Why You Would Go Back to Your Abusive Ex

I’m not writing this to hurt anyone.

Even though I’ve wanted to write this for a while,  I held off on it for several reasons: the post always came across as incredibly bitter…and quite frankly, I wasn’t strong enough to deal with any criticism or blow black from people who knew me when I was with him.

Trust me, I know there’s two sides to every story.  But this is mine.

I’m not writing this to hurt anyone, but I know it will.

I also know if it will piss a lot of people off…particularly those in my ex-boyfriend’s camp or the people who just wanted me to shut up about everything all those years ago.

I know this is going to hurt people.  So  I’ll go ahead and tell anyone who’s upset about this post exactly what my ex boyfriend said to me the day after he grabbed me by the neck and shoved my head into a car window over and over again.  I’ll go ahead and say:  I’m sorry…but I never meant to hurt you.

Hope that makes you feel better?  I dunno…It never really worked for me.

I’m not writing this to hurt anyone. I’m writing this because the only reason I stopped talking about abuse, is because other people told me to.

I was sick of being called dramatic, of getting belligerent emails from him, or getting called a liar in bars by people who knew him.  I was sick of  having to explain to people why I broke up with him…after all…we looked so happy together in photos.

I’m writing this because I told myself that I would never go back to someone who abused me.  That if a guy so much as laid a finger on me, I would be gone. I’m writing this because we all have stories like this, but we never talk about them.  And we need to start to.

I judged people like Rihanna, questioned their sense of self respect, and held on to the belief that I, some how, was better and stronger than a girl who would go running back.

But I wasn’t.

And for a long time, that made me question myself.  And doubt myself.  And ultimately hate myself.  But luckily, as time went on, I got some clarity…and with that clarity…the questions turned to answers.

Answers that I wish I had two years ago.  And answers that I think may help people.  Who knows…maybe this post is just for me.  For me to help myself. To finally put one of my relationship Bogeymen to rest.  He always did say I was selfish.

Why did I go back?

1. Because people convinced me the abuse wasn’t bad enough

As my ex so poignantly put in an email, “it’s not like  I Ray Rice-ed you.”

If you dont get the reference, please stop right now and view the footage of what NFL player Ray Rice did to his fiance in an elevator.  (She later married him that month)

So I’ll go ahead and confess that this is true: my ex did NOT knock me unconscious in an elevator, and drag me by the leg into a hotel hallway and let the doors almost close on me.  He sure didn’t.

He also didn’t leave me bruised up, or in need of a hospital.  He never punched me.  He never slapped me.

He did, however, go from being a guy who “would never touch a girl,” to someone who “would never touch me again.”  You see…it was a one time thing. He believed it.   Other people believed it.  And after a few months of being broken up, I believed it too. So I went back. And when it happened again…it still wasn’t bad enough for people.

But it was finally bad enough for me.

People asked questions.  How hard he pushed me…had I said something to antagonize him…was I sure I wasn’t exaggerating?

And I spent way too much of my time and sanity trying to answer these questions.  And I’m done now.  But I do have a question of my own for anyone who still thinks things weren’t bad enough:  how bad did I need to let it get?  Seriously, how badly did he need to hurt me? 

2.  Because I saw it coming

I saw the violence build up the first months we were together: he’d punch walls, throw phones, push taxi drivers…all the while swearing he would NEVER touch me.  Ever.

Then he did.  And I left.

But then it seemed like he changed.  And I told myself that I would be able to see it coming if it were to ever happen again.  And I told myself that I would leave at the first sign of his old habits.

I was wrong.

3.  Because he convinced me that if I couldn’t love him, I couldn’t love anyone

This one makes me angry.

Because, nothing brings out the weakness in a strong woman, like a weak man.

Because he made me believe that it was better to give up on myself, than it was to give up on the relationship.

Emails, phone calls, text messages, all saying a variation of the same thing: that I gave up on him.  That no one could possibly love me more than him.   That no one is perfect.  And if I couldn’t appreciate how much he loved me, then I would never be able to appreciate anyone who would love me afterwards.

Because he redefined and blurred the lines between loving someone, and needing someone.  And after a while, it all felt the same to me.

4.  Because I lost every single one of my friends

To make a long story short, it wasn’t a fun time for any of them.

Many of them  pulled away from me because, to them, my behavior all of a sudden became erratic. I was crying all the time.  Wanting to see him, but then swearing I’d never see him again.  Blocking his number, then calling it a million times.  Many of them pulled away because they just didn’t know what I needed.

I was always the one that they could depend on.  Unflappable.  I was the one that always helped, and all of a sudden, I needed help.  And I didn’t know how to ask for it, and when it was given, I didn’t know what to do with it.

