its easier to lie,

easier to lie.

Take me back to the start
I started going out without the company of my parents when I was shy of 14. After school, my friends and I would go out for lunch or just spend time in malls doing silly innocuous things that teenagers did. It was strange - it felt empowering to be able to decide on where to go or even what to spend my pocket money on. Something I never did at the time was to go out without the company of my friends. Going out on my own would make me feel self conscious or awkward and it took me some time to get over that. When I eventually did, however, I learnt to appreciate the company of myself. I recall being mildly precocious at the time because I would take myself shopping before plopping myself down in the Royal Copenhagen cafe in Takashimaya for a plate of pasta and iced milk tea. I would do that so frequently that I even became friendly with one of the waiters.

It's been more than a decade since I was that boy and I have come a long way. I recall taking myself out to a restaurant while I was in Rome two years ago. I no longer remember it's name but it was quite lovely. The restaurant was enclosed in a glass house along the street and if you sat near the glass walls, you would be inches away from the passers by going about their merry way along the street. I got all dressed up, reserved a table for one in a corner and had one of the best nights alone. I remember the octopus carpaccio, the beautiful barolo and the overflowing plate of vongole. When I lived in London (and before I got into a relationship), I relished taking myself out to the West End. I live vicariously through the theatre and there was nothing quite like going for a scintillating show on my own. It felt calm and reassuring to know that I was happy with just me and I didn't need the company of another to feel that way.

The relationship that I eventually got into, however, made me forget what it was like to be that way. I turned into a frightened, snivelling, needy little person who relinquished my sense of independence and who relied entirely on someone else for support. When I got disappointed on innumerable occasions by the relationship, I forged ahead, wanting to re-assert and reclaim my sense of independence. This was frequently met with resistance because the desire to be relied on was what drew the other party to the relationship. This made me feel trapped and manipulated but I would always eventually give in. I have become very aware that the relationship's ultimate demise wasn't due to any failure on my part but due to his. This is in stark contrast to the psyche I was in when I was still a part of it, owing to the fact that he made me believe I was solely responsible and that I had to change. As I look forward into my future, I recognise with greater clarity what I need from a partner and what qualities I would like to avoid. Love is incompatible with deceit and manipulation.

During one of my ruminative moments yesterday I thought back to the point in which I decided to cut all contact and felt this lurch of pain. I felt self blame and started reevaluating if that was the right decision. It then occurred to me that the dysfunctional events leading up to that point was in no way due to my contribution. I was just sick and tired of the senseless lies he was feeding me due to his insecurities. It was reminiscent of the lies he used to make up to win arguments and it just hit me that over the course of the entire relationship, he had not grown as a person at all. Over the course of the relationship, I learned more about myself than I ever have and I dealt with so many of my demons with humility and honesty. It wasn't the incompatibility that broke us or the fact that he was abusive - it was his inability to mature together with me that sunk it.

I am vulnerable, but I have found strength in that vulnerability. Yesterday a kind reader dropped me a message telling me that my livejournal was a sense of support he had come to appreciate and for me to keep writing. This came at a time in which I was contemplating not writing anymore because the dreaded ex reads it and I felt like he should not have the privilege of being privy to any part of my life anymore. However, to still make decisions based on him would not be freeing myself from his manipulation and so I will not let him curtail the cathartic use of this space. And so to this reader I want to say thank you. Thank you for reminding me that my struggles are universal and that there are countless others who live in darkness waiting to see the light. You and I - we are better than this, and we are going to be strong.

What did you learn?
Today, I spoke with a dear friend of mine and was saddened to hear that his relationship had come to an end. It angered me so much to hear of people who don't recognise the rarity of falling in love and how important it is to do everything to secure it. It is a great tragedy to see them pass love by without realising they're stabbing themselves in the back.

You see, some will tell you they just don't have it in them to hold on to that love. That is never true. I believe we are never limited in our capacity, what holds us back is ourselves. Yet, we have to believe someone when they say that because if they truly believe that, it is impossible for anyone to convince them otherwise.

