We met when I was 18. I was young and free, not wanting to be in a serious relationship. We didn’t start dating until I was 22. We married when I was 25.
This week I had my 27th birthday.
It made me reflect on his behaviour in our relationship, especially on my birthdays.
Birthdays were always a big thing with my family: presents and cards before breakfast, birthday cake in the evening, and some sort of celebration during the week (be it a trip to the cinema, a meal out, drinks with friends etc). For him, birthdays were a reminder you are one year older and closer to death. He did not care for them.
Yet, I always tried to make his special. I would book the day before and day of his birthday off work, so that I could clean the house and cook his favourite meals. Just as a little treat. It was never anything big (he never wanted to celebrate) but I tried to use his birthdays to treat him in subtle ways.
Needless to say, he did not try to do anything like this for me. I cannot think of one birthday, I had since we were together, where he did not have a problem with something I had done, and I needed to change plans or stop having fun.
He could not handle attention being on me, or my attention being on my friends that wanted to celebrate with me.
I cried at least once on my 23rd, 24th, 25th and 26th birthdays because of him. He didn’t care. He acted like I was the one to hurt him.
He was so manipulative that, during our relationship, my behaviour with my friends gradually changed and I became a less confident person.
But this year was different. He moved out 6 months ago and this week I celebrated my 27th birthday! I didn’t cry. No one made me feel bad for celebrating. I spent time with friends and family – I enjoyed myself.
I have spent hours today clearing up, after hosting a murder mystery dinner at my house with my friends. I spent the entire time smiling. I had had a blast, and so had my friends! We didn’t finish the game until 12.30am!
At the end of the night a couple of my friends were talking to me about my husband and how everything is going. It was a great comfort to me that they had noticed a change in my behaviour. Since separating, they have seen me become more relaxed, happy, healthy, confident and much less depressed. They are proud of me. I am proud of me.
I’ve had a very difficult few years, but I’m getting my life back on track and sometimes I experience days where I forget everything that’s going on and I just feel free. Happy 27th Birthday to me!