Your post made me so sad, and so angry that you have to go through this. It’s amazing that so many of us have been in this same kind of soul-destroying relationship before. Reading your words is like reading a diary entry written by a 24-year-old-me.
I met my ex-bf when I was 19, and he was 26. I was in the middle of law school, he was finishing off his PhD. Same story – brilliant mind, high-achieving family, high expectations from parents and self. His mother is a doctor and the head of a university, his father is an engineer, older sister is a professor at Oxford, younger sister in med school.
We were SO in love for the first couple of years, but we fought like cats and dogs. In retrospect, I would never now put up with such a volatile relationship. It was clear that our personalities simply didn’t work together, despite being in love. Some of the most memorable fights include:
– his company’s annual retreat in Hawaii, where partners were also generously invited to. I hinted that I wanted to spend some time shopping at Ala Moana, and he went into a furious verbal assault saying that this was HIS trip and that he didn’t want to spend any time in a shopping centre. I ended up spending one day shopping on my own.
– on the first night we moved in together, he flew into a rage because I wanted to put eight sets of cutlery in the cutlery drawer (in case we had guests) and he thought we only needed four sets. He stormed off and left the house.
– attacking me for not being fiscally responsible. At a cocktail party held by my work one year, a colleague mentioned that I’d bought a new dress for the occasion. He completely flew off the handle and started screaming at me in the car. From that point on, I started hiding any purchases from him.
– making comments about how slim I was when we met. I was borderline unhealthily thin when we met, and as one does during the course of university, a new relationship and growing out of one’s teens, put on about 5kg over the five years we were together. He also put on weight, which he blamed on me.
– not getting good enough grades at school. Now, despite apparently not being smart enough, I’d managed to into law school and my high school exam scores were in the top 99.95 percent of the country. I saw university as a chance to relax and enjoy being young and relatively unfettered. He didn’t see it this way and constantly pressured me on my grades. When I almost failed a subject (due to a misunderstanding, in the end – I passed) he gave me a lecture on “Look at the kind of person I am, the kind of family I’m from. Do you think I should be dating a person like you?”
– Then finally, when I graduated from law school and got a job in a top law firm, he began complaining that I wasn’t domestic enough. Even when I got home later than him, he always expected me to cook. And then would get angry that dinner wasn’t on the table at 6PM.
Basically, nothing was every right or good enough unless it was done HIS way. Don’t even get me started on navigating during road trips, or planning holidays. The backstory to all of that is that he was also miserable with his work, felt his profession wasn’t interesting enough (he was in IT) and channeled a lot of that frustration into me. At one stage, he decided he wanted to be a fighter pilot (at the age of 29). He embodied middle child syndrome to the max.
Anyway, I’m sorry for such a long rant but your story just made me so angry and took me back to that awful time I had with my ex. We broke up and got back together a handful of times, and then when we finally broke up for good – he had to break up with me, because I was so attached I couldn’t bring myself to leave him – I thought my world was going to end. I thought being with someone for five years and then NOT being with them, that moving out of the house we shared, that telling all our friends that we weren’t together anymore – that these things would surely destroy me. But you know what? It didn’t. It took me a few months, and lots of tears, but in the end I was better than fine. He ended up moving to the U.S., marrying a very simple girl with no particular career ambitions or smarts, but will always have dinner on the table at 6PM.
My Fiance isn’t perfect by any means, but he’s all the things that count. He’s sweet, he’s affectionate, he’s grateful for my strengths and is all-encompassing of my weaknesses. He says he is most thankful for being able to wake up next to me every morning (even when I’m grumpy). I’ve also put on weight since we met – about 5KG above my ideal weight. He’s happy to support my health kick and weight loss goals, but says he loves me with curves regardless. My ex may have been indeed right about many things – that I wasn’t financially responsible, that I should have studied harder, that I should have had a better work-life balance. But that’s what being in your 20s is all about – making mistakes and learning from them. Hell, that’s what being alive is all about. And you need to be with someone who can support you during that journey, rather than tripping you up at every step.
My only regret is that I spent five years with my ex. So cut your losses now, it’s never too late to start afresh. Better, happier things are waiting for you just around the corner. But you need a clean slate and time to recover first. Be strong girl! It will hurt like hell in the beginning but better a little pain now, and save yourself a lifetime of suffering.