So I met Derek when I was 17 and he was 16. He went to a different school but swam for my high school. I was a manager for the men’s team and we started dating right after the season ended. We dated all the way through college. He dropped out of college for me and moved to Michigan to become a tow truck driver. We broke up in early 2015.
Things were great when we were together in Los Angeles. We spent nearly all our time together and didn’t have any major issues. I did see one or two times of extreme anger/overreaction, which should’ve triggered a red flag, or at least a warning sign to me, but I was young
While in college, we texted and emailed and talked on the phone frequently, video chat too. Things became much harder on us though because we were apart. For me, transitioning to college was difficult as it was, but exacerbated by me being away from Derek. We saw each other maybe once or twice a year for a week or so at a time.
At first, it wasn’t too bad because he lived in Los Angeles, so I’d see him for most holidays. But when he moved to Michigan it got worse. It was harder to see him and he sort of had his own life issues that affected our relationship. He began to party and smoke weed more often and would lie about it, which caused me grief and trust issues. I would give him so many opportunities to just be open and honest with me so we could have open communication and trust, but he’d lie. He started drinking way too much and that made me uncomfortable.
We ended up not talking as much as we had been. We had a lot of communication and expectation issues over time. The tipping point for me was when he disappeared for about 24 hours. He just stopped answering me and his mom texted me frantically saying something like “you need to tell Derek to get in touch with me. Contact is important at this point.” I didn’t know what that meant and I called and texted him all day, worried something had happened to him. When he finally called me, he told me that he had gotten into an argument with one of his younger brothers over something trivial and that they got into a fight and his brother called the police on him and he ran. I was upset about the way he handled the situation from start to finish and hurt that he never responded to me. Here I was thinking he was hurt or missing or something and he was really just hiding.
I broke up with him over the phone that day.
Eventually, he was arrested for the assault but his brother was forced to drop the charges by his parents. I never understood why they picked on Mark for everything and babied Derek. Derek and I talked off and on for a while, I tried to be friends because I still loved him and didn’t want to lose him. It got worse when I found out he was dating someone else. I had expected him and encouraged him to, but that he was in a relationship so quickly didn’t make sense to me.
I found out he had cheated on me and had already been seeing her before we broke up anyway. Even after I knew, he still tried to tell me he loved me and she didn’t mean anything and that they weren’t together. But I saw the FB photos and what not. He eventually blocked me on FB and I tried to move on.
We would talk occasionally for like maybe a week every few months (texting, maybe a phone call). I think it was because we were both so used to having the other one in our lives. I would always come to my senses and cut things off. He would get the picture and eventually send a long text apologizing for how he had acted etc etc etc. I stopped acknowledging his texts and he sent me an email apologizing again (this off and on contact has spanned the past two years, but I’ve completely stopped responding).
I never thought I would be able to say I’m completely over him and I thought I would always love him (at least part of me would) but I can confidently say that isn’t true.
He was a huge part of me growing into adulthood and I don’t regret the experiences, but he was bad for me and I’m lucky our relationship ended.
Now I’m in a great relationship in a great city on a cool path, and I’m excited. I could never really be myself or reach my full potential with him. I don’t have any anger towards Derek anymore, but I am still affected by him. It is very hard for me to trust people. We spent about 5 years together from teens through college graduation. I learned a lot about myself and relationships by being with Derek.
– Anonymous, 24