real life

'My boyfriend of two years dumped me via text. I haven't seen him since.'

My boyfriend Jake took the ring of plastic from the neck of his cola bottle and started twisting it frantically.

“What are you doing?” I asked.

“Turn around for a second,” he laughed.

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When Jake finally gave me permission to turn back around and face him, he was down on one knee.

“Will you marry me?” he asked, holding out the makeshift plastic ring.

“Of course, I will!” I laughed, as he jiggled it clumsily on to my finger.

We’d only been together for a year. Jake lived in a different state and our relationship so far had been entirely long distance.

That night he was staying with me. We’d just got home from the pub with a takeaway and bottles of Coke. I wasn’t entirely sure he was serious.

But over the coming weeks, Jake kept talking about our future wedding. “I want to do it outside,” he said. “Like, in the Botanical Gardens, or on the beach.”

I loved the idea. We’d spent many a Saturday jogging in the gardens or walking a coastal path, putting the world to rights. I felt it was fitting that we might get married in one of those spots.

Before long, Jake had given me a budget and told me to choose a proper engagement ring. I went to the jewellers with my mum and tried on an array of sparklers, each more dazzling than the next. I felt like I was dreaming.

I chose the one I liked best and gave Jake the details. “Leave it with me,” he said.

But another year went by, and he didn’t say a word about it.

He must be waiting for the right moment, I told myself.

A month later, we went on a holiday to a resort in North Queensland. It was the same one we’d been to for our first ever getaway together – and Jake had even made sure we got the same room.

This is it, I thought. He’s going to ask me properly.

But there was no proposal. In fact, Jake was strangely quiet the entire time.

After that, the wedding chat stopped. Whenever I brought it up, Jake would mumble something about being worried about money.

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But we were fine for cash. I knew deep down that wasn’t the reason.

Jake had moved in with me by then, but one weekend he said he needed to travel home to tie up some loose ends with his old apartment. When he said he didn’t want me to come with him, my stomach dropped.

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I barely heard from him while he was away. The night before he was due to return home, I tried to phone him for a chat but he didn’t pick up.

Then my phone pinged with a text.

“I think we both know this isn’t working,” it said.

Panicking, I tried phoning again. This time he cancelled my call.

“We need to talk about this,” I text back.

“I don’t think there is anything to say,” he replied.

How could he possibly think that? How could he think that after two years together, talking about marriage and a future, that there was nothing left to say between us?

I begged and begged Jake to at least tell me it was over on the phone but he outright refused.

He made me feel like I was being needy and over the top by expecting more than a text.

On reflection, that sort of gaslighting had been prevalent throughout our relationship – I just hadn’t seen it at the time.

Jake never came home. He arranged for a friend to pick up his things while I was at work. He removed me from his social media and deleted everything single photo of us together from his Facebook and Instagram. It was like I’d never existed.

I had to accept that I would never get closure and put all my efforts into healing. I felt lighter. And it was only then that I saw all that had been wrong in our relationship, recognised that there had been gaslighting and emotional abuse that I won’t go into here.

Of course, when I’d put in the work and moved on with my life, Jake sent me an email.

“I’ve made the biggest mistake of my life,” he said. “Say the word, and I will come home in a heartbeat.”

The timing felt so calculated.

I wanted to ignore the email but I also didn’t want to be as cold and cruel as Jake to someone I’d genuinely loved. Even after everything, I thought he deserved a reply.

So I told him it was too late.

The author of this story is known to Mamamia but has chosen to remain anonymous for privacy reasons. A stock image has been used. 

Feature image: Getty. 

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