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The kinds of people you shouldn’t date

When I started writing theNotice, I wanted to create a safe space. Its bread and butter has always been beauty content, but I wanted to create a blog where anyone could talk about the kinds of things you’re not “supposed” to talk about, in the comments or even by email.

That’s why I’ve covered everything from eating disorders to tampons to IUDs over the past eight years, and that’s why I’m talking about relationships today.

I haven’t discussed everything in my life here on theNotice, and frankly it would be weird if I had, but I’d like to be able to say that I haven’t lied about anything, at least. So, for my first post of 2016, here’s a little bit of honesty about my last boyfriend.

(Spoiler alert, he was shitty.)

happymonsters

Source: Happy Monsters

“If someone else is being a dick, that’s not on you.”

When people ask you about your partner, I feel like there’s always pressure to give them the answers that they want to hear. To share super-cute anecdotes about the two of you; to laugh coyly and lie about how good the sex is. It’s easy to champion how well your friends should be treated (so well! Like majestic unicorns!), but it’s so much harder to say “hey, the Nice Guy™ that I’m dating actually kind of treats me like trash” to your mutual friends, hopefully-not-mutual family, and colleagues.

Here is the other half of the story about my ex and I.

My ex was saccharine-sweet to me 99% of the time, but he would also spit words at me and make me feel absolutely disgusting when he had had a bad day. He’d use cute nicknames and tell me that he loved me, but he’d guilt trip me for making him feel bad when I flinched away from contact.

My ex would tell me that of course he worried about me, but he’d follow it up with “because nobody else in your life is going to.” He would tell me that I was being unfair by asking him to see a therapist about his severe depression instead of unloading on me, and did I have any idea how much of a burden it was on him that I have a physical disability?

My ex would call me every night to ask me about my day, but he would also finger me so roughly that I would cry, and then fall into a funk for days over the fact that my crying made him feel “useless.” He would get so mad at me for having panic attacks that I would end up cowered in the corner of my bedroom trying to hide from him, and he’d tell me that I was being unfair, because it’s not like he was hitting me.

whalecom chibird

Source: Chibird

“Even if your relationship could be worse, that’s not an excuse.”

The #1 thing that stopped me from saying anything bad about my relationship is a universal of (too) many other relationships: I was embarrassed to admit that I let someone else treat me like that. But you know what? If someone else is being a dick, that’s not on you. Not even if you covered for them in the past.

But the other thing that stopped me was the knowledge that my relationship wasn’t as bad as many others are. What I’ve come to realize over the past 10 months, however, is that even if your relationship could be worse, that’s not an excuse for the ways in which it sucks. Like, if you buy a really shitty mascara and it clumps your lashes into a gross uni-lash, you’re not like, oh, it didn’t rot my eyes away with acid, so I guess I have to recommend it to a friend now–why would you give more leeway to something as important as your relationship?

I also spent a lot of time excusing him for things because, well, I honestly don’t think that he had any idea that the way he was treating me was wrong. But just because someone doesn’t consciously decide to be cruel, that doesn’t make their actions any less terrible, and I’ve slowly come to remember that your partner’s ignorance should NOT excuse their actions.

fox

Source: Bridget Beth via DIY with Maryann

“If something is unacceptable FOR YOU, then it’s unacceptable.”

There is a part of my brain that looks at this post and thinks no, you can’t say that; it’s unprofessional. It’s uncouth. But like — fuck that part of my brain. Fuck that part of all of our brains. I had no idea that my last relationship was messed up because no one ever tells you what level of anguish is unacceptable, so you know what? I’m going to talk about it. It’s not unprofessional: it’s necessary.

