Self respect comes before taking abuse

Don’t get annoyances mixed up with violent, destructive behaviors


Lately, I have been thinking about all the work we put into relationships.

My boyfriend and I go through the ups and downs that are so annoyingly typical in long-term relationships. I can handle those moments, but this past week I helped him move to Clemson. This made me think about how common it is in our love lives that we find ourselves asking the unanswerable: Is the difficulty really worth it?

It seems like we go through all these fiery rings and lion dens of problems just to put ourselves within aiming distance of a broken heart. At any moment that special someone could withdraw his or her offer of “happily ever after,” and where would that leave poor Cinderella?

Don’t ask me; I don’t think anyone has the answer to that question except the one posing such a nail-biter. In some cases, calling it quits should be at the top of the agenda, and in others holding out for the moment when it pays off is the best option.

Whatever the correct answer is, it should be because of you, the questioner, and you alone. If I only know one thing about relationships, which may very well be true, it’s that not enough people take control of their lives and their messed up relationships.

I once had a friend cry and cry because she always dated mean guys, jerks and losers, but the truth is she did that to herself. She chose those kinds of guys and allowed all those complications to take over her fairytale. Every week, cable television makes a killing telling stories of women (or men) who let their significant others rule their lives. Women get abused all the time because they can’t stand up and say, “This is my life and my body, not yours.”

The women’s movement hasn’t come this far to let others knock us down because they are physically stronger. During the past few decades women have more than proven that they are just as capable as men. Women should be proud enough and strong enough to stand up and tell that bully to stop pushing them around.

I’m sick of those “My boyfriend is a jerk and made me cry” phone calls. Don’t keep going back for more abuse; just accept that walking away really is the best thing for you. Maybe it is a problem that life isn’t like a fairytale, a movie or any kind of fictitious story ready to promise an “ever after” of Clemson-less bliss, but bad relationships come and go on your command alone.

It is obvious to me that sticking with someone who abuses you – verbally, mentally or physically – is a dumb thing to do. And knowing the difference between abuse and putting up with his quirks is important. Bad habits can be worth all the work, even though Clemson still sucks.


(Originally written 8.29.2006)


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