No Relationship Is Worth Losing Your Sense of Self
You had a life before you met your partner and you shouldn’t have to sacrifice that to keep it
“You changed. You changed to accommodate my shit and I began to resent you for it. I loved the woman who was strong and vibrant. I hate that I forced you to shrink yourself and I hate that you did it.”
I remember this conversation with my ex-boyfriend like it happened yesterday. It was one of those moments in life that makes you wonder, “How did I get here?” In that moment, I wanted him to just own up to how he’d treated me and take responsibility for the toll his behaviors had on me. He did all of that, but his apologies weren’t what resonated with me the most. I knew then that my healing process couldn’t continue until I acknowledged and accepted the fact that I did change and I did compromise my personal strength to keep the peace. In the end, I was left broken, defeated, and depleted, unwilling to try again and unable to trust myself the next go-round.
When we met, I was admittedly on shaky ground coming out of my last relationship. It was a tumultuous one and I’d felt blindsided by revelations and secrets that shook me to my core. I didn’t feel like I could rely on my judgment because I’d missed so many red flags. Still, I tried to present the best parts of myself for my new love and he was drawn to all of the things I loved most about myself and was most proud of. We fell into a fairytale whirlwind of love, the kind of love many dream about while doodling in their high school notebooks. We read each other’s minds and finished each other’s sentences; to the untrained eye, everything was perfect for us.
But behind closed doors, there was a lot of tension, fights, and sad days. I began to shrink myself and grow quieter each day. I was afraid to speak my mind because I didn’t know if it would set off another argument. I became insecure and afraid of my own shadow. When we finally parted ways, I barely recognized myself and spent too much time trying to figure out what I could have done better to keep us together. But it wasn’t me and he knew that, so when we had the conversation, it hit me hard because he was right. I did let him change me and I hated myself for it.