At the beginning of a relationship there is passion, not love. Love is built upon passion, but it doesn’t necessarily exist after passion. Some people are mature and caring enough to be able to build the love, some are not: it is as simple as that. To love someone, you must love yourself first: you have to know yourself, to be sure of who you are and what you want in life. If you are not self-aware, self-conscious, there is no way you will be able to love someone.

By not knowing yourself or having your shit together you can easily drag those who care for you down with your mess: no one has to deal with your shit. If you have a partner, they do not exist to clean up your mess; they exist to support you and help you, but that does not mean that they have to deal with selfish behaviour on your part, with you saying “I am so sorry, I am like this with the people I love”. Let me tell you something: that is not love.

I was the one cleaning up the mess. I do not have the best background when it comes to relationships: I grew up in an environment of domestic violence, a totally abusive relationship. Research says I will now, when finding a partner, try to fix what was not fixed back then between my parents; living in that environment made me stronger but also made me much more tolerant to bullshit.

“If you have a partner, they do not exist to clean up your mess: they don’t have to deal with selfish behaviour”

I did not respect myself in my first real relationship. I realise now my first true love gives me more anger than good memories. It is not sad to realise that; in fact, it makes me grow, it makes me more aware, so I do not repeat the mistake.

I have got nothing to lose by writing this; in fact, it only makes me reflect more about what I did to myself. No, I do not blame myself. I have no right to blame myself. I lost myself because I gave everything I had. It would have been fine if that everything had been given to me – from me to me – but, surprise: it was not. You grow by making mistakes, and I committed one of the biggest mistakes of my life so far: I gave myself away, completely, entirely. Months after, I found myself in pieces, from being trampled on numerous times. You would think I would realise what was going on, but I did not.

Currently, I am slowly gluing the pieces back together. Sometimes, a piece falls and I have to pick it up again, without really knowing if it will stick properly this time. It is a constant fight, a constant fight to rediscover me. I want it to be clear: I do not need a sticker saying “fragile”. If I were to be described that way, then the whole world would have to be described that way too.

“If I were to be described as ‘fragile’ the whole world would have to be too”

Accepting yourself is the first step to take before entering any relationship. If you do, do not be with someone who does not accept themselves. I did this and found myself in a cycle, trying to make things better when there was really nothing I could do, because he was only fighting against himself. If you feel like leaving, just leave. If you feel like you are losing yourself, leave. If it feels like it is not right, it is because it is not right. Leave. There is nothing to lose. If you stay, you will lose yourself. So, leave.

I have no shame to say I got out of it by being broken up with. That is okay. I still get to leave, I still get to grow, and I still get to realise all the shit that happened during the relationship: specially all the red flags that existed, I noticed, and I ignored.

I wrote this because I am sure I am not alone. I want to make people aware of my story, because I know this is happening to multiple people right now I feel if I had read something like this while still in the relationship things could have been different; I would have been able to raise my head up and leave earlier, or be able to make the red flags real, and not just thoughts to ignore.

Do not let yourselves go. Do not forget about yourselves. Do not lose yourselves. If the world has the right to take advantage of you, then you have the right to take advantage of the world. You have the right to think about yourself first. You have the right to not give a fuck. You have the right to be yourself. You should remain yourself. You have to remain yourself – at the end of the day, you have only got yourself.