An Introduction to a Dysfunctional Love Affair

When I think back to the biggest mistakes of my life, I always circle back to *Steve, a guy I fell in love with when I was not yet 20 years old. We all have a guy we wish we'd never dated, but this man pretty much killed my innocence. I had only had a couple of boyfriends before him, and had actually been proposed two twice already. But those relationships had been superficial and had ended because they'd just fizzled out. No harm, no foul, really. 

But Steve...He quickly became the reason I lived. When we were in the same room, the pheromones were so thick I'm surprised we didn't ravish each other right then and there, spectators be damned.

Ours was the kind of physical passion that wasn't satisfied with just a quick romp in the sack. It was intense. It was a beehive in my guts where butterflies once fluttered. Simply being next to him wasn't enough. I wanted to feel every part of his body next to me. I wanted his breath on my neck, his hands on my...

I better stop with the descriptors before I get carried away, because 22 years later the memories are still strong. I can't smell his old cologne without a strong emotional and physical reaction, so I avoid it. 

I became so lost in him that I came out of that relationship a self-loathing, insecure person. How did this happen? How did I enter into this relationship a young, innocent and optimistic young woman with dreams and aspirations and emerge broken, depressed, and angry? 

It's complicated, obviously, and will take more than one blog post, but I'll give you the run-down in a nutshell that I haven't already said: 

I was a good, Catholic girl. I had premarital sex. My mother had never talked to me about relationships except that she would be "disappointed" in me if I had sex before I was married. So, there's the pre-existing guilt complex already in place. 

Another factor is the fact that early on in the relationship with Steve, I had an abortion. It was something I was conflicted about. I didn't talk to my mother about it prior to the procedure. I kept it to myself. I was, technically, an adult, but still living at home. 

After the abortion, Steve became nitpicky with me. Everything I did was wrong. I was immature. I was wrong about everything, even when I was right. He hammered it into me day after day that I simply wasn't ready to be an adult. 

But the sex was great, and I thought he loved me. 

Which leaves the last reason why I came out of that relationship feeling like I'd just lost a ten-round fight: I allowed him to treat me like crap. I allowed him to bully me. 

Because the sex was great and I thought he loved me. Until he dumped me. 

I've decided to write about our entire relationship (I kept a journal of it!) and how it started out feeling like I'd found my soul mate, only to discover that I'd actually given myself up to a man who needed to control and own me regardless of how it affected me. 

I feel it's something I need to do, as a way to warn my daughter when she's older of what to watch out for when choosing a partner. 

I'm no longer a self-loathing individual, but it did take a hell of a long time for me to get back to really loving myself. 

*Not his real name.


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