Pakhi, 24, is a student in Amritsar.
Will you be my girlfriend?
Once upon a time, in the world of Instagram and WhatsApp messaging, I found myself in a whirlwind romance. It all started when my college crush Dhruv messaged me on Instagram, and I was over the moon. We talked incessantly, sharing our interests, our favourite movies, and our dreams. A few weeks into our online chats, he asked, ‘Do you want to be my girlfriend?’ Since I'd never had a boyfriend before, I eagerly said yes.
Our relationship was off to a promising start. We had evening classes together, and our phones buzzed with messages throughout the day. It felt like a fairy tale. But, as in many tales, there was a twist waiting just around the corner.
It all began with small stuff, which seemed harmless at first. He would laugh when I didn't get some football term or didn't find certain social media jokes funny. Initially, I ignored it, thinking it was just for fun. But over time, these seemingly small incidents turned into something much worse.
Was I not smart?
Whenever I had questions or got confused about something, he would laugh and tease me, making me feel like I wasn't good enough. Even when I achieved something significant, like reaching 5k followers on my cooking account, he would downplay it, saying it wasn't important. He did the same when I talked about wanting to become a lawyer, he would use funny memes to tell me that it is too far-fetched for me to achieve.
His behaviour had a big impact on me. I started doubting my intelligence – was I not smart? He made fun of my sense of humour, my interests, and my dreams, making me feel small and unimportant.
Gradually, I began hiding who I was, afraid of what he'd think. I stopped joining group talks, thinking my input wasn't good enough. I stayed away from competitions and always thought I couldn't do well. I even distanced myself from my closest friends because I felt alone and lost.
Luckily, my sister noticed I wasn't myself and talked to me about it. After some gentle encouragement, I poured out everything to her, and we had a really honest talk. She helped me see that I was in a bad relationship.
Breaking up with my first boyfriend
After that eye-opening chat, I took the difficult step of ending my relationship with my boyfriend. It's a move towards regaining my self-confidence, even though I know it might take time. I've promised myself not to let anyone else determine my value.
My experience serves as a reminder that toxic relationships can affect anyone, regardless of age. Recognizing the signs and looking out for your well-being is crucial. I'll keep you updated on my journey of self-discovery and growth. Remember, you deserve someone who lifts you and supports you, not someone who brings you down like Dhruv!
To protect the identity, the person in the picture is a model and names have been changed.