Like many teenagers growing up, I had been conditioned to reserve things that I thought or felt that weren’t in line with what my parents expected of me. I had to reserve things I actually thought or felt for when I was around friends, where I could mostly express myself without fear of reproach. I feel like this is a pretty normal situation for everyone in my age group.

What became incredibly unfortunate was me taking this mindset into relationships. My first relationship was all teenage lust initially, and when that wore off it devolved quickly into disdain and eventually divorce. I couldn’t really be myself. I hated my situation in its entirety. At that point I didn’t really like beer, but I tolerated wine pretty well. It ended up becoming an issue, as I would buy a bottle of wine and down it in one sitting semi-regularly. Thankfully, once that relationship was over I never went back to that sort of situation.

After that divorce I wound up in yet another situation where I was punished for being myself. Whether it was my proclivities to porn or my enjoyment of computers or video games- I could do no right. I had to condition an image of myself while around the person I was with at the time, which was incredibly sad yet again. It wasn’t the same as the first relationship, it was what therapists call a “trauma bond”. I won’t get into the full details, but I can say that it was an incredibly difficult time in my life that has resulted in me being a far better person after the relationship ended. I’m stronger now, healthier, and the happiest I’ve ever been.

It was a hard road getting there. I couldn’t write about my life objectively between 2011 and 2019. I worded everything carefully publicly and even privately. I was spied on constantly, and not in any benign way. It was absolutely malicious, with a full intent to find something to “get upset” about every time. That said, if you read my blog thoroughly, you’ll have a very disjointed picture of where I’ve come from. Every post up until November 2020 was carefully censored to keep my ass out of the frying pan as much as possible. The truth is that even upon getting engaged I had no desire whatsoever to go through with getting married. Even though I was completely embedded in this trauma bond, I was in no way going to allow myself to be tethered legally any more to a totally unsustainable and painful situation. It wasn’t surprising that it ended, as four years is a long engagement already, and it was never progressing past that. But the uniqueness of the “trauma bond” made the separation pretty painful regardless. With some wise words I overcame and grew to understand myself better in the process.

Now I’m in a relationship, and it’s the first time I’ve paired with someone in a healthy way that consists of copious amounts of communication, affection, and mutual appreciation. I was already a very contented person before I met her, but I think that both of us being in a healthier place from the start allowed us to develop a much healthier beginning to our relationship. I love it. This is exactly what I’ve needed and I had no idea how much I needed it until I got it.

The only thing left is to convince her that I love her more.