On this day, 1 year ago today, close to midnight, I was laying in bed at my exes house falling in and out of sleep. It's something that very few people knew, but we were fixing to move to Austin, TX for his new job in a few months so he wanted a guys night out which wasn't like him but whatever.

We went to dinner a few hours before, and he kept trying to argue about every little thing, which wasn't like him and was a side I've never seen, but I figured it was just stress from the move and new job. He originally discussed us going to hang out with his friends together, I agreed even though I hate bars, crowds, etc. But then each conversation he was trying to talk me out of going. We ended up driving home after dinner, instead of going out and I said "I thought you wanted to go hang out with your friends?" He said "I do I just don't want you to go." I said "That's a weird way to put it. But okay, I'll go home and see you next weekend."

At that point he got aggressive and possessive. He was screaming, yelling, and getting in my face like I'd never seen before. I was kind of annoyed because I drove an hour to spend time with him in case we were separated for a while during the transition. I didn't want him around me if he was going to be a jerk anyways (the kindest adjective I can give him.) He came home after spending a few hours at a bar, I woke up and layed there for a few and he never came to bed. I eventually got up and he was laying on the couch. I said "Why aren't you laying in bed?" He said "You told me not to." Which wasn't true at all. It took me forever to get him to even come to bed but then he wouldn't hold my hand or talk to me. I knew something was wrong, I wouldn't just drop things and act like they were fine... I kept asking and he finally said "Do you really want to keep doing this?" I was confused... Like... "Doing what?" He said "All we do is fight and argue all the time" I was really just shocked. We weren't that couple. In fact that relationship was my 'Too good to be true' until it wasn't. We didn't argue, we didn't fight, I felt like we agreed on so many important topics and had healthy conversations about things we disagreed on.

You know what happens next, he gets aggressive, and more aggressive and ends it. He won't give me any explanation for any of it. All he would say was "we just can't keep doing this." I was more shocked than ever. I saw my past relationships crash and burn. I saw the end in sight and the toxicity in them but this one was a bullet to the chest. The biggest thing I learned from past relationships is that I'm not going to fight for someone to see my worth and my value. I'm not going to fight for someone to love me. I knew I deserved someone who saw all of that without me having to fight for them to see it. Through the last few hours of hell he put me through, I stuck true to my word and decided it wasn't worth fighting back. If he wanted to give up then I knew I couldn't change his mind..

Why was this so confusing to me?

#1 Before dinner he was having a conversation with one of his new employers who needed to speak with him on the phone. They were trying to arrange a time and the employer asked if he could speak during one of the times we would be at dinner. My ex then said "I'm sorry I can't do that time because I will be at dinner with my family. " I questioned him on it because he used the word family. He said "It's true because you are going to be my family." He proceeded to kiss me on the forehead and tell me how much he can't wait for our future. This was only an hour before dinner when I was getting ready.

#2 The weekend before we were laying on his roof staring at the stars talking about how excited we were for the future and we also layed on his couch looking at apartments and houses together.

#3 I was spending that weekend at his house to do a garage sale with him. He wanted my opinion on which furniture, appliances, and decorations to keep for OUR future house...

#4, #5, #6, #7... I could go on but it truly isn't worth it.

Anyways, so it's close to 1 am. I am no longer at my boyfriend's house, I'm at my ex's house. I had a few drinks at dinner, it'd been a few hours, if I would have left when I originally planned on leaving, I would have been fine to drive home. He should have broken up with me then. When he left to go to the bar, I took half an edible to help with my back pain and help me sleep...so when he broke it off, I knew I couldn't drive home. I wasn't going to make a stupid decision but I was seriously like "WTF am I supposed to do right now?" It's 1am. I'm an hour from home. I told him he needed to call my parents and tell them what he did and that I needed a ride because I wouldn't even know what to say. He's probably lucky they didn't answer. One of my friends who I knew would have been awake to come get me, was in the hospital. Luckily I got a hold of one of my other friends who drove an hour with her boyfriend to come get me and drive my car to their house.

My ex told me I could stay at his house for the night... All I could say is "Are you F-ing kidding me?" He seriously went from abusive to acting like he was some angel. After he knew I had a ride, he wouldn't leave me alone. I was running around like the Tasmanian devil trying to get all of my stuff together. I was living there part of the time so I had stuff all over the place. I finally got everything and then went and sat on the front porch at 1 in the morning. In the dark. He came and sat out there. I swear it was just to piss me off more. I kept asking him to leave, telling him to leave, whatever. I was so confused and shocked that I wasn't even crying. I asked why he was sitting out there. He said "Because I care about you. You aren't going to sit out here alone. " Well that was a bunch of bullshit. I just laughed. I couldn't help it. If he cared then we would have had real conversations about what was going on, or if he had a problem in the past, then it would have been addressed. But he couldn't give me ANYTHING other than "We just can't keep doing this." And for the record, I NEVER got any other answers. So I sat outside with him, basically just shaking my head the whole time.

