No one can tell your story for you. There is not a single other person who will have felt just what you have been through the way you felt. Although family and friends, counselors and coworkers, roommates and sorority sisters can provide some level of comfort and compassion through your hardships, nothing will ever prepare you for what life throws at you.
When you choose to date a person, you are excepting their faults and weaknesses in addition to their triumphs and strengths. My mom always told me that was part of loving someone, and that forgiveness and communication were all part of a healthy relationship. She also taught me that there will be disagreements and that is normal when two people spend a lot of time together, but when the bad outweighs the good is when you seriously need to evaluate the relationship.
Two years – through numerous birthdays, holidays and family trips. To spend such a long time with someone is to learn and share every part of one’s life with the other person, and in my case, to consider marriage. I knew his secrets, his passions, supported his dreams, gave him my heart, and he had all of mine. Living so far from home during college, Nick’s (name changed) family became like mine, and I loved them all very much. I still sometimes wonder how they are all doing, and if they hate me after everything that happened between their son and me. Toward the beginning of the summer before my senior year of college is when it all started to fall apart.
Nick suffered from a back injury that occurred shortly before we met which cause him severe pain on a daily basis. When I first met him he was outgoing, driven, talented, intelligent, and challenged me to try new things. He spoiled me rotten, gave me the affection that I lacked being so far from home, and made me feel safe. Over time his behavior began to shift from protective to jealous and controlling to the point where I no longer spent time with friends. There were times that I went to parties with my sorority sisters and he would call crying, hyperventilating, accusing me of being unfaithful and insisting that I come home, so I would leave. Slowly alienating people who I now wish I had known longer, and supported me through it all.
During the fall of my senior year, Nick finally had back surgery, and we both believed this would answer all our problems. He thought he would be able to do more, and I thought I would get the guy I started dating 2 years prior; unfortunately, it only got worse. As with any surgery, there was a significant recovery time where Nick would have limitations, he would rely heavily on his parents and me to help him with things, and this caused him to fall into depression. Despite the encouragement for him to seek counseling at school, Nick refused and became extremely irritable, envious of those who could function normally, and violent at times.
Whenever he needed something I was there, always aiming to show him silver linings to the situation, but he didn’t want to hear anything anyone was telling him. Not only did he begin to fight more frequently with his mother, the woman he was truly closest to, but we also began to argue more. On numerous occasions Nick punched walls, broke his hand, refused to let me leave and screamed at me to release his anger – he would even yell cruel things down the hall of his building as I would run away. Needless to say our relationship had come to a turning point and I knew it had to end.
I broke up with Nick in October, but that wasn’t the end of our relationship. When I ended things, he wasn’t willing to let it go so easily. He continuously called, showed up unannounced at my house, and left letters in my mailbox. Nick believed that the good still outweighed the bad with us. When finals time came, it only made my studies harder to have him constantly trying to contact me. One night he called me crying and said that without me it was just too hard – he was threatening to kill himself. I spent 20 minutes on the phone trying to talk him down and encouraging him to come to my house so that we could talk, even though I knew it might not end well.
When he showed up there were cut marks up one of his arms, and he was crying for me to take him back and saying he would change. We talked calmly for the next hour or so, and I told him I would drive him back to his house. Just as we were falling asleep, Nick began to argue with me and when I told him I did not think we would be getting back together, it took a turn for the worst. He began screaming about how I was abandoning him after his surgery, he told me that his mother would hate me because I was killing her son – he said I had no heart.
All of a sudden he began punching holes in the walls around his apartment, and jumped off his apartment balcony onto a lower roof and onto the pavement fracturing his heels. I called his mother crying, but she had no idea that we were even talking or that he had been contacting me after we broke up. Nick came storming into his apartment as I hung up with his mother yelling about how I was stupid for calling her. The next thing I know the police are knocking on the door because the neighbors had called reporting a disturbance, and we are separated to talk to officers individually – they drove me home around 7am. I did not sleep that entire night.
After that night, Nick and I did not talk until after winter break and when we finally did it was very different. Ultimately we met up for coffee and decided that we were both happy and in a good place. We were not ready to talk about dating and did not know what would happen with us. I began seeing a psychologist through my university to get me through the end of my senior year.
My doctor reinforced the fact that what Nick did was not my fault, and that I was not the one killing him. He had to convince me that regardless of what Nick said, there was nothing I could have done if he was going to hurt himself. Dr. Ward made it very clear that Nick was projecting his unhappiness onto me because he knew that the guilt would keep me in his life. It took a long time for me to accept these truths and feel comfortable knowing that his depression and threats were not my fault. I met someone else a little while after everything and Nick and I have not spoken since.
My experience taught me a lot about relationships, what I should be looking for in a partner, what is important to me, and about signs of an unhealthy relationship. I would never deny that Nick and I had some very wonderful times during our relationship and that he introduced me to hobbies about which I am still very passionate. I know Nick is a good man in his own respect and I wish him only happiness in his future, but it is always important to know when the bad outweighs the good.
Please reach out if you or someone you know has been a victim of dating violence, or is being blamed for their partner’s attempted suicide:
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