I know what I am looking for and I am not going to sell myself short with the next best thing. I know that I can give as good as I want and that ability to love comes from me. No one can take that away and I will guard it fiercely till the time comes for me to give that to someone who will cherish it as much as I do theirs. There is a point in which we can find ourselves wanting something so badly that we see it even when it isn't there. Recently my therapist pointed out that I seemed to be in better spirits and it felt like I was far more supported now that I had ended the relationship I was in. It took me by surprise because I always laboured under the misapprehension that the relationship I was in was a strong source of support for me. In actuality - it was anything but. It was a constant source of stress and pain and it had damaged many of the friendships in my life that I drew strength from. If anything, it was pulling me under. It got in the way of my work, it left me constantly anxious and it eroded my sense of self.

This lesson might have arrived pretty late but in the last relationship I truly internalised that you can never get anyone to change. Just like 'fetch', you should stop trying to make that happen because it will NEVER happen. People can be very capable of change - I certainly developed a lot as a person and got rid of plenty of the dysfunctional behaviours I used to have. But that change can only ever happen when the same person makes a concerted effort to. I used to engage in self doubt when I thought that I didn't love enough to get him to change. This notion could not have been any more wrong. He was just someone who was too deep in his abyss of dysfunction to get out and the sooner I left, the better it would have been for me.

There are exes in life who you become friends with and then there are exes who you learn are such toxic people that it's best to leave them completely in the past. Knowing how to tell the difference is crucial to securing your own happiness. It is only when you put your foot down and make the decision to leave them firmly behind that you begin to realise that there are far better futures in store for you and that you are but one step closer to getting there.

And so to my friend who I love very dearly and who I have nothing but support for, know this - two things will always hold true that I hope will serve as reassurance for you. 1 - I love you and will always be there. 2 - that we are closer than we have ever been to finding a love that will last.

This air - it is rife with possibility!


Getting there!
It's funny how life has a way of showing you the way. I finally learnt to put my foot down by saying no to his calls.

For the sake of closure, I texted him my final thoughts on the rationale for my resolve to cut him out of my life. I explained how the fact that he lied about so much - ridiculous things like having job offers, being 'single to work on himself' when he was actually seeking out guys who reminded himself of me, about secretly looking me up online all this while but denying it, was incompatible with any sort of interaction between the two of us anymore. I told him I had conducted myself with nothing but honesty and his immature propensity to lie and manipulate me in return was ridiculous. As predicted, he had nothing to say in return because I had called him out on the lies he thought I was buying into.

The extent of his dysfunction was clearly embodied by the fact that despite knowing this to be an extremely stressful time for me since my exams are coming, he chose now to create a dramatic mess. Such a man who has no regard for the consequences of his actions just reaffirmed the fact that I could not let myself pick up that phone and get sucked back into his dysfunction. It was so hard to try to put him in my past when I thought he was changing and improving as a person but realising all the lies he had been feeding me gave me the final push to move on.

The final piece of the puzzle lies with him still holding on to my keys. I sent him his keys a long while back and while he assured me he would send mine back he didn't. I'm still waiting for them because as soon as I do I can be completely done with him. I was thinking of blocking him from all forms of communication once I receive my keys back so that he can never contact me again. What I don't want to do is continue to be preoccupied with active hate for him. The opposite of love is indifference and that is what I would very much like to achieve.

I'm relieved, funnily enough, to have found closure in his dysfunction. It's almost like it reminded me all over again why I broke up with him.

I want to forget
Every time I think about him I sense this rage welling up in me. Rage. The manipulation. The abuse. The lies he had me believe when he tried to talk to me again. It is so clear I can't believe anything he says. The final straw was the flippant manner he handled the break up and his behaviour immediately after.

I hate myself for buying into his filthy lies. I hate myself for letting him in time and time again because I soften and because I love unconditionally. You see, it is impossible to love unconditionally without sacrificing yourself for someone who loves control more than he does you.

No one will ever love him like I did. I know that with every fibre of my being. Even now, after the cycles of hurt he has caused, my heart still misses him. But that ability to love comes from me and I am trying my hardest to reclaim that as my own. I am just so terrified that he has diminished my ability to love like that again.

With the way he is, he will never find love and he will never be as happy as I made him. But worrying about his eventual happiness is no longer a responsibility of mine. His eventual doom is his own cross to bear.

I want to stop hating him because I just want to be completely free. I want to forget I ever met him and I want to forget that he ever existed in my life.

Does anyone have any suggestions, I'm genuinely at my wit's end.

Hobbling along
I have always sought solace amongst people. I am unsure if this tendency belies weakness of spirit on my part but it seems counterintuitive to not draw strength from those around you, when the are clearly there to help you along your merry (sometimes, less so) way.

