love is not enough: part three

College was a beast when it came to relationships. 

I grew up with my grandmother and was pretty sheltered. I was never allowed to really go out with boys, I had an early curfew, didn’t have a cell phone, and didn’t have a car. I kicked it with my five “granny approved” friends and that was about it. So, when I got to college, it was all the freedom I could imagine without ever being taught how to use it; unprotected territory.

I had a lot of fun in college and enjoyed my days on The Ohio State University Campus. I lived on campus in an all girls dorm my first two years and met some amazing people. The beginning of my sophomore year, I met this guy who lived in the attached dorm next door (a co-ed dorm). We were both from Cleveland, seemed to have a lot in common, and spent a lot of time together, and in three months time, we were a couple. The first four months of our relationship seemed great. I felt so in love. We were always together, there were no curfews, no restrictions, nothing. We could go wherever we wanted, be together as much as we wanted…. again, a freedom I had never known. 

The last four months of our eight month relationship, I felt it was emotionally abusive. We started arguing often, and anytime I was upset at him for something, he would twist the situation around and make it seem as if I did something to him, and I would end up apologizing. It was crazy. I used to tell him all the time he should be a lawyer how slick his mouth was.  If we were going out and he didn’t like my outfit, he would make me change because he didn’t want to be seen with me “looking like that.” Friends of mine would tell me that he was giving out his number to other girls and trying to hook up with them when I wasn’t around or if I was out of town, and when I confronted him about it, he would get mad at me, again, twist the situation around, and tell me my friends were jealous, not loyal, and not looking out for me,… and then tell me I couldn’t talk to them anymore (and yet I stayed… #traumatrain). 

One day he and I were actually having a weekend where we weren’t fighting or cursing at each other. He spent the night with me in my dorm, we spent the whole day together the next day, and then we planned on meeting back up in about an hour to order food and watch a movie. He left to head back to his room, and while he was gone, I ordered some food, and looked for a movie for us to watch. 

At the time AOL was the go to for instant chat and communication with friends. I was chatting on Instant Messenger with a friend who lived on my boyfriend’s floor and told him how we were wanting to watch a movie but I wasn’t sure what to watch. He said he had a bunch to choose from so I could come pick one. So I walked over to their side of the dorm and went to my friends room to pick a movie. Since I was over there, I decided to go check in with my boyfriend to see if he was ready to go watch the movie. 

To my surprise… 

He was sitting there with another girl, watching a movie, with clothes picked out on his bed as if he was about to get dressed and go somewhere. 

I literally froze. I didn’t know what to do. He looked at me and said “Hey what’s up?”…as if I was just a random person coming into his room. The girl was staring at me as if I was intruding on their date night.  I couldn’t even say anything and I just walked out. I went to  my friends room down the hall and told him what happened. I was so mad, and embarrassed, I started tearing up. I literally couldn’t believe what I just saw. I went back to his room, in hopes she would be gone, in hopes he would have an explanation that made sense, in hopes it was a misunderstanding and he was ready to resume our day. 

Nope. 

He was still sitting there with the girl watching the movie as if I didn’t exist and as if we didn’t have plans to meet back up. 

I left and went back to my room and cried. I had never experienced that type of cheating or embarrassment before, and didn’t even know how to handle it really. It took him a couple hours to even call me or try to come back to my room to see me. When he finally did come back to my dorm, he was dressed from head to toe, ready to go out…somewhere….not with me. He literally walked away from me as I was crying and fussing at him, and resumed his evening with someone else.

He ended up going out with that girl that night, staying the night with her, and then trying to come back to my dorm in the middle of the night. That definitely didn’t happen, but surprisingly, after that situation, we argued about it, made up, and I still stayed (#traumatrain). 

The last month of our relationship was just horrible. The arguing got worse. The emotional abuse was getting worse. He was emotionally manipulating whenever he could, and for some reason, I just felt like I couldn’t get out. I don’t know why it was SO hard for me to just break up with him, but whatever my baggage was that I brought into the relationship, I just couldn’t. I felt like I had battered woman syndrome. I hadn’t been to church probably since I left home, but this relationship certainly pushed me back into a relationship with God. There would be days when I had mentally and emotionally prepared to break up with him, but then after talking to him, it would end with an “I love you”, and the breakup would be postponed yet again. It was like he knew and coated everything in honey and said all the right words and did all the right things, and I changed my mind. I WANTED love to be enough… but it just never was and I didn’t understand why. I loved him. I was loyal. I catered to him. Did everything I thought I should be doing, but… my love just wasn’t enough.

One day we got into such a big fight, I left my own room, snatched a bible I had laying around, sat in the dorm hallway and just flipped through the pages looking for….anything to soothe my heart. It had been a while since I even been to church and I didnt even know what to read, but in this dire situation… I knew where to turn in despair. I prayed, “Lord, please change this situation. I love him and want to be with him, but I can’t do this anymore.” 

About a week went by and the situation seemed to be getting worse. It was almost amplified and I felt more and more in despair. Literally the next week I prayed again, “ Lord, please change him. I don’t know what else to do. Why can’t I just leave? Maybe if you change him things will be better. Please.” 

Nothing.

Everything still remained the same and was still just as bad. My heart was so full it could have busted open at any moment. I didn’t want anyone really knowing what I was going through with him or how bad it was. I remember attending a prayer service that was held on campus in the Hale Center. Ministers from New Salem Ministries came and prayed with some students and I remember one of the female minister took my hand and started praying with me. I didn’t volunteer, and wasn’t going to. I just wanted to be in the atmosphere, but God had other plans. 

She prayed with me, and all of a sudden I just felt my chest heavy, tears flowing and me loudly wailing and weeping in front of everyone. She continued to pray for me, and I just continued to release all I could. Something lifted, but I couldn’t pinpoint what it was. She took me into the bathroom afterwords and continued to minister to me. I felt really connected to whatever just happened and was so appreciative of the time she took with me. I dried my tears, and after the service and went back to my dorm with a hope that maybe things could change. 

Our relationship did not get better. In fact, it was getting even more intolerable. I prayed one last time to God, “Lord, please change me. He hasn’t changed, the situation hasn’t changed… Change me. What do I need to do? Help me get out of this because I can’t do it by myself. I love him, but I can’t do this anymore…”

(To be continued : part four…. ) 

Photo by Aaron Kittredge on Pexels.com

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