People say love makes you blind. But in my case - love was blind, dumb and deaf. No other reason for me to ignore all the signs that pointed towards danger. We started dating back when I was 18, enamoured by his charm, I had left the last shred of my self-respect behind. Teenagers often make that mistake, investing in relationships far more than what is healthy. Or that’s what I would think in retrospect.
It started out small, with passive aggressive fights over his objectifying taste in music and the loud obnoxious way in which he often described his not-so-smart female classmates. Then the fights got worse, the arguments shifting in my favor and him half heartedly apologising for being insensitive.
“Women should stick to staying at home. I don’t understand why these girls with large cars can’t just get a driver. Would make the roads safer for sure.”
Doesn't that sentence make you cringe? Now imagine that on replay for another two years. When confronted about it he said he had ‘scientific proof’ to support this ‘fact’ and I was overreacting. I let it go, over and over again because I was in love and young, what would happen to me if I left him?
‘Bitch’ turned into a term of endearment and baby/shona/darling/jaanu went out the window. My work wasn’t good enough, he always needed to ‘fix’ the mistakes I was making. Being in the same field did not help my situation. I was Alice in a nightmarish wonderland and not the cool Tim Burton kind but the one straight out of a Ramsay horror movie.
Maybe it was me, I could have been nicer to him, explaining basic human rights and respect for women. But basically, I didn’t connect to his music, or his idea of romance, or the gentleman facade he put on with tones of sexism. (“I’ll make you tea today, but just this once!”)
If I sound like a bitter ex-girlfriend then that’s because I am! After years of carrying the extra baggage of a relationship with no respect, I decided to dump it, and surround myself with better people. I wish I had someone who showed me how to pick up the pieces and trust my gut instinct. It is safe to say that I am happier now, but I hate that he’ll never know that he wasn’t right.
Just in case you are reading this, here are a few books to give you a little introduction to self respect, since I couldn’t give it to you while we were dating!