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To the Abuse Survivors Mourning Their First Healthy Relationship

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Editor's Note

If you have experienced emotional abuse, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741741.

It hurts, doesn’t it? You thought you were safe and secure, and so you allowed yourself to do the one thing that you said you’d never do again – fall.

• What is PTSD?

You swore that love – true, beautiful, whimsical and earth-shattering love that’s healthy, positive, and patient wasn’t something that was available to you after someone proved just how little someone could care for you. After your last relationship devastated you like a California wildfire in the middle of summer, you swore that you’d never let someone in again. You wouldn’t allow someone to convince you that they were a good person and were on your side, just so they could lie, cheat, abuse, and/or neglect you.

And then, you found them.

They snuck up on you, as all the trite love clichès say. You weren’t looking and had given up, and then they found you – kind, sincere, and sweet, and showed you that not everyone is out to hurt you. All the things that the other person hated about you, they loved. They outlined your scars and bruises from a love gone wrong with stars and glittery hearts, opening your eyes to just how beautiful love could be. 

Every moment born from anxiety and past wrongdoings at the hand of another they handled with grace, pulling you in and kissing your forehead making you believe that this one was different. Your abandonment wounds finally had a worthy foe – someone who had no problem donning shiny armor and was willing to combat every post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) related dragon and monster that sprung up in their path. 

After all the nights wondering if something would go wrong, you released those fears, and settled into a new love, a good love, one that you believed to be everlasting.

And then, it wasn’t.

Out of nowhere the ground started shaking beneath you with no warning and they fell through the cracks. They left you, and it’s not because they were abusive or toxic or some other thing that Tik Tok and social media tries to tell you every single ex of yours is, but instead because of some innately mundane human thing.

The timing wasn’t right. They didn’t see the future they thought they did. They lost the spark. You’re not as compatible as you once believed.

Then they said that silly selfish thing, “I can’t handle you not being in my life. Can we stay friends? I still care about you.”

Maybe you said yes, because you do care and you do love them or maybe you denied them of that because you didn’t feel it was fair to you. Regardless, the chapter is over and now you’re left to your own devices, constantly trying to figure out and piece together a puzzle where for once you have all the pieces available to you, yet you still find yourself asking “What went wrong?”

It was perfect. It was beautiful and everything you needed and didn’t know you wanted and it still failed. They still left. You thought it’d be easier because you wouldn’t have to heal from trauma in the same way you did after the other relationships, but surprisingly it turns out to be harder and worse because this time it wasn’t bad. It was healthy and it was still wrong. 

When you try to find healing tips for healing after a breakup, it’s so easy to find advice for healing from narcissistic, abusive, or toxic relationships. Why is it no one talks about how brutal it is to heal from the first healthy relationship you’ve had since then?

Navigating the “nothing was wrong, but something obviously was wrong,” path is triggering, because you want to find the wrong. It’s so easy to start over analyzing every little thing said or done, or looking for signs that not everything was right. It’s easy to become even more fearful in relationships where everything is going “right” because it can change seemingly overnight. How do you know the next time you feel good, healthy, secure, and loved that they won’t leave too? Your now ex-lover had all the qualities that fit so perfectly, it’s hard to imagine anyone else out there will fit the bill.

Well, I have good news, and it’s not that there’s more fish in the water.

You were already proven wrong once. 

You didn’t think someone could come in and challenge everything you thought about love, especially in relation to yourself, but it happened. What do you think that means about the thoughts you’re having now?

Love isn’t a baseball game where you get three strikes and then you’re out. Your chances at being loved happily and healthily aren’t finite. There is more beauty out there that’s just for you, even if it doesn’t feel like that right now. 

It wasn’t your fault. They didn’t lie to you in the relationship, and they aren’t now. It’s not you. You’re not broken. You’re not unloveable. You’re not doomed to be single and lonely for the rest of your life. 

Yes. It hurts now. I know it does, and it’s going to until one day it doesn’t. What sucks is we never know when that day will come, but please believe them this one last time, and tend to your wounds.

This isn’t the end for you, promise. Beautiful things, people, and souls are on the other side of this grieving process and you will get through it.

I promise.

Getty image by Daryna Zaichenko

Originally published: July 6, 2022
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