It’s me. Again.
I’m sorry to bother you. I would ask you how you’re doing, but I don’t remember the last time you asked me how I’m doing, so I won’t.
I guess I’ll just tell you how I’m doing instead.
The tears have subsided as the days go by. I find myself focusing less and less of my time and energy on what happened. Even if the progress is minimal, it’s still progress.
It ebbs and flows. I wake up each morning having high hopes for the day. The spot where you used to lay is covered with pillows and at times I still imagine you to be there. I crawl out of bed and walk to the bathroom. I splash my face with water and scrub off the make-up residue that I failed to get off the night before.
Mornings and nights are the most difficult. This apartment still feels infested with memories that I want to forget.
When I explain you, I can only explain you in moments. Flickers of time and confusing emotions. In short stories that are difficult to keep consecutive. I’m not sure if you read my previous post about you, but I reflected on what I was doing to better myself. I was tired of you being the center of attention in my brain, so my first step of moving on was to simply stay busy. Busting my ass at work and the gym and spending more time writing and reading.
I’m not sure if this story will ever make it into the public. It still seems so fresh and so raw in my brain that writing it all down seems to pull me back from the progress I have made in moving forward.
However, the story has been eating away at me. It’s been sitting on my fingertips craving the feel of the black, plastic keys beneath it. Is silence the answer? Or is my story something worth sharing to possibly help someone else going through the same thing?
I pondered this question since everything exploded. There was still an attachment to you, and I would be lying if I said there still wasn’t. There was something holding me back. Maybe it was the Snapchat messages you’ve been sending me the past month telling me you still loved me and missed me. That you fucked up and that you’ve felt depressed and lost. That no one else understands our love and what we have. The jealous remarks you sent in response to my picture with another guy on my Story just last weekend. Those words that kept me in your circle. Your grasp.
Why Snapchat? Is it because the evidence disappears? Because to everyone, I am a “mistake,” right? Sorry, maybe I shouldn’t have mentioned them in that case. Secret’s safe with me.
I have spent a lot of time reflecting on the course of our relationship. Remembering every detail but struggling to find the words to make sense of it all. I’ve spent hours with my therapist understanding what happened and why I kept going back to you for the past year. The story is difficult to outline in a single blog post as I’m starting to come to terms the many layers of what we were.
I’m hearing and using terms like “abuse,” “harrassment,” and “sexual assault.” Words that I didn’t want to use or listen to before because I didn’t want to believe them. I held onto the small piece of you that was good to me and capitalized on that. The small glimmer of hope that you were a good guy beneath all the bullshit. That I could be the one to change you. I ignored the emotional abusive tendencies and signs of sexual harassment because I convinced myself that you weren’t capable of committing such acts. We all know how that goes.
Let’s start from the beginning.
“Wanna grab a drink?” you asked.
I, in my green elephant dress. You, in a black t-shirt and jeans. Two people at a divey bar, ordering round after round talking about themselves.
“Your eyes are beautiful. Is that orange you got in there?” you asked as you pulled my hair behind my ear.
The drinks continued as the hours passed. I think we spent about three hours in the bar when you asked if I had a boyfriend. I stared at your hand on my leg hiked up my dress and laughed. “No? Do you?”
“I live with a girl, but I’m pretty much single, we broke up,” you told me. I moved your hand off my leg and inched my bar stool away from yours. You elaborated more on your relationship and confided in me details that made me feel sorry for you.
I find myself back tracking to that night, blissfully unaware of the year that was to come. We were messed up, but it was “our kind of messed up,” you’d tell me as months passed. I found myself trudging lightly as you tried to convince me things were “complicated” at home, however, you were totally available…or so you said. Referring to your “ex” as crazy and depressed. Using mental illness as a scapegoat for why you had to still be involved to some extent. A red flag that was so apparent yet masked by my emotions and feelings towards you.
The “your ass looks great today,” comments started out as uncomfortable, but then became so normalized that I just expected it and dealt with it. I taught myself to like it.
Because I liked you. Or, maybe just the idea of you. The attention, maybe. I can’t be sure. Fucked up, I know.
This morning I looked in the bathroom mirror and cried. The tears streamed down my face after remembering the first time I allowed you back to my place. Do you remember? Let me refresh your memory.
