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I wasn’t really expecting to be in a relationship that was healthy or lasted after experiencing trauma like I had. I considered myself not meant for love. I was starting to accept that mentality. And then you showed up.

It wasn’t easy at first. I don’t let people in well. After having your body violated in such a personal way, it’s hard to consider letting anyone past the walls you’ve built around yourself. After being questioned and given the burden of proof to anyone who think I’m lying about my assault, interacting with people I don’t know is harder than it ever was.

When I told you my story, it was met with empathy. There were no accusations and you let it still be my story. That was the moment I knew this would be a different kind of love. One that actually involved give and take between the two of us.

You remained patient, kind, and true. You never questioned my motives. When I let you inside my brain and showed you the chaos, you didn’t patronize me or diminish how I felt. You simply understood.

I constantly question you. I ask if you’re mad, if you’re doing okay, if I can be better than I am. It’s residual energy from the man who came before you. His happiness became my life because I knew better than to have any other kind of goals.

You remind me what real love is like every time. You gently point out that I’m allowed to be whatever I want to be. Ironically, it’s you who remind me that I am in control of my body and my decisions. You make me smile when I thought they were extinct.

Thank you for the continuous love and thoughtfulness you put into us. Thank you for understanding that I am still working on picking up my pieces and that it’s a constant uphill battle. Thank you for not patronizing me, romanticizing what I have experienced, and for always being there to listen.

You’re the best, and I love you so.

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