Since I’ve started dating my Boyfriend–which, admittedly, has not been for very long–I’ve had (not had, but rather felt the need) to explain myself quite a few times.
The Night which started all of this, I slept in his bed. We were fully clothed, he was drunk, and I was wide awake at 4AM.
I distinctly remember the silence, and the light coming in from his bedroom window.
“I am very broken,” I told him. “Like, I have a lot of problems. I feel like you don’t know what you’re getting into.”
He turned, threw an arm around my stomach, and mumbled, “I may not understand, but I’ll always listen to you.” I may or may not have fallen a little bit in love.
I explained myself when we were baking cookies.
“Do you not roast me the way you roast other people because you don’t think I can handle it?” I asked.
“Well you reacted pretty badly when I told you I was going to punch you in the face–which is something I say to everyone.” It’s something I say to everyone. But I had to explain.
“My ex-boyfriend had–never towards me–but, he would have violent reactions when we would get into fights. So I don’t like having violence directed towards me.”
I didn’t have to expand anymore. I can’t decide if it’s relieving or terrifying when he just…believes me. Not that I’m lying. But, rather, I’m not sure if he wants to hear it or not. Not sure if I should talk about it or not.
My ex-boyfriend did have violent reactions when we got into fights. He would put holes through his walls. He would punch things until his knuckles bled. He would inflict pain on himself.
I hate when you do that, I would tell him. It scares me.
But I would never hurt you, he would say. Not that I ever believed him. He bruised me, once, when we had been in a tickling match. He grabbed both of my wrists, and didn’t let go even when I asked him to. And even after I bruised, he never apologized. Just stared at them. Told me I shouldn’t have tickled him.
I explained myself today, when we were the only two left at our Frat table.
“My ex-boyfriend used to tell me that he couldn’t see us being together long-term. And I would just take it, and beg him, and try my best to convince him that we would be. Because I thought that was the best I was going to get.”
And I couldn’t look at him as I said it. I’m so embarrassed that I let myself get there, that I let someone break me so much.
“So I never think of things long term. Because I’ve been taught to assume that the other person isn’t thinking of it long term, either.”
He took that. He understood it.
I didn’t talk about the endless and countless nights we spent parked in front of his house.
I think I just want to be alone forever. I don’t want to spend my life with someone I met when I was seventeen. But I don’t want to break up.
And I would cry. And beg. And he would stay.
I explained myself in his bed, the night we got together.
“I have only ever known unhealthy, manipulative, obsessive relationships.”
I explained myself when I told him I was convinced he didn’t like me anymore.
“If you go longer than four hours without talking to me I usually assume you don’t like me anymore. And logically I understand that’s not what it means, but I have never had a healthy amount of communication.”
We haven’t had this discussion yet, but when my Ex dumped me the first time, he told me he’d been miserable for months. He told me that he took my virginity because he thought it would make him feel better about the relationship, and that it didn’t.
I don’t talk about my feelings from my sex life with my Ex. I don’t think I’ll ever recover from him saying that. That I, terrified and hopeful and unsure and “in love,” was stupid enough to give my body to someone who threw it aside and used it without a thought absolutely disgusts me. I’m so terrified of doing that again.
My Ex told me I was toxic. That I was crazy. That I was hard to love. Maybe I was.
See, I am not the victim from that relationship. I was just as awful to him as he was to me, and I know that.
I would talk about guys I found attractive because I knew it irked him. I would monopolize his time because I wanted him to myself.
Towards the end, I wanted him to hurt just as much as he hurt me. It got ugly. I got ugly.
I am not proud of how weak I let myself become while I was with him. I am not proud of who I became while I was with him. I am not proud of who I loved for the first time.
I don’t know how to say that to my Boyfriend. Don’t know how to explain how terrified and fragile I feel about the relationship. How scared I am to be hopeful. How unwilling I am to believe that it’s real. I have been so reluctant to address my feelings on that relationship. I talk about it the way I do my Dead Father–as facts, not feelings.
But I think it’s time I change that.
This felt like a pretty good start. I cried while writing it. Which can only mean progress, right?