I was 24 and in love and I thought the guy I was dating was going to be my forever person. Turns out, I was totally fooling myself and it’s a blessing that we never made it to the altar.
He didn’t support me. Yeah, he acted like he would support me, but I think I confused declarations of love with support. The truth is that whenever I needed someone to listen to me vent or encourage me to pursue my dreams, he was never the one who stepped up to the plate.
My gut told me something was wrong. I often felt like something was off but thought maybe I was just being silly to have relationship doubts. The thing is, just because he could be really nice and loving, it didn’t mean that he was meant to be my future husband. I didn’t realize that the very fact that I had so many doubts was reason enough to get out of the relationship. Instead, I stayed in it for two-and-half years!
He got me a promise ring. Instead of an engagement ring, he got me a promise ring. Even at that time, I couldn’t help thinking it was a copout. He was promising that someday we’d get engaged, but it felt forced and like he was stringing me along to me to keep me around. I had told him that I didn’t feel like I could trust him and I think he assumed a ring would appease me. How wrong he was.
He treated me like a kid. I don’t know how I didn’t see this behavior! Even one of my friends at the time pointed it out. I’d always thought his caring nature was a good thing, but it was actually patronizing at times. For example, he’d mansplain a lot, talking to me like I was a child who had no idea what I was doing.
He rained on my parade. I wanted to chase my dreams but he always challenged them. It was clear he was either jealous or extremely controlling. I don’t know why I put up with that for as long as I did. It was exhausting.
He never actually spoke about marriage. After slapping the promise ring on my finger, he never actually spoke about getting married. It was really weird and further made me doubt if he even wanted me in his future plans. I deserve someone who’s more open about what they want and what future they see with me in it!
Our age gap was proving to be a problem. We had a 10-year age gap and I’d fooled myself into thinking it wouldn’t be a thing. Still, while I was trying to get my career going and live it up in my twenties, he was almost halfway into his thirties and much more settled. He didn’t want to party and he didn’t care as much about having lots of friends, so it was clear we wanted different things.
I didn’t trust him. I’ve touched on the fact that I didn’t trust him and I just couldn’t shake that feeling no matter how much he tried to be the perfect boyfriend. It was my gut yelling at me again. I’ve learned the hard way that without trust, a relationship isn’t going to make it, courtesy of my boyfriend cheating on me several times. Ugh. I dodged a bullet by not marrying this guy!
I thought I had to stick it out. This was total BS and I wish I’d woken up sooner, damn it! I thought I had to stay with him because I didn’t want to give up—hello, walking away from a bad relationship isn’t quitting!—and I worried that if I walked away, I’d miss out on being with my forever person. The problem is that my forever person was forever disappointing me. Did I want that kind of life and future? Not really.
I loved his family. It felt perfect to think of them being my family in the future. This guy’s family was awesome. I got along really well with his mother— we actually became friends—and I had a lot in common with his siblings. It felt like I’d gained another family, which was such a heartwarming feeling. However, I had to realize that I wasn’t marrying them and it was twisted to stay with someone just because they had a good family.
Basically, I was settling. I thought I had come this far in the relationship so I had to settle down and accept it. What the hell? Is it 1950 all over again or something? I wanted to get married and I guess that also clouded my judgment, making me think I had to go through with this relationship. Luckily, I discovered his cheating and dumped his butt, so I got the wakeup call I needed.
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