So, welcome to the story about the shortest relationship of my life. Actually less than a week as I count. Because I started seeing him as my boyfriend on Saturday and stopped doing it on Thursday.
It was with this man from Drenica and I really fell in love with him. I really really fell in love with him. It was so intense and I was so crazy about him. But just like the President, he turned out to be – a problematic guy.
So if you wonder why I didn’t react more strongly to the warning signs that’s why. I was so high on love.
Lots of things happened and surely there was a universe between us, but overall it was these 3 events all together that made me put on my parachute and jump. Because who wanna be on a crashing plane?
1. When he told me I was an egoistic and selfish person
So going back to when we first met for about 3 weeks, we met driving around in his car with no place to really go since he was living with his parents and I wasn’t allowed to have guests in my old apartment.
I also told him that my feelings for him was so strong that I didn’t wanna rush things, but instead take things easy. I knew I was going to fall in love with him and that was why I was so scared to get close to him.
He was a bit pushy at first but when I made things clear, he said he would totally respect me and let me take all the time I needed. And I trusted him.
And then the FIRST day came in my new apartment. I remember us sitting in the sofa and me backing off when he was getting all over me. Somehow this rejection made him lose it.
He became really upset and started telling me I was an egoistic and selfish person who only thought about what was best for me. What about him? He kept on calling me egoistic and I think I was mostly shocked because I have never experienced a man calling me egoistic or selfish for not getting sex.
It just felt so extremely absurd.
But of course, I still became angry so I just told him to leave my house if he would speak to me like that. He said he would leave and never come back. But he ended up calming down and staying even though we didn’t have sex.
The day after I explained for him on the phone how fucked up it was what he said to me and how I didn’t accept being treated that way. He said he was sorry.
(If he knew what he was saying sorry for is another thing. My Albanian friend tells me than men here tend to just say I’m sorry to get back to you, without any real self-reflection or understanding.)
A few hours later he said he was coming and I told him to bring me food. He asked what and I told him what I really wanted in order to be happy again – take out sushi for 10€.
He told me no. Way too expensive with 10€ to make me happy again. Let me just mention that men bought me dinners for a Kosovo monthly salary and flew me to Paris JUST to make me happy again, but I didn’t ask for anything like that.
I asked for take-out sushi for 10€!!!!
Eventually, I just texted him buy sushi or fuck off, and he came with sushi and then we had sex. And not because he said nasty things about me, but because I really wanted to.
When we finally had sex all the problems disappeared and I was in another world, with just him. And I didn’t want him to ever leave my body. I wanted him to stay inside me and look at me. Forever.
2. When I went to the hospital and he didn’t come
This was like 2 weeks ago when this awful fever hit me. I got frostbites and diarrhea and fell super sick. But I kept on working because it was the day before my first radio show and I still had so much to prepare.
So I pumped myself full of paracetamol and eventually sleeping pills because around 1 AM I realized I really needed to get some sleep.
Some of you know that I am suffering from bipolar disorder, which is not such a big problem for me right now because I take 175 mg of Quetiapine every night. But with 2000 mg of paracetamol and 2 quite hight doses of different sort of sleeping pills + a terrible fever, this made me wake up around 2 AM in panic without the ability to fill my lungs with air.
I collapsed in my stairs and thought for about 10 min to wait and see if it would pass, but I started feeling more dizzy and became afraid I would faint, so I called the person I knew would come and pick me up and take me to the hospital. I called him.
And I told him “Please listen carefully. I’m on the floor. I can’t breathe. I’m panicking. I’m so afraid. I think it might be corona. I really need to go to the hospital. Come now. Please come now and take me to the hospital.”
The only answer I got was “You’re fine. Nothing is wrong with you. You don’t have corona. You’re just stressed. You just have a fever. Call this number for the ambulance.”
I have to say that response broke my heart, but I was so scared about my life so I just hung up the phone and called the ambulance. Actually, I called two numbers. And when I finally reached the ambulance they couldn’t speak English.
When all of this was happening I still couldn’t breathe. But I packed my backpack full of clothes, medicines, chargers, computer. I even brought my pillow, because I was so sure that I had corona and that I would be hospitalized. I was so sure it was corona.
When going out to the street to get into the taxi to get to the hospital I told my dad that I was afraid I might not survive. I had the biggest fear of death in my mind and I prayed to God even if I’m not religious.
And during this time I was on the phone with both my family in Sweden and my ex in UK. He’s a soldier and I know that he would stop a war just to help me if I was in trouble.
I came into the hospital crying and screaming. It was so fucking traumatic and on top of that the doctor started giving me compliments about my looks. No one could speak proper English, a 10 year old kid had to translate and everything looked like a dirty Vietnamese garage.
I was freaking out and crying and my father and ex was trying to calm me down. Then my ex asked me “Where is your man??? Is he there with you!?” and I just cried and lied to him. I told him that I couldn’t reach him. I just felt so ashamed I did, but that he wasn’t there with me. The truth hurt to much.
