Spare me the hearts and flowers


Valerie Reyes.
Kelsey Berreth.
Shanann Watts.
Laci Peterson.
Lori Hacking.
Nicole Simpson.
The list goes on…

You can never really know another person. You may think you know him. He says he loves you. You love him. You’re going to live happily ever after. But…these women know:

You can never really know another person.

In 1989, I dated a man for a couple of months. He was intelligent and good-looking. He was quite a bit older than me, a gifted artist. So sensitive, so giving. Piercing blue eyes. Great sense of humor. Lots of money, but I didn’t care about that. I was a sucker for those eyes, looking straight into my soul; listening, understanding. In that short time we became very close. I thought I had found my soulmate. I was his, heart and soul. And yet, that wasn’t enough.

Several things happened that led me to become uncomfortable. My intuition told me that something wasn’t right. He called 5 or 10 times a day.  Once he locked me in his apartment, cuz “he couldn’t get through the day without me.” He was jealous of the time I spent with friends or family. He’d say it was just because he loved me so much. My dream come true – a man who loved me so much he wanted to be with me every minute.

I rationalized and justified and ignored it all away….for a while, and then I tried to discuss my increasing sense of suffocation with him…for a while. Then finally I said, I’m outta here.

He said NO. I won’t let you go. And that’s when he changed into a person I didn’t know at all. A man I had to hide from and be afraid of. A man who wanted to have me back or kill me. Either way, he said, would be fine. He just wanted to talk, he just wanted to make me see, he just wanted to love me. If he couldn’t do that, then no one else would either.

He rode around my apartment building on a motorcycle for hours one night, just circling around my building. He would call and hang up as many times as I would pick up the phone at home. He called me at work, knowing I would have to answer. He followed me. He sent me letters. He hunted me. If he could just make me see…that I had it all wrong…that this was all my fault. He just wanted to love me.

I began to believe that it was my fault. That I had brought this out in him by not trusting him, not loving him enough…something. I spent nights at friends’ houses, I didn’t drive my car. Sometimes I sat in my apartment at night in the dark and just listened to the phone ring. I didn’t call the police because 1) I didn’t think they would believe me; 2) they wouldn’t help me because it was my fault; 3) I didn’t want to ruin his life.

But he had decided to ruin mine, and in some measure he succeeded. I will never trust another man again. Now I know you can never really know another person; and anyone can change in an instant. You can be drowning before you even realize you’re in the water.

I feel such grief for all the women whose lives have been taken by men–men they trusted, men they loved, men they thought they knew. Men who put themselves first, and decided that their wives or lovers were no longer people, but simply an impediment to their own happiness, or the solution to it. Men who took it upon themselves to decide another person’s fate–a woman whose only mistake was to love and trust someone she thought she knew.

I understand that not all men are like that, and that some women are, too. I know plenty of people in wonderful relationships, and I’m happy for them. For me, however, it’s too scary to take that chance again. The media would have you believe that the most important thing is to have a romantic partner, and for most people that works out great, for others not as great, but okay.

For some, however, love is deadly. There are no fairy tales. They’re not all princes.

Be careful out there.