I've needed to write this for a while. When I was in High School, I dated a guy that treated me like shit. I didn't realize it at the time, I always thought all guys acted like he did. Now, a few years later, I see just how wrong I was. I'll be getting married in a year or two (I have the ring...just not the money to pay for a wedding) and even still I'm haunted by what I did as a young adult. See, the "evil ex", as he has been so fondly nicknamed, left scars on my psyche that still haunt me to this day.
I didn't actually realize the full extent of this mental scarring until yesterday at work. We have this on going joke between my fiance, myself, and our workmate Travis. I am a demo lady at Costco and whenever I have a good sample, Travis always tells me what an angel I am for my cooking skill and calls me his "work wife." (Please note that Travis is something like ten years older than me, married, and has a child. Obviously there isn't actually anything between us) And he always does this when my fiance is in earshot, "just so that he knows what a good things he has." It's adorable. Now, if I were still with the evil ex, this wouldn't even be happening. He was the jealous type and even a harmless joke would have really set him off. So, yesterday at work, I was making chocolate chip cookies and made some for everyone in the back. Travis came up and put his arm around me, just as my fiance came around the corner into recieving (which is where we stash the demo carts at the end of the day). For some reason, that part of my subconscious that still remembers what it was like to date a jealous guy flared up and...kind of freaked out. I practically jumped away from Travis, started half laughing to try to cover it up, and then just sort of hid because I didn't want to be seen talking to another guy. I ended up making up some story about a charlie horse or something. But I knew why I did it and it bothers me.
If you are ever in a relationship where the other person gets mad at you for so much as talking to someone of the opposite sex, that is not a healthy relationship. When I finally broke it off with that guy from high school, he asked me why...and I didn't know what to tell him. I didn't know where to start. And everytime I tried to explain, he yelled at me. I would like to explain now, so that I can get it off my chest once and for all.
In that relationship, I spent more time being yelled at and bullied for stupid things like fangirling, writing romance novels where the love interest didn't have his name, and talking to other guys, than I did being loved. He had me trained to automatically look in his direction by whistling at me. One time Luke (my fiance) whistled to get my attention and I nearly punched him. (That one took some explaining) When I got a car and my license at 16, I gained a few pounds because I was getting less exercise. The ex took to calling me "chubs" and making beeping sounds when I backed up. He got so jealous of me so much as looking at other men that he almost broke up with me for telling a friend that I thought the gas station attendant had gorgeous eyes. He knew my Facebook password so that he could keep an eye on what I was telling my friends. And if he thought I said something out of line, I got yelled at. I lost friends because he didn't "approve" of them. If I didn't answer right away when he called, he would just continue blowing up my phone until I answered. (Luke does this on occasion, but that occasion is always grocery shopping or laundry day when he can't remember what kind of milk I like, or which of my clothes get dried and which of them don't.)
By this point, you maybe be thinking something like, "Wow. This guy must have been really wonderful sometimes to make up for this bullshit...or at least must have bought you nice things." Both of these thoughts are wrong. When we first started dating, he was nice. We had a good first six months. And then things just went downhill and I got used to them. He never bought me anything, never drove to see me when I moved to college. In fact, he was never employed and didn't have a license. It was me that had both. And then when I moved to college (shortly before we broke up) he used to call and ask me to drive up and visit him. My car was old and a gas guzzler and I was a broke ass college kid, but he still would get angry and say I was avoiding him and that I was a terrible person.
It wasn't until I met Luke that I knew how a girl was supposed to be treated by a guy. I, admittedly, went after him because I was rebounding and liked his taste in music. But I knew he was a great guy as soon as we actually started talking, not just flirting at work. For our first date, he took me out to go laser tagging because I was really into the My Chemical Romance album "Danger Days" and he wanted me to know what it was like to be a Killjoy (like the characters the album is based around). We dressed up in Killjoy outfits and everything. He drove.
For a long time, I couldn't get used to being the one who was being spoiled. I still get a little weird if I feel like he is paying for too much. (Like when he bought me a hedgehog for Christmas and I bought the cage and all the accessories before he could say no.) But I feel like that's acceptable. I'm not always buying him things and driving him everywhere. We share my car, but we both put gas in it and he even pays for oil changes. I could go on for hours about how different it is to be treated properly, but if you've made it this far into my rant, you've suffered enough.
I know some of my friends from high school are still friends with the ex, and that's fine. He can be an okay guy when he isn't being a manipulative prick. However, I don't respect him and I don't think I ever will. So don't expect me not to shit talk him if the subject comes up. I will even hold my tongue, for the most part, but I don't have anything nice to say about him and even thinking about him makes me angry. I used to dream about seeing him again just so that I could properly tell him what an asshole he was and punch him in the face. Actually, I'm hoping that just getting this off my chest will make them stop.
The point I want to make is this. There so many guys in the world, just because you meet one who seems nice in high school, doesn't mean you need to stick with him when things get ugly. A relationship as disfunctional as the one I was in during high school should never happen. A guy should never call you fat and get away with it, let alone get sex from you. Jesus, that guy deserves a good slap in the face. A man should respect you, know what you like (and even if he doesn't like it, he should respect the fact that you like it), and he should buy you nice things once in a while. But most importantly, he should never tell you how to live. If he really loves you and you love him, you'll trust each other, and that is guidance enough.