For as long as I can remember, I’ve struggled with sharing my personal experiences on the internet. One thing I especially don’t like to discuss is my relationships because it’s a sensitive subject. I don’t like to talk about who I’m dating with anyone, but in due course, I’ve come to realize the essence of talking about one’s feelings.
At a young age, I witnessed people struggle so much in their relationships that I disdained men. I told myself that when I was old enough to be in a relationship, it had to be with someone who genuinely loved me with my flaws. A few years ago, I crossed paths with someone I thought I could build a future with, and although I was still very young, I never second-guessed my relationship with him. I’ve always believed in growing together and staying committed.
Months passed before I noticed the relationship was overwhelming. The slightest arguments triggered the fear of being dumped, so I did everything I could to maintain the relationship. The sad truth is that the society we live in has made it difficult for both genders to leave unhealthy relationships due to various reasons, and mine was low self-esteem. The reality of being left alone began to dawn on me when I realized he was relocating to another country. I tried so hard to contain my anxiety, but on days when I couldn’t, I had panic attacks.
Before he left, I tried to talk about what could happen to our relationship due to distance, but every time I brought it up, he was sure to shy away from the conversation. I understood that he didn’t want to hurt my feelings by saying the wrong things, but I still needed closure. I wanted us to be okay with or without a relationship because I’ve always believed in ‘We are friends before anything else’, but apparently, he didn’t feel the same way. I opened up to my mum about my relationship because I was certain he and I would be in each other’s lives for a long time.
Honestly, I never came to terms with the fact that he ghosted me until much later. I didn’t hear from him after he arrived there, and when we finally spoke, he said he was too busy to talk. Hearing those words from someone I used to talk to regularly was shocking. I couldn’t make sense of what was going on, and worst of all, I had no one to talk to. I deleted my social media accounts, stopped communicating with friends, and didn’t attend church for a long period.
The fact that I was hurt more than once by the same person affected my mental health. Everyone close to me worried that I wasn’t my usual self. The only silver lining was that I wasn’t failing at schoolwork. In fact, I was doing great. Gradually, I began to gather my thoughts together, but little did I know that my relationship with him had set a standard for me. I couldn’t imagine being with anyone that didn’t meet up, and it affected my relationship with others.
It was hard to forgive myself for allowing him to hurt me that way, but I couldn’t blame him. I took the anger out on my friends and pushed them away. On some days, I was pissed at myself for being treated like I wasn’t good enough. Other days, I was angry because he never apologized for ghosting me or even ending things abruptly. I wonder if he felt guilty at any point.
The reason I’m able to share my story now is that, over these past few months, I’ve had deep and meaningful conversations with myself. I realized that I dwelt on the pain for far too long and never allowed myself to heal. I was stuck on seeking approval from him that I didn’t notice how emotionally drained I was, but over time, I’ve learned to forgive myself. Thankfully, a lot has helped me through my healing process; I’ve read books, talked about it to people that could help, and focused on the things I care about. I believe that I’m still a work in progress and although emotionally, I’m not where I want to be, it’s been great coming to terms with all that has happened and taking a step back to find happiness in my work, activities, and most of all, myself.