Alcohol-induced, I started to give you a blow job.
“I don’t want to,” I paused and looked up at you. But you insisted. You know you want to Beth, you said. You gave me the look you always did, one that has weakened me far too many times to admit. I felt a pit in my stomach and stopped.
“I don’t want to,” I told you again.
You spent several minutes trying to convince me, motioning my head downwards and I reluctantly allowed you to finish in my mouth. I don’t know why I did, but it happened.
As soon as you got what you wanted, you left. The door shut behind you and I walked to the bathroom and I started to cry. I picked up my toothbrush from the glass mason jar and brushed the cum off of my teeth. I then tossed the toothbrush in the trash.
I remember the time you told me you were going to try and work things out with her.
“Ok, nice,” I replied. Angry? No. Jealous? A bit. Sad? Yes.
We distanced ourselves for a few weeks. I started to ignore the “nice ass” comments and late night phone calls and focus on myself. I went on dates and started to enjoy not being tied to someone with so much baggage.
When the “nice ass” comments stopped working, you took a different route. “You’re so pretty, Beth.” “You’re one of the smartest people I know.” “Any guy would be so lucky to have you.” “I’m single again, things just aren’t working out. I can’t stop thinking about you.”
It was 2am on a Monday night–morning, I guess? You had just unblocked my number, I think. I can’t keep track because you were always blocking and unblocking my number, although you convinced me your phone was broken or dead.
It was the night that I had finally gained the courage stand up for myself in response to your “Wyd?!” text. I didn’t ignore it like I had done for the past couple of weeks, I told you “No.” I then asked for you to stop contacting me. It was the night that I finally felt strong enough to resist you.
You didn’t like when I said “No.”
“I’ve been hiding my feelings this whole time. I love you,” was how it started. This sentence evolved into paragraphs of text messages confessing your feelings towards me.
Telling me that you wanted to be with me and only me. Apologizing for everything. Telling me that I was your soulmate. That you had never met anyone like me and that I was the only person that mattered to you. That you were ready to move past your previous relationship and pursue me “fo’ real.”
Do you remember when you stayed with me for a brief period? I welcomed you into my apartment when you had nowhere else to go. You showed up to my door with a large duffle bag and placed it next to my bed.
See babe, I did this for you, to be with you. I took a step towards a relationship with you. It’s just you and me.
I love you Beth, it’s us against the world. It feels so good to be with you.
I was hesitant when you asked me to get dinner with your parents. We were together, sort of, but it wasn’t defined. You briefly touched my neck at the dinner table grabbed my hand on the bridge afterwards in front of your family which signaled to me that maybe this was “official.”
Maybe things were turning over a new leaf.
I remember you in moments. In fragments of time that I will never be able to get back but can only grow from.
Do you remember the breakdowns I’d have? Ones that were a result of a culmination of your actions. The breakdowns that would send me to crying in the corner of my bedroom for hours on end, hating every inch of myself for allowing this shit to happen.
I sat in the corner of my bedroom next to the window wearing an oversize white t-shirt, wiping the dark make up from my eyes and bronzer from my face as tears streamed down my face. We had plans to hang out and you went MIA. Again. I begged you to come over, because, well, you had already drilled into my brain that I needed you over the course of the past several months. You had drilled into my brain that we loved each other and I was your world. I sat by my phone waiting for a response from you. Like I always did.
You came over late night and witnessed my puffy eyes and make-up stained t-shirt. You were drunk with glassy-eyes as we laid in bed together. I continued to cry and you rubbed my back trying to calm me down.
Then you started to kiss my neck. I pulled away, asking you to please stop. That I wasn’t in the mood. You backed off, only to come onto me again a few minutes later. It started with a kiss on the neck, and then led to you laying on top of me attempting to take off my clothes. I resisted for a second, but then let it happen as you continued to kiss me. The tears rolled down my face as you continued to strip me naked.
Then I asked you to stop again.
C’mon babe. You want this.
You want this.
I laid there as you inserted yourself inside me. Tears continued to fall down my face as I laid there motionless. You continued and I didn’t make you stop. You were watching me cry, touching my tear soaked skin and continued. You finished and went to sleep.
I love you babe. I’m sorry. It won’t happen again.
