I'll be the first to admit that I've put up with a lot of shit from men in the past. Not always earth shatteringly bad events but still things that upset me. Being talked down to, being manipulated, painful sex that i thought I had to continue for the sake of the other person, things that I thought were completely normal but in fact weren't acceptable at all. I've talked about this before, but only now am I beginning to fully understand it.
Since turning 25 I've had a bit of an epiphany about how I deserve to be treated. The things I should and shouldn't put up with regardless of the situation. A lot of this thinking process has stemmed from reconsidering past relationships.
It's been just over a year since I broke up with Alex, and I'm slowly (even now) beginning to realise that I should never have let him treat me the way he did. After cheating on me and breaking up with me via Facebook, we got back together despite him repeatedly discussed how he was still in love with his ex. Whilst in bed together he told me if she walked through his front door he'd immediately take her back, whether I was there or not. He moped about her constantly and ground my self esteem to dust. Towards the end of our relationship I couldn't sleep with him because I was afraid he thought of her while we had sex. He talked repeatedly about us being in a bubble, hiding me away so no one knew we still spent time together. He mansplained everything I tried to do or say to be kind to him and I let him, over and over again because I wanted him to want me. I was petrified, desperate and wanted to do everything in my power to change his mind.
How I put up with it for so long I'll never know.
The most significant amount of damage he did though was to my mental health. Once again we were in bed together and he told he'd slept with someone else (without changing the sheets after, when she'd come on her period. That's right he literally made me lie in someone else's period blood). He then told me he didn't want to have sex with me. He would sleep with her, but not me, and so I convinced myself I needed to be thinner, to starve myself, in order for him to love me.
To be clear I would NEVER coerce someone into having sex they didn't consent to. But our relationship ended up doing me more damage than I could have ever imagined.
I'm now realising that this kind of treatment just isn't acceptable, and I should have never allowed myself to be treated in this way. What I thought was normal behaviour, wasn't normal at all, and I allowed it to happen, over and over, all because of my desperate need to be loved.
But I swear, I will never accept it again.