One night at work, my coworkers and I were sharing crazy stories about our partners/spouses and I shared a very ‘edited’ version of the chip story. (Click here for the full story) They all kinda laughed until I mentioned that he was furious and didn’t talk to me for the rest of the night when I wouldn’t do it. They became kind of hushed and a coworker and good friend of mine said with slight hesitation, “Robyn, that’s not okay.” That’s it. That’s all he said. And I remember feeling like I had just taken a giant breath of fresh air! I literally thought to myself in shock, “RIGHT??” I knew all along that it didn’t feel okay but my abusers reaction had me thinking I was the one in the wrong. For the first time in two years, I had been validated. I knew right then and there I had to get out. For good this time.
It wasn’t like I hadn’t tried. In the two years I was dating my abuser, there were a handful of times I had called things off. It was over. I was done.
One of the times, I even went through the effort of packing a bag and moving in with my sister for a few weeks. Another time I tried to break it off, he convinced me to continue to live and share a bed with him but we would date other people. We would just tell our future dates that we were just roommates.
Every time I tried to end things, it never went as planned. This time had to be different. I had to get as many ducks in a row as possible to make sure it worked out in my favor for once.
I want to share with you a few things I did (and a few things I wish I had done) to make sure I actually got the results I wanted.
First, I want to emphasize that the steps I took are not a one size fits all solution. I realize that everyone’s situations are vastly different and what worked for me may not work for others. What’s important is that you figure out what WILL work for you. What steps do you need to take?
These are the steps that worked for me.
- Set up a place you can move into. I went apartment shopping, signed a contract and made a security deposit before I breathed a word of breaking up. It was a dang good thing I did too because if I hadn’t I KNOW I would have gone back. Not right away, but eventually when it got hard. There were several times I almost moved back in with him and the only thing that stopped me was knowing I was already paying for my own place and I had signed a year contract. This was probably the most affective step I took.
- Start packing things up and moving them out – start with the inconspicuous things. There’s a good chance you won’t get anything that is left once they are made aware that you’re leaving. Ideally, be completely moved out by the time they’re home from work so you don’t ever have to set foot in that house again. By the time he got home from work, my car was packed with all of my stuff and I was ready to go.
- Be firm and short when you tell them you’re leaving. Don’t be apologetic or sound undecided. Don’t leave any room for conversation on the matter.
- End ALL contact with them. Don’t even think about trying to “stay friends”. They abused you. They manipulated you. That was the relationship you had with them and that’s the relationship you will continue to have with them if you allow it. This is one of those things I wished I had done. I absolutely failed at this part and that made it so much harder than it needed to be. He continued to manipulate me and guilt me left and right.
- Surround yourself with a support group. People who know what you’ve been through. Who love and genuinely care about you.
- Tell them where your new home/apartment is. I initially didn’t tell him but I eventually caved. Looking back, I wish I would have changed my phone number so he had no way of contacting me.
- Try to explain yourself, help them feel better, or any conversation more than “I am leaving”. They know why. And if they don’t, let them figure it out on their own. They are the masters of manipulation and they will only talk (aka guilt) you into staying once again.
- Go back to their house FOR ANYTHING OR ANY REASON. It will be really hard at first. You’ll miss what you once called home and no matter what terrible things happened between the two of you, a part of you will still miss that life. This is normal. It does not mean you made the wrong choice by leaving.
- Respond to any kind of contact they try to make. No matter their reason, no matter their plea. Again: Clean cut. Picking up the nice baking pans you accidentally left behind aren’t worth going back for, I promise.
- Have an “in between” friend. Someone who gives you the dish on them and guaranteed gives them the dish on you. One last time: CLEAN CUT!
Again, all of these steps won’t be a great fit for everyone. Take what you can and adjust it to your needs. Remember, you are strong and you can do hard things. You are worth it.
With much love,
*Please subscribe if you’d like to receive an email each time I make a new post! If you’d like to know more of my back story and why I’m choosing to share this part of my past check out this post.