Should you stay with someone abusive because they’re better than your previous?

chebae asks: I’m 18 years old. I had a crush for 5 years and it ended when I get to know his true self (he was just a pervert) when I was 16. And I really had a hard time trying to forget him. I cried and cried, and at last got over him and was happy and busy enjoying with my friends and with my studies. After two years I met another guy at a party and I really wasn’t interested about him at all, but one day I saw his Instagram account and happened to follow it, and the next day he sent a message saying hi. At first I was a bit confused about why he wanted to say hi and asked my friends whether to reply to him or not, and they said just say hi and see, so I replied and he was such a nice guy. Soon we became good good friends and there wasn’t a day that we didn’t text. And one day to my surprise he said that he loves me, and that he feels like he can’t be without me, and said it was love at first sight. And that while he was thinking of a way to contact me, I followed him. At first I was shocked and didn’t know what to say. I was afraid to love again, I was afraid of the pain I had to go through last time and didn’t want that to happen ever again. I’d told him about that crush already so he knew all of this, so I said to him that I’m afraid. I explained to him that when I fall in love it’s really hard for me to get through it. But he said he’s willing to wait until I open up for him, and after some time I really fell in love with him. I was just head over heels for him – but we’ve never met since that party. But suddenly, I don’t know what to say. We started to fight for many reasons and he even started lying to me. Every time we fight I am the one who has to call him and make up again, and sometimes he doesn’t even apologize for his faults. I bared all the things for the sake of our love and I wanted this to last long. But now he even tells me that I am a pain for him. I asked whether he still likes me or wants to leave me, and he said he wants to stop this. I was so in pain, and I ended up crying every night secretly. When I tried to talk to him about this, he was just mad at me and told me to concentrate on my exam (which is 2 months away). He said he is pushing me away because of it, but I don’t feel like that’s the reason. Because even when I give him a call once a while he just keeps shouting and telling me that I am such a pain for him. And he keeps lying to me, giving so many reasons as to why he can’t contact me. I tried to meet him for weeks but he kept avoiding it. I called him many times at night but he didn’t even answer my calls – and he was sleeping every night comfortably while I was crying until late at night. I don’t know how we ended up like this! This time I’m in much more pain than the last time. Last time it was just a crush but this time it’s a relationship. I love him, I want him, but I don’t know what to do. I tried to talk with him about this many times, but he doesn’t respond to me. What can do now?! I am just broken and really sad.

Hi chebae –

Your story reminds me of when I spent five days in the dog pound.  Every hour or so, someone would come by my cage and look in, and I’d get thrilled – I’m getting out of here, my life is being saved, I’m going to be loved and played with forever! – and then they’d choose another puppy, or leave without any.  And each time my heart would break, and I’d be sure that I’d never meet anyone else, ever.

Now as you know, eventually one person DID choose me, but even he had left the first time, worrying that I wouldn’t be the right pup for him.

You have had two potential “owners,” and both didn’t work out.  In fact, both turned out to be really awful candidates – one because you found him a “pervert,” and the other because he went from nice to really mean and abusive! 

But here’s the good news.  There’s no time limit on your singlehood.  No one’s going to take you into a back room and inject you with poison because you didn’t have a boyfriend by a certain date!  So you’re in way better shape than I was!

And you, like me, have a hopeful and open heart.  Which means that you’ve been hurt.  Badly, and twice.  And I’m awfully sorry for that.

But you still have that heart.  And somewhere out there is another boy, who is going to like you just as much as this second one did at first, but will be SANE, and not turn on you like a lunatic!  And yeah, it won’t be perfect, but he’ll take you out and treat you well, and it’ll last a while… and then, there’s a really good chance, it will end too.  Just because you’re both young and growing.

But your job, my friend, is to

keep yourself from becoming hopeless, while also giving up on this second guy. 

Imagine what would have happened to me if, when Handsome came in to the pound, I was just sitting in the corner of my cage, regretting a person who’d been there earlier.  He would have walked right past me, and not even looked into my eyes. 

Instead, I was excited and eager, and he saw me, and wow, fireworks went off!  And, while things have never been perfect, those fireworks have continued ever since!

So be that wonderful self you have always been, and let this dingdong go.  There’s so much joy ahead if you can just grab it!


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