As far as I’m concerned, any level of cruelty high enough to cause mental distress is unacceptable. You’re not a checklist, you’re a person, and if it’s unacceptable for you, then it’s unacceptable. There is a wide margin between an abusive relationship and a healthy relationship, and if you fall short of a even just a passably good relationship–if your partner makes you stressed, sad, and unhappy–then yeah, I think you owe it your yourself to move on.

positivedoodles hedgehog

Source: Emm’s Positivity Blog

“My super-fun two and a half year torture party,”

I stayed with my ex because I thought that all relationships would be some degree of bad, and I was scared that nobody better would ever want me. Everyone has always told me that that was nonsense, because I’m pretty and smart and blah blah blah, but have you met women in general? They’re amazing. They’re all so gorgeous and intelligent and fucking funny, and most of them aren’t permanently disabled–who would want me?

(Lots of people, apparently. There are a lot of lonely people out there in the world.)

I gave myself three days to pick myself up off the floor after breaking off my super-fun two and a half year torture party, and then I got right back into the saddle & tried out my first-ever dating app.* I had my first date scheduled before the week was out, and while we didn’t work out romantically, we’re still friends– we text almost constantly, or at least, we did (but then he got a very cute, very dumb puppy and now he spends all of his free time crying and cleaning up pee.)

*Quick online dating tips: OK Cupid is awesome if you want to screen people for their likes and leanings; Tinder is awesome if you only want to be messaged by people you match with (which can make it a great choice if you’re LGBTQ+). People seem to be hotter and younger on Tinder, for some reason, but more artsy/geeky on OK Cupid.

I met my current partner on Tinder! And I’d tell you the full story, but it’s just not as funny unless we tell it together, so I will keep you in the dark on that for now.

If you wanted an awesome conclusion to this post, I’m afraid you’re out of luck. I am very small, and currently very sick. But I can tell you this: I wanted to share my story so that anyone out there needing to talk (about something present or past) would hopefully see this as a safe space, too. So for anyone who wants to weigh in, share stories, or get all academic on us–feel free to use the comments down below at any time when you want someone to listen.

Anonymous comments are welcome.

pusheen hug every person

Source: Everyday Cute (Pusheen!)

I don’t view the relationship I described here as abusive, but if you’re in a relationship where you feel mentally or physically unsafe, please check out the following resources to get help when you feel ready. You deserve so much more than this.

Update 20/12/16: It’s been almost a year since I wrote this post, and I’d like to add the fact that I’ve since mentioned this relationship to a mental health professional. I gave him the barest amount of details, and his (alarmingly casual) response was, “Oh, so an abusive relationship, then.” For anyone in a similar situation… Please don’t write off your relationship as bad-but-not-abusive the way I did. I am fallible, and great at denial, and I was wrong.

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  • Susan

    Thank you for being open and honest about such a painful, personal experience. I don't understand why anyone would have an issue talking about something we've probably all been through to some degree, at some level. Most people have been in relationships and if you've been in more than one, it's likely that you've had experience with a bad relationship. We should talk about it because it's a reality and a sad one at that. Relationships, even the good ones, can be complicated. But they shouldn't be painful, especially when it's consistently painful.

    Beyond that, I hope you heal and thrive. I think you're great. This is my first comment because I'm just not a talker, but I've been following your blog for over 6 months now and felt compelled to reach out and tell you you're awesome. Because you are.

    • silvermoon3

      Amen to everything you said here, Susan! We SHOULD talk more about these issues because so, so many of us have lived through something similar, in some way, shape, or form.

      And she IS awesome! Agreed fully. I'm glad you reached out to tell her, too. Sending her all the love today. x

  • Lily @ChloeAsh

    Thanks for sharing your story, Rae *hugs*
    I only had 2 long-ish relationships, one when I was at uni, and another one since 2003 until now, and he's my childhood friend (now husband!). So in truth, I don't really know a lot about different relationships. LOL!
    However, while I love my parents very much, they do stress me out, and their good intentions hurt me most of the time. I try to take it lightly, but sometimes, it's just good to stay away from them for a while. It's like, they try to encourage you by being negative. HAHAHAHA!!!
    I hope your current relationship takes you to a happy place, Rae. All of us deserve happiness, but to a certain extent, no one else can make us happy but ourselves. We decide how to be happy, who to be happy with and also, to sever ties with those who make us unhappy :-)
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  • cheapasf

    Thanks for writing this. I was in a similar relationship almost 15 years ago (though I do consider it abusive), and it's still unpleasant to talk about. I'm glad you met someone better!

