Last year in February, I posted an article titled “I’m not okay – a personal update”. Because of the many hardships mentioned in that article, I suffered from a Burn-out and finally sought mental help via a psychologist. I was diagnosed with a severe depression and with help, slowly regained some strength over time. I finally saw a light at the end of the tunnel when suddenly, everything came crashing down until all light faded completely. My worst nightmare became true. The one stable factor I had in life, left. In this post, I’m going to update you on my recent struggle, the end of my 11-year relationship.
The start of a beautiful relationship
It all started 11 years ago at the Pasar Malam Besar, now known as Tong Tong Fair in The Hague. We were both young, thriving in our education and pushing each other to continue forward. We complimented each other and were best friends at the same time. After three years together, we moved into our first home in Dordrecht and created our family with cats.
We continued with studying for our Bachelors Degree and times were great. We eventually graduated and moved to be closer to my job and for him, to continue with his Masters degree. We were happy. In every relationship, all is great when everything goes smoothly. Then, we faced a lot of different hardships, over and over again. Sadness took over until there was no love to spare.
Hardship after hardship
2015 – The first hit was when I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, an auto-immune disease (read more about my story here). I was constantly tired and didn’t want to give up working 40 hours/week, even though I couldn’t anymore. It’s difficult for someone like me who was as driven to give in. I worked for eight hours and slept almost immediately when I got home. After giving in and “accepting” to work 30 hours/week, I put my heart and soul in my blog in my spare time because I knew I could thrive there.
2017 – Then, the next hit came. The love of my life, my five year old cat Elliot passed away suddenly. You can read more about that part of my life here. I cried myself to sleep every night for 6 months until I had no tears left to cry. I was completely dead inside, but it was better than feeling pain and sadness all the time.
2018 – When I thought everything would be better, my mother was diagnosed with cancer. My father, who is blind had to move in with me and my then boyfriend temporarily and my brother, who has autism had to move to a special home. I was trying to juggle everything, getting my father and brother to a good home, working and taking care of my mother, all while being chronically ill myself. I couldn’t handle everything and suffered a burn-out, more about that part of my life here.
I sought help and when I finally tried to get my life together, I suffered from something called Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (wiki). In short, particles were created inside my inner ear that is responsible for balance. Because of the particles floating inside that part, I was dizzy all the time, it is described as feeling drunk unable to keep balance. I had that for two months straight.
Then, after a three month waiting list, I had an intake at a psychologist, where I was diagnosed and treated for Severe Depression. I learned more about myself mentally and slowly picked up the pieces and I finally found a way to balance life and work.
You never suffer alone
My ex has the same ambition that I had before I got sick, an ambition that I always found attractive. He works hard and loves to help other people who have the same ambition. He of course was devastated when he found out I had MS, he was unsure if he could handle the situation when someone is chronically ill but he decided that he didn’t want to leave.
This is my story so please be reminded that this is my point of view. During my struggle to find a balance between work and life, he tried to be there for me, but he didn’t know how. He also struggled at work because being a PhD student is very stressful as well. After some time, he didn’t want to see the sadness at the house any longer.
Instead, he started working overtime, running away from hardships instead of facing them together. I knew he was pulling back but I supported him and wanted him to thrive at work. I felt very alone in the relationship but I had hope that I would find balance and he would have more time when he finished his PhD, so we could finally focus on our relationship again. However, it was already too late.
What went wrong
Communication and honesty. That is basically what summarizes what went wrong. During all the hardships, he never complained. He was doing a lot of the household jobs, helped when asked and never said he was unhappy. I asked him if he was fine with it and he never responded that he was unhappy, while he was miserable inside.
My ex doesn’t like to talk a lot, he think it’s “gezeik” aka bullshit to have a difficult, adult conversation. He didn’t want to have any of those conversations and instead, just agreed with me so there wouldn’t be any discussions. When his feelings dropped, he started doing things behind my back. Lying about doing things that I don’t like, falling in love with other girls and never thought something was wrong and needed to talk to me about it. He did this for years and years. I asked him many times if he was doing such things and he lied in my face, every single time.
