After being surrounded by men who displayed the utmost toxic behavior my whole life, you would think that I wouldn’t fall for that sort of thing in the dating world again. And you would be wrong.
A year and a half ago, I dated a guy for five weeks. That one month was enough to teach me lessons for a lifetime.
We met at our shared course at university and he invited me to his birthday party. I was in my first year, came from a different country and basically didn’t know anyone because of my shyness, so I surprised myself when I agreed to go. I drank half the bottle of wine before I even got there because I was so nervous. This birthday party led me to stay overnight — I liked him and I felt safe with him so I just took whatever the student life offered me.
This was the beginning of our brief relationship, which ended with me blocking him on Instagram and putting him on my grey list on Facebook. Just for the record, I never block my exes on social media. Well, never say never, because I definitely did it with him.
It was not a good relationship, let’s just get this out there right now. I made mistakes and I felt very confused the whole time, which led me to confuse him as well and make him think that I was leading him on. I honestly still don’t know if I did or didn’t. In any case, we weren’t a good fit. He brought out very unhealthy and immature parts of me and the relationship made me engage in regressive behavior, like fighting over stupid little things that didn’t matter.
He was probably the most toxic boyfriend I’ve ever had. After spending five weeks with him, my emotional reserves were completely drained. I have no idea what this would have done to me if I had stayed longer, and I have no desire to know. It definitely wouldn’t be good.
I sincerely hope that he’s doing better now and he’s working through his own problems, as I have with mine. My experience with him was, however, not good at all, and I think it’s important to share these things because it might help other people watch out for toxic people.
The following types of behavior and things he did might help you figure out if your partner is being bad for your mental health, too.
Signs of toxicity
He pressured me into being his girlfriend
The second time I came over, I asked him, “Can we just be casual?”
I asked this because even though I was attracted to him, I didn’t catch any immediate feelings. I didn’t feel like falling in love would happen very soon. I didn’t even know if a serious relationship was what I was looking for.
He chuckled as if I was being silly. “Of course it’s casual, what else would it be?”
Well, he wanted to be exclusive after one week of knowing me, and three weeks in, he said that my not being his girlfriend caused him severe anxiety. That’s how casual he wanted this to be.
In the first weeks, I told him several times I wasn’t catching any strong feelings yet. I told him I wasn’t sure if I should enter a relationship with someone I wasn’t in love with. He said it would come in time. Guess what? It didn’t. I said I needed space and time to figure out my feelings and he kept bombarding me with affection that felt like I had to reciprocate. He finally managed to pressure me into being his girlfriend.
Now, hear me out: I love commitment. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my single years and I believe that spending some time on our own is crucial to our self-development. I do adore monogamous long-term relationships, though. I’m super loyal and I love committing myself to someone. Becoming his girlfriend felt very wrong, and yet somehow, my brain switched to a commitment mode. This is when he thought I was leading him on, and he was probably right because I was leading myself on as well. I could commit to someone, I could eventually have a family with him, I could get cuddles and kisses, yay! So what if I was going against my gut instinct?
Rule number one, ladies and gentlemen:
Always trust your gut instinct!
If someone pressures you into a relationship, they’re probably not a very good person to have a relationship with.
He kept fishing for compliments and affection
Nothing I did was ever enough. He always wanted more compliments, more affection, even when I said I needed space. It just didn’t work. I remember one time when he was boasting about all the things he had done for me and how the relationship wasn’t balanced in this regard.
“I do things for you,” I said.
He raised his eyebrows. “You blew me once and you bought me a muffin.”
Yes. I know.
And just so you know, the first one wasn’t even true. The second one… what’s wrong with a muffin?! It was a very nice puffy blueberry muffin that I carried for twenty minutes just to give it to him because he said he didn’t have enough calories that day. That’s a nice gesture, thank you very much.
He made everything into a fight
He twisted my words and put his own words into my mouth, he was touchy on so many subjects, and everything was a problem. I know I can be quite rude and blunt sometimes — it’s my Czech part coming through — but when I said I wouldn’t go to the end of the world for him, I didn’t mean any disrespect! I just meant that I had known him for 3 weeks and I already had different summer plans.
