I was being gaslighted in my relationship
My father always warned me about dating too early when I was younger. He insisted that I should only start dating after I graduated from university. However, it wasn’t a realistic option for me at the time because I wanted to get married in my mid-20s. A friend of mine came to ask me out one day. I thought, “I’ll finally have my first boyfriend!” I was quite excited about it as I felt that everything was going as planned. I felt that I was emotionally, mentally, and financially stable. Therefore, I could start dating. I went on several dates with the guy whom I initially thought fulfilled all my requirements for a potential partner. It started very well. We went on wholesome dates, but it all went downhill after a month of dating. I started to realise that he wasn’t emotionally stable, had a lot of problems, and was gaslighting me. At the end of it all, I felt that I was emotionally, mentally, and financially hurt. Here’s how I found out I was being gaslighted.
Buillt Up And Torn Down
The gaslighting started when he started saying “I love you,” which made me happy. Only to immediately say, “Don’t get your hopes up, I’m just saying I like you a little more now.” This made me question whether I was good enough and in turn, made me want to prove that I can be as good as he wants me to be.
He once said, “I think you’d look better if you lost some weight and put on some make-up.” This was after he saw one of my older photos. Thing is, I was anorexic then. I was so thin that my sister was literally afraid of me.
Despite the fact that I was healthy, he insisted on me getting thinner and that he would look after me if I became underweight.
So I started eating one meal a day to lose weight. It wasn’t tough for me to do so because I’ve done it before when I was anorexic. I’d drink a lot of water to feel full, and do a lot of exercises at home.
Eventually, I noticed that I was having more stomach cramps, fainting spells, and late periods. My daily calorie intake was 500, which is roughly one-quarter of the daily recommended intake for adults. I lost 5kg in a week.
I told him about my weight loss and he said, “Yeah, you do look a little better now but your face is still wide.” He then adjusted my hair to frame my face better.
“This is to make your face smaller.”
I was a little upset but it made me more motivated to lose more weight.
“What can I do to make you like me more?”, “Am I not enough?”, and “Why can’t I be skinnier?” were some of the questions that ran through my mind. It reached a point where I was putting in so much effort to lose weight because I wanted to make him proud of me so that we could officially become a couple.
Eventually, I couldn’t take it any longer and disregarded his opinions of me. I decided to eat healthily. He began to say that I was growing larger than before.
“I know but it’s okay. In the first place, why did you ask me out if I wasn’t as skinny as you wanted me to be?”
“It’s because I like your personality. I don’t care about your looks but if you were skinnier, it would be a plus.”
Thinking back, what a load of bulls**t that was.
Telling Me Blatant Lies
We once went out to dinner. I saw that he had downloaded a dating app on his phone because a notification came up before he flipped his phone over. I was afraid to confront him about it because I was afraid to lose this “nonexistent relationship”. However, when I reached home, I mustered up the courage to ask him over the phone about the notifications I saw.
“Huh, what notifications? Oh yeah, I downloaded the dating app.”
When I asked him why, he replied, “It’s not to talk to girls; it’s to make new friends of both genders.” He claimed that I was exaggerating.
However, as time passed, he informed me that a girl from the dating app had messaged him. She was a 28-year-old air stewardess. He stated that they would go out to dinner because he wanted to learn more about her profession because his younger sister wants to be an air stewardess. He asked me if I was okay with it and I said “Yeah, I’m okay with it because I TRUST YOU.” He thanked me happily and said that he would update me after the meet-up.
When he got back from the ‘meet-up’, he had the audacity to say, “She was so pretty, the way she carried herself, how she was dressed, how she was passionate about her job, and she had enough savings to get married.” I was upset after hearing what he said because it clearly showed that he didn’t care about how I felt. He then tried to assure me that he wouldn’t be meeting her again and that it was just a one-off meet-up because she was too old for him anyway. I was utterly disturbed by this. I believed that if he had the chance and if she was a little younger, he would have dumped me and dated her instead. This made me question his loyalty.
He told me that he would delete the app, but on our next date, I realised that he still had the app. When I questioned him about it, he said that he was keeping his options open and that I could do the same too. I told him that I’m not like that. When I date someone, I want the relationship to last. If not, I will just be wasting my time, money, and effort on someone who doesn’t deserve it. He just shrugged it off.
Saying That I’m Not Good Enough
We got together because we shared a common hobby. Both of us were photographers and would go on shoots together sometimes. He would always say that my photos are great. However, as months went by, he would always criticise the photos I took of him. As a portrait photographer, I felt very insulted. I started to wonder if my skills were really deteriorating.
He would constantly ask me to take good photos of him. I would send him only the ones that I felt were nice, but he would say that he didn’t like the photos I took because he looked ugly or the angle was off. This made me very stressed when we went out for shoots together. So, we ended up going out on fewer shoots.
He told me that he had a high sex drive. However, I told him that I wanted to wait till after marriage. After everything that had happened by that point, I wasn’t sure about our relationship either. It made me wonder why I was staying and whether I should leave. He would keep repeating it to me every time we met, and I just ignored it.
At the end of each “date”, he will make me come back to reality. No matter how fun the date was, he would tell me “Don’t keep your hopes up. I like you but I don’t love you. However, I’m starting to so don’t be disappointed”.
How I dealt with being gaslighted
This relationship didn’t even start, but when it ended it felt like I had just left a relationship of 10 years. Maybe because of the amount of effort I put in to make it work. Our “relationship” finally ended the day after I got him his birthday present. Thankfully, it was the last and only present I’ll ever get for him again.
I’m writing this article so that if you are in this situation, you’ll be able to wake up and get yourself out of it soon. Don’t stay on and waste more money and time on a person who doesn’t deserve it. Never let someone make you feel insecure about yourself or let someone mess you up emotionally, mentally, and financially.
After taking a long break from dating, I’m now in a new and stable relationship. I’m happier than ever. A relationship is only great when both parties respect each other.
Have you been gaslighted before? Tell us that story below!