I knew the gravity of my error as I reached for his cell phone, but I couldn't stop myself. I needed to know.

The first set of messages were to the girl he had been seeing right before me. He had claimed he had always hated her.

"I broke up with that crazy girl a few weeks ago, so I can hang out whenever." My mouth dropped open. I kept reading. That crazy girl was me.

"I thought about you whenever I had sex with her, so it was never really going to work out."

What had I been expecting, really?

I knew I couldn't trust him, I had re-affirmed that, and I'm not sure why I had set the need to incriminate myself during the process. I already knew that he thought I was a bad person, and I had now given him confirmation on that. It was foolish.

I had been wrong to go through his texts, of course. A complete invasion of privacy, I was aware. 

But it was more than that. Strategically, he wasn't going to address his actions. It was all about me and my shortcomings. My insecurity, my lack of respect, my negativity, my placing blame. He had a ongoing laundry list of personality defects for me to work on at all times. But when it came to him? I was supposed to let him be. 

Of course, Phillip didn't ever think that he did anything wrong. It made me livid that he could be so selfish. It made me disgusted. And it made me, more than ever, emotionally removed. I knew I would never receive an apology. For anything. So I had to be ok with that. I had to not let myself feel anything, because it wasn't an option.

I would have to apologize again and again, as I always did, and he would continue to think only about his own emotions and needs. There could never be an honest conversation, because my feelings were only ever a burden. And his feelings? An non-negotiable priority.  

So, that day, for the sake of self preservation, I chose to no longer have emotions.

Nikki, age 24

* This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, locales, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.