I ignored you when I went to NYC with my mom. I wanted a weekend away from the anxiety this relationship had caused me. You continued to text and call and it took everything in me not to respond.
I sent you an email. A long email outlining how I was feeling. Attempting to make some sort of sense of what our relationship had become. I read your long response and felt powerless to you. Again.
I want to see you walk down the aisle towards me.
I want to take back all the tears I have caused, the self-doubt. It’s always been you, Beth.
You are my soul mate.
I want to be better for you.
The back-and-forth messiness continued. I convinced myself that I loved you. That I wanted to be with you and only you. And you convinced me of the same.
Each day, you would repeat a series of sentences, teaching my brain to believe it. You’d repeat them over and over throughout the course of the day which caused me to ignore all warning signs and believe every word that came out of your mouth.
You talked to my friends about me. Telling them the same things you’d tell me. You had a story that was consistent amongst my circle. But little did I know, there were multiple stories you’d circulate through other circles, too.
He loves you so much, Beth. He has completely changed for you.
We all believed you.
We drove to the beach together. Rented a hotel room and spent the night stupid in love. We left our phones in the hotel room and walked down the boardwalk. You suggested making this a “real, official” thing and I dodged the statement. You pulled out your phone and started taking selfies of us kissing and holding each other by the water.
We drove back the next morning and I felt like I was on Cloud 9 and it felt like you were too. However, something held me back from making it a real thing. I still wasn’t sure I was ready. I needed more than a trip to the beach. I told you I was going to continue to see other people. You didn’t like that, but I guess I didn’t know what (or who) you were doing when I wasn’t around.
You can hang out with other guys, Beth. I can’t control you, but just know that I’m not seeing anyone else. I don’t want to waste my time on anyone but you.
A few days later we made it official. You were my boyfriend. Weird.
For about 3 weeks everything was perfect. I woke up next to you every morning feeling so in love and over the moon. We spent every moment we could together.
I love you so much, Beth. It feels so weird to tell people that you’re my girlfriend! But I love it. I love you.
Then that morning happened. The one I already wrote about. Waking up to messages I never wanted to see. Waking up to truths I didn’t want to believe. You laid next to me and tried to explain yourself. I tried to keep the fighting to a minimum as my roommate was asleep in the bedroom next door, but I watched you across the room as you went through your phone and deleted messages and/or any proof that solidified the evidence further. I didn’t yell, I barely even cried. I just asked you what was going on. Asked you to tell me everything. I wanted answers.
I’m not fucking deleting anything, Beth. Relax.
You left for work as I kept silent about the Hell of a morning I had just experienced. I was embarrassed to share it with anyone. Ashamed to admit that I had just told everyone how perfect everything was only for it to spiral out of my control the very next day.
You then continued to convince me that I was still the only one you wanted. That I was your one true love and you’d do anything to get me back. That the mornings you left my place for “work” and went to sleep with someone else was a lie.
You repeated the same words. Again and again. Brainwashing me into believing there was some truth behind the entirety of our relationship, or lack thereof.
That same weekend you called out of work sick to be with me and work things out. I still cannot explain the manipulative hold you had on me that made me ok with this, but I complied.
Because I loved you and you loved me, right?
I made a mistake. It’s always been you babe. Always.
We spent every waking moment of that weekend together. I was still broken, but we found ways to distract ourselves. Dinner, mini golf, sex, etc. We kept busy to pretend like this was ever a functional, healthy relationship. We didn’t leave eachother’s side for those few days.
You left my apartment for work a few days later. I expressed that I think I needed space to figure things out but at that point I was so involved that I feared I’d just come crawling back to you like I always did.
Beth, I love you so much. We are going to make this work and be back to what we were.
I listened to the door shut behind you.
That night, I texted you at work. My texts and called went ignored for hours and I knew. I didn’t want to believe it, but I knew what was going on. I knew that after a weekend of being with only me, you had to rectify your other relationship too. You needed to have both of us. This sent me into another breakdown that had become all too familiar.
The next morning you answered my call:
I was lying to you this entire time. I never loved you. You have never meant anything to me and I’m sorry for dragging on this entire time. You don’t mean anything to me. Sorry. *Click*
Have I lost you yet? Do you remember this series of events the same way I do?
