I have written about why I stayed, but that’s only half of the story. The other half is what finally made me leave. I’m not sure where my experience falls, but here it is. This is why I finally left.
It was no secret that I had been unhappy in the relationship for the vast majority of it. A few months before the breakup, I moved back to Williamsburg. I couldn’t handle the boredom, the fighting, or anything else that was going on when I was living with him. Once I was physically removed from him, the problems in the relationship and my utter unhappiness because of it became all the more apparent.
Our communication became a few text messages exchanged at night. As much as I asked him to use Facebook to communicate with me or come to see me or anything else, he thought that was all silly and refused. In the 8 months that was living in Williamsburg, he came to visit me once. And he stayed for only a few hours because he had not been responsible enough to get his medication filled at the proper time and had to leave to go get it. As we grew apart I realized just how tied down I was to him.
I had gone to a skeptic meetup one night where we played cards. After we finished a group of us talked for a bit about failed relationships and warning signs that you really needed to get out. I listened silently because it was all making too much sense to me. On the drive home, I started to really think about my relationship. Part of myself told me not to. Because I knew what conclusion I would come to. I already knew.
But I forced myself to examine what was going on and how I felt about it. I looked at what was happening in my life and how unhappy I had been for so long. I examined the sacrifices I had made and the things I had gone through for this man that wouldn’t get on Facebook to comment on one of my photos. And after I thought about it, I came to the conclusion that I had been dreading for years; I needed to break up with him.
I can’t explain what happened, but it’s like a switch flipped in my head. Suddenly, all of the reasons I had for staying were null and void. Whereas before all I could think about was how difficult my life would be without him, now all I could think about was how much better my life would be if he wasn’t in it. I knew that being single again wasn’t going to be easy, especially since I was so focused on marriage and was so close to attaining that goal. But I knew that it was worth the risk to find happiness.
Walking away was one of the easiest things I’ve ever done. Once I made up my mind that it was over, there was no going back. I had put up with too much for too long and the idea of staying for even one more day was too much to comprehend. After everything that I had given, I had nothing left. Including the ability to fear what would happen to me afterward.
But if all of my reasons for leaving weren’t enough, what really cemented that the relationship was over, beyond a shadow of doubt, was how he acted after the breakup. At first he whined, second he complained, finally he bullied, manipulated, lied, insulted and called me names all within the space of a few days of my leaving. If that wasn’t enough, after calling me a crazy fucking bitch, he sent me an email about how much he loved me and didn’t want me to end things like this because he cares about me so much. Classic abusive behavior. If I wasn’t convinced before, I certainly was after that.
Now that things have drastically changed for me, it’s hard to look back at what happened and know that I put up with things that I never should have. But for all of my regrets for not getting out sooner, I just wasn’t ready. I couldn’t have done it. I would have ended up back with him if we broke up and probably would have been worse off. Whatever switch was flipped in my head to make me see the opposite side of things, that’s what I needed. I got out as soon as I could.
And that’s why I left.