  • Dora

    How can I even begin to say this…? I've never ever commented on your blog, Rae, even if I read it all the time, but I feel that this is a good moment to start. Your story made me so angry, I've also been treated like an emotional punch bag, my ex was being so horrible to me, making me feel very insignificant for the whole world. I know that it takes power and courage to move on and trust yourself again. You said it so good, yourself, ignorance is not an excuse to be an asshole. You are great, Rae! I'm happy that you left behind you that weak man that is your ex, such people are always very very weak and that is why they want to make other people feel like shit. Knowing this made me realize how much better I am, and so are you!

    • silvermoon3

      "I'm happy that you left behind you that weak man that is your ex, such people are always very very weak and that is why they want to make other people feel like shit. Knowing this made me realize how much better I am, and so are you!"
      YES, amen to that!

  • That's a brave post. Really glad to hear you got yourself out and have a fab new partner now! :)

  • This post is amazing and I love that you said fuck it to holding back and just went for it. These are definitely the kinds of things that so many women need to hear, all of us really, and when it's so frank and honest it's absolutely going to be helpful. I loved the part where you said, "If it's unacceptable to you, then it's unacceptable" HALLELUJAH! I really hope that so many women read this and share it and take it to heart.
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    • silvermoon3

      I'm just here wishing I could upvote, Like, and second your comment all over the place!
      Wish I'd said it as well as you. Great comment!

  • telle

    Rae– *hugs*

    also, thank you for your courage to post about something so personal, and to be so transparent, honest and genuine about your experience. and i love "if someone is being a dick, that's not on you". amen to that. it seems that you have/are(?) worked through your view of personal "undeservingness" and that has to be the most exciting part your share, for me. *hugs* again, Rae! <3

    • silvermoon3

      I'm just here wishing I could upvote, Like, and second your comment all over the place!

  • thank you for sharing this! it was such an interesting read (yes…pls share your difficult stories for my own personal entertainment..me me me) and a good one to share with the masses. in my very first relationship, which just wasn't a good match, i felt like i had to stay b/c 'what if there was no one else' but i'm glad that ended and i moved on. i'm glad yours ended too and you're with someone great! hugs from vancouver, rae!!!
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  • Liz

    Sadly so many know what it's like to be in a relationship where the other person says they love you but ends up making you feel small instead. And it takes freaking forever to find your way out of that emotional maze because you think it's you and not the other person. I'm so proud of you for leaving that relationship and having the courage to speak about it now. I hope this post helps others make similar choices. <3<3

  • Coffee

    I was in an abusive relationship for 10+ years though toward the end, it had calmed down a lot. He hit me only occasionally in the earlier years, but he picked a fight almost daily for many years. I always did something horribly offensive and would have to come back begging forgiveness after being ignored for a day. He didn't trust me to have friends, told me to never talk about the relationship to outsiders, etc. I knew it was wrong, but he was a master manipulator and kept me convinced I needed to stay. I finally had the guts to ask for a divorce, he threatened to kill himself but in the end it was relatively amicable since he was overall in a better place than 5+ years previous. At that point I wanted out because I didn't love him and hadn't for some years, he still scared me if he got mad and I didn't want to "fix" it. I've gone on to get remarried and have two beautiful boys. I wish I hadn't wasted so many years unhappy but I can't regret what happened because it led to where I am now which is pretty darned great. Thank you for posting this, I hope it can help someone that's stuck and afraid to talk or get out.

  • silvermoon3

    Dear, sweet Rae. You are a brave, wonderful, and amazing woman! Thank you so much for writing this, and for being brave enough to post it. You have the ability to reach other women with your words, and you never know who this may reach just when they needed it… Sharing your truth isn't unprofessional, or TMI; it is your right to not live with the crap someone else wanted to dump on you – stuff you didn't deserve, and do not need to be carrying around with you now. If sharing helps diminish this in any way, then shout it from the (internet) rooftops until it loses its power to hurt you. I can only hope!

