Written by: Anonymous

Hey you, it’ll be confusing when it first happens.

Your new boyfriend will pull you out of a club (that you just paid an exorbitant amount for both you and him to get into) and he’ll tell you it’s because he didn’t trust the people you were with. You’ll be confused because they were his friends but you’ll go along with it and make your way home with him. 

On the way back he’ll change the story and tell you it’s because you were being a ‘miserable c*nt’ the whole night. You scream at each other in the street in front of his parents house, in a city you’ve never been to before, and the night ends with him slamming the bedroom door to go have a cigarette and then returning with a sudden urge to be near you (to have sex with you) and then he passes out. 

You will wake up confused as to what the fight was even about. How it started made so little sense, and the screaming seemed to come naturally to him whereas you’ve never yelled like that in your entire life. Whether you bring it up or not I can’t remember. But what I do know is that it won’t be the last time or the worst. 

Fast forward a few months down the line and you’ll get a letter taped to the front door of your flat complaining about noise through the night. You and him will laugh it off as stuffy neighbours with nothing better to do, but you have a sneaking suspicion it’s to do with nights like the one that happened a week prior. You lay in bed after a drunken night out, another fight that started out of nowhere and him standing over you shouting that he was going home and that he hated to be around you. Then the loudest slam of a bedroom door you’ve ever heard. You beg him in your front doorway to stay because he’s inebriated and there’s no way he could walk home.

Notably, a few minutes later you’ll be in bed and you’ll tell him you don’t want to have sex. A hand will slip down your pants, you tell him to stop and get upset so he says “I stopped then though didn’t I”. You’ll have sex anyway and he passes out on top of you. Later you’ll sit in the bathroom and cry in the dark. 

Soon he’ll stop having sex with you altogether. Weeks turn into months of trying to work out why and every time your told that you don’t understand despite trying so hard to. You’ll be screamed at that there’s no need to make him feel bad about the relationship’s lack of sex life “just because you’re self-conscious”. This makes you feel horribly guilty and wrong, something you carry with you for the rest of the relationship. 

At this point you’re regularly lending him easily over £150 a month. He can’t seem to keep his money in the bank (even though he earns more than you), and eventually, you just start to send money in lump sums because it’s too stressful to try and keep track of all the things you buy him. He doesn’t care about keeping track of how much he owes you despite how many times you ask him to. I know that you’re told you can always say no to lending him money but you don’t feel as though you can because of how often he retorts that the two of you are ‘a team’- a motto which was once a cute symbol of how the relationship was meant to work, but let me assure you the phrase is a weapon used against you.

There’s the time you don’t wanna pay for a taxi home from the club in the early hours of the morning. The only option is the bus in 35ish minutes and you say let’s just get that and that you’re sorry for not wanting to pay for the taxi. You feel the air change as you say it. The next 40 mins are some of the more scary and confronting minutes of your life. 

He begins shouting that 30 minutes until the bus “may as well be 30 years.” You stand behind the bus shelter in the dark and barely say a word as he screams at you about something along the lines of how angry he is that he has to take the bus and how detestable you are for making him do it. A man in his forties stops as he’s walking past to ask if you specifically are okay. Your boyfriend goes quiet and stares at the ground while you tell the man thank you but you’re fine. He seems unwilling to walk away probably because of the tears in your eyes and the way your shoulders are hunched as you try to protect yourself from the cold, so you sternly say again (because your loyalty to your boyfriend won’t let you do otherwise) “everything’s fine, thank you.” 

The man walks away and your boyfriend starts up again. You say someone “literally just stopped in the street to see if I was okay.” He replies “I don’t care you can f*cking go off with him then.” You tell him he’s using you as a verbal punching bag and that you’re going to walk home to your house. He chases you across the street and grabs your scarf and it pulls tightly around your neck before unravelling off you completely, you turn to face him and push him away from you and then he starts punching himself in the head repeatedly.

After this night you stay together a few more months. Things stay as they are and you will gradually become more and more anxious and reclusive from the world. Attempts are made at breaking up. One time you say that you feel unsafe around him but that you don’t actually want to break up with him, he replies “just don’t then” and you stay. 

Eventually he will cheat but it’s not that bit that’s abusive. It’s the hiding it, telling you you’re crazy, looking into your eyes and saying “I would never do that,” getting other people to lie for him and making up fake scenarios to cover for his actions. It will leave you questioning reality and you’ll spend sleepless nights wondering how you could be on FaceTime to him showing him a present you bought for him and ten minutes later he was in an Uber to f*ck someone else. And after all that for a little while after you will be still unable to leave, and even after all he’s done neither will he. 

My past self I cannot save you, however, in retrospect you will look back and realise all these moments and so much more were not okay and that none of it was your fault.

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