Eventually, I got texts from him. “You are just stressed” and “You just have a fever” “You are fine.” That’s it. Not even a phone call.
The doctors ran some tests and said I was fine, but they didn’t ask me any questions. Like if I had been taken some medicine. When I finally came home I saw all my medicine spread out on the kitchen table and I realized what had happened.
I have made the most painful abortion and been in an awful traffic accident where I broke my arm. But no pain can compare with the fear of dying.
It was one of the most terrifying experiences of my life. It was the scariest physical experience of my life. I have never been as afraid of dying as that day. And the man I was in love with didn’t come to help me.
Before I finally fell asleep crying I texted him and told him what happened and how disappointed I was that he wasn’t there for me.
The day after he texted me and explained that he was sleeping all the time and had no idea of what was happening. He was sleeping when he talked to me on the phone and he was sleeping when he texted me.
Telling my friends about it
So I finally made the first radio show and everything went great. I locked up all my pain and sadness in a tiny box and decided to tell my friends after work.
Later during Friday I sat at Sonder with my friends and I could finally tell them. How much it hurt me that he didn’t come and pick me up, that he didn’t call, that he didn’t come to the hospital. That he didn’t care.
Their reaction was: That is Albanian men. They are not sensitive and they don’t want to or can’t understand if you are suffering. They just think everything is something minor. They will not take you seriously.
This became a discussion in which not everyone agreed, but one thing everyone agreed on was that he wasn’t a keeper.
A few hours later I met him at Soma, the restaurant where we had the party for my radio show, and I forgave him.
Doesn’t matter how hurt I still was. Just standing in front of him, being touched by him, being looked at by him. My heart melted.
Forgiving him and becoming his girlfriend
Then I got drunk and when we got back to my place all my anger and disappointment came out. I kept on yelling to him that he was a selak, which is probably one of the worst things you can call anyone in Albanian. It means a person from the village who knows nothing.
Which is what I felt in the moment, but which isn’t the truth. It was very cruel and I really regret it. He eventually left.
And maybe because we both fucked up we could get together again the day after. I just wanted to forget about out fights. I just wanted to be with him. I just felt so much in love with him.
So after that we became boyfriend and girlfriend. In my world. I was so happy, almost manic. I couldn’t stand that he was not touching me and holding me ALL THE TIME when we were out Sunday.
I wanted to stand between his legs and kiss him at Che Bar even if all the other guests were watching us. I just wanted to be in physical contact with him every second of the time that was passing.
I just felt so ridiculously happy about being his girlfriend, even if it felt super strange to become someone’s girlfriend so quickly. For a Swedish girl. Without really knowing the person.
3. Trying to control me
Last Thursday was a really bad day for me. I had tons of work and tons of stress of my credit card getting hijacked and being stolen money from. I worked for hours at home and started feeling extremely depressed so I decided to go downtown for food and complete the rest of my work at one of my favorite restaurants.
Then when I finally got my food at the restaurant and sent him the photo of my soup I started getting the most absurd text messages.
First he wanted to come, but I reminded him that I was working and had hours of work and really needed to focus.
Then he sent me there thinking/suspicious smileys. When those came I immediately felt stressed and like something was extremely wrong.
Then he texted “I don’t believe you are alone.'”
I think at that moment I sort of realized that this is it. I need to dump him.
I texted back “I don’t have time for these issues.” and eventually I left the restaurant to go and sit at Lisa’s restaurant to finish my work.
He called me but I didn’t answer. I was pissed off. Then I saw that he had been texting me “I don’t have time for your issues either. I see something is wrong with you. I want to know right now where you are.”
I immediately blocked him.
What this felt like for me
I am 32 years old. And I have over thousands of female friends and have had during the years and I can promise you this:
Not me or any of the women I have ever known – IF they have not been in a relationship of domestic violence – has EVER experienced this controlling behavior. Ever. EVER. Ever. EVER!!!
And trust me, both me and my friends have dated assholes, but never in my life has a man tried to control me in this way asking me where I am, saying he doesn’t believe I’m alone and demanding me to tell him RIGHT NOW where I am. NEVER. EVER.
The only women that have ever shared stories of men treating them like this are women who have been beaten and raped by their boyfriends.
The women I know that has experienced this controlling behavior
One of them was my friend who started getting raped on her wedding day. Her husband dragged her on the floor in her hair so that pieces of her skin fell off from her head. Then he raped her over and over again.
Another one was one of my friends who was beaten so much that she couldn’t walk, death threatened daily so that she couldn’t sleep, chased with scissors, and then raped until he finally finished and just laughed at her. He raped her and beat her up for years.
Another woman that I was interviewing in Moldova that had a boyfriend that was this jealous and controlling sending her similar text messages threw her on a wine bottle that broke. Then he took her, held her up and painted the walls in the living room with her body covering the wallpapers with her blood.
So the only time I have ever heard about other women being treated like this is in these sorts of violent and abusive relationships.
