It’s Friday morning and already turning out to be a beautiful day. Plans for a long morning walk were foiled as my knee is stiff and I can barely walk. But – I still had a shower, got dressed, even trimmed my hair and am ready to start the day. Even though my day actually started at 4:00 am because I couldn’t sleep.
I saw this question on Ask Reddit this morning and thought it would make for a great post today. Unfortunately, as long-term readers would know, I’ve been in my share of toxic relationships. There’s a reason this blog is called Mostly Single – and that’s because I’ve found that I’m a better person when single.
My ex Greg might have been the asshole of all assholes, but – there were two people in this relationship and I wasn’t exactly innocent. So, I’m going to list a few of the things that I did wrong as well. And yes, I have learned from past mistakes and hope not to make them again in the future.
Overthinking everything caused strain on the relationship
Greg used to tell me all the time that I over thought everything. I would later learn that this was part of living with generalized anxiety. I would re-read each text he sent me and come up with double meanings behind them. If I typed a long text and he responded with one or two words – my head would be like:
“Yo dude, are you mad at me? Did I say something wrong?”
Or “what if he’s with another girl? Or is he back with his wife?”
Or “why is he ignoring me?”
You get the drill. It was exhausting. And it would wind up with me sending long emails at two or three in the morning because I couldn’t sleep over it. Had I known that this was anxiety back then, I would have been able to handle things better.
It took me too long (five years too long), that we just were not compatible and had very different methods of communication. I preferred talking on the phone, or being in person – while he liked to stick to texting. I suck at texting.
Over-analyzing every interaction with him, eventually made me start to resent him. And I’m sure the feeling was mutual. He would say that I was overreacting to things. Which was sometimes true. The anxiety put a strain on our relationship and a late night email would be the end of everything.
I’ve learned NOT to send angry emails now. I’ll wait 24 hours after writing a draft – and then either re-write the email, or just call the person the next day.
I needed him more than he needed me
I’m not a needy person by nature. But I find that when I’m in a relationship with a man, it makes me more clingy and needy. At least that’s what I thought when I was with Greg. As it turns out, after being single for six years, yes SIX years, I’ve learned that – I’m not all that needy.
I can go for days or even weeks without communication. Remember that guy who befriended me on Facebook and wanted to chat like every day? I actually found that I was getting annoyed with his constant messages and comments. It made me stop and think, “Oh, so this is what Greg felt on the receiving end.” It was one of those a-ha moments.
Greg could go weeks or even two months without an in-person visit. At first, our “dates” were on a weekly basis. Sometimes twice a week if he wasn’t working late. But then he started his own business and claimed he was just working a lot. Part of me wondered if he had gotten back together with his wife. Dates were always at my house which should have been a red flag. But I was so deeply in “love” with him that I ignored all the signs.
I think in this relationship, the more Greg ignored me or pushed me away – the more I longed to be with him. I think that might be a side effect of neglect.
When I realized that I needed him more than he needed me – it was time to cut ties and end the relationship.
He was a classic gaslighter
Greg and I dated off and on from 2011 – 2014. We broke up in the fall of 2014 but still maintained casual contact. I still cared for him deeply. I ignored all the signs he was sending me. Like his one or two word responses by text. He stopped calling all together.
I didn’t know what the term gaslighter meant back then. But after writing a recent article on the subject, I realized – holy shit. Not only had I been in an extremely toxic relationship, but Greg was a classic narcissist. I also noticed as we drifted apart, his “real” self came through more and more. He was extremely racist, homophobic – and later, I would learn that he was (gasp) – a Trump supporter.
Say it ain’t so!
Being with Greg, made me feel ALL of these things –
- No longer feeling like the person I was when we started dating
- Feeling anxious and losing confidence in myself
- Feeling like everything I did or said was wrong
He was the king of making me feel like everything was my fault.
“I can’t help if I lost my phone,” he said after the third time in a year. “You’re the one who wants constant communication.”
“Don’t take it personally if I ignore you. I ignore everyone,” he would say to justify his lack of communication.
The list is longer, but I’ve had a brain fart and can’t think of anymore examples. There were a lot. Any time I got upset with – for legitimate reasons – he’d turn around and blame it on me for even asking for it.
You get the drill. Come on brain – work! Damn you!
And then there was the time that he actually threatened my life. Oh yeah – that really happened.
I won’t get into the details here of why or what happened – but his temper. That man had serious anger issues. He was vibrating and shaking so hard. His face was red. He came bursting through my condo door, shouted at me – and threw my door fob so hard that it chipped my glass table.
That wasn’t the first time he got like that – he called me and screamed at me on the phone a few times. But I wasn’t exactly innocent in this. I would get so frustrated with him. It was a vicious cycle. And one that I’m glad I finally got out of.
I think I’m going to stop there because this is already getting long – and I don’t really want to drudge this all up again. It took me a long time to “get over” Greg. I am still healing from the relationship. While he didn’t physically assault me, he found ways of hurting me. It got to the point where even being intimate with him, had become abusive. He didn’t seem to care about that either. It was always his way, or the high way.
And well, I chose the high way in the end. And I’m a better person for it because I took that as a learning experience.
How did the relationship end you ask?
It faded out. We agreed to take a break and stop seeing each other. He wanted me to see other people and was focused on his new business. I wanted to see what was out there. Our relationship had always been open – but he was also extremely possessive and didn’t want to share me. Complicated, right?
Like – I had “permission” to date others, but had to run it by him, because he didn’t either trust me with them, or didn’t want to see me “get hurt”.
It was about a month after I moved into my last building. I hadn’t seen Greg in almost a year. I had texted him a bit while getting extremely drunk at my cousin’s wedding.
Don’t do that. Just don’t. Drunk texting an ex is bad news.
He came over within five minutes of me being home.
And I was stupid – and did the thing that you aren’t supposed to do.
We got “busy” – and then not five minutes after that, he proceeded to tell me that he was in therapy and his therapist told him he shouldn’t date for two years. RIGHT after we had sex! Like are you kidding me? Who does that? He’s lying there, cuddling me, while telling me all this shit.
And that’s it. That’s how we broke up. I cried a little bit. And then sat back like, wait a minute. Did he – did he just use me as a pity fuck? Did that just happen?
And that was the last time I saw him.
And so, that’s my Friday Ask Reddit story of how I ended that one toxic relationship.
(I’ve left out a lot of details here on purpose… if Greg ever reads this. I never publish surnames. But all events here really happened.)
Are you interested in more? Because I have more stories I could tell from my younger days!
Let me know in the comments how you ended that toxic relationship. What was your final straw?