    But this guy? This depressed little boy with hateful issues? SO glad you had the strength to move on from him before things got worse… And I was kinda inspired by your rebound strategy! Truly impressive. On a down note, but an important one, I think, I want to recognize your experiences, and bear witness for you, in a sense. What you describe (and I KNOW that's just the wee bit you've mentioned; there's always more, right?) IS abusive. Your ex was abusive to you. You do not need to have been beaten black and blue with fists to have been abused. You describe emotional, psychological, and sexual abuse, and that is very real, very damaging, and something you very much deserve to assign the full weight of what it is/was. That you seem to be determined to move past it and not let it bog you down is a testament to your immense strength, and I am mentally applauding wildly at you for that!

    But please… If you'll consider this: I think honouring your experiences both gives you the affirmation that what happened was as you say it was – it's not what he minimized it to be, pretended was ok, or even what you may have tidied it up to be for yourself and for others. I think that naming it for what it was is about taking more of that burden off of yourself – because as you state, that's on THEM, not YOU – about refusing to accept blame and shame for something you never deserved, and still do not.

    • silvermoon3

      cont'd…

      It is about recognizing that there are many types of abuse beyond the ones that leave visible bruises, most being ones that do the most damage because they leave scars only we can easily see/feel, and therefore they sit there, often unhealed, and unnoticed until someone trips over one and we realize it's still raw, still painful, and still real.

      That's NOT to suggest giving it (and him) any more importance that he/it deserves. Nope. You took that power, and your life, and smartly walked away as best could. Right effing ON, girl! Nope, I'm all about naming and shaming THEM, because truth is, he's likely not faced one bit of consequence for his actions towards people, and likely also thinks he's a pretty great guy, right? They always do.

      I know a bit about it. My ex started taking some perverse pleasure in something I've only recently found a name for: gaslighting. Named after the movie where husband keeps lowering the gas, and therefore the lighting, in the home. When wife notices and comments, he denies there's anything different, negating her perceptions, subtly questioning her grip on reality… The constant undermining of her sense of reality, what her senses say is true yet her husband, someone who loves her and whom she trusts, is making her feel crazy, like it's all in her head… And ultimately it can drive you mad as you grasp at anything, hysterical as the world seems more and more out of control…

      Yep, there was some messed up stuff going on, but I didn't recognize it at the time. We fought, but it was arguments, not fisticuffs. I wanted him to not lie to me constantly, compulsively (and poorly; I'd always catch him in his BS and be like "WTF, dude?! You can't even keep track of your own lies! JEEZ!), wanted him to spend time with his family (me, our child) but he was spending more and more time "at work" (actually, hanging out with friends, going for coffee, etc) and I was at home endlessly, raising our child alone.

      Finally sick of his lies, and promises he wouldn't do that anymore (ha), I told him to leave, at least that night. And that's when it got physical, that one time, in the blink of an eye. But what left the deepest, ugliest scars was the years of gaslighting, the initially subtle and then more and more overt put-downs… The next relationship I had with a lovely young man about a year and a half after we split suffered from those scars. How could it not? I hadn't even been able to name or even recognize some of his behaviours for the abusive crap that they truly were. While I was conscious that he was a jerk, and tried not to let that colour my current relationship, I was still carrying all the shame, and fears he'd loaded upon me over the course of much of our relationship.

      • silvermoon3

        cont'd…

        It really didn't hit me until I saw in a resource guide book put out by local social service agencies (mainly one offering shelter and counselling to women leaving abusive relationships, it turns out) that there are different types of abuse: physical, sexual, emotional/psychological, and financial, and all are real. Like you may have felt, just because you weren't being hit doesn't mean it wasn't abuse. Just because many women have it so much worse, doesn't mean it wasn't abuse. And most of all, just because you may have "talked back" or believed him when he may have said your behaviour 'made him' act this way, that's NOT TRUE. There's no excuse for how he was treating you.

