The voice within

I learned a lot about love when I fell out of it.

– Unknown

It’s very hard for me, sometimes, to sit and think about the good times in my relationship. There were some, but the bad outweigh the good by far. Out of 5 years, I can honestly say that I only have a handful of times that I can count where I have felt truly happy. Perhaps I’m still bitter about my experiences. Probably. You see, there was a time where we were a team. We worked well together. We were happy. We were an item. He was my boyfriend. I would have killed for him. That was a great feeling. A feeling I forgot about for a long time. In the end, the love became more like a curse to me. My heart was telling me to stay and be good to my man, and my head was screaming, begging and willing for me to get out while I still could. Obviously I didn’t run, as you will know by now if you have already read my blog. Sometimes little things pop into my head that remind me of the guy that I fell in love with. It’s bittersweet. I smile because of the good memory that’s fallen into my lap, but become detached from it when I am reminded of the failure of the whole relationship. The mind is an amazing thing. It can hold so much, locked away, releasing bits of information from your past when you least expect it. I remember falling in love with my ex-boyfriend.

Love. Such a small word which carries so much emotion with it. It can make you as a person or shatter you completely. I was in a hotel room with my ex. The year was 2009 and I was 19 years old. I was at the end of my very first trip to China with him. We were staying at an airport hotel in Guangzhou. Our flight was early in the morning so the airline put us up for the night. I’d had the most fantastic trip with him. I had met all of his family and friends for the first time. We had been together for 6 months. We’d lugged all of our stuff upstairs as the elevator was broken, showered and collapsed on the bed. The TV was on and we were watching the most random Chinese TV shopping channel that existed. Breast enhancing cookies, eye-widening apparatus and skin whitening bleach were but a few of the things that were in popular demand that night according to the presenter. We were lying on the bed, I sat up with him lying in my arms, watching aimlessly at the screen in front of us. We were talking about the trip we’d just had and recalling all of the fun things we had done. He hugged me tighter and told me that he was glad that I enjoyed it. We turned the TV off and dimmed the lights. Bed time. He was again, lying in my arms drifting off to sleep. The air was warm and the crickets were singing outside on the balcony. I was the most relaxed I’d ever been. At the end of my trip to the other side of the world with this guy. Wow. I pulled him in tighter and whispered into his ear:

“I love you”

That was nearly 6 years ago. I remember it as plain as day. I also remember the moment I realized that I didn’t love him anymore.

It was February 2013. Things hadn’t been going well for a while. I had recently (unwillingly) returned from my visit home to England. I could only get 3 weeks a year to go and see my family and friends. I remember leaving my mum at the front door of our house as I got into the car to take me to the airport. I ran back and hugged her again, as tight as I could. I didn’t want to let go. I got into the car and watched her get smaller and smaller as I drove away. I was in bits. As the plane took off, I started to cry and literally didn’t stop until we got to China. That was the longest 8 hours of my life. I did not want to go back to China. I didn’t want to see my boyfriend. I wanted to stay at home where I was safe and loved. I got back to my city to find that there was nobody waiting for me. Nobody to collect me. Great. This is where learning the Chinese came in handy. I managed to haggle a decent taxi price at the airport as being a westerner, and at the airport, they were trying to charge me more. I dragged my suitcase upstairs and walked into my apartment. My boyfriend was on his computer playing online games. He didn’t even look at me when I walked through the door. Didn’t stand up, no hugs, no kisses, nothing. I hadn’t seen him for a month. He eventually got up after his game finished and gave me a hug and said welcome home. With that, he then went out to a night club. A week or so after that, he dragged me with him and his friends. It was a rare occasion for me to go with him and his friends to a night club. I didn’t enjoy it. He turned into a different person and would leave me stood alone in a bar, not knowing where he’d gone. That night, it was clear that he wanted to drink. I had taken a colleague with me who was new to the city. The night was going fine until my ex’s friends wanted to leave. My ex asked me to buy another round of drinks. That wasn’t a problem, only I had no cash on me. I had my card, which was in my bag in the cloakroom. All I had to do was go and collect it and then pay for some drinks after that. He did not understand what I was saying. Being drunk, some people become incoherent and sloppy. He was all of the above with added arrogance. He took it as I had no money at all. After a short argument of me trying to tell him that I DID have money, his friends decided that they wanted to leave. He did not want to leave. By this point, it was the early hours of the morning and I had to work at 9am, so I wasn’t too keen on staying out either. Outside the club, it was pouring down with rain. When it rains in southern china, it doesn’t mess about with it. When I say rain, I mean RAIN! We were stood underneath the shelter saying goodbye. I was receiving sly side looks from him as it was clear that he did not want to leave. Obviously I was the bad guy that night. I was the enemy. I can’t remember word for word what he said now, but it was something that made me angry. He said it to his friend in Chinese, still forgetting that I by now had become fluent and shot me an evil look. I wasn’t impressed with this, nudged him and told him to stop being so spiteful. A lot of people don’t mean it when they say nudge. Sometimes they really mean push. This was a nudge. I nudged him. He pushed me. I pushed him harder. He slapped me. My blood was boiling. I had never been so angry in my entire life. I felt like my body was going to burst into flames. The rage came right from my toes. I slapped him harder. He was on top of me. We were on the floor in the rain. We were rolling around trying to kill each other. He was punching me in the face and in the head. I was punching him in the ribs and kicking. He bit me hard on my chest. I flipped out more. I was by now, punching and kicking like a wind-up toy that you get as a child. I wasn’t just angry, I really wanted to hurt him. He stuck his finger in my eye and pressed down on it hard. I thought my eye was going to pop out the other side of my head. I gave one last final punch in the ribs. “CRACK”. I felt something break.

