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The Subtleties of an Abuser: What You Didn’t See

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He’s cute, he has nice facial hair, he drives a fast car, and he has a good-paying job. He showers you with compliments, he buys you nice things, and he encourages your sense of style. He’s perfect! I know.

You know you shouldn’t, but you begin to fall for his words, his compliments, his smiles. He is beautiful, and he wants you? Out of all the girls in the world, you? He doesn’t like to be tied down but he said he wouldn’t mind if you were his girl. He is so romantic.

You fall deeply and truly. It is easy. Effortless. And he loves you too, right?

But then… the first argument occurs. OK, brush it off, it’s normal for couples to get into arguments. No worries, he gives you that welcoming hug as way of apology. No need for words, right?

School is a mess, work is a mess, ugh family life? Mom does not like your new boyfriend, heaven knows why. But your boyfriend? He’s a constant. Even if he goes out a lot with his friends, at least he always lends an ear to listen to your problems… mostly. And okay, he hasn’t texted you in a few days. “But that’s normal right?” You say in the car at 7:00 AM to your best friend as your stomach twists with insecurity. You see the doubt in her eyes but you deny it.

He finally texts back! You want to ask why he’s been M.I.A. but don’t want to come off as needy, so you hold your tongue, and tell yourself to appreciate the moment. He pays for dinner.

He’s 6 foot tall, he’s funny, he makes you laugh. He is all you could ask for, as your abusive father comes back in the picture, ripping another tornado of turmoil in the middle of your senior year.

But when you need your boyfriend’s love the most, he gets mad at you for the little things: going out with your friends without him, looking at another guy in public, texting your best guy friend. He picks fights all the time: why was that other man looking at you? Why is your best friend so nosey? Why, dammit, don’t you listen for once?

But he has that beautiful smile and that amazing jawline when he apologizes. He draws you back in with a giant teddy bear and flowers. He says he’s just protective of you because he doesn’t want to lose you.

And then it happens again and again, as he is the one thing you need, and you hold on to the fact that he seemed so nice, surely he’s just testing you to prove you are the girl of his dreams. And you are, you are good enough for him, you just have to prove it. Then, he’ll love you again.

He doesn’t like your opinionated best friend. She’s nosey, she always says the things you won’t. You tell her everything and she wants to stand up for you, make him a better man. She sees the sadness you deny. But you send her away. And she leaves, just like everybody else, but him? He stays; he sees your loyalty now as you deny your best friend, your mom, your sister. You stop going to school, because you would rather spend time with him.

But still? It is not enough for him? He begins talking to other girls, you know he kissed his ex in the bathroom, you know he does not want to be tied down. He is furious when you bring up the idea of another woman in his life. How dare you not trust him? After everything he has done for you. He calls you crazy, a liar. And you begin to believe you are.

But he comes back for you! He promises he will change. And he is all that is left, so you stay, because it’s not like you had ever moved on in the first place.

He took everything. But his smile is still so beautiful. And he calls you beautiful before going out with his friends.

Your best friend was so nosey because she saw what you did not. Your mother did not want you to follow in her footsteps. And your sister knew you deserved better.

Love can be blinding.

Too late.

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Daniela Romero
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Daniela is a 19 year old college student, business major, feminist, and aspiring makeup artist. For business inquiries, contact her at danir405@gmail.com

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