        I'm so sorry it happened. I believe you, I hear you, and I'm here – willing and able to listen any time, and about anything you want to talk about. You aren't alone, even if I'm not close by!

        I'm sorry this was long and rambly/choppy, it was just a pure stream of consciousness thing, but with the extra emotional charge plus lack of edit… I'm just going to leave it as-is and hope the main gist of my intended message gets through.

        And I chose to share only because I wanted to stand with you and say Yes, you're not alone, not meaning to take away from your powerful words, which I'm grateful for, as I'm grateful to know you, even a bit. :)

        Finally, I recall reading about your trip to the hospital clinic (?) a while back and in commenting you'd asked about my own disability/health issues. I did eventually see the question, and always meant to reply, but things tend to get away from me too easily now… And then I felt silly because it had been so long. I won't share that 'why' here now, as it seems inappropriate, but I'd be happy to another time/in another place. But as a 'Spoonie' aka someone living with a chronic, debilitating health condition, I understand the layers that our realities can add into life – and, sadly, into a situation like with this ex of yours… And the sheer loneliness that often comes with managing chronic health issues… Again, I'm here, I'm honoured to listen should you want to talk/type… I know there is nothing quite like talking with someone who lives with a (even vageuly) similar issue as you have a level of honesty you can work on, not having to make it 'sound nice' or to mask how crappy you really feel so that others don't feel too badly, etc. Yeah, I know allll about that one.

        OK, I'm shushing now. Holy blabbling on, Lisa! You know your comment is hella long when the system suggests you break it up into multiple messages! O.o

        Gentle ehugs to you, Ms Rae! xx ~ Lisa

  • MissMolotov

    This was so brave of you to write. To say things we are all thinking. Things I have thought but also think…no maybe I shouldn't put this on my blog. I am so happy you are away from that relationship. My last relationship was beyond abusive and I am so glad I got out. Thank you for this.
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  • Eugenia

    Sharing a part of our private life is never easy,so thank you for opening up. Now,I've been happily married for almost 26 years and have a beautiful 21 1/2 year old daughter to show for it. But before that,I was miserably married for 2.5 years to a pussy-whipped mama's boy dickwad and even though I knew he wasn't right for me,I still went ahead and married him. Call it vanity. Or youth. Or just plain old stupidity. Whatever – he was an asshole and while I won't get into the mental abuse part of it here,suffice it to say that at one point,I finally remembered who I was & my self-worth,and that I shouldn't have to take that kind of crap any more,so I divorced him. Best decision I ever made,where that relationship was concerned! Happy to hear you had a similar epiphany and that things are moving in a more positive way for you now! There's always hope for all of us!

  • ellie

    Rae, this was such a brave and touching post! You are an amazing person. Thank you for opening up

  • I just want to give everyone here a huge hug! I'm lucky enough to have never been in that situation (perennial spinster, which brings its own challenges) but I always thought I would never stay in an abusive relationship, but some of this abuse both you suffered and in the comments is so insidious and sneaky (the gaslighting in particular is so cruel), I am so sad people could do that to someone they supposedly love. I am very happy for everyone who has moved on to better things!

    You are one of my favourite writers Rae, long may you continue! xx

  • Rae, well done on booting that arsehole from your life. If, and I hope there isn't, a next time… don't take so long about it. That's an order. Love you chick xxx

  • becky

    Hey! Quinn here from Instagram. I remember seeing the name of your blog a few years back – funny how small this world really is. Thank you for sharing such a private part of your life with us. I've been in an emotionally abusive relationship before, and it's comforting to know I'm not the only one someone else treated like shit. My ex was so controlling and used to make me feel so bad about myself all the time and always talked down to my friends behind their backs, making me feel like he was the best person I'd ever have. Before dating this guy (and even during), I wondered why people stayed in abusive relationships instead of just leaving – and I think that more often than not, they don't even know they're in one. At least I didn't. It hit me in the face when I was reading over his psychology notes and he was learning about the signs of abuse, and our situation checked almost every point.

