Abusive Relationships Don't Always Come With Labels
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Abusive Relationships Don't Always Come With Labels

Just because he's not your "boyfriend" doesn't mean it's not abuse.

Abusive Relationships Don't Always Come With Labels

He told me I looked like a slut when I wore eye makeup, so I stopped.

He told me I could only wear tight clothing or my “hooker heels” when I was with him, so that’s what I did.

He demanded to check who I had been texting, and said if I didn’t show him, he’d never speak to me again. So I gave him my phone.

He said he didn’t want me partying or going out when he wasn’t around. So I stayed in.

He promised me we’d go out to dinner, that we could go on a real date. Then he didn’t give me a call until midnight. And I still answered.

He told me he loved me. Then he took it back. On repeat.

And he wasn’t my boyfriend.

I don’t think I can say this loud enough: you do not have to be in a labelled relationship with someone for it to be abusive.

And you may not realize just how abusive it is until it is over.

In the moment, it’ll seem normal. Noble, even, that he doesn’t want you go out and be around other men wearing a little dress and heels, protective and loving that he wants you to save your best for him.

But he isn’t saving his best for you.

Don’t think it’s not abusive because he doesn’t, hasn’t, wouldn’t ever lay a hand on you. Don’t think it’s not abusive because he always comes back to you, no matter how badly you fight. Don’t accept him treating you differently when he is around different groups of people, because yes, this is abusive too.

Maybe he tells you that you look nice some days. Maybe he calls you honey, baby, sugar. Maybe he’ll occasionally think to grab you milk, or cereal, or something else you’ve run out of. Maybe he’ll even tell you he loves you. These things alone do not make a healthy relationship. This is settling. Do. Not. Settle.

It isn’t brave or courageous to stick around for a one-sided relationship that won’t ever be what you want it to be. It is sad, it is lonely, and it can leave you with a whole host of issues you never anticipated having. It may not even feel like you can actually “leave.” After all, you aren’t really together, are you? It isn’t as cut and dry as the end of a real relationship (not that endings are ever simple). You don’t get to say, “I’m breaking up with you,” you just have to go. You must do whatever you have to in order to stay gone. I had to leave without saying goodbye.

It hurts.

And it isn’t only about romantic relationships either, honestly. Abusive friendships can destroy you just as easily. The friend that only gives backhanded compliments, subtly reminding you that she thinks she is better than you. The friend who demands your time and attention to help her with her problems, but then discredits your own problems and won’t help or listen.

You can be in an abusive relationship with someone who isn't your "boyfriend," "girlfriend," "fiancé," "husband/wife," "best friend." The label means less than the content of the relationship. The bad news is that people like this don't come with a warning label. You probably won't realize what is happening until it is far too late, until they are such a large part of your life that you can't imagine losing them and you love them so much that you don't think you could bear it. But the good news is, you can bear it. You deserve to be someone's honey baby sugar, but only someone who deserves to call you those things. You were wonderful and yourself before they ever came around and you will continue to be long after they are gone.

Walking away is hard and horrible, but I promise staying is worse. Muster all your strength and go. Break up with the idea of him (or her). Make like a tree and leave, and be free to plant your roots and grow healthfully and beautifully elsewhere.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

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