My friends showed up, I felt so guilty. I paid them for gas. We drove to their house. I stayed there for like 4 hours until I was decent enough to drive home. I couldn't sleep anyways. I was still just shocked. I remember my parents asking what happened. I had no idea. It was a whole mess. I spent all of that Saturday writing down EVERYTHING. Everything from our whole relationship. Every beautiful, humorous, ridiculous thing we did and said. That was the longest letter I'd ever written. I was hoping he'd reach out, he didn't. So I did. I wasn't eating. I needed clarity, closure, something. I asked if he'd be willing to meet so I could get some answers. He agreed to meet the next day.

I had hope. I was full of hope and I think that made it so much worse. I was just thinking.. maybe he was drunk and made decisions in the wrong headspace, not that that's okay but it'd be something. Maybe he is just scared of being apart for a while. I don't know. I was trying to give him the benefit of the doubt. I met with him. I asked if I could read the letter. He let me. He listened. It took me about 20 minutes to get through the whole thing because of how heartfelt it was and how emotional it made me. I talked about some of our most beautiful memories like going to Seattle and going up in the space needle, dancing in the living room or in parking lots, singing our favorite music in the car, and going on hikes in Broken Bow. I also talked about how ridiculous my dance moves were when I had too much to drink, how much better he was at pong, and how much we planned to put in our adventure book. I went on and on. I looked up and he wouldn't make eye contact with me. He wouldn't say anything. I proceeded to ask questions. What went wrong? Did you really mean it? Did you ever love me? Are we really over? I don't remember everything I asked. But the last thing I said was...

"If you love me, say it. If you don't love me, say you never did. If you love me, then we are going to make this work."

20 minutes of me reading that letter and all he said is "I love you but we are done." Nothing. He couldn't give me a reason why. I said "If you really love me, then we aren't done." He kept saying "I love you, but we are done. We can't keep doing this." I kept questioning his 'We can't keep doing this.' To this day I still don't know what he meant. I told him to stop saying he loved me. If you love someone, you make it work. Love takes work and difficult conversations. Love isn't easy. You have to work at it every single day. It's a choice. We went back and forth and I put myself in the position to listen to him saying he loved me and wishing me well and all of that bullshit for another 20 minutes or so. I was so frustrated and confused. I tried so hard to make sure there weren't any red flags before I got in another relationship. I made it very clear what I wanted. I didn't want to be in a relationship unless the goal was to end up together. I texted my friend in the middle, she lived a few minutes away. She showed up while I waited for my parents to come. I drove myself to meet him but I knew in that moment if I started driving that I would drive myself right off a bridge or right into the lake. He made me feel like a worthless piece of shit who didn't deserve anything.

It ended then. I haven't spoken to him. I haven't seen him. I didn't wish him well, because he doesn't deserve it. He's a player and a con artist.

After that day, I couldn't handle it. I took it all out on myself. That was the beginning of the absolute worst days of my life. I was determined to end my life. I hurt myself in so many ways. I couldn't handle it anymore. I just wanted to be enough and I never was. I never have been for anyone. I went through months of hell, a month in the hospital, and trying to end my life. I never got answers. He added a picture that he archived back to his social media with his ex saying something like "Happy Birthday to my best friend, future wife, and the love of my life."

This messed with my head even more...

I knew the next weekend we were going to be going to a baby shower and his ex would also be there. At one point he told me I need to be nice to her. If you know me, you know I'm like the kindest person in the world and I won't ever argue with a stranger or be mean to someone. It was just interesting that he even said that. She cheated on him when they were together so I just started thinking, maybe he cheated on me?

If there were any red flags I looked over, this was it. I knew before we started dating that he co-signed on his exes car. He bought her engagement ring and he knew she was cheating for a while. He was still meeting with her to get the monthly payment. When we were in Seattle, she tried calling him. She then messaged him saying "I need help. Can you call me?" I guess he'd been helping her with her car. A few months later, I was going over to his house and he said he was going to go meet her to finally switch things over to her name. I don't know. I don't know if it ever happened. I just know it was weird how he said I needed to be nice to her.

I questioned so many things while I was in the hospital. I was just trying to solve things in my head. I was just trying to figure out what went wrong. I lost myself more than I ever thought possible. I became a person I didn't know existed. I had scabs all over my legs and arms from clawing and bitting myself...Little did I know that going in for help, would later cause me not only mental, but physical damage...

I'll continue to expand and tell my story in the future, but I will leave it with this and say that I am working towards a better mental state than I have been in SO long. This last year has been the worst and hardest year of my life, but I'm finally at the point where I can say that being single has been the most rewarding thing I could ever imagine because I am finally loving myself. I know I don't need him or any other lowlife of a man to half or fake love me.

I know I deserve love, but I also have always given so much more than what has been returned to me. Now, I give myself all the love I need. I know what true love is, I've seen it in my parents my whole life. I won't settle for less. I think the saddest thing is I know that none of my exes would have stayed if I were paralyzed while with them. If you don't love someone enough to love them at their worst, then do them the favor and leave. Anything can happen at any second, any minute, any hour.

"The biggest coward of a man is to awaken the love of a woman without the intention of loving her. " ~Bob Marley

With love always, Aspen Sage Baxter 💗✨