I’m A Strong Woman, But I Stayed With A Guy Who Made Me Feel Like I Was Nothing

Most relationships start out like a fairytale and mine was just the same. I never thought I could be so happy and I never wanted it to end, but it did. One day our future felt bright and limitless, and the next there was a dark cloud looming over us. At first, he made me feel like I deserved everything and then he made me feel like I was nothing special at all — but still I stayed. Here’s why:

  1. He used to make me feel like I was special. I really missed that feeling. I didn’t think I’d ever feel that way with anyone else and I wasn’t confident enough to believe that anyone would find me special again if I left him. I started off strong, but over time I became weak and needy. I thought that my life couldn’t be good without him and that I would never feel good about myself without him. I was dead wrong but at the time, that’s how I felt.
  2. Once upon a time, we really did love each other. It was hard to accept that he didn’t love me anymore. I still loved him, or at least some part of him, deep down. I thought we’d love each other forever and I didn’t understand how his feelings could just evaporate. I grew dependent on our relationship and the fact that requited love had turned unrequited was the hardest part to accept.
  3. I kept hoping he’d go back to being the guy I fell in love with. I didn’t want the jerk he had become. I didn’t care for the guy who only wanted to party and cared way too much what his new friends thought. I wanted the guy who loved just being with me and had fun no matter what we were doing. I dreamed of the guy who didn’t care what anyone thought but what I didn’t realize is that guy was gone forever.
  4. I thought it was just a phase. We were young and I thought that he was just going through that early 20s guy phase where friends are more important than a girl. I thought he just hit a point where going out sounded like more fun than settling down. I honestly believed he’d get over that line of thought and come back to me. I was such a fool for love and the worst part is, I thought sticking by his side was me being strong.
  5. I didn’t realize he was over me. That was hard to understand. He’d already mourned our breakup and moved on, all while we were still somewhat together. I was fighting for us and he was breaking away. I thought this was just a bump in the road but in reality, this was the end — I just didn’t want to face it. I didn’t have the strength to accept that this break wasn’t temporary. It was over.
  6. I missed the couple we used to be. I thought we could still be those people but we couldn’t. We weren’t the same two kids who fell in love with each other all those years ago. I thought we’d find each other again and everything would be the way it was, the way it should be but we weren’t that couple anymore and we never would be. After all this time, I’d grown more attached to who we were together and I had forgotten all about the person I was on my own.
  7. I thought he was ‘The One.’ I truly believed we’d be together forever and at one point, so did he. It was hard to give up on that notion and forget all of the plans we had made. I remembered every promise he had ever made me and then I realized how much of what he said was a lie. It was hard to decipher what I wanted to be true from what was actually true. I wasn’t living in reality but instead in a daydream of what I thought our life would be.
  8. Our relationship became my whole life. My world revolved around what we were to each other. I worked the whole rest of my life around his time. I did everything else when he was busy and I dropped everything when he needed me. He was my number one priority and I thought that’s what being a good girlfriend was about. I prioritized us and I forgot to prioritize myself.
  9. I never thought I’d find someone else. I’m pretty damn picky, and if I don’t feel a spark within the first few minutes, then I don’t waste my time. I’ve always felt that I was a difficult person to love, not because I don’t love myself but because I’m just not the average girl. It took a long time to move on and then a long time to find someone else but I finally did. While my ex made me feel like I was nothing, my new guy knows I’m everything and that’s the difference.
  10. I thought he was my source of happiness. I thought whether or not I was happy depended solely on whether or not I was with him. I didn’t think I was in control of my own happiness. I didn’t realize that I didn’t need him. I became dependent on him and dependent on the relationship. If he was happy, I was happy. I stopped feeling for myself and started feeling only for him. I stopped being me because, in my mind, it was all about “us.”
  11. I was afraid to start over. I’d developed a fear of the unknown. I felt safe in my relationship. I had grown comfortable — so comfortable, in fact, that I began to fear a different way of life. I didn’t want to throw myself back into being single. I was afraid to be the independent girl I used to be. I used to be a strong woman but being with him made me lose that strength and losing him was the thing that would finally force me to find it back.
Kelsey Dykstra is a freelance writer based in Huntington Beach, CA. She has a bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing from Grand Valley State University and been writing professionally since graduating in 2013. In addition to writing about love and relationships for Bolde and lifestyle topics for Love to Know, she also writes about payment security and small business solutions for PaymentCloud.

Originally from Michigan, this warm weather seeker relocated to the OC just last summer. Kelsey enjoys writing her own fictional pieces, reading a variety of young adult novels, binging on Netflix, and of course soaking up the sun.

You can find more about Kelsey on her LinkedIn profile or on Twitter @dykstrakelsey.