“You stole my first love.
I was always a romantic, dreaming of the moment love would finally happen for me.
I was sixteen when I met you. Sixteen and (mostly) innocent.
The first time you called me a name, I shrugged it off, figuring it was normal.
It became a pattern – the name calling, the absolute devastation I felt, the making up. The controlling. The jealousy.
All my friends, gone, because you didn’t trust them or whatever excuse you gave.
You fucking ruined me.
I see movies and books portraying first love and my heart aches.
No one ever talks about the first loves that weren’t so innocent, the ones that leave people broken inside.”
I wrote this the other night when I was feeling particularly upset about things that had happened in my past. Writing things down always seems to help.
My first relationship was emotionally abusive and controlling. I’m pretty open about this now that I’ve come to terms with it.
The minute I met my ex, I knew I was going to date him. It was just like the movies and the books. At seventeen years old, I had finally, finally, met the first guy I was going to fall in love with. Things moved fast between us. He asked me out the day before Valentine’s Day and I was absolutely giddy with happiness. It only took us a couple of months to tell each other that we loved each other. We were in love and I was happy.
People don’t talk about the good parts of abusive relationships. There are good parts. Why else would someone stay?
Things didn’t turn sour until we started fighting. Our fights were ugly – full of name calling and cruel words. He knew how to make me feel bad about myself and he succeeded. We broke up on multiple occasions, only to get back together again the next day. During one of our particularly bad fights, my dad had to come outside to protect me. He told my dad that I was a “whore,” (needless to mention – I never once cheated on the guy).
He started to become controlling. He didn’t like most of my friends because they encouraged me to leave. If we wanted to be together, if I loved him, I wouldn’t hang out with them anymore. I lost friends I had been close with since middle school. It got to the point that I was completely isolated and alone.
When he cheated on me while I was in the same bed, I honestly believed that it was my fault. I was that brainwashed. I’m ashamed to say that it took me another few months to leave. But I did leave.
Being in an abusive relationship in today’s society is not an easy thing. The media constantly pushes “true love” on us, love that is all encompassing and all forgiving. It’s easy (especially for young girls) to believe that this is true for all relationships. Even though my relationship was pretty toxic, I believed that he wasn’t hitting me, so we could work things out. I never even considered my mental health.
This relationship has had some pretty serious effects on me. I lost my innocence in that relationship, lost my chance of ever experiencing first love like it “should,” be. I’ve never been able to fully trust anyone after that, and I’m always keeping part of myself locked away.
I’m not complaining though. Sure, what happened to me sucks, but at the same time, I was able to leave. Think of all the other people who can’t leave, who don’t have the supports or the strength. Most don’t even recognize emotional abuse for what it is…. And how could they? It’s something that is rarely talked about!
I’ve decided to write my next novel about an emotionally abusive relationship. It’s time that young adults see that not all love is perfect, that not all love can be fixed. Because if I had had something like that, maybe I could have saved myself.