Never in my life have I experienced it before or heard about a friend experiencing a man sending these sorts of messages demanding to know where you are.
Because in Sweden, it’s absolutely NOT ACCEPTABLE. Only psychopaths and abusive wife-beaters and rapists act like this.
Controlling your partner in Kosovo
But here in Kosovo, this way of controlling your partner is not as radical, super crazy, unacceptable and unforgivable as in Sweden. I don’t think no one likes it or would say that it’s ok, but it’s definitely more common based on what I’ve heard from a lot men and women here.
I even met two men in the restaurant and I was so much in shock that I told them about what just happened to me.
They just said “A lot of our friends acting like that. Both men and women. Welcome to Kosovo.”
The photo proof thing
I think the most common story I’ve heard from people here that have experienced this sort of controlling behavior is the “photo proof thing”. It’s when partners need to take photos of where they are to prove it.
Very very crazy. I have never heard about it until I came here.
And I have even heard about people using the GPS on their phones to track each other. But I don’t think it’s as common. Then of course having your partner checking your phone and wanting your passwords.
- What would you say are the most common ways to control your partner in Kosovo?
- Have you also experienced a man here telling you that he needs to know right now where you are and that he’s not believing you are alone?
- What are the worst controlling behavior you have experienced from a partner?
Then he came to my house
A few hours later he is outside my house. I have to say it freaked me out a bit. Because I blocked him on messenger. That is NOT an invitation to come and stand outside my house.
Anyway. I went out and he said he was sorry. Apparently, he texted while he was sleeping (AGAIN – this guy needs to win a prize for being able to speak and text while sleeping) and also he didn’t know what the word “issue” meant as he was using it, while sleeping of course. Blablbla…
I just said that it didn’t matter, that I don’t accept this behavior and that I’m breaking up with him.
But the strange thing was, after I broke up with him he said he is not going to lose me and he also asked if I wanted to go out for drinks with him.
I have experienced a lot of weird things but not that a guy is asking you out 5 min after you have broken up with him.
Then on Friday night, he kept texting me and telling me that I’m not going to leave him. That he knows I will not leave him. SO CRAZY! I had to remind him over and over again that I have already done him.
It might sound even crazy, but there is even a possibility he still thinks we are together. Well… Not my problem.
Enough is enough.
I’m getting a guest tomorrow!
Now to the exciting news! Tomorrow a man who knows how to put on a washing machine will come to my house! Can you believe it!? A man – Who knows how to put on a washing machine! So crazy! So radical! So unreal! Am I dreaming?! I almost forgot those men existed!
Honestly, he irons BETTER than my mum! And he is an amazing cook and he washes my clothes. Yeah, my ex.
But he is not just good with household stuff. He knows why the Vietnam war started, he knows who Khomeini was and Miles Davis. He can even see the difference between Van Gogh and Monet.
What I’m trying to say is he knows about the outside world!
And he’s gonna fix my tv. Because he can fix anything. When some military stuff breaks they fly him on a private yet to that country to fix it and to teach top-secret people who to use it.
What else is good about him? Yeah, he likes museums just like me. Actually, the first time we met after we had sex 8 times and I wanted more – he took me to a museum instead! Really pissed me off.
Because I couldn’t believe that he would rather look at some old stones instead of sleeping with me, so when we were in Vienna and it was our last day together for weeks (because we lived in different cities) and he really wanted sex I took him to the Freud museum! Hahaha! Payback!
OMG! I’m warning you! The Freud by far the worst museum in the world! It’s just an old empty apartment with some old pieces of furniture and a tv with a black and white video of Freud petting his dog. Don’t ever go there! It’s better to lose your right arm than going to the Freud museum and lose your mind!
And what more.. Yeah, he is actually a really good singer. And he loves musicals just like me. We always go to see a musical when we are in London. And my favorite restaurant: https://www.bobbobricard.com/
Omg guys, I just need to show you this place! Look here! It’s a English/Russian restaurant with marinated oysters and a button at every table – you’re sitting like in an old train – and when you press it champagne appears on a silver plate! Please go there and send me a photo and thank me for telling you about it!
And yeah, he likes historical tours of historical places just like me. And Malbec. And oysters of course. It’s so fun to look at modern art with him. Because he doesn’t get modern art – AT ALL.
And he has the best tase of music. Way better than me. And I think he has read more books about feminism than any man I’ve ever fucked.
But now I need to stop writing too many good things about him or you will think I’m planning to get together with him again.
No, that’s not happening. I’m going to be single until at least 2024. No more relationships for me!
I’m just so excited to hang out with a man who knows me and knows how to be there for me and knows how to support me.
A western man who knows how to put on a washing machine.
And Drenica, this song is for you. It’s an old break up song I wrote in Swedish many years ago. I told you I would sing and play for you one day. I just didn’t think our relationship was only gonna last 6 days.
I’m so happy I fell in love with you. It was such a magical experience.