Being in a relationship with the person who took advantage of you does not invalidate what happened. I'm still learning to come to terms with this but it's the fact that's helping me to heal. I was in a relationship with an emotionally and physically manipulative partner for over a year and could not have told anyone how toxic it was for me until looking back on it afterwards. I still think about that one night that made the difference, the one that I like to think woke me up. It certainly wasn't the first time I had been pressured into rough sex I didn't want or enjoy, and it certainly wasn't the worst situation he had put me in to have it, but it was the very first time I found the courage to say "no, stop", and yet it still didn't make a difference. I remember having to lay next to him the rest of the night, crying silently while he was there smiling like nothing had happened. I went through a lot of personal changes after finally getting out of that relationship. I still have trouble with trust, in romantic relationships and within myself. But I want to share my story because I wish I could've heard then that I was not as alone as I felt. I wish someone had told me that just because I cared so much about him didn't mean that I was the one at fault, that I wasn't crazy or weak for thinking things might change, and that I needed to put myself and my well-being first for a change. I'm here to say, to anyone facing something similar, you are not alone. You are worth so much and are loved by so many. You are so much stronger than you realize.