Young, inexperienced, and hungry for love.
This was me 20 years ago.
We met on a cold winter February day in a coffee shop in my home town Bucharest,
I was in my first University year and celebrating the victory of passing an exam with a few colleagues.
He was sitting next to our table with an older guy.
It was impossible not to notice him: dark hair, deep blue eyes, sexy voice and smile, and penetrating look. Handsome and difficult to resist his charm.
We all started talking, and before leaving, he asked for my number.
Shortly after we started dating.
He came from a very good family, driving an expensive car, well dressed, traveling all the time, owning different businesses.
He was smart, educated, and well-spoken.
For my 20 years old mindset, I thought God gave me the most precious gift ever.
The reality was – that nicely wrapped “gift” was a self-centered man, a liar, a cheater, full of himself, a very sick, insecure, and manipulative individual that he should have been locked in a mental institution.
The big question here is, WHY did I stay with him for so long? Well because:
- I was too young and weak to understand that certain things should just not be tolerated and to know that I have to set boundaries and how.
- I had no previous experience, and I couldn’t compare.
- I had daddy issues. My relationship with my dad was a complicated one, and at that time, I was looking to be loved and accepted by a dominant, handsome, and charismatic man. My father was just like that.
- He used to tell me, “Say Thank you I am with you because nobody else would,” and I believed that …
- … I thought I deserve better.
- I always hoped things would be ok.
- I was simply addicted and every time we had a fight and stopped seeing each other for 2-3 weeks, I used to go back to him crawling, or the other way around, and I forgave him every time.
- Sex was great.
- We had fun times also and a lot of interesting conversations.
- I was looking for love, and I thought what we had was … love. I didn’t understand at that time that it was just possession and control. I actually felt it, but I didn’t know how to deal with it.
- He was seven years older than me, and he was more experienced, and because of my lack of knowledge at that time, I allowed him to manipulate me in all the ways he wanted.
Deep in my mind, I always knew that it was toxic and I should end it, but in your 20s, you also think you have the whole time in the world. It took me almost seven years to reach the end of my rope and say No More.
My friends tried to make me see the red flags. And I was somehow aware, but he had that power over me like a magic spell.
You could say he wasted my early 20s, which allegedly are the best years.
5% of me thinks the same because I missed some important things because of him. But 95% know that if I regret it, I can’t change anything. Plus, I firmly believe encounters in life are a sequence of actions that are all connected, and everything leads you to where you are today. If it was not for him I would have not been moving to Dubai years later.
Not to mention that I learned so many valuable lessons that just made me stronger as a woman and a human being.
As a matter of fact, this toxic man was part of my growing up, and I think the Universe sent him to help me become the person I am today.
What I Was Not Allowed To:
- Have male friends of any sort. For seven years, the only mobile number from men in my phone book was my dad and uncle.
- Wear too much makeup. If we were in a public place and a man would look at me, it was my fault, and it was all followed by arguments, insults, and a scandal.
- Wear high-heels and other feminine outfits. Most of the time, I was wearing sportswear.
- Participate at the company’s yearly gatherings. He used to tell me, “NO, there is no place for you there.”
- Go to the university parties or yearly proms. I missed 3 out of 4 proms because of him.
- Not be able to take his call even if I was in a meeting at work. He would say I am cheating on him with collegues.
- Not be able to pick up the phone under ANY circumstance, even the landline at home at 3 am.
- Have a coffee with my girlfriends in the middle of the day. I went out once just for a drink at a fast-food restaurant, and he sent someone to spy on us and take pictures through the window.
- Enrolling for a Master’s Degree or an MBA – my biggest regret – because I will meet other people there – like … “how insecure can someone be”???
- In 2006 he brought me to salsa classes: but I was only allowed to dance with him and never go to the parties. He was going alone, though. He started teaching me salsa at home without him being an instructor and without knowing. After eight months of his f***** training, I was not even able to follow. Two months before breaking up we went to the seaside, and we went to a salsa party, and tried dancing, but it was a disaster. He got pissed and decided (on my behalf!!) that salsa was over for me because I was useless. (I don’t know how many people from the salsa community are reading this, but if you are, you will understand my pain at that time).
