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Friday, September 17, 2010

Why doesn't she just leave?

Sometimes you might wonder why women stay with men that treat them badly.  I know a long time ago, I would wonder that as well.  I still sometimes have a hard time understanding it.  But, when you live it, you begin to understand.

As an 18 yr old, I began a three year relationship with a guy who was 6 yrs older than me.  When I met him, I thought he was so handsome.  It was so cool to be dating an "older boy".  He was a lot of fun, we would always have somewhere to go and hang out with his friends.  He liked to drink, but this wasn't a big deal to me.  He was older, so I figured he just liked to have a little fun and party, plus it was cool because he could buy it for me as well!  I had a pretty early curfew, so I don't think I had the full picture of how much he drank.  One thing that should have been a big clue....he had two dui's against him so he couldn't drive.  I don't know why this didn't matter to me at the time.  I guess I just liked him so much I overlooked it.

My parents disliked him.  So I defended him.  Finally I ended up moving in with him.  And then it was too late to turn back.  I had pushed away my family. I really didn't know what I was getting into.  Three years of arguing, him drinking all the time, me driving him to and from his numerous jobs, gaining a "step"daughter and trying to protect her from what was going on around her , living in roach infested apartments, having a gun pointed at my head, (I love you baby, it won't happen again), sleeping on people's couches, being pushed around (I didn't mean to do it, I'm sorry, I love you), losing friends because they didn't understand why I stayed, being drug off the bed and held up on the wall (I love you, please don't leave me), making a few new friends, having the police called on us by neighbors out of concern (shhhhh! don't move, be quiet, don't open the door), starting my two years of classes at National Business College,  sleeping in a tent for two weeks, living in different hotel rooms every night for two months, having him sent away for help when he threatened suicide (I promise I'll change, I won't drink anymore, I love you), becoming a stronger person, being punched in the face......calling the police....finally, finally, finally leaving.  I had finally had enough.

Do I regret this relationship?  No.  I learned a lot.  Made friends that I still have.  Mostly I learned what I needed in a relationship and in live.  And what I could live with and without.  I learned to not judge people by what they have and don't have.  (I grew up pretty sheltered and spoiled).  I grew.  I became a better person.

Why doesn't she leave?  probably because she is afraid for one.  But, also, because she thinks he truly loves her and that he will change.  She sees small changes and hopes for bigger changes.  She becomes part of his family and loves them.  She probably has lost friends and family along the way.  And is afraid if she leaves she will have no one and that he may retaliate against her for leaving.  I was lucky, we didn't have any children together.  If we would have, it would have been much harder to leave.  I was so afraid of losing touch with my  "stepdaughter", but I'm lucky to say we are still in contact and she is 22 years old now.  Life moves on.  We grow up and become smarter and stronger (hopefully).

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