dating

'I became paranoid.' What it was like to date my own version of Spencer Pratt.

Now let’s get one thing straight.

When I say I’ve dated a Spencer, I don’t mean a crystal selling, scream at his sister, reality TV crazy man who pretended to elope and created a fake sex tape rumour.

It’s a tad more subtle than that.

I’m talking about the person who always makes you feel embarrassed about what the outside world is thinking about your relationship.

We’re all talking The Hills again, because New Beginnings is here. Post continues after video.

Video by MTV

It’s that relationship you feel like you constantly have to justify to anyone and everyone.

It’s that person who your friends don’t like – and you know that – so you try and just not talk about them as much in their company.

It’s that man who’s been an absolute d*ck to you, and yet you love the absolute hell out of.

You might find yourself thinking, “I’ve come this far, I can’t just give up now?” Even if there’s a niggle in the back of your head that is screaming at you: This. Just. Isn’t. Right.

To be fair, Spencer Pratt is a pretty unique larger-than-life example to consider in this scenario.

And in actual fact, his relationship with Heidi has worked out; they’ve been together 11 years and share a child.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

Leave your feelings, your heart and trust in me

A post shared by SPENCER PRATT (@spencerpratt) on

ADVERTISEMENT

But watching the trajectory of their fights, breakups, lost friends and constant (well, in Heidi’s case) excuse-making on The Hills, I found myself noticing parallels to a certain relationship in my past.

My own version of a Spencer Pratt.

After a few years of relatively smooth-sailing he suddenly broke up with me the morning after we got back from a three week holiday to Hawaii together.

Honestly, I’ve never felt more broken in my life because I was completely bowled over. I wasn’t expecting it and I didn’t want it to be real.

So when he grovelled with the “I love you” and “I’m sorry” the following week I was, predictably, back in his arms.

When it happened again, this time with the keys left on the table and an empty wardrobe in our apartment, I felt like an idiot. In fact, I was mortified.

I cried more tears than I thought possible, and leaned on my mum for support more than I probably should have. (She moved in for a week and spooned me to sleep… sorry mum).

I couldn’t hide my devastation from my friends, my parents, or my colleagues because I was a great big tear sodden wounded mess.

And yet I went back to him.

I started dating him again while we lived separately, and eventually moved into a sharehouse with him.

When something’s been broken that badly, it’s near impossible to put back together but I had invested so much time in him, and us, that I honestly thought it was worth trying to fix it.

Yet I was still embarrassed by his past behaviour, but even more so by my own for letting him have yet another chance with me.

To my friends and family, I tried to talk up the surprise weekend away and the beautiful flowers he got me “just coz” but I could see their fake smiles and pitying looks. They weren’t buying it.

He wasn’t right for me. He wasn’t being nice to me. But everyone in my life was sick of telling me that, and as a result some of my closest mates started distancing themselves, no doubt to save themselves from watching it derail again.

It got to the point where I would dread family events because I knew my relatives had the backstory to our off and on romance, so I’d spend the whole time holding my breath hoping he wouldn’t act grumpy or moody or anything less than perfect in front of them.

I felt most guilty about the fact mum had dropped everything to console me, and I’d gone straight back to the source of pain.

Looking back, dating a Spencer was above anything else exhausting.

I felt like I was constantly on edge, and constantly having to justify my being with him to other people.

ADVERTISEMENT

I kept thinking:

“Are we going to break-up today (again)?”

“Will this end in a fight?”

“Will he embarrass me?”

“Is everyone looking at me? Judging me?”

When it gets to the point where they’ve done so many things that you’ve brushed under the rug as “it was just a mistake” or “he told me he was sorry” that’s when you know it’s time to reassess.

spencer-and-heidi
If you're constantly exhausted from your relationship it's probably time to reassess. Image: MTV.

But the problem is, dating a Spencer strips you of all the confidence and the "I don't stand for any bullshit" meter that you thought was well and truly ingrained in you.

You're so exhausted from putting out fires that you forget to stand up and respect yourself. You also have this stupid preconception that you'll be alone forever.

You cling to the good like it's a goddamn life raft and post photos on social media that make you look like a perfect couple.

I look back at some of my smiley social media 'bandaid' posts and cringe, I might as well have written in the caption: "SEE FAMILY AND FRIENDS THIS IS GOOD SEE?"

It's not uncommon to find it hard to pry yourself away from a relationship that once set your world on fire.

But if you're constantly reminiscing on the past, and not making any new memories that make it into the 'how great is he' wall of fame, then that's a pretty good hint you've got a problem.

I knew I had a problem when I became paranoid and embarrassed about what the rest of the world thought.

When really, I was just embarrassed by myself. That I was still allowing myself to put up with his sh*t.

So one day I stopped and the tears, the drama and the paranoia disappeared.

I've never looked back. Thank goodness.

00:00 / ???