I wish that was The End. Perhaps it’s the aftermath that showed your true character. The days and weeks after everything spiraled out of my control where I started to understand that beneath it all, maybe you weren’t the person I thought you were
I showed up to work at my new job after discovering more and more truths about you that made me sick to my stomach. I was mid pouring a Jack & Coke when my hands started to shake. I lost control of the soda gun and Coke sprayed all over my chest. I remembered.
You took videos of me. Of us. Two days before your phone call of telling I meant nothing to you. Do you remember that, too? Again, let me refresh your memory in case you forgot.
We attempted to “fuck away” the fucked up shit that had happened as you pulled out your phone and started to record us having sex. I had never done this before, but I allowed it to happen. You instructed me to look at the camera and said, “Tell me you love me.” I looked at the camera and said those words, then aimed it at you and had you say the same. I trusted you. You had me in your grasp, still.
You took about 8 minutes worth of footage. My face and every inch of my naked body was on your phone and it had slipped my mind. I’m not sure what triggered my brain to remember, but I rushed to the bathroom and vomited.
Then, I became scared of you. Scared of the hold you had on me. Scared of the many months I put up with your manipulative tendencies and lies.
My future was in your hands. I had an anxiety attack in the bathroom, afraid that you would leak those videos of me. Videos that were so personal and sensitive. I thought about losing my acceptance to Georgetown and never being able to obtain a real career.
That night, you had come into my work unannounced. You sat there in silence and stared at me as you ordered shots. I pretended I didn’t know you. My hands shook as I moved the shot glass across the bar towards you. I knew I needed to retrieve those videos somehow, so I kept it cool. As you were about to leave, I asked you to meet up after work to “talk.” I needed to strategize exactly how I was going to get your phone, as you never let it leave your hands.
I needed those videos.
I thought about ripping it out of your hands and throwing it into the street. I thought about just calling the cops. I thought about every scenario to get a hold of those videos. But I knew that would make you angry. You are unpredictable when you’re angry. A loose cannon.
I met up with you at a bar. I had my friend sit next door in case things went poorly. You were drunk. Fucked up drunk. Drunker than I had seen you in a long time. We sat in silence as I eventually asked you to delete those videos you had of me.
You laughed. They’re already gone. You think I want to see that shit?
I replied. Can I see that they are deleted?
You laughed again. I’m not sure what was funny about this situation but you continued to refuse to show me your phone.
I don’t want to take this further if I don’t have to, but I will.
The threat worked. You pulled out your phone and opened the camera roll.
There they were. The videos. The selfies at the beach. Everything sat there in your library staring back at me.
I instructed you to delete them, and double and triple checked that everything was gone. You wanted to keep the selfies for whatever reason, but that wasn’t worth the argument.
Then, I saw a picture of me shirtless laying on my bed that I missed the first few times.
Can you delete that? I asked.
You smirked and looked up at me. Aw, I like that one though. You look so cute.
I turned pale as you got enjoyment out of making me squirm. You laughed, again, and then deleted the photo. We went our separate ways.
I sent you a text afterwards, Thank you for deleting them. Please don’t come into my work anymore. Goodbye.
Are they deleted 🤔? You replied.
I turned pale yet again. I had fallen in love with a monster. I was still in love with a monster.
Hurt and scared, I took further action. Chalked up as “Well, this is what happens when you date people in the industry,” I felt more alone. More scared. More lost.
Revenge was not my motivating factor. What was it then? Why did I take a step further?
Simply put, to tell my story in hopes that maybe this could prevent you from doing something like this to anyone else.
I was wrong.
I sat there trying to tell my story while fighting back the tears, holding back the countless stories that I was ashamed of and kept things extremely surface level. I didn’t want to come off as sad ex girlfriend, I wanted to be an advocate for other women.
Because as a woman, that is my duty. My duty is to scratch the surface on the concrete pillars of society. It turned into a “he said, she said,” game. One that I didn’t really want to play.
“That’s what happens when you date people in this industry,” I was told.
I kept the videos a secret. I avoided terms like “manipulation” and “emotional abuse.” It was a road I had intended to go down, but couldn’t bring myself to go.
You insisted you told people the full truth about us. I believed you, again.
I love you, Beth. You know that. We love each other. I told everyone everything. They all know. I’m going to be a better man for this. For us. I have never once lied about the way I felt about you.