I want to talk about a man I met who I am profoundly thankful towards.

You see, strength comes to those who seek it out fervently. I met him shortly after the breakup with the ex at a time when I was completely lost and devastated. He waltzed into my life, with his non-rhotic English accent and effervescent demeanour and he was everything I needed at the time. He was generous and sincere in his ways and he had the most jovial countenance I had experienced in a long time. It was clear that he had his fair share of baggage as well but that hardly had any bearing on his joyful predilections. He had this infectious laughter that made me laugh alongside him. He would stay over and spoon me to sleep and I recall kissing him with gentle pecks all over because I was adamant on physically expressing my gratitude towards him.

When you exit a relationship, you feel like everything has been taken from you against your will. Your being, your emotions, your body - you struggle to regain control of every facet of your life. Being with him allowed me to gradually return to myself what was rightfully mine. Initially, the very touch of someone new made me feel like I was cheating. It took me time and effort to finally reclaim my body as my own. I recall the night I allowed myself to give my body to him. It was the first time since the end of the relationship. It felt liberating and when it was over I was filled with relief. I needed that physical reminder that I was no longer under the control of the relationship I was trying so hard to put behind me. I needed to know that I was once again my own to give and that I no longer felt beholden to the past.

I recognise rather impatiently that I am not yet ready for a relationship. I have progress to make, and self actualisation to come by. The only solution, as everyone and their wise grandmothers will tell you, is time. And so I will wait with every virtuous ounce of patience that I can muster. I will wait for the day when I am completely free from the past. I will wait for the moment when I realise my heart is able to beat for another in its entirety. I will wait for the unbridled hope I have always had towards love to return.

So that when the time comes for me to fall in love again, this journey that I am on would have more than prepared me for a love that will last a lifetime.

Today the opportunity to be sucked into an abyss of dysfunction with the ex presented itself. I faltered and I nearly caved but I have just managed to get my head around it. I almost became the person that I was in the relationship. I made so much progress and I almost undid all of it.

After a long while of not speaking he rang me out of the blue about two weeks ago and since then, we have had multiple conversations over the phone. The first few were very respectful and worked very well to help clarify how we were both doing. They relieved a significant amount of resentment we had been harbouring. However, the first sign of conflict arose when he confessed to being dishonest and engaged in manipulative behaviour. It shocked me and at that point I made the decision to stop speaking. However, he rang me multiple times, persuading me to continue speaking with him and my sense of sentimentality gave in. He expressed all the regrets he had over the way he acted in the relationship and brilliantly pointed out many of the flaws he refused to admit while we were together. It was then that I let myself believe he could change.

I giggle when I write this because I look back and see how silly I was. Rather unsurprisingly, the beliefs I developed all turned out to be completely unfounded. It was literally a day later that he returned to being dysfunctional and manipulative. I realised this and told him it was best we stopped speaking again and he reacted rather badly. I got swept up into that cycle of dysfunction once again and tried to reason with him but it was too late. I ended up getting hurt because I let myself believe in the man he could be when the truth of the matter is that he never was and never will be.

A recent godsend in my life wisely pointed me in the direction of an enlightening phenomenon in psychology: consistency and commitment. The idea is that as people, we impose upon ourselves the need to align our outer actions and promises with our inner choices such as our beliefs and values. Once we have committed to something, we continually justify this commitment by inventing new rationales or seeking confirmation that we have made the right decision. I've not known him (the guy who told me this) for a very long time but it was disarming because of how applicable it was to my situation at the moment.

The potent combination of observer bias and sentimental rationalisation of his behaviour had me convincing myself that he was changing and he was going to improve and that there would be hope. This allowed me to justify the commitment I made towards the relationship all that time ago that I had been working so hard to relinquish. Silly little Eli! How could you have been so foolish? Nothing has changed, duh?

I am so happy right now because I saved myself just as I was slipping. I am better than this! I am above being ill disciplined with my emotions and letting them run amok, I am beyond letting myself believe in a future that has a zero chance of becoming a reality.

To who do I owe this tragic comedy? (Yea, yea, myself, I get it, haha) Moral of the story: DON'T SPEAK WITH AN EX UNTIL YOU ARE COMPLETELY OVER HIM.

