I did not know what an abusive relationship was until many months after I got out of one.
I was traveling with some new friends and we were talking about our ex-boyfriends.
Everything was casual until I brought up how my ex-boyfriend told me, a virgin in every sexual respect, that if we did not have a sexual relationship, he would leave.
Or how he told me it was disgusting if any part of me was not shaved.
Or how when I made him upset, he would tell me he didn't care about me and would proceed to ignore me for days.
Or how he would yell at me whenever I cried because I was "too emotional."
For instance, I sobbed when he told me he was enlisting and he reacted by telling me that I was "fucking stupid."
All that, and he was still the one who broke up with me.
I tell them all of this and there is a surprised silence for what seemed like a long while.
"That is not okay." "Why didn't you tell anyone?" "Why would you put yourself through something like that?"
But I didn't think that there was anything peculiar about that relationship until my friends started expressing such intense concern.
I thought I was the one who messed up and he was the one that got away.
Now, however, it is insanely clear to me just how abusive he was.
Now I have a boyfriend who cares about me.
He tells me that he trusts me.
He holds me when I cry, and sometimes he cries with me.
We bond over emotion, rather than fighting about it.
He makes an effort to spend time with me and I don't have to promise him sex to get him to.
All of these things I have never been exposed to handed to me as if I were actually deserving of them.
Do not let your significant other belittle you or force you to do things that you are not comfortable with.
You are an ethereal being; do not let anyone treat you like anything less.