Plus, as fluent as I can be in English, I still sometimes blurt out things that have completely different meanings in my head than how they actually sound.
This one sentence made him feel like “he couldn’t trust me anymore.”
25 bucks for a break-up
I accidentally became a business-woman to break up with him.
About 10 days since the birthday party, I told him about my planned solo trip to a city about 4 hours away. “That’s a shit city,” he said, after which he proceeded to ask me if he could go with me.
I paid 3 pounds (this story takes place in the UK) for my ticket when I bought it. He was right about one thing — the city didn’t have the best reputation. But I had wanted to visit it for a long time and three pounds was nothing for a return ticket to a place 4 hours away. When he bought it, though, the price was already much higher — it cost him 20 pounds. He spent 20 pounds on a ticket to go to a city he didn’t even like the idea of, on a trip that was one month in the future, with a person he’d only known for 10 days. And he did it after I said that I liked it being a solo trip, but you know, whatever, I didn’t mind him going.
I broke up with him 5 days before the trip. After all the issues I faced in our relationship, I decided I just couldn’t take it anymore. I wanted to see how things developed after our trip — I thought of it as the point in time when I would make a definite decision. But I simply couldn’t wait. I had to have this over with, even if it complicated things.
I told him I was coming to his place, he realized I was going to break up with him based on my messages, and when I came, he already had break-up music playing in the background. He was crying and he looked genuinely hurt by this. I honestly felt really sad that it had to end this way. I didn’t want to hurt him. In the time that we spent together, I got used to him being in my life. There were parts of it that I liked. The bad bits were, unfortunately, in the majority.
He didn’t shout at me, he didn’t argue, he just looked sad and hurt. Then he said, “What about our trip?”
“I don’t know,” I shrugged my shoulders.
“We could go as friends.”
“I don’t think that’s a good idea. You can go with a friend if you want.”
“I don’t want to go there without you.”
“Will you send me the money then?”
To my surprise, I said, “Sure,” and continued trying to soothe him. When I came home (feeling liberated and very happy, I should add), I sent him his 20 pounds.
He said we should take a break for a week, to see where we’re at. Maybe I would change my mind after the weekend. I was to go on my trip alone in the meantime.
A 25-dollar gift from myself to myself
We met up the following week. From the first moment, I knew he was putting on a show. He was chewing gum, one earphone in his ear, and he talked to me in a very arrogant way as if trying to prove that he was totally completely absolutely over me, and he was dressed in nice elegant clothes for the first time since I met him.
We went to my place so I could give him his things, and on our way there, he told me I had serious issues I needed to sort out and it was good that he didn’t have to be with me anymore.
I gave him his things. One of them was a costume that we bought as a couple for Halloween.
“I don’t want this,” he said.
“Well, it’s yours, I don’t want it either.”
He threw it in my bin underneath my desk in my room. This was ridiculous.
We were supposed to walk to class together, so he said, “We can go now.”
“I think it would be better if you went and I stayed,” I said with a smile and shut the door in his face.
A week later, he sent me a meme ridiculing vegans to make fun of me. I gave him Seen. The next week, he texted me to ask how I was. This resulted in a fight in which he accused me of being a massive liar who pretended to be something I was not. He thought of the smallest things I said or did over the course of our relationship, he twisted them and he made them into untruths.
If something definitely hurts me, it’s when I open up to people and they think I’m a liar. So, I blocked him. I blocked him because I couldn’t stand the thought of this insecure toxic boy looking at my Instagram stories and thinking about how my life is a lie when all I always strive for is sincerity. I blocked him because everything about him suddenly repelled me. I blocked him because he made me so very angry, and what made me even more livid was the fact that I gave this asshole 20 pounds and I didn’t even get to go on my trip because I got the worst period cramps ever.
I know I probably shouldn’t have sent him the money. It was his own fault that he rushed into something and was willing to pay for a trip he didn’t even want to go on, which in itself is a sign that he was an insecure partner. I gave him the money because I didn’t want any further problems, I felt sorry for him and I just wanted the whole thing to be over.
And you know what?
If 25 bucks is what it cost to have him out of my life, it was an amazing bargain.
Because getting rid of toxic people is worth every penny.
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