In the movies, falling in love is such a magical thing. The musical score plays in the background while the lovers gaze into each other’s eyes and promise to walk through life side by side no matter what life throws at them. Until their dying day, they will be best friends, all their needs, all they will ever want is wrapped up in a gorgeous package (because all men are gorgeous and all women are beautiful in the movies, right?)
And then there’s a conflict and the girl gets that hurt look in her eyes and goes down beside the river to weep. But her gallant gorgeous man won’t allow her to sit there alone, weeping, so he goes down to the river to sit alongside her, wrapping her in his arms and he says he’s sorry and he cares about the way that she feels and he’ll never let her down again, blah, blah, blah.
Reality check: If you are sitting down at the river moping because of something your boyfriend said, you are more likely to get a mosquito bite than an arm around your shoulders. He’s most likely in watching the game and doesn’t even realize you’ve left the house.
Hollywood puts so much pressure on us, from our looks, to our houses, to romance, even to worthy causes…they are so much bigger than life. So when a romance comes around that seems too good to be true, instead of being cautious, we jump in with two feet. This is the way love is supposed to be, isn’t it? It’s probably this way because your abuser has been watching the same movies and taking notes on how to win you over so he can control you.
Ok, I’ll admit, I’m cynical. I’ve seen too much to not be. If a guy, a relationship, seems too good to be true, it probably is. But we don’t want to think that. We don’t want to believe that the shiny suit of armor our knight is wearing is going to tarnish, and the monster inside is going to come tearing out, hands reaching for our neck to strangle us.
But at some point in the relationship, we realize that we are being lied to. He’s very nice for a while, and it can be a long while, but you feel the tension building eventually and then he snaps – obscenities flow from his mouth, accusations, slaps, punches, hair pulling, whatever and then the uncomfortable silence that follows. No one knows quite how to act. Then he apologizes, buys you things and takes you out to dinner and tells you how much he loves you and he doesn’t know what came over him. He’s so sorry.
You hope that was the last time he ever blows up, but it’s not, and deep down inside you knew it wasn’t going to be. But the question is…is he lying when he screams at you, calling you all those vile names, or is he lying when he says he didn’t mean it and he loves you? Was he lying when he beat you across the face with a boot or when he sat with his face in his hands saying he doesn’t know what came over him?
After a while, you begin to realize that if he was really sorry about doing all those things, if he really did love you, he would stop calling you names and hitting you. And you realize that he has to be lying about it one way or the other, either he loves you or he doesn’t. The more you think about it, you come to understand that he’s lying when he says he loves you, because you don’t treat people you love the way he treats you.
It’s a tough pill to swallow, but once you see through his game, you can make a game plan of your own. No, your romance may not be one of Hollywood’s romantic movies, or even a romantic comedy, but your life can be one of overcoming, realizing that in yourself you can find the strength to stand up and say, “I won’t take this treatment any longer, I’m out of here.” And you can start a new life, not one filled with beautiful, but empty promises. But a life you have designed, filled with the fulfillment of your wants and desires and needs. One filled with peace and joy and happiness…and that, my dear, would make a very riveting movie!