[TW: toxic relationship, domestic violence]
When I was 15 years old, I thought I had found my first love. Just like any other person that age, I was pretty dumb and naive when it came to boys — let alone being in a relationship with one. With this being said, I learned a lot over the course of two years while dating my first boyfriend.
I was a sophomore in high school when I became completely infatuated with my first love (let’s call him Jake). My parents never approved of him for many reasons ( now, I understand why), so we never spent time together. Despite this, I was still head over heels for him. Jake and I would text all day and FaceTime every night before bed. Eventually, this interaction wasn’t enough to please Jake, so I decided to start sneaking out to spend time with him. This was obviously a bad idea, and it didn’t end well for me.
After visiting Jake a few times, I was quick to notice that he wasn’t the good guy that I thought he was. Jake was constantly trying to pressure me into doing things I certainly was not ready for, especially when I was only 15. However, when I would say no, Jake would get angry and threaten to cheat or break up with me. Of course, I didn’t want this, so being the dumb, love-struck teenage girl I was, I felt as if I had no option but to comply with whatever he wanted.
This toxic cycle of control and manipulation persisted for almost a year and a half before I finally decided that I had had enough. I was done. I was tired of crying myself to sleep all the time. I no longer wanted to deal with the lies, the cheating and the sneaking around. I didn’t want to hear his hateful words or deal with his anger when I did something he didn’t like. After several months, I finally mustered up the courage to break up with Jake.
It took a long time for me to be okay again. I spent a lot of time reflecting on the valuable lessons I had learned throughout my relationship. I now know that I should have never put up with the stuff that I did, and I definitely shouldn’t have had to go through the emotional trauma that I went through. I learned that I am worthy of love and respect, and I should not settle for less than I deserve.
It’s now been almost two years since I broke up with Jake, and it’s been the best decision I’ve ever made. I have grown from a naive, timid girl into a strong, confident woman, and I honestly couldn’t be happier. For anyone who is struggling with a toxic relationship, or if you are experiencing domestic violence, visit https://www.thehotline.org/ to get help today.