Dear me at 16:
He’s really not that cool. Or hot. Or funny.
And you know that weird feeling you get in your gut when you’re around him? The one that you can’t quite interpret? Yeah, that’s not sexual attraction. That’s fear.
You know he’s all the things you’ve never wanted. You can’t change him or fix him. And I know that you don’t even realize that’s what you’re trying to do. But he does. And he’s going to manipulate you with it. He’ll whittle you away until you can’t remember how you got started, and you’re pretty sure there’s no way out.
And those bruises on your wrists aren’t fucking sexy, so stop kidding yourself. Quit telling people they happened in some raw moment of uncensored passion. He got pissed, and your arms prove it. He grabbed you. He shook you. He threatened to rape you. That’s what happened. Stop lying to yourself and everyone around you. He’s not okay. You’re not okay.
In 5 years, your life is going to be incredible. You’re going to wake up and wonder how you made it through that, through him. You’ll realize how right and invaluable your friends and family were. You’ll lie awake at night, sifting through it all in your mind, until you turn to the left and see another face from your high school years. Your best friend. The guy who saw through your crap, told your parents what was really going on even though it meant you might never speak to him again, and got you out of it.
You’re going to marry the right guy someday, but the longer you stay with the wrong one, the more people you hurt and the more he hurts you. I wish you could see how much he manipulates you with lies and guilt and shame. I wish you knew how deserving you are of love and respect. You were a strong woman before him, and you’ll be stronger one day after he’s gone. I just wish you didn’t have to go through those weak days in-between to get there.
So please, Whitney, call him right now and end it. Tell your parents the truth. Get help. They’ll protect you. He won’t hurt you. He won’t hurt himself. But he will tell you any lie to keep you around, so please, just let me hold your hand through this. I’ll help you dial.
Whitney eventually dumped the jerk & is now living out her happily ever after with her husband and dog in sunny Florida.
Editor’s Note: The Hindsight Letters is so honored to be a vehicle for the sharing of such intimate and personal stories. We thank Whitney deeply for sharing her experience with our readership!