Release & Let Go

mysterious shadow behind dark backdrop

The Fifty Shades of Grey Trilogy was on TV this past weekend, & I will shamelessly admit that I made myself cozy on my couch with a warm mug of peppermint tea, a comfy blanket, & my cutie pug, Pogi & enjoyed every minute of it. lol I succumbed to the hype & read all three books back in the day. I also did the Fifty Shades of Grey tag on my YouTube channel with my sister. I even went to watch the movies with my friends for Galentine’s Day at the movie theatre for three years in a row. The Fifty Shades of Grey books & movies get a lot of criticism that I won’t go into right now, but you’re more than welcome to read or watch them & judge for yourself. There are some spoilers ahead, so if you want to read or watch the movies before proceeding, now is a good time to do so. But with that said & with Christian Grey in mind, I want to discuss that needing to control your partner is not love.

In my most unfulfilling relationship, my partner was controlling & obsessed with me. While for some it may seem like a dream come true to have a partner who wants to protect you at all costs & wait on you hand & foot, I absolutely hated it. Before we were officially together, he would stalk my social media channels for any indication of ways to win my heart. I posted a picture of purple boxing gloves on my Facebook one day saying that if someone could find where I could buy them for me I’d love them forever. About two weeks later, I received a package from him with pink boxing gloves, a letter professing his feelings, & hoping that even though they were the wrong color, I’d still like & get use out of them.

If you think this was a romantic gesture, please consider it from my point of view. I was looking for a link or a specific sporting goods store (Big 5, Dick’s Sporting Goods, etc.) that carries boxing gloves, so that I could buy exactly what I wanted for myself. Instead, someone, whom I do not know well, haven’t seen in person in months, & was not officially dating, went out of his way to ask my best friend for my home address behind my back. He bought & sent me a present that I did not ask for, nor was it even what I wanted, both overstepping my boundaries & intruding on my privacy. While it was definitely a red flag in my mind, I had a ton of friends in my ear telling me how attractive he was, that he was a good guy, that he had good intentions, & to at least give him a chance.

Once we were in a relationship, his need to control my every move & his obsession with me only got worse. When riding in a car with him, he would stare at me constantly, asking me if I was ok. He would often run stoplights & stop signs, & he even got into a car accident with me in the car, because he was more concerned about the look on my face & why I wasn’t talking, instead of driving us safely to our destination. If you’re curious, I’m introverted, & I will not deny that I have a resting bitch face. But when I’m quiet, it’s not a huge cause for concern. It’s quite the opposite actually, because to me silence can be golden.

When we’d watch a film at a movie theatre, he would ask me if I was ok in the middle of the movie. I would have to whisper in the dark theatre to reassure him that I was fine. If we were at home & the movie was interesting, I’d be happy to express more emotion & discuss what I enjoyed about it in depth, but no one should have to creepily smile in the darkness of a movie theatre & reassure their boyfriend that they’re having “such a good time” more than once.

When it came to food, he bragged about how much weight he lost going Paleo full-time. At that time, I was already at a very healthy BMI, going to the gym for an hour each day for 5 days a week, & dancing with a Hip-Hop Dance Company for a few hours every Monday evening. I also ate salads from Trader Joe’s for lunch, & I ate home-cooked meals for dinner almost every single day. But to him, I wasn’t doing enough. He needed & wanted me to go Paleo full-time too, so I tried it for about a month. While I did lose weight, it took a huge toll on my mind & a physical toll on my body. There were so many times where I would get light-headed & almost faint when taking a shower after a long run or workout. I still remember how scared I’d get as my vision went fuzzy, & I’d need to sit down out of fear of slipping & hurting myself. I felt so weak & overwhelmingly sad all the time.

I’ve said it before & I’ll say it again… I LOVE FOOD! Being deprived of carbs, dairy, & dessert for that entire month was torture. To me, being skinny will never bring me the same happiness that a bacon cheeseburger with garlic truffle fries, a molten chocolate lava cake with vanilla ice cream, or a plate of loaded carne asada nachos can.

Whenever I tried to express my unhappiness to him, he shot me down. He tried to make me feel guilty about wanting to go back to my usual 80% healthy & 20% unhealthy diet. He made me feel ashamed of my love of food, & he told me that I’d never achieve my fitness goals with the way that I wanted to eat. He was guilt-tripping me into doing what he wanted me to do. Even though he claimed to “love” me, it didn’t matter that eating Paleo was making me depressed & physically sick.

Needless to say, I was so happy & relieved to finally get myself out of that relationship. Those were only a few of many other uncomfortable situations that he forced me into during our 10 months together. Again, controlling your partner is not love. Love is wanting to keep your significant other happy & healthy. Forcing someone to do something that they do not want to do is not conducive to a healthy relationship, nor should you put up with someone who oversteps your boundaries, disrespects you, or treats you like their property.

While other women around the world may have fawned over Christian Grey since May 2011, after rewatching the movies, I simply cannot. *SPOILER ALERT* Never fall in love with a partner who wants to control what you eat & drink, stalks you, looks up your bank account information or gives you unnecessarily extravagant presents to “buy” your love. While I am open to a dominant man in the bedroom, a healthy relationship allows both individuals to live their lives independently, because they believe in their partner’s ability to make the right choices for themselves. When they make love, it’s always consensual, & they’re able to fully trust their partner with their body. When they’re apart, they want their partner to enjoy themselves, be happy, & be safe, without needing to hover over their every move.

Reflecting on my past relationship taught me a lot about who I was & where my mind was at that time in my life. I was only 23 years old then. I was too young & too naive to know any better. I suffered just because I was scared of being alone. Please learn from my mistakes, & don’t let the allure of a man like “Christian Grey” cloud your judgment. Anastasia Steele was also young, naive, & taken advantage of in my opinion. While she stood up for herself & did a lot of good for Christian in the end, fiction, whether in books or movies, is not real life. Please choose to love yourself & love your partner without the need to control or obsess over them.

True unconditional love allows you to love someone for who they are & the choices they make for themselves without smothering or suffocating them. Holding on to someone too tightly just makes them want to run away as fast as they can. All you can do is ensure that they know that no matter what each of you does separately, you’ll always be in their corner to support them. Because even if you don’t need them every second of every day, being apart doesn’t mean that they’ll forget to love you. When someone truly has your heart, you know that they’re not going anywhere.

XO Denise

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