One day, I found some messages from another girl that he never spoke about. He wrote her a lot with tons of long messages while never sent those things to me. She was a colleague and he normally speaks about everyone except her. I confronted him and he said there was nothing going on. I felt uncomfortable and begged him to stop texting her. Then, we had a discussion to finally work on our relationship and put everything on the table that we were missing. He admitted to losing feeling towards me and towards everything. At least I thought we had an honest discussion.
One of the things that I asked was keeping distance from her, I didn’t trust her because I didn’t know her while in the back of my mind, I didn’t trust him either. I started looking at his texts in secret, and it didn’t stop. He told me I was crazy, I was completely paranoid and he didn’t deserve this behavior because he never did anything wrong. I felt guilty. I should trust him because he is my boyfriend for 10 years. Instinctively, I knew something was wrong and I finally contacted her with a polite message to stop sending him compliments because I didn’t know what else I could do.
Light fading into nothing
I’ve always been an honest person, which is why I immediately let him know that I confronted her. He was angry. He told me that I went too far and he would apologize to her. This of course broke my heart because even though he didn’t agree, he should have my back because I’m his girlfriend. He chose her over me, his girlfriend of 11 years. Then, he told me he couldn’t do this anymore and left.
As soon as he left, everything went black in my eyes. I couldn’t see any future and I was alone in my house. I called his mother to tell him that he was coming to their house and what is going on. As soon as I was done talking to her, I had to call my cousin, then the suicide prevention line (0900-0113), then the emergency phone number from work. They told me that I could always go to the emergency room at the hospital, which I did.
I called the emergency room and told them that I was scared to hurt myself and that I was completely alone. Then I called a taxi and spend my night at the hospital. The Dutch Health Services Crisis Team came and I told them what happened. The next few days, it was a battle to keep myself busy, not being alone and to have constant contact with the Dutch Health Services. After all the hardships I’ve been through, I didn’t see a future anymore and I was done with living. I was broken and felt angry and betrayed at the same time by the one I trusted the most.
A few days later, I saw him again. He turned a complete 180. He was distant, cold and even hostile towards me. I didn’t know who he was and why he was so hurtful towards me. I didn’t know who I had been sleeping next to for years. He told me that I wasn’t a caring person, have been selfish the last couple of years and all the things that he wants in a girlfriend, which basically came to that I wasn’t good enough for him anymore.
Of all the things that he said to me, not being a caring person is what hurt me the most. All my life, I’ve been taking care of other people. I’ve cared so much about others that I don’t know how to take care of myself. For once in my life, I had to be a little bit more selfish because I needed to take care of myself and my mental health, something that’s normal and he threw that in my face.
The weeks after were difficult. I was ignored and he was only being nice to me when he needed something from me to find a new home. I felt used. He had been able to process his feelings for years and didn’t want any contact, while I only had a few weeks without him allowing me to have my process and to give me answers. He never saw my point of view and didn’t want to take responsibility for his actions. I was desperate, finally had enough and said to him I wouldn’t let him continue until I had my answers.
Then the truth finally came out. He had been lying to me for many years about a lot of things. The girl he was talking to? He was in love with her and ran to her for comfort when he left me. Fun fact: he actually asked her if she liked him back, she didn’t and was dating his student who looks like him. Karma is a bitch. I asked him in his face if he liked her over and over again, he kept lying to me telling me there’s nothing going on over and over again. I was the paranoid one while in fact, my gut feeling was right all along. I felt relieved that I wasn’t crazy.
All I ever asked of him was honesty. He knew because of my past, I have difficulties trusting people and he took that away completely, because he didn’t want to have discussions or get into trouble. I realized how weak he was as a person, and that he doesn’t deserve someone like me who was always honest and caring. Because of him, I fully lost trust in humanity and I will never forgive him for that. He doesn’t deserve to take that away from me but he did.
