Third time lucky

Her first boyfriend introduced her to self-harm, her second to betrayal, and her third to the possibility of trust and love.

couple kissing behind a bunch of flowers
surrounding myself with positive people, and making sure I was supported by my good friends, has helped a lot
Relationships for me have always been hard because I never had positive role models in my childhood. When I was growing up, I was sexually abused by three different people and both my parents had severe mental health difficulties. They never got along, so home life was always hard. Because of these challenges, I've found it dificult to form connections with people later on in life.

My first relationship when I was 14 was the worst thing possible. I was introduced to a world of self harm, alcohol, and suicide, but I ended up realising the negative impact he was having on me and decided to end it. It took a few years of healing and self discovery before I finally started dating someone again.

He appeared to be the perfect guy but once I started dating him I discovered that wasn't the case. He ended up breaking up with me quite harshly and I found out that he was cheating on me with one of my best friends!

Learning about respect

When people ask how I got through this, there's no simple answer. I did break down, asking myself, 'why? Why do people continually hurt me?' But I found that surrounding myself with positive people, and making sure I was supported by my good friends, has helped a lot.

I've also been seeing a counsellor who has helped me work through issues and understand boundary setting so that I don't fall into the same situation again. Often when people experience abuse from a young age they become vulnerable and susceptible to falling for it again. I am now in a much better head space where I know how to recognise warning signs, and I will no longer take abuse or disrespect.

As much as all my past relationships have hurt me I do not regret them because I have learnt so much. I have learnt the type of person I don't want to be with and I have learnt how to see warning signs in other people. I found that the single most important thing is that in order for someone else to love and respect you, you must first love and respect yourself.

I'm now happier then ever. I am with a new guy who is absolutely fantastic. He is different to anyone else I have been with. He respects me. For the first time in my life I can actually say someone loves me for me and doesn't want me to change and it's the best feeling ever!
Last reviewed: 16 February, 2014
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