When I first signed up for Tinder, I mentally prepared myself for what to do if I ever found my ex on there. I always thought I’d just “swipe left” and move on. But when the moment came, I couldn’t just pass over his profile. I stared blankly at his pictures and wondered why on Earth he was dating.
I decided to report his profile for harassment.
I really wasn’t trying to be petty. I do wish my previous partners have a chance in love again, but I couldn’t bear the thought of this particular one, who has a history of being manipulative and abusive, hurting another woman like he hurt me.
He was my first serious relationship. I didn’t know anything about dating and abuse.
Looking back, I realized that I always stressed over all the shortcomings he complained about. I was always focused on what changes I should make for him instead of figuring out the problems we had together. He was never there when I needed him and he didn’t believe in compromising.
I was unaware of my right to say “no”. There were numerous instances when I wasn’t in any mood for sex but he’d still make it happen. I became delusional thinking it was an okay thing to do. I laid in bed feeling like my dignity had just been taken away. I felt like I had no control over my body.
I felt like a tool used to keep him satisfied.
My closest friends were always concerned and asked me why on earth would I not refuse. I gave them mixed answers. But deep inside I was afraid of denying him. I was afraid of feeding his anger.
I always thought that it was okay for him to pour his frustration and stress on me all the time and then pretend that nothing he did was wrong the following day. There were nights when we would get into an argument after our date and he would make me walk home alone in the dark. If I made him even more furious during an argument, he would slut shame me and make me feel like no one else has loved me except him.
I used to argue with my parents so much about my relationship. My mother couldn’t stand the way he hurt me. His influences got me to turn my back against my family and friends. I always thought that his opinion was the only right answer.
I didn’t follow my intuition and eventually, I felt depressed and isolated.
I didn’t realize how much our relationship jeopardized my health until I ended up in the emergency from an anxiety attack. When he found out, he told me how much of an “embarrassment” I was because he knew some of the people that worked in our local hospital. He complained to me throughout my entire recovery instead of reflecting on the pain he caused.
I remember vividly how he kept questioning my anxiety. He thought everything I did was for attention. I remember how my physician lightly talked to him about how necessary it was to be understanding, but my ex managed to center the conversation on himself. Instead of thinking about the damage that we both caused in the relationship, all he thought about was himself and what he deserved.
His ego was always in the way of our communication.
After that, he would always make assumptions that my decisions were irrational because of my diagnosis. Regardless of taking treatment and medications, he still believed that I was weak, dramatic, and not in the right mind to be in a relationship.
Our arguments increased in toxicity, and eventually, they became physical. He used to grab my arms and squeeze them so tightly that he left marks on my forearm. I would fight back.
I slapped him across the face couple times in an attempt to make him stop treating me the way he did. The following day, he’d make me feel guilty and tell me that I was an abuser.
I’d cry for days, hating that I’d let myself get to that point.
Hitting someone was the last thing I’d ever wanted to do.
I didn’t feel like myself anymore. And I woke up one morning realizing that this isn’t the kind of life I wanted.
I gave up on my health, my friends, my family, work…basically my life. I hid the abuse from everyone. I didn’t want people to think of me as a victim. I didn’t need that sympathy because it was already painful to know how much I’d let myself go.
When our relationship ended, all I could think about was how I didn’t deserve to be with anyone. I was afraid of entering another relationship because I didn’t want to experience the same thing all over again. I didn’t want to hurt another man, and I didn’t want to be hurt.
It took me a while to pick up my confidence again. I started doing things I’d always wanted to do that were out of my comfort zone.
I started to get into photography.
I took portraits of my relatives, friends, and even their own families and it helped me gain confidence and feel the love that I did deserve.
They opened my eyes of what I was truly capable of.
And as for dating, I’m back on the scene and have been taking things really slow.
When I saw him on Tinder, everything came flooding back. Part of me just wanted to swipe left, ignore him, and move on with my life, like I’d worked so hard to do. I wish dating apps would at least consider doing background checks, but since they don’t, I felt like it was my duty to let someone know how dangerous he is.
I knew I couldn’t let another woman be a victim of his abuse.
Was it petty? Nope. It was a public service.