He bought me roses...

north park street mural

He gave me rose bushes instead of roses. He did that sort of thing often. Especially after he did or said something that was really mean or hurtful. It was his way of making it right although it never made it right, not really. No amount of flowers, new stereo equipment for my car (which I never even wanted), or promise ring could truly make up for the lying, the cheating, emotional abuse and the alcohol and drugs.

No, it didn't make up for the time that he told me that if he ever gave me AIDS that he'd stay with me forever and it didn't make up for the time that I got in an accident after visiting him from jail where he screamed at me in front of the entire room full of people because I had gone to Great America with my girlfriend over the summer. How dare I when he was locked up in jail?!

No, none of the gifts or I'm sorry presents ever truly made up for the things he had done but somehow my 15 to 19-year-old mind thought it was OK at the time. It's never OK. He was an excellent gas lighter

Every time he'd hurt me he'd give me a reason to stay and my young naïve mind thought, well... maybe he's learned his lesson, maybe he'll never do it again. Well, he did that really nice thing so maybe he's not so bad?! 

He never did learn his lesson, he continued to do it over and over and over again until he pushed me to the point where the switch flipped and I no longer cared for him. I had no more tears or love to give, I felt numb. If you've ever been here yourself you know what switch I'm talking about, it's that switch that goes off inside of you where you're just done. You've got nothing left to give and you're finally ready to walk away and never look back.

For some of us that switch goes off quickly and some of us it takes a while, sometimes too long, and then we leave having a lot of regret that we didn't do it sooner, that we should've listened to ourselves.

That's why we like to beat ourselves up for how long we stayed, for how long we allowed someone to treat us that way. Mine lasted four years, how about yours? 

Instead of beating yourself up for staying longer than you should've, give yourself credit for getting out at all.

Some women go a lifetime living in abusive relationships.

Now, I had a baby with this man so I felt it was my duty to do all I could to make it work but in the end, the best thing for both of us (meaning my son and I ) was for us to leave. I felt at the time I'd rather be a single mom and struggle through it than to have my son grow up thinking that's how you treat women and adding one more unhealthy relationship into the world.

When we stay in relationships like the one I'm talking about, especially if we have kids involved, we're teaching our children what is acceptable and how to treat their partners. I couldn't have that on my conscious. My son is now in his 20s and he's a good man, a great man, and I don't think he would've been the same man if I wouldn't have made that choice. If I would've chosen to leave I believe he may have ended up in prison like his father.

I got out. Some women don't, they just accept things as is. They believe they don't deserve anyone better, they believe that they're unlovable, that no one else would want them, no one decent anyway. But that's a lie. No matter who you are you deserve love, you deserve a partner who will treat you well, treat you like the queen you are. You just have to be willing to leave the Joker and select you a King! You have to be willing to believe you deserve more.

Don't waste another precious moment of your life on a partner who doesn't cherish you, who hurts you deeply and then buys you roses.