People often ask me if I regret my relationship with my ex.
The answer, honestly, is no. He was the love of my life. He was my best friend. I was completely blind to all of his abusive tendencies, faults, and lies. Absolutely oblivious.
I don’t regret the first year and a half, or so, of our relationship. He was a great boyfriend in the beginning when he was attempting to “woo” me. He held my hand through an immense deal of pain that was caused by my previous ex boyfriend (That- my friends- is another long story, but a major lesson in why no one should ever date their coworkers). So yes, for that first year and a half, I was blissfully happy. I was in love. Straight up, head over heels, talk on the phone until five am even though you have class or work in the morning, true love.
I didn’t know it in my previous relationships, but that has been the only time in my life where I really have experienced true love. From the moment we kissed, everything in my past relationships seemed trivial, like a badly timed joke.
I do regret one huge part of my past with this horrendous ex: staying with him when he chose to go to teach English in a foreign country.
When you have something that is so true, so wonderful, you oftentimes don’t want to let it go. I should have let him go. He chose to go abroad, and I should have chosen to end it.
When six months into the trip rumors floated back to the United States that he was cheating, sparked by his sister, I chose to stay with him. When he continued to blame not talking to me or responding to my emails on a faulty internet connection and his Skype not working properly, or on myself, I still chose to stay with him. When he continued to call me fat, belittle me in public, and be mean and petty during tiny arguments, I stayed.
I was being torn apart from the inside out, and yet, I stayed with him. I can’t even explain why I did this to myself, to this very day.
Skip backwards in time to one of the last times we went out drinking before he left for Europe. We were having that awkward relationship discussion that we kept avoiding. The way he said things caused me to get triggered and have the one panic attack I’ve ever had in my entire life. He didn’t come after me when I ran away, completely panicking.
I hid behind a shack. When I was done panicking, I called him and asked him where he was. He had not come to look for me. He had called up his buddies and was drinking with them at a bar on the other side of town.
That’s my regret. We should have been over and done with in that moment. No one deserves to have a panic attack alone, behind a shed, in the middle of the rain when their boyfriend is only a block away and didn’t have the human decency to chase after them. I regret not going back and saying to him “if our relationship is not that big of a deal to you that you can’t say whether or not you care if we stay together when you go abroad, then we should be done.”
But I didn’t. I experienced almost another whole year of his torture. I experienced the rumors of him cheating six months in, and then the actual evidence that he was cheating, about eight months after that.
I hope that good people out there never go through what I went through. I hope that if you are reading this blog and someone you love is calling you names like fat or what have you and not supporting you the way you deserve to be supported that you end it. Someone who does that to another human being is not worth staying with. Someone who completely denies that they are cheating on you even when their sister has told other people that they are is not worth your time.
Someone who refuses to compromise with you and teach English in a mutually agreed upon country, or walks away when you are in the middle of a panic attack is not worth the pain.
I regret not sticking up for myself in that moment. Yes, it’s hard when you are having a panic attack to formulate the right words to convey your emotions, your feelings. I don’t regret what this feeling of regret has taught me. I was able to find the strength in me to break up, even though he was being a pussy and couldn’t do it himself, even though he chose to cheat and have a relationship with someone else and lie about it.
I’m trying to turn my regret into something productive. I’m trying to help others so that no one else will feel the pain that I have felt. I am trying to better my relationships with my friends, family, and myself so that some day, I can let the door open for a new relationship and I will be able to stand up for myself when I am being wronged.