Relationships are filled with ups and downs. Some say that breaking up is the most difficult part of any relationship, but I disagree. There are several moments that are more difficult than breaking up, and perhaps the most gut-wrenching is when you realize that the person you’re with isn’t quite who you thought he or she was.
Such a moment is usually triggered by a large revelation. The revelation causes you to look back at the relationship to that point with a different lense. How could you have missed the signs? Looking back, they were so obvious. And now…now it all makes sense. Your heart sinks; this isn’t the person you fell for. You want to rewind to just before this moment and go back to how things were, but things won’t be the same. Not ever.
My first brush with such a moment was in college. Things were getting hot and heavy one night with my girlfriend of a couple years. I took off her shirt and continued kissing her, carressing her arms. Then I felt something strange, I pulled back and looked at her wrist. There, as plain as day, were three lines. I looked closer and realized that they were cuts.
“What happened here?” I asked, slightly concerned. She pulled me in close and started kissing me again.
“Don’t worry about it.”
“No,” I pushed back, “what happened?”
“It was just the dog, she got a little over excited and scratched me.”
I wanted to believe her, I really did. But as I looked over her arm all I could see were these three perfectly straight lines on her wrist, scabbed over but still eerily perfect.
“That’s not from a dog, the lines are too straight,” I shot back. I took a deep breath, “tell me what’s going on.”
“Okay,” she pushed herself to a sitting position, “I did this. I’m not sure why, I just…”
As she rambled on, my world shattered around me. What was this? My girlfriend was cutting herself…on purpose. I wasn’t even 20 yet, I was completely ill-prepared for dealing with something of this nature. She continued trying to explain. It’s okay, she said, because she wasn’t trying to kill herself. The emotions were building inside of me. Hurt. Fright. Panic. Nausea. I started to feel like I would either lose my mind or throw up all over the place.
Before this, she was my girlfriend…everything that was right with the world. It was us against the world. Now it was…something else. I didn’t know how to feel, I didn’t know what to think. What I did know was that I really didn’t know her at all. This had been going on under my nose for a while and I completely missed it. Sure, I knew she had some issues with depression, and her family life wasn’t ideal but I never thought it would have come to this. How could I? I loved her, so everything was perfect. Only it wasn’t. It wasn’t even close. I knew this relationship would never be the same again.
About Self Injury
Self injury is a very serious topic and isn’t restricted to dating situations. If you or someone you know has a problem with self injury, seek help from a doctor or a therapist immediately. You can’t deal with it alone. To learn more:
- Self Injury: Types, Causes, and Treatments
- American Self-Harm Information Clearinghouse
- S.A.F.E. Alternatives
- Further Reading (About.com)
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