The weeks have gone by as I hear more and more about the truth. I have been trying to avoid conversations, but they are inevitable. The hurtful words you have spread about me, the lies that were told to cover yourself. The countless times you allowed me to believe everyone knew the truth, when in actuality, you made me out to be a fool.
It ebbs and flows. You empower me while simultaneously destroying me. You know the words to say, they way to manipulate the story and reel me back in. But the truth is, it was never about me. It was never about us. It was always about you. Being with me made you a better person, and you capitalized on that. You took advantage of my vulnerability.
I have been reflecting back on everything that happened, I have developed one truth:
I can be an advocate amidst pain. I can use my story to empower other women.
You took many things from me, but you didn’t break my spirit.
I think about the times I spoke so highly of you, having your back and being the shoulder to cry on (literally) when life stressed you out. The time we shopped for your new apartment together, making phone calls and finding the best deal for you. The times I kept quiet about your secrets and personal life.
I believed in you. I empathized with you. I stuck behind you.
I don’t know if you’ll ever read this, if you do, I’m sure you’ll find a way to twist it. And that’s ok. You don’t seem to know any better. To some, I am your ex that you still love and want to be with. To some, I was a “mistake,” and to others I’m just another girl who wanted your dick. I can’t change or control what you say. I can only control my reactions to it all.
Before I go, I do want to educate you in hopes that it might bring some light to the dangers of what you do to women:
Emotional abuse. What is it and how do you deal with it? Emotional abuse bears no physical marks, but instead inflicts mental scarring that forces you to think a certain way. It’s a form of manipulation, but manipulation with intent to damage parties involved.
I’m trying to pinpoint one instance of emotional abuse, but I suppose the entire thing was. You inserting yourself into my life even when I asked you not to. The hold and power you knew you had on me and using that to your advantage. Grouping us as one paying no regard to my personal feelings.
We love each other. We will be together.
I told you I no longer felt like myself. That I was smarter than this and I can figure out why I kept putting up with it. Your response was always, “There’s a pull between us that will always be there.”
That “pull” you’re referring to, that “pull” is emotional abuse.
I encourage you to read this article with stories of other women to see if you can extract anything from it:
In trying to please abusive men, they’ve made so many adjustments and accommodations that no sense of self is left. This is how some abusive men manage to coerce their partners, Loring says: “A woman can be so emotionally abused that she doesn’t have the confidence to say ‘Whoa.'”
I think you told people that I always knew I was the side chick and I was okay with it. That brings me to my next point:
Abusive manipulation. Is that the same thing as emotional abuse? Umm, sort of. They often go hand in hand. But in my eyes, manipulation usually involves multiple other parties outside of the relationship too. The way you twisted your wrongdoings as something that was my fault. The excuses for your behavior involving blaming others, crossing boundaries and ignoring requests. Using and manipulating my emotions into something that fueled your fire of lies and fabricated stories. Repeating statements to me every single day, training to my brain to believe them as truth.
Trust me? Wait, how did that happen? How did you twist this into making me seem like the least trustworthy one? You made me feel ashamed of my sexual history.
Here’s another article worth reading:
“Everyday Feminism” should be appealing to you. You’re a feminist, right? That’s what you’d tell me all of the time.
Repeatedly gaslighted into believing my feelings were wrong, I grew remorseful for feeling them. Conversations would start with me believing he’d hurt me and end with me apologizing for getting hurt.
He’d convince me I was not only too hard on him, but also myopic. “Life is too short to get mad,” he’d say. “Can’t we just enjoy this nice day together?”
Sexual Assault. A “gray” area to most. To me, it’s pretty cut and dry. If a person says “No,” one time, that should be the end of it. If a person doesn’t seem totally into it, that should be the end of it. Am I wrong? What’s your opinion on it?
Emotional abuse and manipulation usually play direct roles in “consensual” sexual assault. But…it’s consensual? Right? So it’s fine?
Here’s one more article I want you to read:
How to know it’s consensual:
- Look for visual clues – Does the other person seem excited or happy? Are they smiling? Or do they seem scared or unsure?
- Check body language – Is the other person seem to be in a positive mood or have high-energy? Or do they seem tense and uncomfortable?
