knew I wasn't, but I was getting there. Within a month, I was pulling in about $15 an hour. Around the middle of August that year, we'd broken up again after finding out we had chlamydia. He came clean about everything... He told me he'd cheated on me nine times throughout the course of our relationship, and he used his being schizophrenic and drunk as an excuse. I was livid. I went off on him. Unfortunately, he told me all of this while I was sitting in the parking lot at work doing my makeup. I was so mad, I was crying. My best friend at the time was telling me he isn't worth it, and for a minute I believed her. He and I argued for about an hour over the phone.

About a week passed, and I was super lonely. I ended up getting back with him. (I know, I know... What was I thinking, right?) I went and moved in with him, transferred jobs, anything I could do to make him happy. No matter what I did, though, nothing was ever good enough, just like with the rest of the relationship. I lived with him until shortly after December started. I'd realized I made a mistake moving out of my parent's place. So, I went back home, which is where I should have been in the first place. I started partying again, and I found myself at one of my ex's houses helping him out with some photo shoots he wanted to do. Tony and I had been arguing because he wasn't happy with the photography I was helping my friend out with (BDSM photos. I don't regret doing it at all because for once in four years, I finally felt beautiful). He'd told me to just have fun and enjoy myself because he didn't give a f**k. And that's exactly what I did. I turned my phone off, and started in with the pictures. I didn't feel like going home that night, so I stayed the night there. I had some fun, and I didn't regret it. I slept with my ex that night (I'm not condoning cheating, but at the time, my mindset was "An eye for an eye").

I don't know if he ever found out, but come December after I went back home, I was at this ex's house again for his 21st birthday. I was at the point of not caring anymore. I drank a lot, and after the friend I went with left, I decided I'd join in on doing some lines. This continued on for a while, probably about six months. I was having fun, and, most importantly, I was finding myself again. Tony and I had been broken up since shortly before our fourth anniversary in January, and while I was lonely, I didn't think much of him. He emailed me a lot and we argued a lot. The emails finally stopped when he came to one of my friend's houses and we sat down and talked for a while. Everything he said, while I listened, was complete bull. I got what little he kept back from him, minus, of course, my video games, and we went on our way. The emails continued while he was on his way home, but I paid them no mind.

After being in a relationship like this one and moving to a relationship with someone who says they love me and proves it every minute of the day, I can finally say I'm proud of myself. I went from being belittled for everything I did to being praised for almost everything I do. And here are my ten reasons why I will never let this happen to me again.

Reason 1:

I deserve better. I have better now. If Tony were to come back into my life now, I would be able to tell him to get a life. I've found myself again, I have a good job, and I'm in my own place now.

Reason 2:

No one needs to go to bed at night and wake up in the morning feeling like they're not good enough. When you get cheated on, you start to look at every little thing YOU did wrong in the relationship rather than what was actually going wrong in the relationship.

Reason 3:

I feel beautiful now. I'm finally comfortable in my own skin. I felt like I couldn't do anything with my body when I was with Tony, and now I have nine piercings, and my Pokémon tattoos are well on their way to covering the entirety of my right leg.

Reason 4:

I'm not as financially drained anymore. I'm able to pay my bills on time, for the most part. I have my own apartment with my friends, and I have a good vehicle and I'm able to make my payments on it and my car insurance.

Reason 5:

I'm able to go out and do things that I want to do. When I was with Tony, he refused to go to Pride Fest with me. He said he would rather go out and skate those days because that's when Go Skate Day is. He never did anything I wanted to do unless I was paying for it or I begged him to go with me.

Reason 6:

I can listen to whatever music I want. I'm really into a band called New Year's Day. I have been for years. Tony never wanted to listen to them, never went to their concerts with me, and didn't approve of it when I dyed my hair like their lead singer's. Now, I can listen to them whenever I want to, and I can actually get excited to tell someone when I got to meet them at a concert.

Reason 7:

I lost myself when I was with him. I lost friends because of him. Even after we broke up for the last time, he took a majority of my friends with him because they took his side in the breakup. Most of my friends when I was with him were his friends he'd known since he was a kid. I lost all of them when I left him.

Reason 8:

I can spend my money the way that I want. I don't have to worry about having enough money for food because I'm paying for someone else's things.

Reason 9:

I'm not killing myself anymore trying to balance out life and work. I work as much as I need to, and I'm able to spend time with my husband when I can.

Reason 10:

I have found peace with myself. Yeah, I'm still working towards getting where I want in my life, but I'm only 22 years old, and I've got more going for me than he ever will.