I'm [23/F] and I'm trying to leave a relationship with my bf [36/M]of 3 years but it's hard!

I have written a novel. I hope you will read it, but if you don't...that's okay too, it's a lot.

I was in an abusive relationship for a long time. I was so, so worn down and my life was 100% devoted to the trainwreck we had. One day, I got a message from my boyfriends sister and she said, "If you need to get away from him, go. I'll make sure he wont bother you and I'll make sure he's okay." Without thinking it through, I sent him a final message basically saying that we were over and I didn't want him to contact me again, ever. I blocked him.

There were a lot of difficult things that followed that experience. Firstly, the person who I talked to every single day, all day, was gone. The person I built my life around was gone. I felt completely and utterly fucked, because I had nobody to talk to and everybody around me just wanted to tell me they were right-- and I just wanted someone to tell me it was going to get better. I just wanted somebody to realize that even if the relationship ended, the feelings I had because of it didn't just disappear. It hurt, terribly. I was pretty certain that I was never going to put that time into somebody else ever again, because it hurt too badly.

You have put a lot of time into a relationship with this guy. Your life is deeply intertwined with loving him, and all the messes that come along with it. Your dad is my boyfriends sister, in a way; he is telling you that there is a way out of this. But it's scary, because this is going to be a huge change for you. You're going to have to start all over, you're not going to have that person beside you anymore and you're going to have to build your life around something else.

I want you to think about yourself, before you met him. What did you dream about? What were your goals? I bet you didn't think that you were going to end up in a relationship that hurt like this, and I bet you didn't think you were gonna end up with assault charges on your record. That's okay. Things don't go the way we expect them to. But right now, you're at a crossroads. Think of who you were, and think of who you are right now. Where do you want to go from here?

I want you to write a list of things that you want for YOURSELF. Not for your relationship, just for you. To kill the sadness in your heart, to get a dinosaur tattoo, to learn how to bake the wildest cheesecake that ever existed, to never be put in a position where you feel like you have to pick between your family and another person. I want you to want better things for yourself, because you need to. You are not bound by your first love, you are not the worst thing you've ever done-- you are a person who deserves the chance to accomplish their goals without a toxic relationship taking them down.

My advice to you is to go. If you think leaving now is hard, imagine how hard it would be in another three years. Leave him, go home, and don't talk to him again. Tell him it's over and don't give him the chance to change your mind. Give yourself a chance to have something more. I promise that you are so much stronger than you realize. Your life can be bigger than those charges, bigger than the cuts on your skin, and bigger than your suffering. I promise that this guy isn't going to be the only person to love you, or the only person that you will ever love.

The last time I heard from my ex, he had found my new phone number and sent me a text asking me to run away with him. At that point, I knew things were different. As much as my heart hurt, it was no longer a question of yes or no. I knew the answer was no and would always be no. Life changes very quickly, and things will never be the same as they were-- but it doesn't have to be a bad thing. It's been a couple of years now, and all I tend to have are lingering nightmares. I don't miss him anymore, and I no longer feel like he was the "one" at all. He was the one at the time, but for all the wrong reasons.

Some things that helped me...

  • find a way to get your feelings out. Write in a journal-- either generally, or write it like a letter to him, that you will never send. Hell, you could even write poetry, do something creative to let it out with, little by little.

  • I got into the habit of writing 3 positive things every night. Things I'm thankful for, things that made me laugh, small gestures that touched me, or things that I was proud of myself for. Maybe all I did was convince myself to eat breakfast, or maybe I slept restfully. Maybe I was proud that I resisted reading old chatlogs with the ex. All things big and small count.

  • cry. go cry in the shower, cry in your bed. cry to some romantic comedies where love is perfect. just friggin cry and be okay with letting yourself cry. Sometimes life sucks and it's okay to be hurt by that.

  • find things that make you laugh, and for the love of god, laugh. Pay special attention to the good things.

  • find somebody you can talk to, objectively. Somebody outside of the situation who has fresh eyes; this helped me recognize how deeply damaging my relationship was.

  • give yourself goals; even little ones, make small plans. Read books, go for a walk, work. You need to start building new pieces of yourself and new outlets.

  • Get help for your well-being and self injuries; work on building a recovery plan. You deserve wellness. Make goals and find strategies to help you cope better. I saw a social worker for several months following the break up, and was medicated for two years after. There's no shame in getting help.

  • look up domestic abuse signs. I know this sounds weird, but I came across a couple of links on it a few months after we broke up. There we were-- in all the charts, in all the lists. It was shocking, but it also woke me up about what extent things were wrong for the both of us.

Novel over! Best of luck to you. I really hope things work out for the best.

/r/relationships Thread