Toxicity in Disguise
Story by Anonymous
After getting out of a long term serious relationship, I joined an online dating platform in 2018 in search of healthy conversations with people who didn't live nearby. That's how I found him.
We instantly got along since our conversations were intellectual and thoughtful. We could relate to each other as we belonged to the same profession. After four months, we finally exchanged numbers and spoke almost everyday.
I appreciated his thoughts. As months passed by, I felt that his straightforward nature was what I needed in my life, gradually developing feelings for him. After a while of knowing each other well enough online, I ended up confessing and gave love another chance whereas this was his first relationship.
Initially, the distance didn't matter much and it wasn't apparent that my partner was emotionally manipulative as it was subtle. The problem began when he showed objection to me going out with my close ones, or sharing things with my parents or friends which I usually did freely.
I felt restricted. These traits of his felt unnecessary to me, but I respected his feelings. If only I knew that this was just the tip of the iceberg.
It started bothering me as I'm quite an independent individual. My parents believed in my independence more than societal norms while he kept making me feel uneasy and that disheartened me.
It got difficult for me to manage work and our relationship. His constant demands to spend time with him, knowing that even though our professions were same, our job profiles were quite different, frustrated me.
I didn't feel guilty to be working hard since I loved doing what I do. But he tried to put this burden on me that my work should not be of utmost importance that I neglect the one I love, but for me, it wasn't so. My time for both my work and him were equally important for me.
We fought a lot and his moods went hot and cold very often. At the end of every conversation, he had typical excuses disguised as answers - "I miss you, so I can't help but get upset", "You probably don't love me as much as I love you. So it's easy for you to neglect me."
I thought that if he sees who I am as a person, his mind would be at ease. So, we finally met. After our first meet, I felt there was a good change in his attitude which only lasted for a week. His paranoia got the best of him and he accused me of still having feelings for my ex while I was just busy with work, being already on the edge.
Even after being together for more than a year, he had major trust issues. When I confronted him regarding that, his response hit me; he didn't trust his parents, so I was nothing in that matter.
Recognising instances of being gaslighted in the past, I realised that this relationship cannot survive in terms of trust and it had already turned emotionally toxic.
I realised he wanted a co-dependent relationship, which I definitely did not imagine for myself. This self-analysis along with the help of my parents and a colleague paved my way to get out of it. They helped me cope with the aftermath too.
It wasn't easy. But it made me stronger to stand up for myself, irrespective of the love I had towards him. This relationship's end was the beginning of my healing; I started therapy.
Looking back at the toxicity, I only blame the entitlement which roots in love and the feeling of a person's ownership which causes this kind of an imbalance where someone prioritising their career as equal as their relationship makes them a bad person.
The bubble showing that 'love' is the only thing needed in a healthy relationship needs to burst. It's okay to leave to take care of our own mental health.