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An unevolved partner can be so treacherous

Blow me one last kiss

An unevolved partner can be so treacherous

Photo by Denzel Bryan

Photo by Denzel Bryan
My name is Denzel Bryan, and I'm a model, writer and influencer based in Brooklyn, NY.

I've been in a few serious relationships in my life that I can count on one hand. One of my exes traumatized me so severely that it led me to seek professional help. Aided with my brother's loss when I was 16 and disownment of my father three years ago, I've had troubles connecting genuinely with many men over the years, whether it be platonic, sexual, or romantic.

At the beginning of this year, I was in a state of mind where I was focused on my professional goals and making strides to achieve them. Unbeknownst to us all, a pandemic and cultural revolution turned the tides and shifted our lives.

During quarantine, I was on dating apps just chatting around and came across a guy (who we shall call "Drew") that caught my attention. Now, I am the type of person that is very idyllic and knows exactly what he wants. This man was not the typical guy I'd go for, but something about him made me curious.

We started to hang out during quarantine (mostly at his place), and something that began as casual fun and hooking up just became deeper and deeper the more days we spent with each other. It naturally evolved into a relationship, but one without a solid foundation and very rocky and inconsistent moments. We were both intrigued with each other but were still learning about each other during a time when it was impossible to date formally.

There was always a thought in the back of my mind that knew maybe he isn't the one, but the affection and adoration he showed me kept me bliss that often blinded me from the substantial list of cons within our relationship. I am not perfect and never claimed to be, because I like many people have a lot of emotional trauma and voids within me that I sometimes try to fulfill with inadequate and toxic people or things.

Drew also has many issues that he would glaze over with drugs, alcohol, and a lifestyle that isn't sustainable, especially for a healthy and normal life. When I would try to communicate with him about my feelings, emotions, or just expressing myself, he would dismiss me, shun me out, or try to gaslight and invalidate the way that I felt. I always thought that I had to suppress myself and jeopardize my expression and integrity to appease him and the relationship because it was challenging for him to compromise and be an understanding man for me. I hated feeling that way. In most toxic relationships, the people in them will tend to say, "when it's good, it's good, but when it's bad... it's BAD."

That was precisely the case with Drew and I. We were on and off for three months, going back to each other to the point where it took a toll on our friend groups, and they saw us as a couple and as individuals. They were exhausted, and ultimately, so were we.

I will say that he made me feel like the most beautiful boy in the world. He would put me on a pedestal and make me feel special, which I loved because I was coming from a place where I felt disappointed and abandoned by men I loved while also dealing with the unexpected loss of my brother. In the same breathe, Drew would manipulate me and try to make me feel like anything I felt or thought of when it came to our relationship and issues I had with it was just bat s*** crazy. That is not fair, nor is this what a healthy and growing relationship looks like.

Drew is narcissistic, manipulative, one-sided, and very demeaning when he's not the center of attention or receiving validation from literally anyone around him. His deep-rooted issues and insecurity with himself bridged a huge gap between us. I can be dramatic, moody, and quite erratic when I feel like I'm not being heard. We triggered each other, so the fighting became more constant while the romanticism couldn't strengthen our bond enough to counteract our demise.

Holistically, I want to say that it is essential to have peace of mind within a relationship. It is necessary to be able to communicate and not feel stifled or hushed by your partner. It is essential to be respected in your relationship. Learn to see the red flags and believe the red flags even when everything is roses and rainbows.

A gaslighter can mask themselves in many ways, so definitely notice the manipulation and remember who you are and what you're worth. Remember what you deserve. Someone is praying for you and desiring to be the person you couldn't even dream of.

Drew helped me realize that I wanted to be loved and held because of what I've experienced with my ex and how that affected me. Drew loved me and held me firmly. Drew made it clear that I was the center of his eye, but Drew also wanted me to be his trophy and not truly compromise with me to make our relationship stronger (even though he doesn't want to admit it). I am grateful and will always remember our good times, but we are never getting back together.

Drew, if you are reading this, I'll always love you, but we are simply not compatible.


If you are experiencing feelings of distress and isolation, or are struggling to cope, The Samaritans offers support; you can speak to someone for free over the phone, in confidence, on 116 123 (UK and ROI), email, or visit the Samaritans website to find details of your nearest branch. For services local to you, the national mental health database- Hub of Hope - allows you to enter your postcode to search for organisations and charities who offer mental health advice and support in your area.

If you are based in the US, and you or someone you know needs mental health assistance right now, call National Suicide Prevention Helpline on 1-800-273-TALK (8255). The Helpline is a free, confidential crisis hotline that is available to everyone 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

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