People Remember Things You Say to Them

The last relationship I was in before husband did not end well. The funny thing is that what stuck with me is not the one you’d expect. For the sake of this story, let’s call him Sterling. That is not his name but I’m not going to give that here.

I do know he was on a dating website and answering ads while he still lived with me and the chance of him having actually cheated on me are really damned high.

Those both suck. A LOT. There’s no way around that. But those aren’t the things that stuck the most. I was the one who ended things. He just one day stopped answering the phone and texts. The day after, when I finally got him on the phone, I ended things Rolling Stones style. It took a few days, then he finally came over to get his last handful of things he’d left. I gathered the courage to press him for what the hell had happened.

He didn’t know how to answer, or he didn’t know what to say. I still don’t know that one, either. I know this because of his answer. He told me he’d fallen out of love with me because I’d been greedy. 

That answer took me by surprise and I asked him how. He told me he thought I’d only been with him for his money.

It went about like this:

Image of Trump and Jonathan Swain in interview with "you only wanted my money" written on the page.
I’m sorry I what now?

This requires us backing up a few months in the story. As mentioned above, we did live together for a few months. While he lived with me, I paid for everything. EVERYTHING. He was the one with a job, I was unemployed. But I paid all of the rent and all of the bills. He paid for his shitty cheap beers.

So anyway, when he slammed that one on me, I was already not in a good place mentally. I’d broken up with someone else for him. It was the end of a relationship, and I was being treated really poorly and it was long-distance at his choosing. He’d moved back across the country to live with his mother. Sterling was the one who told me “You deserve better than that. I’d have never left you like that because you’re worth so much more than how he treats you.”

When it became obvious that he no longer loved me, it also meant that I was not actually worthy of the things he’d said I was worthy of. Any of it. I sunk down HARD quickly. 

My reaction to “You are greedy.” should have been “What in the literal fuck are you talking about?!” but I was already so fucking broken from how he’d treated me that I just took it along with the chest-crushing guilt that went along with it.

That was 2005. I don’t know what it will take to fix this one. I know I’m worth so much more than him. I know I didn’t deserve to be cheated on.

But my brain is still completely stuck on him thinking I’m greedy. There’s no way he actually thought that, but you convince my brain of that. I’ve not been able to. 

And it sucks. It impacts my relationship with husband any time money is in the discussion. I get extremely defensive at the idea of being told how to handle my cash, and there are times when that’s extremely inconvenient. We’re married. We need to talk about money. But it fucking slays me each and every time. The subject alone makes me feel like I’m once again being told that I’m greedy.

My point is that his very small statement made one of the biggest negative impacts on my life and my emotional well-being. It was nothing to him. He may not even remember the conversation. But it’s just cemented into my brain.

Remember when you tell someone anything, those words often have meanings beyond the part that’s said aloud.

I hate this post. I hate having to make this post. But it’s so important to me that I’m open about the struggles that I have mentally, and I hope that I can make at least one person think twice about saying something hurtful, even if that’s not how you meant it.

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