We were working on our relationship and I immediately picked up the slack. He said he was working on it as well, but how are you supposed to work on a relationship when you’re allowing yourself to fall in love and keep contact with someone else and have your mind drifting anywhere but home? Aside from not messaging her, I asked him one thing: Say “I love you” once a day. I didn’t care about those words. To me, it was about thinking of me at least once a day and guess what? He forgot all the time.
He can say whatever he wants, but he didn’t try to work on our relationship. How can you work on a relationship when you’re never at home and if you were, drifted away to some other place in your mind? He said that he was ashamed and felt guilty what he has done, but I had to drag the truth out of him. He never apologized or came to me with answers himself. He ran away from his problems instead of finding a solution like he always did.
Even after all this, after all the betrayal and lies, I still wanted to see if we could work out. There was honesty, everything that has been bothering him for years were finally on the table. We had an honest beginning where we could really continue with, but it was too late for him. I felt that I was a weak person because I never deserved such betrayal and I still wanted him back and fight for our relationship. At one point, I clamped myself onto him not wanting to let go, and he had to push me away physically, which is when the glimmer of hope faded away and I accepted that I did everything I could and it was never my fault.
Funny thing is, I understand where he was coming from. I understand that I wasn’t a nice person to be around but if it was the other way around, I would be taking care of him, making sure everything would be easier for him and make him happy, because I did that for people my entire life.
I understand why he did certain things and why everything happened. Unfortunately, I don’t get the same respect back. He can only see things from his point of view and completely ignored mine. I try to explain again and again why I want to do certain things before ending our relationship forever, and he never listened to my feelings or understood why, never taking the responsibility like a 31-year old adult should do. I hope that someday, he will realize what an amazing person he has lost.
Standing on my own, together
In the past 11 years, I always thought of a future for us. I never thought I had to create a scenario where I had to think of a future for me. Psychologists asked me what I would like do to make myself happy. I didn’t know the answer, I didn’t know what makes me happy and I still don’t know.
I had to think of what makes me happy, how I could financially get by being by myself while having a chronic disease, only being able to work 24 hours/week and keeping myself busy not thinking of dark thoughts. This is where my friends and family came in. When I was at the hospital the day he left me, I contacted some of my friends and family, many of them coming to the rescue immediately.
I didn’t know that so many people cared about me. I’ve received flowers and cards from my friends, people came to visit me, helped me financially, made dinner for me, made sure I got out of the house keeping me distracted and I got picked up staying at places if I didn’t want to be alone. There were people constantly worrying about me and helped me in so many ways and they still do.
I was scared to let people know what my situation was because I didn’t want to bother them, having their own lives and problems but I learned that it’s okay to have them help because they care about me. Not only that, many followers sent me so many sweet messages, even when they didn’t know what was going on, they were thinking of me. I would never be where I am now mentally if I didn’t have so much help from them. I could never thank them enough for being there for me.
This is the message that I want to send everyone who is going through difficult times. You don’t have to go through this alone. Even if it feels like it and you don’t want to bother others with your problems, there are people around you that care for you and want to help you. In the Netherlands, there are plenty of ways to get professional help if you need to as well. Go to your family physician and let him/her know what your situation is. You are not alone and you can get through this. You can stand on your own, together.
Today I said my goodbyes to my ex. It still feels unreal and like I’m having the longest, worst nightmare ever. Not only do I have to say goodbye to him, I also have to say goodbye to my beautiful, 7-year old boy Atilla, our oldest cat. Everything that happened feels like him stabbing me with a knife in the back. The loss of Atilla makes the knife twist in my back. I have to lose two loved ones in one go.
Every part of my body hurts and it probably will feel like this for a while with a lot of ups and downs, but I know in time, weeks, months or even years, I will be okay. I wish I could skip everything and sleep for a year but I have to allow myself to feel these feelings to move on. I’m absolutely terrified for what the future will hold. For now, I need help to get through this but someday, I can really stand on my own and hopefully be happy again.
They say that after a storm, the sun will shine. I’m hoping that the sun will shine brightly and that I will become stronger after this experience. Thank you for reading my story. Thank you for being there for me and for being patient.