    When he left me, I was so sad but it was actually a blessing in disguise. We'd break up and get back together multiple times, and one day I decided no, I'm not doing this again. He got pissed, then regretful after that, and now (~2 years later) he still thinks that my current boyfriend of about a year and a half is a rebound. But yeah, I realized I had SO much freedom after our breakup and I definitely didn't want to go back no matter how much he promised he'd treat me better – because he said it so many times, and I fell for it every time.

    Anyway – I'm so happy you got out of that relationship. Thank you for sharing, again!

    • Thank you so much for sharing this, Becky! Your story resonates so strongly with me — when I was with my ex, I had no idea that there was anything wrong with our relationship. I had known that I was unhappy, sure, but it wasn't until I started dating other people that I realized how different things could be.

      I'm so glad to hear that you got yourself out of what sounds like a really destructive relationship cycle, and I hope you're doing really well with your current boyfriend! <3

  • Alix

    Thanks for sharing, Rae. You're brave, talented, funny, and gorgeous. You deserve all good things, including relationships, and I'm glad you're standing up for your right to have them. Bravo!

    • Aww, thank you, Alix! I feel like I need to run around with a "YOU DESERVE GOOD THINGS!" drawing :P For me, my friends, my family — everyone, really! It's something that's all too easy to forget.

  • esharp1978

    I hear you loud and clear. My relationship and husband have their ups and downs. It's far from perfect. It's very hard. Because there is a rock solid foundation of love and trust, I put up with a lot, and of work with him to make improvements on both our behalves. It's very stressful since we're in the military and rarely have money/time/freedom for anything. Before the military our relationship was better. I won't go into all the details and bore you all.

    I have autoimmune issues too, I'm overweight, and it's hard because you feel worthless to others much of the time. I also suffered a childhood full of abuse of every type and have had a long string of bad relationships.

    We are both broken people to an extent. I try to give us both some compassion and leeway. I understand we both have baggage.

    On the other hand, I don't take shit very well. If you are going be a fool, abusive, or what have you you get a few chances to come correct. There is only so much I can take.

    We've been to counseling for several moths, close to year and it did help some. My husband comes from a non loving and emotionally/verbally abusive family. He doesn't even realize he's doing it half the time. I ALWAYS call him on it and point it out. In fact, we just had a mini argument about it while I was writing this! He has made slow improvements over our almost eight years together.

    Relationships are a negotiation but there are lines I'll never let him cross without consequences or leaving. I expect the same from him for me. On the other hand, we've both been victims of abuse, substance abuse, and cheating, so it's not something we'd probably ever do to each other.

    It's hard to know when to stay and when to go, only you can make the determination. We've been through a major rough patch recently, the last two years have been hell. His mother died of cancer last summer and we have spent the last two years trying to repair his family relationships. I've had several close friends and family members die too and we both lost our last living grandfathers. His relationship with his brother also imploded this summer the day his mother died and their may have been foul play in her demise at his hand. It's been super rough. Hopefully all this tragedy will result in growth.

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  • The Procrastinator

    This was incredibly brave of you to write — and even more brave of you to leave that relationship in the dust. In my last relationship we didn't even fight, we would get to this weird standstill every single day where it felt like I hated being with him, yet the second I was alone I'd be agonizing about what he was doing when I wasn't there. Not my healthiest self. So glad to hear how lovely your current partner is :) and happy new year!!
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    • Thank you so much, Jenn <3

      Hearing this, makes me so glad that you're no longer in your last relationship — that sounds like a nightmare. I can definitely relate to the whole standstill/anxiety cycle, and dude. It sucks. I'm really sorry that you were ever in that position! :(

  • Rae,

    As much as I hate that you had to be in the situation to write this post in the first place, I'm glad that you did. Like many of the women in the comments section, I've been in an abusive relationship. Instead of delving into the details of how he broke me as a person and turned my life upside-down, I want to say that this is such an incredibly important topic for all women and something that no one should be afraid to write about.

