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Blossoms in DC

Written by  shorty88
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Halloween 2011 Halloween 2011

To start with our story is to start a different story.  Previous to being happy, I was in a four-year relationship that went nowhere.  I was best friends with my ex all through high school (yes, we even dated once at the beginning of high school, and broke up to become best friends) and we ended up going to the same college, strangely enough.  I started dating my ex within the first month of arriving at college, and boy, was I ever in love.  I started all that planning - everything Pinterest would approve of - of our future together - where we'd live, what we'd do, how many kids, what kinds of pets/cars, etc.

In December of 2006, he told all of our mutual friends that he was going to propose at Christmas.  Luckily, they talked him out of it.  "You're only a sophomore in college, Ex. She's only a freshman - why don't you wait until after school is out to get engaged? Etc."  I resented our mutual friends for talking him out of buying me a ring.  What did they know? Who were they to tell us what to do?  We loved each other, we belonged together forever and beyond.  Now, I know their interference was the best thing for them to do, and I am eternally grateful.

We were happy happy happy until August of 2007. (Almost a year of dating at this point.)  We spent all summer long together, because, you know, we were from the same hometown.  Right before moving back to school, he decided that he "needed a break to figure things out."  This came as a complete surprise - we had been fine until he just looked at me and said it.  Needless to say, I cried, I pleaded, I begged for him to stay.  That was the most traumatic thing of my 19 years.  He spent two weeks not talking to me, and I spent those two weeks in misery - crying daily, arguing with everyone, locking myself in my room as if to lock the pain away.  (In case you didn't know, I am a little overly dramatic at times... A "little" might be an understatement.)  A day before moving back to school, Ex showed up at my house and told me that I was his life, he missed me so much, etc.  We moved back to school, but something from the very beginning of my sophomore year was damaged.  His "need for a break" hurt me somehow, damaged something precious that could have been.

We started to argue.  We started to fight.  He started to drink more (he turned 21) and he would disappear out to the bar or the liquor store.  I stayed back at the apartment with the other kids who weren't 21 yet and would get angry that he wasn't around to hang out with.  Our relationship which had started off so wonderfully a little less than a year before was starting to disintegrate.  We would have knock-down, drag-out fights and then hastily patch it back up and pretend like it never happened.  He started not going to class and I would try to make him do his work, which he resented.  He started to just sit and play video games on Friday and Saturday nights when I wanted to go out with our friends to the frats and have fun.  If I stayed in with him, he would ignore me.  If I would leave to go out with our friends, he would get angry with me and we'd fight as soon as I returned.  Stubbornly, I refused to believe that our relationship was disintegrating.  He stopped complimenting me all together.  Everything I did was unsatisfactory, and would cause him to say some hurtful jab toward me.  And then he would smile and be his usual charming self and I would just ignore that barb that he stuck right through my heart.  In November of my sophomore year - Ex's junior year - he decided he was going to study abroad.  He didn't discuss this with me, he just decided he was going to do it.  I got really angry that he would consider leaving me behind in the states and going to some exotic place, and I especially didn't like that he made such a selfish decision without even consulting me.  We fought for weeks about that particular event.  He applied and ignored my ravings about "How dare you do something like this without even talking to me about it!" and told me that I was just being selfish in not wanting him to go.  Christmas break rolled around, and lo and behold, Mr. Distracted-ADD-Man didn't have his paperwork all together, so he ended up not going abroad.  I was relieved.  I wouldn't be without him at school - even though we were both pretty miserable at this point.

Spring semester '08 rolled around and his attitude completely rocketed to the bottom.  Chain smoking, habitual drinking, he wouldn't leave his computer for days - not even to shower.  He normally wouldn't go to class, but when he did, he met some girl.  Her name was Kat.  He called her "Kitty Kat," and when he wasn't chain-smoking, drinking, and playing video games in his apartment, he was out hanging out with Kitty Kat.  I became very suspicious of this relationship, but he ensured me that nothing was happening, and blind that I was, I believed him.  I should've known better.

