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Loyalty: You and Your Partner, In It Together.

When I was in graduate film school, I was verbally abused by a fellow classmate.

We were sleep deprived; we were all under a tremendous amount of stress. I did stupid things; other people did stupid things. I've forgiven most of it, others haven't, but this was different. This was a verbal attack like nothing I ever experienced before or after. And when I told my boyfriend at the time, I could tell he didn't believe me. And didn't want to believe me.

It didn't help that the guy who sat me down in broad daylight to quietly and persistently tell me that I was a horrible, selfish person who only cared about and worked on my own projects, while holding my arm and staring at me psychotically, his face inches from mine - who wouldn't allow me to change the topic to a solution-based discussion no matter how many times I tried - who I finally pulled away from delirious and stumbling into the equipment room to collapse in the manager's office crying and shaking, not even sure how I'd managed to get there, my face covered in ink from a pen that broke in my hand - was one of the only people in my class that had really made an effort to be welcoming to my boyfriend. Isn't that always the way? He'd been over-complementary at the start of the project, disloyal in the middle, and our working relationship ended in this episode of abuse. Charming.

I'll never forget my boyfriend's non-committal reaction when I told him. I know he thought it was just more film school nonsense. I know he thought I didn't manage film school stuff very well sometimes. I know he was lonely, depressed, homesick, and perhaps just sick of our life there. We were both different people by the time we got to that moment. It was definitely bad times, and when I needed him there, when I needed him to know me and to side with me, his partner, he didn't. He didn't want to believe. I wasn't asking for any action on his part, just that we weren't friends with this person anymore, but it was easier to discount me, perhaps.

This boyfriend couldn't find a job, he didn't drive, he smoked, and yet I loved him so much our break-up took me years to get over. And when I strip it all down to its core, I deeply believe that the moment I came to him and clearly said that someone seriously and truly hurt me, and he didn't believe me or want to know about it - that's when he lost me. That's when the relationship cracked irreparably.

I dated a guy for a few months once who told me he dumped a girl because she wasn't on his side about a script draft. He said he wanted his partner to always be on his side about everything - always back him up no matter what she thought was true. Not tell it to him like it is.

That's not me. I'm not perfect, none of us are. I don't want to be told my butt's not big if it is - although, an "I love you anyway" is always welcome - and I when I ask if I look fat in a dress, it's because I want a straight answer. I certainly welcome an honest opinion about my films, although perhaps not in front of the producer. I don't need my partner to always be on my side.

But when it comes to the big things - and aren't those always the things where we don't know everything, weren't there to witness - well, if you aren't on my side, where are you?

Not in a relationship with me, for starters.


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