I changed, and I didn’t recognize myself.

But he stayed the same.  He was a constant…and for a while…despite his temper and the emotionally violent fights we would get into…he seemed safe.

5.  Because he wasn’t a bad person 

This was the hardest conclusion to come to. And I think for a lot of people on the outside of these relationships (the friends, family, co-workers) it’s the hardest thing to come to terms with…

Abusers aren’t bad people.  They are just really horrible partners.

My ex is a good friend to a lot of people.  He has a family he loves, and a job that he excels at.  And I wish him nothing but the healing I found (some days)

A lot of people couldn’t understand how someone like my ex could have such a dark side to them.  Hell, I couldn’t understand it either. And I don’t try to understand it anymore. I just know that I don’t want it in my life.

6.  I did not go back because I loved him…

To this day, people say this to me.  That I must’ve stayed because I loved him.

I didn’t love him.

And he didn’t love me. He needed me.

Abusive partners will never love anyone who stays with them, because in their hearts, they will never respect them.  They will never respect someone who allows themselves to be treated on the outside, the way abusers feel on the inside.

*******

So there it is.

I wouldn’t consider myself someone who “survived” an abusive relationship.

I was lucky enough to be able to “leave” it.  And to move on.  I left before things got “too bad” and for some reason, people think that means I’m not allowed to talk about the things that did go bad.

But I’m going to keep talking about them anyways…hoping that more people choose to leave and live, rather than survive.

And in case anyone needs to hear this, Ill go ahead and say it:

Is he going to change?  No

Should you leave? Yes

Will anyone love you more than he does?  Absolutely

Acknowledgements:  this wasn’t easy to write, but I feel like it needed to be written.  And I can’t write this post without paying a special thanks to my Mom. She was a warrior for me during a time where I had no fight left in me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why People Don’t Deserve Second Chances

We have all, at some point, been in a situation where someone we loved or cared about has asked for one thing, and one thing only… a second chance to make things right.  A second chance after they have royally and utterly screwed something up.

We’ve all been let down and disappointed by a person who, frankly, wasn’t supposed to do either of those things.  And we’ve all been assured by those people that whatever it was that they did will never happen again.

Whether it was with an ex, or with a friend, or family member, most of us know what’s it like to have someone pleading with us to keep them in our lives.  We’ve watched boys cry over us, friends blow up our phones with text after text of apologies for something they’ve done, and we’ve had to decide whether or not they deserved one more shot to be in our lives.

It’s a difficult situation to be in.

We listen to them call us judgmental or selfish.  Hear them tell us our standards are too high. They list all of the ways they make our lives better, and remind us of all the horrible things they haven’t done to us. It usually sounds something like this:

You:  I can’t believe you lied again
Them:  I know.  But c’mon… it’s not like I cheated on you

I’ve been on both sides of it.  I’ve been the one begging for another chance, swearing things will change… and I’ve been the one being begged, being told things will be different this time.  I understand how it rips you apart.

So if you’re out there wondering right now whether or not this person, whoever they are, deserves a second chance, I’m going to have to tell you this one sober fact:  They don’t.  

Do not give them a second chance.  Because they will mess it up again.  And they will mess it up beautifully. Do not give them a second chance because honestly, when you sit down and think about it…this ISN’T their second chance. It’s their hundredth, or millionth chance, and they shat all over it.  Again.

So walk away.

It’s not easy.  You’ll question and doubt yourself.  They will make you feel guilty and horrible for as long as they can.  You’re going to have to block all of that out, and just know and accept these things…

1. They will never change for you:   

This is a bitter pill to swallow. People don’t change unless the situation changes.

If you’re with someone and they lie, and you break up with them…they may change and be honest with the next person they’re with.  But not with you.

However, if you’re with someone and they lie, and you break up with them…and then you take them back…the situation never changed.  So they won’t change.  They really won’t.

(Please see #3 if you believe I’m lying, and that your partner did actually change for you)

2.  They fully believe that they’ve changed:

This is true.  I know this from first hand experience. I remember promising to be different, knowing in my heart… that I was going to be different.  I was going to be better.

And I remember how quickly those promises and efforts faded, the second I was given another chance.

That person who is in front of you, swearing they’re never going to cheat, or lie to you again.  The person who says they’re going to cut back on their drinking.  They really really believe that they’re going to be different.

But believe me, if you give them another chance, things won’t be different.  Things will be fake. And then things will get difficult.  And then… things will be the same.

3.  You will never actually believe they changed: 

Taking someone back after they’ve lied, cheated on, or abused you is like Chinese Water Torture.  Even if the drops stop falling on your head, you’re still going to be sat there, tied to a metaphorical chair, waiting for the next one to fall…because you know it’s coming.