The summer before my junior year - Ex's senior year - he pulled the same thing that he did the summer before - he "needed a break to think about things."  This time I put up a little less of a fight but I was still just as heartbroken that he would find that necessary.  I should've seen his manipulation that summer.  I should've noticed his re-occuring behavior.  I didn't.  I was still trying to convince myself that we were in love and meant for each other.  We stopped hanging out with mutual friends.  It was just him and I, hanging out together.  If I went out with some friends, he would get incredibly possessive and jealous and we'd fight. Again. Over and over.

My junior year was much more of the same, except more negative.  I stopped believing in myself.  Everything I did was for him.  I knew he was graduating at the end of that year (after I convinced him not to quit school and made him go to class and do his work, which was a HUGE 6 hour fight where he shoved me... Fun!) so I decided to work my own butt off, take extra classes during my junior year, do a summer of classes, and graduate a semester early so I could be with him and not alone at school.  I took care of him, I held his hand through his temper tantrums, the first night back at school he drunkenly fell and broke his front teeth out, and I nursed him back to health and drove him to all his doctor appointments - leaving my own classes to do so.  Not once did he say, "Thank you."  No compliments of any type were slung my way.  He stopped saying he loved me, even though I would desperately try to reassure him (and myself) that I loved him.  Our friends started to worry about me and tried to talk to me about it.  I didn't listen.  Stupid, naive "in love" 20-year-old me was just as stubborn as she'd always been.

After my junior year - which was the highest GPA year of my college career (stress makes me focus on work) I did that summer of classes, and got 4.0s in all of my classes.  At the end of that summer, we were back to being in love.  No more fighting.  He still wasn't complimenting me, but at least we weren't fighting anymore. I was terrified at the thought of going back to school and living with acquaintances (my friends had graduated with Ex except for one friend) and being without him.  And what does he pull?  He informs me two weeks and one day before I have to return to school that he's going on a cross-country trip with his best friend. For two weeks. And he tells me this less than 24 hours before he leaves.  He "needs to do this" because he "wants to see America."  I should understand and not be selfish in wanting him to stay.  He needs to be selfish just this once. Blah blah blah.  Needless to say, I flipped out.  That was my last summer break ever.  I went to classes all summer - all for his future benefit.  I didn't see him nearly enough that summer because I was working my butt off for school and at work. And he decided at the very last minute to take my last two weeks of summer and drive all the way out to Washington state because it was "something he needed to do."

He came back, though.  And he told me that "it took me over 6,000 miles to realize that you were the only thing I ever wanted."  I thought it was adorable and romantic.  He was back to paying  attention to me and not neglecting me.  And then things got rough again.  I got kidney stones my last semester of college ever on October 1, and spent a month doped on pain killers while trying to write a thesis and go to my extra classes, and then getting surgery to deal with the stones.  He disappeared.  I was incredibly depressed - far away from home, alone, on painkillers, just trying to hack it, and he was back at home working. He had no sympathy for me.  He just stopped paying attention to me.  I graduated early, though.  I did it despite everything.  He came to my acknowledgement ceremony for December graduates.  Didn't tell me he was proud.  Nope.  Instead, he informed me he was going to move to Scotland.  Driving me home from school for the last time ever, he completely bypassed how hard I had just worked (for him!) to get out of school a semester early and announced he was moving to Scotland.

We fought.  Again.  His plan was for me to move with him, and I told him I wouldn't drop everything and move to a foreign country (with no money, since I just graduated from college) without a stronger commitment.  I told him my old-school parents would not appreciate me moving with a boyfriend to Scotland.  He told me that was stupid because I was old enough to ignore my parents.  Needless to say, we fought a lot until he started ignoring me again.  Desperately, and stubbornly, I was still trying to make it work.

In May, I went back to school to do my actual graduation ceremony.  You know, with the cap and gown.  He didn't show up.  He went to a street fair to sell things instead.  Which is great for me now, because none of my graduation pictures have him in them.  At the time, I was incredibly hurt and frustrated.  That summer, we rarely saw friends.  No, instead, that summer his parents' marriage blew apart.  His mom discovered his dad was cheating on her.  I held him together and tried to help where I could.  He got more depressed and started seeing a therapist, condemning his father for infantile behavior and infidelity.  His parents eventually got back together and tried to work on things.  We started spiraling even farther downward until Thanksgiving when he drove a girl home and spent the night "in her driveway just talking."  Until 5 am.  I found out later he had called our mutual friend from school/home and asked he and this girl asked our friend for pot.  I don't even know where this behavior came from - we never indulged in any sort of drugs at school.  He didn't show up at my family's Thanksgiving dinner, and when I went to his parent's house, he refused to look me in the eye and was acting very awkwardly.  And then he just blurted out, "I drove Emma home last night, and we sat in my car until 5 in the morning in her driveway just talking.  That's why I didn't come to your parents' house for lunch - I was still sleeping."  Yeah, right.  He was sleeping at 4 in the evening?  Riiiight.