- See if they’re engaged in the sexual act – Is the other person proactively kissing or touching you? Or are they still and only move if you ask them to
I want to shed light on one more issue. If you have the time, of course.
Victim blaming. I don’t expect everyone to read this and understand how and why I allowed this behavior to happen for so long. It brought me back to my ex-boyfriend from freshman year of college. Woah, you allowed TWO men to do this to you?! What’s wrong with you?
Some will read this and call me “stupid” or “ignorant.”
You should have known he was pursuing two women at the same time.
You should have known he was engaging in unprotected sex with both parties (sometimes in the same day).
You should have read all of the warning signs in front of your eyes and acted on it.
“The core of victim-blaming is that we don’t want to feel out of control,” she says, since being victimized – or learning that someone else was victimized – threatens to shatter the illusion that we’re always in control of what happens to us; and it runs counter to a notion rooted deeply in our society, Engel says. “Fighting for our freedom, being independent, fighting against someone controlling us – we have a whole history of that.”
All I knew was the person I thought you could be. The person that I loved, or thought I did. The small percentage of “good” that you were. The person you convinced me to believe in.
Part of me fears how you will react to this. I’m sure there will be personal information shared about me. Maybe emails or texts you find in your iCloud. Any evidence that pins me as someone I’m not and pulls the attention away from yourself.
That’s not how you fix yourself and become a better person. I’m not sure if you know that.
You molded me into someone I didn’t recognize.
I know you don’t like to read, but I hope you read this piece in entirety. I hope it sounds familiar to you. I know there are two versions to every story. But, I don’t believe there are two stories to abuse and I hope you believe that too.
The intent of this letter is not to fix you, it’s to educate you. To outline the story in front of your eyes. To outline my truth and my experience and hopefully shed light on an issue that gets tossed under the rug with so many relationships these days.
Is there a way to fix you? With time and therapy, I hope so. I hope that you exercise human compassion and become an advocate for women some day. I hope you stop referring to women as “bitches” and “cunts” for having an opinion. That someday you believe that women are not below you and you use your intelligence towards making a positive difference in this world.
I hope you become a better person for all of this. I think you can do it. You are intelligent.
I’d like to think all humans are capable of changing their behavior for the better. Maybe I’m naïve, but we’re all born into this world as good people. It’s our experiences and actions that can turn into negative and destructive habits.
Take this letter and do what you will. I can only hope you use it for good.
Wassup everyone! Thanks of reading that. I think that was the longest piece I’ve ever written, so kudos for sticking through it. Some things I’d like to highlight.
- Stand up for yourself, especially as a woman. Speak up against men who attempt to fuck the progress we’ve made thus far. Maybe they won’t listen or understand, but at least you said your part. You scratched the surface.
- We are ALL prone to emotional abuse. No person is immune to it regardless of sex, race, or sexual orientation. Educate yourself on warning signs how to be proactive.
- Don’t let anyone normalize abusive behaviors. Don’t let them convince you that it could have been avoided and that it was your fault for continuing to pursue it. Educate them instead. Tell your story. What they do with it is up to them.
- It’s not easy to move on from these types of relationships. Why didn’t you just stop talking to them? (See #3). There will be times that you still feel weak and attached and that’s just a ripple effect. Do your best not to act on it. Distract yourself.
- You are good enough, know that. I keep asking myself “Why?” “Why wasn’t I good enough for him?” Try to remember that this isn’t about you. You can’t fix someone if they don’t want to fix themselves. This a psychological imbalance we’re talking about here that that justifies abusive behaviors. I don’t have time for that. Neither do you.
- Date feminists. A real feminist. Like, not the kinds of dudes who say there are feminists but then fail to vote in an election involving Trump because they “dislike both parties.” This is a recipe for disaster. *cough*
- There are more good people in this world than shitty people. Hard to believe, I know. But, it’s true. Don’t write off all men because of the actions of one. Just know you can do better. Easier said than done.
- Do something ever day to make a difference. Engage in progressive conversations. Surround yourself with people who not only make society better but YOU better. Challenge yourself and others. Start a conversation. Be an advocate in your own way.
WOOF almost at 6k words. Thanks y’all. You’re beautiful and awesome and cool and wonderful people. Be with people who remind you of that.