It popped into my head today that I feel I need to share the hidden struggles in new relationships when you’ve had toxic ones beforehand. New relationships are fun, exciting and part of the “honeymoon period” that we all dream about. However, for some people, it can be extremely difficult.
The partner, who I love so much and who I’m with today, I knew when I was 14 years old. We were friends for around 2 years and then drifted apart. 10 years later, we started speaking and a relationship came from it. I wasn’t expecting to find someone. I had come out of another relationship (that wasn’t abusive just to clarify) and at the time, I thought nothing could of beat that relationship. I was absolutely devastated when he broke up with me just before our year together out the blue. After everything id been through I thought this is the end for me. I cannot take anymore stress.
Then a few months down the line, I started speaking to my partner. I was reluctant at first. I struggled to still leave the front door and I had moved back to an area I wasn’t comfortable in. He had friends which I knew that knew my abuser, he knew my abuser (not on a friendship level) and that terrified me. For a while when we was talking I thought to myself this couldn’t work as much as I wanted it to. What if he knew the lies my abuser had told people? What if he had seen the Facebook post of the non-molestation order being posted for all to see, people laughing at me, calling me names. What if his friends told him to stay clear from the lies. It also made me think, what if it doesn’t work out, will more gossip go round about me. For 2 years, I knew there was rumours about me and it really lowered my confidence, I just wanted to be accepted for me.
I was reluctant at first to tell my partner about the domestic abuse. Usually when I told men they would run a mile. I really enjoyed our conversations and I wanted to be accepted for me, not my abuse. But eventually my anxiety got too bad that I explained the story to him. I also explained my anxiety about his friends knowing him and what they would think of me. He listened, he was so kind, so gentle, so understanding. It felt like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders.
Our first official date came around in July and I was so nervous. We was going to top golf, something I’d never normally do on a first date encase I embarrassed myself, but he loved golf so I gave it ago. He picked me up, we went to golf and we had such a laugh. I really enjoyed our time together, it was perfect. Then on the way home he had mentioned that he had spoke to his friends about me. I froze in the car. I felt panicked. God what would the friends had said. He told me that him and his friends all said I had nothing to worry about and they hadn’t heard any rumours about me over the years. It was in that moment, in the car, that I knew he was the one for me. He had gone out of his way and told his friends to help my anxiety stay at bay. It also made me realise that I had nothing to fear and not everyone thought bad of me.
Through out that time I started going out, I walked down the road I couldn’t of done 2 years prior and my partner was always cheering me on, like my number one fan. This stage we still didn’t have a label on our relationship but we enjoyed each others company and saw each-other practically everyday.
When it goes so well I would always try to self sabotage, without even realising. My anxiety and my brain would tell me “this is too good to be true, this isn’t going to work out”. Nothing ever did for me before. I would wonder if I was being too full on if I spoke too much, I wouldn’t want to mention about my feelings of anxiety and depression encase he would get angry. There was so many things, then I realised, that’s not him, that’s my past relationships.
My partner must have seen me cry so many times now it’s unreal. Then after I cry I think, Christ is he going to think this is too much to handle and he’s going to leave me? But he never does. Do you know why? Because he’s a good person. He took me to his spot before, it’s a beautiful spot with a bench and the views are amazing. He sat me down and told me everything he liked about me, how amazing I was and I had nothing to worry about. Safe to say I cried, sobbed whatever else you want to call it. I had never been treated so kindly in all my life and I was so lucky.
As we also know my way of coping sometimes is alcohol (not healthy I know). My partner has seen me drunk on more than a few occasions now. Sometimes I wake up forgetting how I got in bed and I was sick prior. I then used to panic that he’d leave me – but no of course he wouldn’t because again, that’s a trigger from my old relationship. He would get me to bed, he would hold my hair while I was sick, he would look after me the next day.
The point I guess I’m trying to make from this blog is that new relationships are hard, especially if you’ve been in an abusive relationship before hand. It’s hard to come to terms that there are men out there that will love you and will care for you. My partner says we are a team and we get through everything together including my domestic abuse.
In October he asked me to be his girlfriend and I cried, no surprise there.
After everything I’ve been through, sharing everything to him (some stuff I haven’t shared to anyone before) he has been there. He has remained with me. He has loved me, hugged me, wiped away the tears, reassured me and to be honest put up with my crappy moods!
So to my partner, if you read this which I’m sure you will – you are amazing. You are the light in my life, the gift that keeps on giving and my whole world. Thank you for being you, thank you for understanding, thank you for everything you do. I love you.
And to all the men and women that are with individuals that have dealt with trauma and look after them like my partner does, thank you. We need love and care to help us get through. You are all amazing.