We met through a friend when I was 17 and he was 18 turning 19. I was in 11th grade, he was in 12th, and we attended different schools. At first, he was sweet and shy, supportive of my friendships, and patient when dealing with my depressive episodes. Things were like this for about a year and a half.
About a year and a half into the relationship, I asked for a week of space as I was dealing with a lot of stress. It was nearing my final exams and I was having some issues with friends. He seemed to respect my choice but after a week of little contact, something we had agreed on, he suddenly accused me of cheating on him. I had no clue where he was getting this from but when I confronted him he claimed the friends I was having issues with had brought him proof. I assured him I was faithful to him and quickly distanced myself from the friends. I had no clue at the time that he had been lying and had been the whole reason the issues with these friends had began. Not long after this, a girl from my school came to me telling me to back off and said that they had hooked up over the week he and I had been separated. I confronted him right away but he talked me into believing this girl was lying and had been stalking him. Like every lie he told I believed him because I loved him and I continued to think I could fix things.
After this things seemed to calm down but soon he began pressuring me into sex. I had lost my virginity to him and we were sexually active, but when I started saying I wasn’t in the mood he began forcing me. I stopped fighting after awhile and just took it. I knew I was being raped, I knew it was wrong, but when I tried to reach out for help I was told I was over exaggerating. So I stayed quiet about our bedroom behaviour.
At this point we had been together almost three years, and it would almost take me another year to get myself out of this relationship. The friends I looked to for support shrugged me off and both our parents had no clue. His parents held him on a pedestal and at the time I had no clue how to bring these sorts of things up to my parents. One day we were hanging out and he admitted to picking up a prostitute while in the city for work. He was a construction worker at the time. I immediately thought back to the girl in high school and wondered if she had been telling the truth. I told him I wasn’t happy and he tried to convince me that the prostitute was just a friend. I doubted his story but didn’t have the strength to keep questioning. My trust in him was dwindling by the time he came home one day claiming someone had died on the jobsite he was on and that this man had a fiance and a young baby and was a friend. I cried and so did he but when I passed this news on to a family friend who supervised these job sites he stated there had been no deaths. I waited to confront him about this but when I did he admitted he had lied simply because I had light heartedly made fun of his new hair cut. He said that he had wanted to make me feel bad and this was apparently the logical way to do it.
My trust was gone and it would only be about a month before I called him from home one night and told him I was done. About an hour later he was at my door asking me to come outside. My mother was at work and my dad was asleep. I came out but refused to go far as it was cold and rainy. He demanded to see my phone, accused me again of cheating on him. I told him calmly he was overreacting and we could talk when he calmed down. He kept going on and began to cry, saying he had been raped by an ex, then claiming to have been raped by family members and I should care about him and stay with him. All these stories had come up before in our relationship and like the death of his coworker, had been lies. I tried to explain to him there was no way I could trust him after the lies. Told him I was done talking to him until he could calm down, that I was calling his parents to come get him. He kept going, sobbing, playing the victim.
When his mother’s van pulled up he got quiet then kept asking for one last hug and kiss. I didn’t want him touching me. I told him he needed to go home that we would talk when he was calm. He hesitated and I told him if he didn’t leave I would call the police. He left. I went inside to find my dad awake. He had been watching from the window, keeping an eye on me. I am thankful for that because I was terrified. An hour or so later, his sister came to my parents door demanding I speak with her. I obliged. She was understandably upset and began accusing me of cheating and driving her brother to go home and binge drink. I told her she could believe what she wished but that her brother needed help regardless. She left. The next day he called. Seemingly calm and level headed but insistently pressing we get back together. I hung up on him when he continued to fail to hear me. He called several times after but I ignored him. A few weeks went by, and then I got a call from him saying he had been in the hospital. He told me he had taken one of his rifles and shot himself. I didn’t believe him and he quickly slipped and admitted he was at a bar then tried to convince me to join him. I declined.
For weeks, he continued to call and text me and harass the few friends we shared. I parted ways with these friends to distance myself. Eventually, when I returned his belongings to his parents when he wasn’t home the calls stopped. A half a year had passed and despite still being wary of running into him I began hiking again. I’ve always been an avid hiker and I refused to let him keep taking away from my life. One day in the woods I noticed I was being followed. I thought it was coincidence but a week later it happened again and with my camera I was able to use the zoom to catch a glimpse of who it was. It was him and I cut my hike short. But a few weeks later I went back. I was half convinced it was just a coincidence it was him as he used to hike with me in the same area. However I caught him following me again and it’s now been well over three years and I haven’t returned to those woods.
Looking back, at some point I knew what was happening and that it wasn’t right and that he was manipulating me. I was scared to speak up as my attempts had fallen on deaf ears. I would learn later I had just trusted the wrong people. I had even become suicidal near the end of our relationship.
Today I feel stronger. I still hold some fear as I have seen him around town but the fear is more for the next poor girl who falls under his spell. I am hopeful he has gotten help but am very doubtful. I have since entered a new relationship. There have been ups and downs but nothing compared to what I went through with him. My new partner has played a huge part in helping me heal, showing me what a healthy relationship can be and being patient as I learn to trust again. My family still doesn’t know every detail of what went on within my ex and I’s relationship but I know they knew all along something was off, but like me were hopeful things would change.
To anyone experiencing abuse… Keep fighting. Don’t take it. If your fears fall on deaf ears turn to someone else and keep talking until someone listens. Don’t keep taking the abuse because you do not deserve it. It may seem like a long road, like things will never get better, like there is no love for you but believe me, there is love and kindness and care and so much more out there. You have a life past all the abuse and negativity and it’s waiting for you.