Normally I consider myself a strong, decisive woman who always stands up for myself and says what I think… but something made me reluctant to do that in my last relationship. For too long, I convinced myself I was where I wanted to be and I fed myself excuse after excuse for why I couldn’t and shouldn’t leave. Here’s what took me so long to get out:
I thought it was just a phase. I told myself repeatedly that the dull, flat, uninterested feeling I had was just a passing moment and that at any second I would snap out of it and I would be OK with everything again. It wasn’t and I didn’t. I was only trying to buy myself time because the reality is that while every relationship has its ups and downs, when there are more downs than ups, it’s time to consider letting go.
I didn’t want to be lonely. After spending so long with somebody, waking up to him every morning, seeing his face at the dinner table every night and him being the last person I saw as my eyes closed at the end of every day, I was scared to be alone. The thought of walking into an empty house every night and not seeing another person in front of me terrified me. If I stayed I wouldn’t have to face any of that.
I worried that nobody else would want to be with me. My greatest fear was that nobody would ever want to be with me again. I had no rational explanation as to why this would be true and in hindsight, I know it definitely isn’t… but for a brief moment, I allowed myself to think it was true.
I had nowhere to go. Sure, I had family and friends, but I didn’t want to have to hang my head in shame and ask for someone to take me in. I was supposed to be an independent woman who could look after herself and I didn’t think I would be if I had to run home with my tail between my legs.
I was scared of retaliation. This was a genuine scenario that I knew had the potential to be true. Whether it was from stories that were made up and spread around or my things being held hostage, I knew that once I walked away, the spiteful nature that I had seen behind closed doors for so long would come out in public.
Familiarity made me comfortable. I’m a creature of habit and comforts, I don’t deny that. It’s not an overly terrible trait to have and there are certainly far worse, but in a situation where I was struggling to gather my wits about me and do what I needed to do, it was a hindrance.
I knew people would Talk. And talk they did. If I had known just how bad that talk was going to be then I’d probably still be in that dead end relationship. The thought of people telling stories about my life and what may or may not have happened made me feel physically sick. Eventually, I dealt with it and got past it, but it kept me paralyzed for too long.
I felt guilty. I felt guilty because I wasn’t happy and thought that maybe if I tried harder, I could be. I felt guilty because I was making a decision about my relationship without consulting the other person. You name it and I found a way to guilt trip myself with it.
Thankfully, I found a way to get past all the excuses I made and get out — and I vowed to never put myself in a situation like that again.
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