In my early-20s, I had a serious relationship that lasted for about three years. It was one of my first serious relationships, and my lack of experience was definitely showing. We dated for a year before we moved in together. At first, everything was going smoothly. I was madly in love with him, and as a result of my inexperience and the fact that it was one of my first serious relationships, I was willing to overlook things I shouldn’t have.
About a year and a half into our relationship, while living together, things started to shift. We’ve been through a lot in our relationship, even at that point. We’ve been through some hardships and some great moments, and despite everything, I stayed. But that wasn’t the only thing I let slide. At that point in our relationship, I was feeling unloved, and my confidence and self-esteem were both on a downhill spiral. Suddenly, I was feeling like two different people. When I was with him, I was an unhappy and closed-off person. While outside, when I was with friends and co-workers, I felt like a better version of myself.
Having that it was one of my first serious relationships, I didn’t exactly understand what was happening. I thought that this was a part of it, a part of loving someone. So, I stayed. I gave everything I had to that relationship work, and even when I saw it didn’t work, I stayed anyways. Towards the end of our relationship, I started contemplating a break-up but kept finding reasons why not to. I knew I deserved better, and deep down, I knew he would never be able to provide that to me. However, I didn’t want to give it up. I thought that love is hard work, so maybe this was a part of it. Eventually, however, I understood that I deserved better and that with him, it would go nowhere, so I ended it. Now, looking back, I wished I had ended it sooner. You shouldn’t be with someone that you are unhappy with and act like someone else around. Your partner should help you become a better version of yourself, not the other way around.