The first time my boyfriend hit me was six months into our relationship.
Let me start from the beginning. Two and a half years ago, I met a boy. I wish this is a normal boy meets boy story, but it really isn’t. As a twenty-year-old male, I was already fairly disenchanted with what the gay “dating” scene had to offer. That was until I met this boy – let’s call him Robby.
I’m not sure what it was exactly, but Robby had that wow factor. With unbelievable ease, he tore down whatever defenses I had, and we fell madly in love – the type of love where we had unbelievably hot sex multiple times a day, every single day. We never stopped holding hands, even when we slept. We knew every piece of each other: every insecurity, every flaw, every beauty mark. Somehow, we survived on Netflix and cereal alone, for the spans when we didn’t leave the bed for days on end. I’ll never forget the relief I found through him – proof that I was worthy of being loved.
Naturally, we actively ignored all obligations: friends, family, etc. because we couldn’t stand to spend even a moment apart. Like countless others in similar situations, I came to believe I had found my person. The person I wanted to spend the rest of my life with.
But my boy meets boy story came crashing down the first time he hit me.
Robby was drunk, and when we had a silly disagreement over nothing, things escalated quickly.
I never thought this would happen to me. I had a healthy childhood, and my parents instilled me with a good sense of all the selfs: self-respect, self-worth, and self-esteem. I did all the right things. We had no secrets. I did exactly what I thought you were supposed to do when you’re young and in love. I gave every single ounce of myself to him.
Like countless others, I was convinced that love conquers all. I believed that love, and love alone, could heal my brokenness, so I forgave him.
Looking back, I gave Robby a second chance because I know that humans are flawed. I’m flawed. My parents are flawed. The world is flawed. Drunk Robby was simply upset and insecure. But in my naivety, I had no idea that his deep-seated insecurity would come back to rear its ugly head again and again. We were actually happy for a while. Robby didn’t drink, and I could tell he was working incredibly hard to make up for the horrible atrocity he committed.
Not even four months later, on my twenty-first birthday, he fractured my nose.
I’m still not sure what my problem was. I was acutely aware of how pathetic I was for staying with him, but had deluded myself into believing that our love was enough. That it was strong enough to overcome anything. That I was strong enough to take his abuse while he worked out his issues.
Maybe it was hubris. I thought I could fix him. I hoped I was that one-in-a-million, and with enough unconditional love, he would actually see that he didn’t need to be violently insecure around me. I thought I could give him whatever it was that he was missing. For Robby, everything always had to be my fault – but it was okay. I thought I was strong enough to handle it.
I’m ashamed to say things continued like this for another year. After countless black eyes, bruises, scratches, and tears, Robby wore me down. I couldn’t do it anymore.
I moved states away and tried to heal from the damage he inflicted upon me over the span of our relationship.
If I learned one thing, it’s this: I am not strong enough to save him.
If you are in a similar situation: you are not strong enough either. Your love isn’t enough. Even if your heart is brimming with unfathomable passion, it will never fix a broken person. Maybe you’ll be lucky enough to be with someone who actually wants to change. Maybe then you’ll have better luck. But people do what they want regardless of the quantity of love you douse them with.
If you are going through this, my heart breaks for you. I know what it’s like to slap a smile on, and make up a silly lie about your black eye. I understand how you feel like a fraud because you walk around pretending to be okay. I know how tired your soul must be. How alone you must feel. How you’re scared to be found out because of how pathetic you’re being.
Please let go of your relationship. Just give up. Throw in the towel. Demand better of your partner. And yourself.
How many punches need to be thrown before you look in the mirror and admit this isn’t working?
You should never have to be strong enough to deal with this.
You should never have to be strong enough to deal with a violent partner. I was with Robby for two years, and I wish I had given up sooner.
I think that holding on for so long may have ruined me. I’d give anything not to be like this. I’m twenty-two now, and terrified of intimacy. I’m twenty-two and have already survived abuse some people can’t even begin to imagine. I’m twenty-two and far too young to be this emotionally exhausted.
If you and I are brethren in the sense that we have survived abuse – of any kind – at the hands of a loved one, my heart also breaks for you. Our past is something we are bound to for eternity. However, I choose to believe that everyone is inherently capable of the strength required to overcome their past. In this way, you are strong enough.
You can rise above this.
You can rise above anything, simply because you are you.