About a month and a half ago, I went out on a first date with a lovely guy called David. We instantly hit it off and he was a complete gentleman. He was 32 but I didn’t mind the age difference; after all the guys that I’ve dated that have been a similar age to me, I felt like an older guy was the way to go because of the maturity factor.
We had a whirlwind romance. He wooed and charmed me and before I knew it, we were in a relationship. I was so happy. He was always charming, sweet and polite. We couldn’t bare to spend even a week apart. I spent long weekends at his place and visited him on Wednesdays as a mid-week treat for both of us. He was so romantic and I was smitten. I thought I’d found The One, to be quite honest. Nothing about him bothered me.
But then things changed.
The reason I’m writing this is to serve as a cautionary tale to all of you. To warn you all about how quickly people can change when they think they have a sufficient hold over you.
He became controlling. He didn’t trust me. He knew that I had been cheated on in the past and it had broken my heart and he knew that I thought it was a disgusting thing to do. Despite this, he accused me of flirting with men. He didn’t like the fact that I have a lot of male friends. He hated it, in fact. He expected me to prioritise him over my friends, despite my belief that friends should come before anything else. After all, they’re the family you choose.
He read texts from my mum over my shoulder. He quizzed me about who I was following on Instagram and why I was liking a guy’s photo. He didn’t like the banter I had with one of my friends because he’s bisexual. He accused me of hiding things all the time.
I am an extremely open person. I didn’t care when he started following me on Twitter and I continued to tweet as I usually would (I’m hoping to write a memoir and my tweets are going to come in very handy). I kept posting things on Facebook that I usually would. Nothing about my behaviour changed. I didn’t hide anything. I have no secrets and I’m like an open book.
None of that mattered. He blamed everything but himself. He didn’t take a look in the mirror once and think that he may be partly to blame. He always started a fight, sulked and then blamed me for it all. It was somehow always my fault. Either that or it was because of his bad childhood and he still had unresolved anger issues. He was possessive, obsessive and jealous. He slowly began to make me cry more than he made me smile. He began stalking me online. No amount of ‘but I only love you, you’re the one’ or ‘I want to be with you’ pacified him.
That charm that I’d fallen for was just a façade. It was a mask he put on to win me over. As soon as he had me, all that disappeared. He swore at me several times and hung up on me when I had the audacity to defend myself and not just apologise like he expected me to.
On Friday, I decided to end it with him. I had done my first full day of work in months and had a great day. I was buzzing. I went home and that’s when he accused me of hiding something. Ironically, he told me he did trust me but he absolutely knew I was hiding something. I was fuming. A long, tiresome yet fun day ruined. I tried to talk to him rationally but apparently, the posh tone of my voice made it sound like I was talking to him as though he were a child. We eventually resolved it. Then, less than an hour later, another phone call. He’d told me he had no money for this weekend and that I would have to pay for everything. I didn’t mind — what we had planned was only going to cost £20. He told me to bring double what was necessary. God knows for what. He knows I am unemployed (I’m currently temping but you’re not guaranteed steady work). He knows my parents give me money. But at now 33 years of age, he was asking me for money. I always pay my way in relationships but this was the straw that broke the camel’s back. He wasn’t just asking me to pay for the weekend, he was asking me for money. Money that wasn’t even mine.
So that’s when I knew. I knew I was with the wrong person. He made me feel shit about myself and he guilted me and blamed me for everything. So I dumped him. I told him that I deserve better and it’s over. Like the mature adult that he is, he hung up on me and blocked me on every form of social media.
The cautionary tale? Be wary of charm. Keep your head and your heart separate and never let a person cloud your better judgement. I dread to think what would have happened if I had stayed with him any longer. His hold over me would have been too strong. I’m just shocked that I had the strength to leave him. I’d become so emotionally dependent. Although I sometimes feel worthless because of my depression, I knew I deserved better than the way he was treating me. He never apologised to me because he never thought he was to blame, even when he clearly was. I knew that if one of my best friends was in such a relationship, I’d be telling them that they needed to leave for their own good. I am sad that I left him because I thought he was special but I am overwhelmingly relieved. I’d rather be alone than unhappy.