That following Monday he dumped me.  He invited me over and said "I have some good and bad news.  I'm moving to England, and since you don't want to go with me, we're done."  Cheerfully, I might add.  I was floored and heartbroken and started fighting with him over it, begging him not to break up with me. He told me that he wanted one week to "think about things, and make sure this was the right decision."

After that night, I decided that I was done.  I was done being treated like a shiny object - fascinating one moment and dull the next.  I was done being treated like a piece of trash for him to throw around so carelessly.  He didn't like that.  He expected me to hang around like I had the three previous times he "needed to think about things."  And I told him to go scratch.

The end of 2010 and most of 2011 was rough.  I hadn't been a single girl for over 6.5 years.  I was emotionally damaged from all of that non-committal, manipulative, emotional abuse from the previous four years.  I started going to DC and hanging out with our (now MY - not his) college friends.  I was still pretty damaged, but I was slowly piecing myself back together to being my saucy self.

That is where this story starts:  the story of how I became happy again.  I was in Washington, DC in September 2011 with a whole group of friends celebrating one of their birthdays.  I was busy dancing, and probably looking like a fool for doing so, when I felt a tap on my shoulder.  I turned, and there he was. He was a very pleasant looking person, and I was kind of stunned that some guy would come talk to me.  I missed all of college being "hit on" at school, because everyone knew I was dating someone.  When I went out in DC, I was always with a large group of friends, including several guy friends, so no one would come talk to me then either.  Yet there he was, looking slightly nervous, but smiling at me just the same.

He said "Hey, so I have to leave in a couple seconds, but I was wondering if I could have your phone number, and maybe we could go get drinks sometime."  Keep in mind that I never had guys coming to talk to me.  I was mildly perturbed that a random creeper would just talk to me, so thinking quickly, I told him I didn't have a cell phone. He gave me a skeptical glance, and said, "Really?" and I told him I could give him my e-mail.  He gave me another completely, "Really?" glance but took my e-mail anyway.  (I gave him a really old address, so if he tried to find me on facebook, he wouldn't be able to. Like I wanted a creeper to have my real information?)  After taking my e-mail address, he smiled at me and said, "Hope to see you soon." and then he turned and walked away.  I was incredibly flattered - I FINALLY had some guy notice me.  That never happened to me, ever.  My friends all teased me about it, but I brushed them off and told them all I gave him the wrong information.  Jokingly.  I forgot how nice it was to joke and have fun with friends.

Despite not being able to find me on any social networking site, HE e-mailed that address I had given him, and asked if I was the girl he talked to in the bar in DC, and if I wasn't, to let him know.  I took HIS e-mail address, and turning the tables, "stalked" him on facebook.  I found he was a Naval Academy graduate who was currently in the Marine Corps, so I decided that he probably was a respectable young man, and wasn't an axe murderer, and we started talking.

We've been dating since November 2011.  He treats me like a queen and shows he cares in myriad different ways.  He listens to me, he talks to me.  He's interested in what I have to say.  He has his future together, he works hard, and he cares.  He actually cares.  If you've been in an emotionally abusive relationship, you may know how weird it is to be treated well.  How refreshing.  How enlightening.  He's a brilliant individual - a computer engineer from the Naval Academy - he has his life together, he works hard, and he is a complete gentleman.

I know now that what I went through with Ex was so I could find my Marine.  If I hadn't been heartbroken, I would never have gone to DC to hang out with friends.  I would never have been in DC that night.  I would never have found the Marine.  I would never be as happy as I am at this very moment, back to being so completely confident in myself because of the love and support of a wonderful young man who cares so much for me.  Love blossoms in DC.  Love and pride in who I am, and what he is.

 

Last modified on Wednesday, 25 April 2012 11:21

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