I’ve been thinking about it for several years now, how easy it was for you to tell me you hated all of my friends. And how you expected that not to hurt.
“I have enough friends,” you said.
And little by little, I spent less and less time with anyone else other than you. And of course I spent time with your friends. Because you weren’t about to give them up for me.
You said my furniture was dumb. The way I dressed.
You insisted on filling our home with your things. Changing what I wore.
About 10 percent of what I said and did was unacceptable to you. So I stopped doing it.
I got into your hobbies. You said mine were dumb, so I stopped doing them. Spent hours supporting you in yours.
And when one day I woke up unhappy, edited into a version of myself that was your ideal partner but not feeling like myself anymore at all, struggling not to feel bad about everything I was going without, you became angry. Took it personally.
You said to me, “I’m not changing for you. I shouldn’t have to. If you really loved me, you’d be happy with me the way I was.”
So I lived there for years, a changed woman for you, accepting you exactly how you were and trying to accept this new version of me. To feel like she and I were the same.
It was never quite right. Even when I was happy, it was like that happiness belonged to someone else. The gift would show up at my doorstep, but it had someone else’s name on it.
One day, I moved out. And when I did, you yelled at me. Called me selfish. Told me I’d changed.
And you were right. I had changed. But long ago, before you ever got a chance to know me.
Back when you said with every other thing you said and did, “To Hell with your life, step into mine.”
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