“I was still new to relationships when I started dating my second partner. I was a young girl at 20 who got butterflies in her stomach whenever he passed by. I loved and prioritised him. My family was pretty conservative but I spent every single chance that I got to go out on him. I even met his family and had good relationships with them. But the effort and excitement from his side was entirely absent. He would abuse substance and accuse me of cheating. I knew I deserved more respect but my intense love for him had blinded me. My friends said he wasn’t right for me but I consistently ignored their advice. Soon, they stopped trying.

Our relationship lasted for a year, on and off. He broke up with me time and again, accusing me of cheating every time. That was his way out. After one such breakup, we met at a gathering and got back together. My joy knew no bounds. He seemed happy too. A few days later, I called him obsessively without him answering even once. He told me he’d fallen asleep the whole time. I thought it must’ve been the drugs he took and let it be. It was only much later that I’d find out he was cheating on me. I didn’t want to believe it but the girl sent me a video of him sleeping on her lap. I then decided to never reach out to him again. To this day, he hasn’t so much as tried to reach out and apologise.

In the aftermath, I took all my anger, frustration and grief out on people who actually cared. I wouldn’t eat, and tried to drink the pain away. I cried in frustration, realising I’d given so much to someone who didn’t care. Finally, somehow, I got through it. I realised, amidst all the pain and anger, that this was one way to learn about love and pain. I wish I’d realised I deserved better sooner- because I did, and I do. If you aren’t happy in your relationship or are caught in a toxic one, don’t be hard on yourself. With time, you will be able to see what’s best for you. As much as I want to say, “run,” I know that you won’t. So, take your time, feel everything, and learn at your own pace. No matter what, when you finally do understand and decide to leave, I promise that you will heal.”

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