How He Treated Me:
- Because he was so jealous, he tried to make me the same, and he always used to tell me how all women were after him just to test my reactions.
- He humiliated me by asking me to kneel in the street and ask for forgiveness for stupid things that he thought I did to upset him.
- He abused me physically and mentally.
- He kept me away from my friends and made me break some friendships that I could never fix years later.
- We went to see The Devil Wears Prada when it was launched, and after he made a scandal of why I dragged him to a movie that clearly shows that all women are cheaters and for sure I am one of them. Note: I never cheated on him.
- If I had an opinion about something, I couldn’t insist too much because I was annoying and had “a big mouth” ( he even physically abused me a few times when I wanted to make a point about something).
- Every time we traveled abroad, we had huge fights that always ended up with me in tears, being miserable, and roaming alone in the streets of an unknown country. When we went together to Barcelona, he made a drama because I was the one trying to solve an issue that we had in the hotel room. He told me with anger and disgust that women should know their place and stay quiet, and let the man do the job. I laugh now when I remember these stories. At that time, I didn’t.
What He Taught Me While I “Didn’t Waste” My 20s With Him
- Jealousy in a relationship is a weapon for destruction. And only people who are insecure and don’t love themselves are like this.
- He was into spirituality, and he introduced me to meditation, breathing techniques, the law of attraction, and I read many books about it. I thank him for that.
- Every experience we are going through, was brought to us because we need to learn some lessons, get to know ourselves better, and test our endurance.
- When a man wants something, he will tell you all you want to hear. It doesn’t have to be true.
- I am not what he said. Not physically nor as a human being. I learned how to build trust in myself and keep growing and being the best version of myself without being the most beautiful woman in the world.
- Not all men are the same, and definitely, not all men are assholes. It was just an experience for me and a wrong choice.
- I will never ever tolerate that behavior and for someone to disrespect me like that, touch me physically or play with my mind.
- If you are broken – always stand up and move on. Always!
- I am stronger than I thought because after we broke up it was so clear that it was him not me.
- Smell a predator like him miles away
If I were married to that man today, having kids with him as he proposed to me at some point – would have destroyed my life. Forever.
How Did I Say Stop
I always had to make a choice: it was him or the rest of the world. There was no grey zone there. It was completely out of the question.
And I had so many pathetic restrictions and for what, to feed his ego and insecurities, to make him feel better in his sick mind. What did I get in return? Pain, tears, scandals, wasted days looking at the phone and wondering why he is not answering, humiliations, betrayal, lack of respect, abuse.
In July 2007, I was invited to a bday party, and I wanted to go. I told him we could go together, and he said no. So my only option was again to stay home … alone.
That was the final goodbye with no explanation hanging upon him.
I accidentally saw him again two more times during the following year, and he tried to get back together with me. But he highlighted it could only be him and me.
I said, NO, THANK YOU.
The whole world is an exciting place to be and explore. His world alone was an empty, sad, and dark place.
What happened after? I built a circle of new friends, I was going out, changed my wardrobe, made my own decisions, went back to take proper salsa classes, and laughed at men that were trying to BS me.
I was reborn. I was a better Iris.
Girls, if you had a similar experience, first of all, please don’t end up hating men. Not all men are the same. Just like not all women are the same, I am sure men also have stories about being with crazy psycho women.
Some people are very, very disturbed, and they are placed in our lives with a purpose.
The whole game is to know how to manage the circumstances and, once we are out, learn the lessons and never tolerate the same treatment again.
If you are going through a toxic relationship at the moment, just remember you deserve more, and you are better without being with someone playing with your mind and disrespecting you.
Note: I have lived in the Middle East for a while now and keep hearing women saying that Muslims are jealous and possessive. Men can be jealous, regardless of their religion, race, or color.
So please stop blaming Islam.
f you have been through a similar experience, pull yourself together, take a deep breath, analyze the damages, send to hell whatever is not beneficial for you and keeps you from the fabulous things that you deserve, and start rebuilding. More. Much better. More Beautiful. And don’t forget: You deserve to shine bright like a beautiful diamond!
Have you ever been with a Psycho?