Friends first…Lovers second, they say. We were friends. There was trust. There was love. Strut in HER Shoes…

We were friends for about three years prior to entering into our relationship. So, I thought I knew him. I never thought that someone I trusted… I loved… could turn into a man I never met. The abuse was gradual and, in the beginning, seemed so minor that I ignored it. I would make excuses for the behavior. “A harmless shove, means nothing.” Yet, reality hit and I knew something wasn’t right. Something was seriously wrong. But I stayed. For two long years, I endured physical and verbal abuse.

So the question of the moment is… why did I stay?

His potential. I was holding on to the person I fell in love with. Something, I’m sure we all have done. He wasn’t someone I met and immediately started dating. We hung around each other in college for years before our friendship turned into a relationship so I honestly thought…I knew him.

I stayed because I wanted to find that person again. That person was fun, caring and enjoyable and even though I rarely saw that person anymore—I was confident I would again. Someday. I hoped, at least. Also, the thought of starting over with someone new, was not appealing. I was once told I would meet my husband in college, and I believed that. I convinced myself that things would get better, I’m young; we can get through this together. I knew no one was perfect, so I was prepared to put in work. Again… I was making excuses.

The excuses ended when I reflected on all the pushing, slapping, hair pulling, dragging and times he spit on me. Even the time when he tried to rape me, chasing me around the apartment, we shared, ripping my clothes off.

Repressed memories. No more denying… I was in an abusive relationship for about two years.

Strength inspired me to share my story. Ten years ago, I would have told anyone in the world I would NEVER be a victim of domestic violence. Three years ago, I would’ve never shared my story. But today, with God’s strength, I’m so far beyond the place where I was. It’s encouraging to me and, most importantly, to others to talk about it. It shows how far I’ve come over the years. I’ve always been an outspoken person and this experience and my platform allow me to relate to so many people and reach so many people. It was never a question whether I would tell my story; it was only a matter of when and how I would do it.

If you or you know someone that is currently in a domestic violence situation, talk to someone. Talk to anyone. As hard as it may be, LEAVE and never look back. It’s your saving grace. I made it out safe, and I’m blessed because not everyone has the strength to do so. I know, sometimes we (ladies) hold on to what we thought we had that we don’t realize the reality is nothing like the dream.

That’s the Catch-22 of “Love”.

Love is NOT abuse.

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