There came a point in my life when I needed to move on from someone who would never be the person I wanted him to be.
I never meant to fall in love with him. He was the type of guy from whom I usually stayed away. But, he courted me.
He told me he would treat me better than anyone ever has. He told me he saw a future with me. I trusted every word that came from his mouth. I was young and, looking back, I was naïve. His charm blinded me.
It’s clear to me now he had done this before. I failed to notice the red flags and let myself fall for him.
The moment he understood how much I loved him, things started to change. He started lying to me. I called him out on his lies and he came up with explanations that were so outrageous, I thought they had to be true.
He turned things on me and I ended up feeling awful for questioning his integrity. He began to continuously let me down. I spent so many nights waiting for him to show up after he promised he would be there.
He started using hard drugs so much I forgot who he was when he wasn't high.
He verbally abused me. Sometimes, even one wrong look would set him off. He was hostile and would call me awful names. He never layed a hand on me, but there were times when he came close.
He cheated on me multiple times.
Whenever I tried to leave him, he would break down. He would promise me he would change and tell me he needed me. I would give in because I thought I needed him, too.
For some reason, I couldn’t stop loving him. As toxic as our relationship was, I would have done anything for him.
And then, one day, he left me, with no explanation. After all of the times he told me he loved me and all of the times he fought for me, he disappeared. I was confused and had so many unanswered questions.
I wondered where he was, why I wasn’t good enough and if he would ever come back to me.
The truth was, he never wanted me. For him, our relationship was a sick game, and when he finally won, the game was over. I will never understand how he was capable of doing what he did to me, without any remorse.
I never thought I would be happy again. My past with him haunted my ability to move forward. Through losing him, I lost a part of myself.
It took me a year to fully come to terms with what had happened. Even though I never received an apology or a goodbye, I couldn’t let his actions dictate my future. I needed to forgive him -- not for him -- for me to move forward. I needed to get control of my life back.
So, I forgave him for treating me like I was worthless. I forgave him for all of the broken promises and the nights I cried myself to sleep. I forgave him for using my vulnerability to his advantage. And, I forgave myself for letting him hurt me.
I accepted who he was and, to be honest, I wished him nothing but the best. And, even though he doesn’t deserve any credit, these circumstances helped make me a stronger person.
I learned to never allow someone to make me feel desperate. I learned I can control who comes into my life and who doesn’t. I learned people make mistakes, but no one worth my time should disappoint me over and over again.
I learned I can’t fix someone who is broken and I can’t be with someone with whom I don’t see eye-to-eye. I learned I deserve to have a healthy relationship, filled with true love and kindness.
Fast-forward to the beginning of 2015: Two years later, I did receive an apology from him. He apologized for how he treated me. He told me he still suffers from the pain he caused me and still thinks about the life we could have had together.
The words I once wanted so badly to hear meant very little to me now.
All I could say back to him was I forgave him a long time ago. I hadn’t thought about him since the day I moved on. I hadn’t lost sleep, wondered where he was or thought about what could have been.
I had accepted what happened and had no negative feelings about the situation. I was happy.
Two years ago, I made one of the best choices I have ever made. No more grudges, ill will or bitterness.
I chose forgiveness.