His friends tried to restrain us. Eventually they succeeded. They wanted me to go home and leave him with them. Not a chance. I knew just how vicious he could really be. He wouldn’t have come home for weeks. He would have done it because he knows how much it would have gotten to me. I told his friends that I was ok and calm and I was taking him home. I jumped on my bike and dragged him on it. We were going home. I was taking him home and we were going to sort this out like adults. No more fighting. Half way down the street, he decided that he was still angry and jumped off the bike, which was still in motion. I lost my balance in the rain. He went one way, I went another and the bike crashed into the road barrier. I was lying in the middle of the road. Suddenly I felt a foot in my side. He wasn’t done fighting. He was kicking me in the stomach. He wasn’t letting up. I managed to stand up. I had just about had enough at that point. I grabbed him and put him into a lock. I was done with the fighting. Now I just wanted to restrain him. Calm him down. He was screaming

“I HATE YOU, I HATE YOU, I HATE YOU”.

I raised my hand and slapped him across the face to bring him back to reality. The only thing I could think of to say was that I loved him and I wanted to make things better. I let go of him and he started to walk the rest of the way home. I followed him on my bike, asking him to get back on it and let me get him out of the rain. He wasn’t listening to me. We got home, I parked up my broken bike and followed him upstairs. I needed 5 minutes alone and went to the bathroom. I looked in the mirror. My eye was bruised and swollen, I had a bite-mark on my chest and my face and neck were covered in scratches. I was a mess. I went into the bedroom after cleaning myself up. He was now calm. Finally. I still to this day do not understand why he flipped out so much that night. Perhaps I shouldn’t have nudged him. Regardless, a nudge does not qualify for a beating. I am not a violent person by nature. That was the first and last time that I have ever resorted to violence in my whole life. I was turning into someone that I hated. We sorted it out after a few hours of conversation and constant repetition as he still didn’t get it. He still thought I had no money. I just gave up at that point.

I admitted defeat, apologized again for what had happened and let him go to sleep. There I was again, in the same position as I was 6 years ago. He was lying in my arms falling asleep. This time there were no crickets singing outside. Just torrential rain. I could feel that my feet were horrible and shrivelled due to the amount of time they had been in the rain. My neck was aching and my eye was so sore. At that moment, right there, where the love began, I let out a tear and said to myself in my head

“I don’t love you anymore”

It broke my heart to say it to myself. I didn’t admit it though. We had another year of a relationship after that night. Every day was a struggle with my own mind. The voice in my head would be screaming that I didn’t love him anymore. Every time he stood me up, didn’t come home, lied to me, called me fat, belittled me or ignored me, the voice would become louder. It was a constant battle. I just wasn’t ready to call it quits. I thought that there must have been some small part of me that still loved him. I was wrong. The person that I had fallen in love with, didn’t exist anymore. The person that he fell in love with also didn’t exist. I’d been lied to and hurt too many times to give the love that I was so capable of giving. I became numb. Of course, this was all on the inside. To anyone around us, our relationship wasn’t perfect, but nobody could see that I didn’t love him anymore. I didn’t tell a single soul. It was my biggest secret because I wanted it not to be true. I am not a religious person, but shortly after that incident, I got down on my knees in the bedroom when he was out with his friends and prayed. I prayed that what I was hearing inside my own head wasn’t true. I begged for another chance at love with him. It was as though I was looking through a sheet of frosted glass, trying to see the love and laughter that we used to have.

I really think that things got so bad on the night of the fight because we never discussed our problems. Lord knows, I tried. It was just not up for discussion. It would always be something I’d done. It would always be because I didn’t go to the night club or because I wasn’t doing something that he wanted. The real issue that we were both denying was that we didn’t love each other anymore. Love is not being kicked and punched on the road in the pouring down rain. Love is not lies. Love is not hatred. Love should be something that makes you smile more than it makes you cry.

Unfortunately from time to time, we find ourselves in situations like this where it would be easier to deny the truth and carry on going through the motions. I wish that I had just been honest with myself back then and just ended it. I would have saved myself another year of heartache. I didn’t. I don’t dwell on the past, I learn from it. In life, when something like this happens, you should always listen to your gut instinct. It isn’t there for nothing. Most of the time, my gut instinct has been right. These days, I listen to it. Falling out of love with someone isn’t easy. There’s a lot of pain that comes with it. However, with that pain, you are equipped for the next challenge. There will never be a time in my life again where I use violence to sort something out, or in retaliation. It takes a much bigger person to walk away.

Dare I say it, but he wasn’t the bad guy in this story. We both were. Without communication, you may as well have a fight with the mirror, because you are partly to blame for it. A relationship takes two people to make it work. I have no doubt that had we have communicated on this more then we wouldn’t have resorted to tearing each other to shreds in the street. Everything just built up. I don’t think it could have saved my relationship at all, but it could have helped end it delicately.

If you find yourself doing everything in a relationship with no teamwork, then you need to address it. Face your demons and they will go away. Ignore them and they will manifest. I come across situations on Facebook every day where I can see someone going through this, just as I did. They don’t always try and solve it. You must break that safe bubble that you have created to protect yourself and believe that the best way forward is honesty. No matter what you do or what may come your way, you must always remember to

trust the voice within

Click here for the next instalment.

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