I can’t forgive myself for staying with him
When I was 19/20 I dated a guy who “wasn’t a drug dealer but knew people who were” and “wasn’t a gang member but knew people who were” - you know, that type of person. A Roadman/Wasteman - whichever you’d prefer.
At the time i got in to the relationship, I was in a very low mental state. I had extremely low self esteem - years of bullying, mental health issues and emotional abuse had done that to me (however I did not know at this point that I’d actually suffered emotional abuse - I thought the persons behaviour was ‘normal’)
I got in to the relationship. He told me he loved me pretty quickly. I was excited. This was the first time a man I liked had told me he loved me. He wanted to be my boyfriend. He had told me he’d been to prison for smuggling drugs, I overlooked it. He told me he and a few friends had beaten the shit out of someone - I blocked it out of my mind. He took me to a party full of gang members and later that week persuaded me to have sex with him in a park. I didn’t want to, but I did.
One night he came to my house, late. My parents were away. I asked him where I’d been and he told me he had to do a job, but it had fell through. I begged him to tell me what the job was. He told me that he had to wait outside a house where two groups of people would be exchanging money. His job was to see if any police were coming. He’d get paid for that. I begged him to tell me what the groups were involved in. Pimping girls, he said. I felt sick. I told him to get out of my house and that we couldn’t be together.
He left. He told me that it didn’t matter because he didn’t actually go. He told me that he was actually doing a good thing because he was taking money from the bad people, not helping them out. He told me that he was sad that he couldn’t afford to buy me anything and all he wanted was for us to be able to enjoy nice things. Then he “ghosted” me.
I was panicked and felt alone. I convinced myself he was good. I minimised his actions. He didn’t actually go ahead with the plan, therefore he did nothing wrong. But the truth is, the only reason he didn’t go ahead was because the plan fell through. He didn’t not go out of choice. But I told myself he did. He was a good guy. I told him I wanted to be with him.
He was also emotionally and verbally abusive towards me. He would call me names, tell me about the type of girls he thought were the most beautiful (all of whom looked nothing like me), talk to girls online, tell me I’d never find anyone who i loved as much as him. On one occasion, I asked him not to hurt me and he simply replied: “don’t make me hurt you again, then”.
I stayed through all of it for a number of reasons: 1, I didn’t feel I deserved any better. 2, I felt sorry for him: he would tell me about his family, how he used to have a job, how his daughter died etc 3, I was using drugs and drinking lots of alcohol 4, I needed to be wanted and loved by someone
I’m 25 now. In a relationship. I have a successful job and managed to find myself again mentallly. I look back now and see a vulnerable 19 year old girl, wanting to be loved, manipulated by a 30 year old man who should have known better. Yet, I will never forgive myself for staying.