The following is an opinion piece and does not necessarily reflect the views of The Clarion, its staff or the institution. If you would like to submit a response or an opinion piece of your own, please contact the Editor in Chief.
How a dysfunctional, unhealthy and unstable relationship revealed my lack of self-love.
By Miranda Weippert
It was the summer after my senior year in high school and my boyfriend who was supposed to be in Illinois, was home due to academic suspension.
I arrived at his house at about 10:15 p.m., turned my car radio volume down to zero and switched my headlights off. Ringing his doorbell or knocking would wake his family and two dogs, so I walked to his backyard, opened the metal gate and walked up the stairs letting myself in through the patio door.
I tiptoed down the two flights of stairs leading into the basement. His bedroom was the first door on the right. I grabbed the knob and pushed opened the wooden door to find a deserted room. My face must’ve been bright red because my boiling blood suffused through my cheeks then dispersed through my body.
Frantic, I went to the garage to find his dad’s yellow mustang missing – the car he would take when trying to impress someone.
I instantly shot him a text.
“I know you aren’t home.”
I trudged back to his bedroom, sat on his bedroom floor and began calling and calling and calling until he picked up.
He finally answered the phone with a “what do you want?”
Before responding to my questions of where he was, why he lied to me and who he was with, I was immediately put in the hot seat.
“Why are you there,” he asked. “And how did you get in my house?”
He ended the conversation after accusing me of breaking in before I could make out the words a girl gossiped in the background.
I went from enraged to heartbroken.
I should’ve left his house and his ass behind that night but I didn’t. I waited for him to get home for about an hour to hear his excuse.
We met my junior year of high school in concert choir. I wasn’t able to hit ridiculously high notes like Ariana Grande, so I got placed in the alto section, which allowed me to see the entirety of the soprano, bass and tenor sections.
On homecoming day in October, I looked up from my plastic seat in choir while singing the National Anthem to see a bass singer who happened to be a senior, staring at me. What started out as blushes and smiles from across the choir room went to Facebook friends, to Facebook messaging, to texting, to … you get the point.
We hung out for the first time a month later. He picked me up from my house in his old station wagon, brought me to his place and attempted to help me with my chemistry homework. I hated chemistry.
In January, we became boyfriend and girlfriend.
He was a 6’6 track athlete with few friends and no work experience. I was an honor roll student who socialized a little too much, played on the girls’ lacrosse team and worked part-time at a tanning salon.
I questioned what made me stay with him.
Maybe it was the way his baby blue eyes gazed into mine as he pushed my hair back, grabbed my cheek and pulled my face up towards his lips.
Maybe it was because of the way we sang country songs in harmony.
Maybe it was because I forgot about the world around me and felt safe when wrapped in his long arms.
Or maybe it was because of the way he pulled my heart strings as if I were his puppet.
At first, life was great and so was our relationship. But my happiness didn’t last long. A few weeks passed and things took a neck-snapping turn.
Not only did I start receiving messages on Facebook from girls I didn’t know warning me how awful this guy was and that he’s a cheater, but I also caught him red-handed flirting with and sexting other girls.
We spent almost all of our free time linked to one another and the summer crept up, meaning two things: First, his high school career was ending. Second, he’d move to Illinois for college in three months.
We argued almost every day, but never broke things off.
Though miles apart by car, an hour apart by air and in different stages of our lives, we told each other that our love would survive. We would defy the odds.
My senior year I missed my first day of classes because I spent the night crying over my boyfriend who wouldn’t text me or answer my calls.
In fact, it had been almost a week of no communication. I told my mom and my friends I wasn’t going to school that day because I wasn’t feeling well.
What was supposed to be an enjoyable last year of high school ended up being miserable. I skipped countless days of class due to my spiraling depression because my boyfriend, someone who claimed to love me, ignored me.
When he did talk to me, his responses were something like “if you don’t stop texting/calling me, I’ll break up with you” or the classic “you’re crazy.”
As his girlfriend, I wasn’t allowed to speak to or hang out with other guys, even if they were just friends. I was also required to let him know where I was, what I was doing and with whom.
Did wanting to talk to my boyfriend make me crazy? Was it crazy to think something was wrong when he ignored me for days?
As his girlfriend, I wasn’t allowed to speak to or hang out with other guys, even if they were just friends. I was also required to let him know where I was, what I was doing and with whom. If I didn’t obey, I would get a text saying something like “If you don’t respond to me right now, we’re done.”
I didn’t have the courage to tell my sister or mom, nor did I want to tell them because I knew what they would say. The only people who knew the nitty-gritty details were my three best friends.
I reached out and leaned on my friends more than several times. I cried to them, asked them for advice then went on with life as if everything was fine. Things were never fine.
They responded time after time, “I wish you would stick up for yourself and leave him already.”
If I continued to keep him a part of my life, they wanted nothing to do with me, which was made crystal clear once they kicked me out of our senior prom group because he was my date.
One of our final fights was a few weeks after being accused of breaking into his house, another fight broke out. I woke up in his waterbed from a 30-minute snooze. I turned onto my right side and looked down to find him sitting on his bedroom floor with my Android clutched in his hands. He glared at me.
He’d found and read the text messages I had been exchanging with another guy, someone he hated from his graduating class.
The other guy paid attention to me.
“What is this?!” he screamed. “You want to be with this guy?!”
He stomped up his carpet-covered stairs and stormed out the front door. He walked to the rear of my maroon, 2001 Buick Regal, making a fist in the hand that wasn’t gripping my phone. He lifted his fist over his head while I stood there, frightened.
His fist bashed into my trunk, leaving a dent.
He proceeded to punch the street sign located on the edge of his lawn, then walked out into the street. As he paced under the streetlight, I slowly approached him.
“I’m just going to leave, so give me my phone,” I said.
Laughing, he flung my phone into the grass and hawked a loogie right in my face.
We didn’t breakup that night either.
The first time we broke up was during the last few months of high school. I was at home, laying on my green, cushy couch resting before a lacrosse game and I received a text from him.
I cried. I begged him to give me a second chance. I continued trying to make conversation and stalked him on social media.
The one thing that set him and I apart from a normal breakup was that we were in completely different states.
Days then weeks went by after breaking up and somewhere along the way, hurting one another became this sick, twisted game of ours. I never won.
I’ll admit it, I sent texts I shouldn’t have sent. I posted things on social media I wouldn’t have normally posted. For example, a few of the texts I sent told him how pathetic he was, how cold-hearted he was. Some posts were of me hanging out with other guys.
His responses weren’t what I expected them to be. I expected him to realize how controlling and messed up he was, I expected an apology.
Instead, he attacked me, threatened me and admitted to cheating on me multiple times.
Shortly after the night I wiped a combination of saliva and phlegm off my face, I realized I’d had enough.
I deleted him off Facebook, I removed him from my contacts, and blocked him on Snapchat.
I jumped off the unceasing abuse train. It led me blind. It required me to sacrifice family relationships, friendships and my self-worth.
Since then, I’ve stayed single and remained hopeful I’ll one day find someone who treats me the way I deserve.