No really, what is strength?
I used to think that being able to ignore someone was a sign of strength, especially when this happened within the context of a relationship. I used to stone wall the ex because I was in pain and I couldn't handle the severity of my emotions.

However, as I have grown over the past two months I have come to learn that ignoring someone isn't a display of strength but instead a demonstration of weakness. Engaging with someone in dysfunctional cold wars only reveals the lack of control you have over your own emotions and how you have not mastered them. As I mentioned, the ex and I recently resumed talking and to my surprise he had returned to that same sort of dysfunctional dynamic of trying to ignore me when he didn't know how to handle the situation. It came as a shock because I had moved on from that dysfunction over the course of the last two months and had left that form of engagement in my past. I assumed he had done likewise but it became pretty clear that the benefit of the doubt I had chosen to give was in vain.

As I was trying to arrange for the courier to pick up my things from his, it dawned on me how far I have come in the last two months. I used to reciprocate in kind, but this time, all desire to do that was gone. His behaviour was a reality check that he had not changed at all since the break up and that I was far better off staying true to the person I want to be rather than returning to the dysfunctional person I was when I was with him. Initially, I had difficulty arranging for my things to be retrieved from his as it signified the definite end. However, when I was making plans for this today, I realised that I was at peace. Without the reality check that his actions had provided me, I would've naively and idealistically continued to believe that he could change and held on to the notion that one of these days he would. Speaking with him and realising that this could not be further from the truth was the final push I needed to realise he was never the one for me and never could be.

You see - when you are truly strong and settled in yourself, no one can take that away from you. It is so important to be clear about the person you want to be and take the necessary steps to achieve that aim. Only then do we begin to be proud of the person we see in the mirror each morning and only then are we able to truly love ourselves.

It doesn't quite matter.
I have finally realised the power of my love.

The ex and I have recently been in contact mainly because the animosity has died down. But it would seem that he still occupies many of the dysfunctional habits that used to plague the relationship like dishonesty, manipulation and stone walling. When I was in love with him I would retaliate by reciprocating with anger and frustration. When he took to ignoring me I would do the same or try to elicit a reaction by doing something heinous to him. But the person I was is no more.

Even as he continues to behave in such a manner I find myself being unfazed. You see, that is the power that comes from working on yourself. The strength to be bigger than who you were, to be confident and assured enough to not let anyone suck you into an abyss of negativity is one that we have to nurture in each one of ourselves.

I used to think that if he had the ability to change and put down the encumbrance of his dysfunction that together we would be able to fix things. However, nothing has quite changed on his end in the two months that we weren't speaking. This is in stark contrast to the progress that I have made with the help of my friends and the sense of strength that I rediscovered in myself. To judge him and hold his weaknesses against him would make me a lesser person and so I choose to deal with this with love.

I realised my personal strength when I felt sentimental during our conversations. During such times I would relish the feeling of being close to him but I always held myself back because I knew I could not return to the dysfunction of that relationship. Yesterday, I told him I wanted his support as I begin to explore the idea of love with someone else. He wasn't quite able to provide that but he did the best within the limits of his capabilities and for that I am thankful.

That's the beauty of moving on. I might not have realised this but in the last two months I have actually made peace with most of the anger I used to harbour against him. When I did that I unknowingly and gradually moved on from the relationship. I only realised this yesterday when I felt a sense of calm wash over me despite his antagonistic reaction. I used to find difficulty in talking about getting my things back but today was finally different. While discussing it with him I felt at peace with the situation, knowing that the anxieties I used to have over our separation was no longer there. I used to bristle whenever I thought about the finality but this time it finally made sense. It took me a long while but I am finally in control of my heart and my own feelings. I relinquished that control a long time ago and I used to allow him to manipulate me as a result. In the past two months, I have pulled myself out of those clutches and I am my own person again.

As much as I still love him I am no longer in love with him. This love that I have - it is finally one that I have control over and one that makes me stronger instead of depleting me. For all of this, I am supremely thankful.

I'm thankful to the friends who I love with all my heart who have been there every single step of the way. To the people reading this who I haven't had the privilege of meeting but who send me private messages of support reminding me that I'll get better. And the one person who showed me that genuinely amazing and charming guys exist and I am more than worthy if I just opened my heart to that possibility again.


You were in a toxic relationship.
You were in a toxic relationship.

You were in a toxic relationship.

You were in a toxic relationship.


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