    When I was with my ex, he was the nicest, most charming and fun man you would ever meet – unless you were dating him and behind closed doors. My family and friends loved him and would encourage our relationship at every chance they got. Little did they know I was living in hell, being mistreated, cheated on and put down daily. The worst part about this, and why I think it's so important for women to share these stories, is that even when started to realize how bad things were and I tried to tell someone, no one ever believed me because he was SO NICE.

    I wish I had read a post like this back then to reassure me that what I thought was wrong, was in fact wrong. It would have spared me two years of therapy and still struggling with depression and anxiety! So, thank you for sharing this Rae. I think it will help a lot of women :)

    PS I feel like I should also mention that I now have an amazing fiance who treats me amazingly well, loves me for who I am and tries to fix the damage my ex did every single day. :)
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    • Thank you so much for sharing this! I think it's really important that we talk about stuff like this, because I never would have guessed that about you just based on our online interactions. (I'm sure I wouldn't have had any idea if I had been there in real life as it was happening, even.) But that just makes it so easy for victims to feel isolated, which makes it even harder to leave a bad relationship or to talk about it openly, and hearing this from someone who I consider to be a friend means a lot to me.

      I'm really, really glad that you're out of that relationship, even though I know that recovering from it must have been (and still is!) really tough. I have never had to deal with any sort of relationship that was that degree of destructive–something I am grateful for every day–and you are so, so strong for not only being able to exit that cycle, but to deal with it head-on by going to therapy and fighting for a brighter future.

      Sending lots of love your way :)

  • Dearest Rae, it's incredibly generous of you to take a shitty experience and write about it in a way that invites open, safe conversation and lets others know that these situations are not ok. It never seems to be as easy to "get out" as some seem to think or imply, and I so admire that you did it and put yourself first. To me it does sound like an abusive relationship, but on the other hand I don't presume to speak for your own experiences. At the end of the day I'm proud to know you & wish you the most happiness/awesome-ness in your current relationship. xx

    oh and P.S. a million, million hugs. keep being an awesome rae-whale

  • Christine

    I want to give you all the hugs. You're an amazing human being and I'm so honoured to have even been able to meet you. I think you're incredibly strong to share this publicly and to declare The Notice to be a safe space.

    For anyone reading the comments and wondering wehter their own relationships are/have been abusive, I really recommend "Why Does He Do That?" by Lundy Bancroft because while I've only read excerpts, I think it's an amazing resource and complete reassurance that you're not alone.

    Thank you for sharing, Rae.

    • Thank you so much for the book rec, Christine! I'm definitely going to try to find time to read it this year — even though I'm in a great place right now, I think it would be really helpful just for my general knowledge base to access that kind of in-depth resource.

  • Wow Rae! I'm so proud of you for being brave and sharing to help others! And I'm so mad that someone treated MY RAE like that!!! I'm so happy that you are in a happy relationship now because you deserve it! I think that's the lesson here, is that we all need to realize that we deserve to be happy. HUGS Rae!
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  • Thank you for being strong and sharing this post with us, Rae! Talking about shitty relationships is very hard to come out and talk about, especially on the internet where anyone can view it. You're a very strong, beautiful and capable woman that deserves absolute happiness in all areas of her life, just like the rest of us. We're so hell bent on nuturing others needs (our damn DNA!) that we cannot forget about our own. This is our life, not anyone else's, and we're the ones in control of our journey and that means cutting out people that ruin that journey for us.. Life is too short to deal with shit like that! xo
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  • Rae-whale, I just wanted to tell you that I love you and this space you have created. It is empowering and we all need the haven of shared experiences sometimes. I'm sorry for your terrible asshole of an ex (that makes me so angry!), but you said so many things that are just so right. You are amazing, and if someone is a dick, that is definitely not on you. Much love, darling.
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  • Great post!
    I think part of the reason why we accept shitty relationships for too long (I know I have in the past) is that deeply ingrained idea that love must include its share of sadness, tears, and pain. That the emotional roller coaster is unavoidable, normal, and even desirable, as if love was alternative current and you couldn't get the highs without the lows. Hell, some people even manage to convince themselves that their relationship is intense and exciting because of the pain it causes them! You know, in a "he's very jealous and controlling, but that's because he loves me so much" kind of way.

