Today, The Lawyer and I had a...discussion.
It was nothing too serious. In fact, all that he did was mention something over email that bothered me. He was perceptive enough to realize that it might come off as too similar to a Rich behavior, and was wise enough to preemptively apologize.
I appreciated that, but since we are both of the talk-it-out-until-it's-over-then-lay-it-to-rest variety, I responded anyway. I said, "Why yes, in fact, that was annoying. And no, I don't like it. Also, you're a jerk and I hate you! Now, leave work right now and bring me a cup of coffee and a cupcake as penance!"
OK, fine. I didn't say that.
There were a few emails back and forth to hash things out, and then he wrote this:
I was truly horrified that you had to [do things to entertain Rich's family]. You've given so many anecdotes of things you had to do that are just unacceptable. I probably have too, but please don't worry that I'm going to turn into a vampire sucking the life-blood out of you while giving my energy to everyone else.
Although I am the writer in this relationship, his description couldn't have been more accurate. Rich sucked every drop of energy, enthusiasm, and kindness out of me, in order to give his energy to everyone else. I was his trophy girlfriend for work events, his personal chef for his family, and his muse for making himself appear better. Our relationship was never about me or "us," and it broke me in a way that no others ever have.
I've never been able to articulate exactly what it is that happened to me with Rich, but The Lawyer did. Perfectly.
It will probably take a while for me to fully resolve my bitterness about the situation, but rest assured what The Lawyer mentioned in the email doesn't come close to anything that Rich ever asked me to do.