If I had a dime for every time my ex told me I was overreacting, being dramatic, or being needy, I’d be pretty damn rich. Looking back on our screwed up relationship, I’ve come to realize that nothing I asked for was anything out of the ordinary, nothing I wanted was unreasonable, and none of my actions were crazy at all.
There’s a time and a place for PDA.
I get that no one wants to be sitting in a movie theater with a couple reenacting a scene from Fifty Shades of Grey in the seat next to them, but there are plenty of methods of public affection that are perfectly normal and in fact, sweet. I wanted him to hold my hand when we walked down the street. I wanted a kiss goodbye at the airport when I was about to leave for more than a month. I wanted his hand on the small of my back as we walked through a crowd. I never asked for a profession of love to be screamed from the rooftops, just for a little sign that he actually wanted me around. Apparently, that was too much.
Tone is everything.
I’m a firm believer that it’s NOT the thought that counts. Instead, it’s how something’s perceived that actually matters. I don’t care that he “wasn’t trying to raise his voice” because he failed. He always talked to me with disrespect and generally made me feel like an idiot every time I opened my mouth. Contrary to what he said, speaking up for myself didn’t make me dramatic.
I needed a life outside of my relationship.
It’s flattering when your partner wants to be around you every single second, but don’t mistake that for love. Freedom to have other friends, other hobbies and time to myself didn’t make me sketchy. Someone who wants to monopolize all my time isn’t healthy, and I won’t let anyone tell me otherwise.
Sensitivity isn’t a weakness.
I admit that my threshold for crying is lower than most people, but calling me dramatic every time I got upset wasn’t helpful. I needed reassurance from him or just a comforting hug, but he brushed me off like the plague. I was called a baby and told to “pull it together.” Instead of making me feel better, he usually made me feel worse. Being emotional made me unattractive to him, but I know now that a real man will find beauty in my sensitive soul.
Only tools act like tools.
I’m sorry, but being offended when he cat-called other girls in front of me didn’t make me insecure. It’s not jealousy that bubbled up in my veins when he talked about how hot that girl at the gym was, it was flat-out rage. Who the hell did he think he was that he could size me up to every other person he met? But of course, if I made a Ryan Gosling comment, I was a bitch. Uh, okay.
Sending cards is actually a thing.
I didn’t ask for love notes on the reg, but on holidays, birthdays, and anniversaries, yes, I would like a card. He was never the type to express himself in actual words and he hated “wasting money.” He’d rather take me to dinner and call it a day. Maybe that’s enough for some girls, but just a few times a year, I wanted something sweet to open, read, and put on my desk. Every so often, I needed some confirmation that the man I fell in love with was still in there somewhere.
Guys and girls CAN be friends.
Contrary to popular belief, platonic friendships are completely possible. I had a group of guy friends who were like brothers to me, but my ex forbade me from hanging out with them. He saw everyone as a threat, even though the thought of those guys as anything more than family made me cringe. Since he was insecure, I had to make up excuses for why I couldn’t see my friends anymore. It was seriously messed up.
Social media isn’t everything, but it’s something.
I never asked for sappy quotes or pictures on my Facebook wall every day, but wanting the occasional picture or post didn’t make me obsessive. It wasn’t about caring what other people thought, it was about wanting him to be proud of me and proud of us — at least enough to let the world know we were together. Refusing to put anything online just made me feel like he was embarrassed by me, and that sucked.
The world is there to be explored.
He was close-minded, ignorant, and uninterested in traveling beyond the state lines. I didn’t need extravagant trips overseas, but a little adventure to new places would have been nice. I wasn’t crazy for wanting to try new restaurants, road trip to new cities, or fly across the country to be with my family.
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