This year, not one day has gone by where I don’t talk about issues of abuse, manipulation, and coercion with the people in my life. Conversations and education on these topics are something that’s become a big part of my identity as I sort out my involvement, my mistakes, and my awareness. I have taken time to really learn and understand what abuse, manipulation, and coercion are, as I believe that to make an apology without understanding my actions would be wrong.
In March of 2014, Shannon Antilles wrote a post about our relationship in 2011. I was emotionally manipulative during our relationship, and for this I am incredibly sorry. Emotional manipulation and abuse wasn’t something I understood or was aware of, and I am grateful to various internet communities, like YouTube and Tumblr, for creating an environment where these issues are being openly discussed.
Shannon and I’s relationship was complicated, and I believe we tried our best to communicate with one another about issues we didn’t fully understand ourselves. We were often frustrated with each other and with ourselves, and we had countless conversations exclaiming we had “no idea what to do”. As Shannon said, we were best friends. We were both in our mid-20s and we spent all our time together, but we also disagreed and fought a lot. We often talked deeply about the nature of our relationship, who we kept it private from (quite a few people actually knew about it), and if and when that would change. There were times when we both tried, but we were never able to make it work. There were times when we saw other people, and I thought we were being honest about our feelings. I expressed reservations regarding how far we took our intimacy (Shannon and I never slept together). When she started seriously dating someone, we ended our intimate behaviour and remained close friends. But when I showed interest in other people, it hurt her deeply.
Being aware of my actions and behaviour, I now understand why Shannon felt the way she did. I’ve been heartbroken to learn of how Shannon remained silent about her inner struggles and anxiety. I deeply regret that we were in a place where she was unable to communicate how uncomfortable she felt. I’ve learned how difficult that must have been for her, especially with us being such a big part of each other’s lives, work, and vlogs. I wish I had been more responsible in my behaviour, but the truth is that I was too ignorant to be aware of what was going on, and too immature to do the right things.
Over the past few years, I have gained a much better understanding of how healthy relationships should be. I’m repentful of how I’ve hurt people, but by being honest about my behaviour and taking responsibility for my actions, I’ve been able to experience positive change. I’m very regretful for what happened between Shannon and me, and I apologize deeply for my part in the relationship. I believed our relationship to be consensual, but I was wrong. I’m sorry. I’ve expressed this to Shannon, and we’ve talked in depth about issues and confusions and disagreements. And I also apologize to anyone who feels affected by what took place between us.