    The truth that I learned the hard way is that this is absolute and complete BULLSHIT. A painful relationship is not "intense and strong", it's dysfunctional, and it hurts to stay in it. If you ever feel threatened or belittled in a relationship, end it: what you're experiencing is not love, it's about control and power. It's never going to make you happy, and it will never get better.
    I'm not saying that a healthy relationship is joy and unicorns every day, but it should make you feel good in the long run, not tensed or sad.
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  • Agata

    You are very brave for sharing this story. You are absolutely right, each and one of us deserves nothing but happiness and to be treated well. That comes from a person who recently got divorced and who started a new relationship a few months ago (that started on Ok Cupid in fact :)) and now I can honestly say I am happier I have ever been. Sure, each relationship has fights, ups and downs but nobody should ever bring you down. Wishing you all the best in the new year and I hope you will find your happy place in the hear of a man who deserves you.

    Hugs!
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  • Yes to writing/talking about 'taboo' topics!

    I'm so sorry you went through a relationship like that and were made to feel so bad :-( Even if a guy is the perfect prince on a white horse 99 percent of the time, that's no excuse to go all super villain the remaining 1 percent of the time. I can sort of relate to the situation, although my case is slightly different.
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  • meganjoy

    "any level of cruelty high enough to cause mental distress is unacceptable"

    Fully agree, 100%. Just because you may not consider your relationship abusive it doesn't mean that person isn't hurting you emotionally (and physically for that matter). This was very brave for you to share and I think you are amazing for sharing something so personal. Sending <3
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  • Kate & Zena

    You go, Rae! You tell all the people how it is!

    And you know what? This doesn't just apply to romantic relationships; it applies to ALL relationships. If that relationship is giving you mental distress, you need to cut that one loose, even if it takes police intervention. Seriously. I learned that lesson last year too after a guy friend STALKED me. (I'm not kidding!) I also had a girl friend that verbally abused me when I was younger. It happens; we often don't realize it's abuse until we're older and out of those relationships.

    And girlfriend, we need a sick couch so we can lie down and watch TV together. I am sick with some lower kidney/bladder/urinary tract thing (no one can agree on a diagnosis.)

  • Rae,

    You are so amazing. Thank you for sharing this story. I've been in toxic relationships before, tainted with jealousy, secrecy, lies yet clouded by sweet words, loving actions and an overall blanket of mixed messages. The more we talk about our relationships — online, with close friends and acquaintances, and other trusted people, the better pictures we get as to what we're missing because of our own tunnel vision or fear. I too have stayed in relationships where I know it wasn't right but doubted my own self-worth or thought this was as good as it could get. It takes a lot to break that mentality and see what we truly deserve — and to know there are partners out there who are ready to give it! Sending you lots of love.
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  • Rae, I just want to give you a big, big, BIG hug. For what you put up with, for deciding you've had enough of being emotionally manipulated, for writing this post, and for being you. It's never easy to talk about this kind of thing but I am glad you cut him out and can back to being happy and healthy. BIG HUG.
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  • Sarah

    Rae, thank you for being vulnerable and writing this post. This is so important for so many of us to read, all the time. We are conditioned to just put up with shit from other people… especially men. If a guy is angry and throws a tantrum at us, it's because He! Cares! So! Much! and we're taught to accommodate that kind of behaviour. I'm so glad you are able to be firm in your boundaries and I wish you lots of heart healing and strength. Thank you thank you thank you.

  • I am glad I discovered your blog today, I really love your writing style and honesty! Thanks for sharing this post with us. I know it's very hard to talk about these types of things, but you definitely helped at least one person out there who's struggling with the exact same thing by sharing your experience and thoughts. And you're very right about everything you wrote – I hope many read this.