So even if they’re not doing anything wrong, you’re going to be waiting around for something to go wrong…again.

So what’s the point? Why do that to yourself? Why make yourself an emotional hostage for someone who pulled the trigger the first time.  It’s not worth it.

4.  Unconditional love is bullshit:

Love should always come with conditions.

I love people fully, but only under certain conditions.  To do otherwise, to me, is idiocy.

You should love someone under the conditions that they respect you, are honest with you, and add value to your life.   If these conditions change…get  out of there.  You are not their mother.  It’s not your job to make sure they’re okay.  It IS your job to keep your self interest and self worth in mind. So just leave.

5. Your life will be better without them in it:

So stop worrying, and go live it.

 

Why Your Relationships Fail, and Why You Shouldn’t Take it Personally

This post is not about the romantic relationships that matter.  Those few great romantic relationships we get in a lifetime (yes…you will get more than one, I promise).  Those relationships deserve to be cherished when they’re around, and missed when they’re gone.

This post is about “filler” relationships.  The relationships that have the emotional equivalence of bubble wrap.  We have many of those in our lives, and many of us spend far too much time worrying about them.  

This post is about the relationships that shouldn’t matter:  

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I can’t count the number of times one of my girlfriends has come up to me, crying and upset, because some douche-bro went MH370 on her and vanished without a trace.

This happens to all of us at some point. Someone we like, or thought we could like, decides to cut ties with our existence.

Poof. They’re gone.

Sometimes we get a conversation.  Sometimes we get a text message or email.  But most of the times, the person simply, just one day…is gone. Just gone.  Like magic.

When someone we like disappears, it sucks.  It’s hard to understand “why.”   (In fact, a friend of a friend has a great coping mechanism for times when this happens: he just pretends that that person died)

This stuff happens to all of us.   And when it does, we ALL have questions.

We want to know why they decided to stop calling.  In fact, we NEED to know…so we start to evaluate the entire relationship.  We scour over each detail and conversation and text message, and we just can’t figure out why they stopped calling or stopped wanting to hang out.

We do this after every failed relationship…ask ourselves why, why, why.  And eventually most of us come to the only possible conclusion: there has to be something wrong with us.

There HAS to be something wrong with us, right?

Are we are too clingy, too distant, too blunt, too secretive? Too skinny, too fat?  Am I not funny, too funny, funny but not in the right way? Too insecure? Too secure?  Too stand off-ish.  Maybe we didn’t laugh at his Batman impersonation when he did it for the millionth time?

I mean, there has to be something wrong with us…that’s the only way to explain how this just keeps happening to us over and over and over again.  We think there has to be something wrong with us because ALL of our relationships in the past month/year/decade have failed…

Well there’s not.  There’s nothing wrong with you.  If you want to know why relationship after relationship has gone no-where…I can go ahead and tell you the reason:

Most of your relationships will fail because that’s just how dating works.  

Very few romantic relationships will ever go past a certain level.  Those are the ones that matter.  It’s dumb luck and timing. It has nothing to do with you.

You date until you find someone who you can get to “that” level with.

 So if you date a lot…it may seem that people are always walking away from you.  It’s not you…they just know it won’t get to “that” level with you.  If you’re tired of being rejected, take a break from dating.   It gets exhausting. Three dates in a month?  None of them worked out? Sounds completely normal… but it still sucks. Take a knee for a moment.  Get back out there when you’re ready.

 If you don’t date a lot, and you go out on one date…unless you are very very lucky,  it won’t work out.  Do not make that one date a personal statement about your value.  And stop saying stupid dramatic things like, “this is why I never put myself out there.”  Just shut up about it.  You DID put yourself out there, and you got hurt. Take a knee for a moment.  And get back out there.

Side note: If you know anyone who always seems to “luck out” and find a boyfriend or girlfriend, please just know they’re probably majorly settling.

You may now be saying, “Hey…you don’t get it…they said such nice things to me.  They really seemed to like me.  Why would they lie?  Why would they lead me on?”

Why did they say nice things about you?  Probably because they meant them. I hate to bust your personal tragedy bubble by telling you this, but they really probably meant those things.

And if someone tells you you’re funny and amazing to be around, and then they stop hanging out with you…it doesn’t mean you’re NOT funny or amazing. It means they’re super weird.  Or it means they just didn’t see things going to the next level.  Or it means they got busy with life and realized they want to focus on other things… A relationship not being one of them.

So please…

Accept this fact: 99% of your relationships will not work out.  They will fail.  Because…math.

