'My boyfriend gave me a scathing list of all the things he didn't like about me. It was the best gift.'

My boyfriend arrived 15 minutes late for our usual Friday date night. He sat down, and he wasted no time. 

"I want to talk about us," he said as he reached for my hand. 

Expecting sweet nothings to follow, I leaned in closer, excited to hear what he had to say. However, instead of saying anything, he wordlessly reached into his pocket and pulled out a list. With no explanation, he began to read the contents of the list out loud — and it was the last thing I was expecting.

"Don't compliment me enough."

"Not supportive of my career."

"Doesn't put in effort to cook dinners, etc."

And my personal favourite:

"Wasting life."

As I looked up at him, confused, it became clear that what he was showing me was not lyrics — he was actually an amateur rapper — but instead, he had written down a list of all the things he didn't like about me. Instinctively, I felt mortified.

Watch: The Mamamia team reveal their relationship deal-breakers. Post continues below.

Video via Mamamia.

The truth is, our relationship had been unsteady for a while, as he had tried to cheat on me with a mutual friend who embarrassingly enough, turned him down. A friend of ours threatened to tell me everything unless he came clean, so he confessed but insisted that it was just a misunderstanding. I'm ashamed to admit that my initial response wasn't to leave the relationship. I told everyone that I was waiting for the shock to subside before making a decision, but deep down, I hoped that we could work through it.


When he gave me the list, it finally hit me that I had been delusional all this time. It became clear that the man didn't value or care about me even after the failed cheating attempt. What was even more disheartening was the realisation that he didn't just not care for me, but he also had zero respect for me.

Instead of being honest and upfront about where he was at in our relationship, he would constantly do things to chip away at my self-esteem. Under the guise of support, he would syphon out my deepest insecurities and weaponside them against me at the worst possible time. One time, at a friend's wedding, I asked him if everything was okay because he had been distant all evening. He responded by bringing up my recent weight gain, which he knew I was sensitive about, and left fighting back tears during the speeches.

On my birthday, he told me to prepare for a special surprise so I (somewhat presumptuously) got my hair and makeup done, only to be taken to a shooting range — when he knew that I had a deep fear of guns. I cried, he claimed he didn't remember our previous conversations on the topic, and he put me in an Uber home so that he could enjoy a bit of target practice on his own. 

He would often make plans with me and then cancel them at the last minute to hang out with his friends instead. Whenever I tried to talk to him about how upset I was, he would dismiss my feelings and tell me that I was being too sensitive or overreacting. Over time, I started to believe him and question my own feelings.

You’re probably wondering why I stayed in a relationship that was so obviously bad. It's a valid question, but the answer is complicated. After several years and many therapy sessions, I came to the realisation that I was in an emotionally abusive relationship. In these types of relationships, your sense of reality can become distorted — at least that's what happened to me.

Read more dating stories from Sophie here:

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