No one can ever have more than one successful romantic relationship in a life time. So even if someone has been married for ten years, the second they get divorced, 100% of their romantic relationships didn’t work out.

 As single people…we’re all in the same boat.

In the interest of full disclosure, 100% of my romantic relationships have never worked out.  And I’m awesome.  It has NOTHING to do with me.  And it has nothing to do with you.

It’s luck. Dumb luck.

So if you’re still not convinced, and you still think that YOU are the reason things don’t work out. Let’s think about this logically:

 Let’s imagine there’s something “wrong” with you. Maybe you think you’re not pretty or attractive enough, and that’s why nothing has worked out.  Ok.

So what you’re saying is that the only people who have successful relationships are attractive.  Fine.

Now think of all the people you know who are currently in relationships.  Think about them.  Are ALL of those people pretty and attractive?  NO FUCKING WAY.

That’s because finding a lasting romantic relationship has nothing to do with what you look like. It’s luck.

So maybe people don’t want to date you because you’re boring and insecure?

Think of all the people you know who are currently in relationships.  Are all of those people interesting and confident?  NO.

In fact, I think we all know some awful people who have managed to find someone to put up with them.  Being in a romantic relationship is not validation that you’re a good person.  It’s just…not.

Because being in a successful romantic relationship has nothing to do with you or what you’re like.  It’s luck and timing.

Real Talk: Why do you want to even be in a romantic relationship?  Why is this a goal? 

I always ask my friends this.

 I mean…how much more fun do single people really think committed people are having ?  Relationships are hard fucking work…that’s why most of them fail.  If you think being in a relationship means you won’t feel lonely at times…  Im sorry…but you will.  In a relationship, you’re also going to feel let down at times.  And bored as hell at times.

Single or not, life is hard for all of us. So stop making it harder on yourself by thinking you’re the one with an issue.

And for all of those people who don’t call you back, or who vanish into thin air…here’s how you deal with them.  Get out your phone and scroll to their number.  Delete it.

Poof…they’re gone.

Looks like they’re not the only one who can make shit disappear.

Stop Saying, “I Don’t Date Short Guys.” You Sound Awful.

“He’s super cute and nice but…I don’t date short guys”

I can’t express how hard I want to laugh when I hear a girl say this.

After ALL of the crap we give guys about appreciating us for the unique angels we think we are, we sit around saying this nonsense, with almost NO hesitation, to our friends, at dinner tables, and worse of all…to guys we know.

It’s awful.  Epically awful.

Now don’t get me wrong…we all have “a type.”  You are entitled to liking whatever it is that you want.

But ladies, we have been BATTLING to eradicate body shaming  for years and years now, and we are making some major progress, we really are. There’s a long list of things that men are just not allowed to say about us and our bodies in public domain.  So then why should it not go both ways?

Just because historically body shaming has been directed towards females by men AND women, doesn’t mean we get a break when we do it.  I’m not saying it’s wrong to feel this way about dating shorter men, I’m saying it’s horrible, awful, and hypocritical to be saying this stuff out loud.

The measurement of a man is not in how tall he is, it’s in how much he measures up in your life. He may not stand tall, but does he stand up for you and the people he loves?  Does he support you? Does he bring things to your metaphorical table? Those are the things that should matter.

Once again, I’m not saying you should want to date short guys… just stop saying it without realizing the double standard you are very openly playing into.  Stop saying it because you are basing someone’s value on something they have no control over.   Stop saying it because your words are hurting other human beings.

And come on…We know how it feels when people do this to us, when they make us feel like less of a woman because we have small breasts, non-existent hips, short legs etc.  So let’s stop trying to instill the cycle of insecurity that has held us back for centuries onto men. We all know where that leads.

For the first time in a long time, many guys are working on themselves and their friends…challenging each other to be better partners and allies to us.  Don’t you think we owe them the same respect?   

Gentlemen, if a girl says this to you or around you in any way shape or form…avoid her.  And if she SAYS she doesn’t want to date you because of your height, let me be the first to say: Congratulations.  You dodged a very basic bullet.

Oh, and ladies, if one of your friends is dating an amazingly great guy who is barely taller, just as tall as, or <heaven forbid> shorter than her, and you feel the need to bring that up publicly as a “con” when discussing their relationship…please hand in your “opinion card” because you’re no longer allowed to have one on this issue.

With men beginning to step up to the plate on issues like gender equality, it’s becoming harder and harder to excuse women who perpetuate these double standards. And remember…I’m a girl’s girl…I WANT to be on your side. But ladies, we are wrong on this one.  Very very wrong…so it’s about time we start treating the men in our lives with the very same BASIC decency we have been fighting for for the past few hundreds/thousands of years.