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Can I Keep You

The Story of Finally Finding Love After Loss, Abuse, and Heartache

By Elaine GreyPublished 7 years ago 8 min read
Can I keep you?

After years of constantly being hurt and let down, one typically gives up. Our hearts were not meant to be broken like they so often feel, and in turn, most people turn cold and distance themselves from everyone around them. I did that myself.

I am no stranger to the feeling of heartbreaks. Most of the time, though, it was me breaking my own heart; staying with the wrong people because I was in fear of being alone, in fear that I was never going to be good enough for anyone. That meant that even in abusive, manipulative relationships, I would stay. We are taught from a young age that love has no bounds, that, when you love someone, you are supposed to love them for better or for worse. What about yourself, though? Shouldn't you love yourself just the same? I questioned that and put it to the test.

See, I was the type of woman who wanted to always see the best in people, no matter their faults. We all have skeletons in our closet, so why should I judge someone based on theirs. I took everything with a grain of salt, only hoping for the best outcome down the road...I thought myself as stronger the longer I stayed with people who hurt me, because I didn't give up. Really, though, I only became strong when I decided to walk away.

This is my story of how hurt, loss, and anger led me to exactly where I had always wished to be—happy and in love with someone who truly loves me back.

I won't bore people with a long backstory of pointless, childish relationships I had growing up, but of only the ones in which very much impacted my life and made me the woman I am. So here we go.

I married at 18, three days before I shipped off to basic training for the Air Force. It wasn't the smartest decision. I only had been dating my soon-to-be-husband for a week, but idolized the ground he walked on since our freshman year of high school. I thought it too good to be true, but I refused to let him get away. So before I left for basic, we wed at the local court house. At the time, I really believed it was love, that it was fate. And so, with my head held high, I left for basic, newly married and ready to start life as an adult. Only the walls came crashing down just as soon as they went up. Halfway through my military training, I got hurt and was told I would be going home. I told my husband and instead of giving me the support I desperately needed, I was confronted with resentment from my new husband because I was throwing away everything. I would no longer be able to support him or his ego, and that wasn't good enough. Soon after I arrived back home and all the money I had acquired while in had been spent, I was left; left to feel as though I was nothing and worth nothing, even though I tried my hardest as a wife. At the young age of 18, I thought my world was over, and it broke me. Soon enough, though, my husband came around and I, of course, caved and crawled back, so hoping my first marriage would be my only one. And for a moment, things were amazing, and it felt like things had fallen into place. It was soon after that we found out we were expecting our first child. I was so happy. I was starting a family of my own. I'd dream of all the amazing things we had to look forward to, but once again, everything came crashing down and my husband couldn't stand the new pressure and walked out on me again. Fast forward a few months later, and I had a brand new baby boy in my arms who was all mine. His father, my "husband," was nowhere to be found, besides maybe on someone's couch doing drugs.

I try to believe that everyone is a good person down deep, but this man—he broke me, made me question if love was real, and if it was, how could this be happening to me? If love was real, why did it hurt so bad?

The mental stain this took on me, I didn't know how to trust men anymore, and so, constantly, I would find myself trying to find someone who fit in to my life like a missing puzzle piece, but only finding men who, deep down, were really more like a puzzle piece that got wet; never really fits into the puzzle that way. I didn't value myself. I didn't know how. So I just existed.

Fast forward a few years and I met my second husband. At first, he seemed wonderful. He was so attentive, showered me with gifts, and made me forget the pain I had felt before. I believed I finally had gotten it right, but please note: always be aware of the wolves in sheep's clothing. Soon after getting married to my second husband, the attentiveness was gone, the gifts never happened, and I was left most of the time hanging out by myself because video games were more important. It was never enough that I was raising my son, keeping a clean house. No matter what I did, it was never good enough to get the attention I so desperately craved. I, once again, found myself lost in an array of feelings. Feelings of not being good enough, not being beautiful enough, and feeling as though I failed as a wife for, yet again, another time. It wasn't until a bit later in life I realized the problem was never really with me, but the people I surrounded myself with.

Not all abuse is physical. Sometimes the mental is worse than the physical, because no one can see what's going on in your mind, and instead of people understanding, they just shrug it off as though you're a loon or have no sense of direction in your life because you're lazy, and not because you've been so emotionally damaged that you no longer see a light at the end of the tunnel.

After my second marriage fell apart, I did what I always do best—I tried to move on. Always afraid of being alone, I fell for the easiest trick in the book; the nice guy act, which ultimately landed me with one of the worst abusers of all.

Fast forward a bit to after my separation from my husband. I felt broken, and alone I couldn't believe what I was going through, but being an optimist, I tried to see things as much on the bright side as possible, and that's when I met him...Him being the man I thought would sweep me off my feet. The man that I loved more than anything, or at least thought. But he was a wicked man who never apologized once for any of the times he hurt me. Not for the slap across the face, the pushing into walls, leaving bruises, or even the time he almost broke my arm. His response any time it was brought up was that I deserved it, and he would try to make it so the finger was pointed at me, and he never did any wrong. I stayed with him for two years believing maybe I was the problem, never hearing an "I love you" out of his mouth. But he had no problem opening his mouth when it came to pouring my alcohol down his throat... I was never more important than the bottle, but because I "loved" him, I pushed through every angry feeling and continued to stand by his side, just waiting for the day he would come around. Sadly that day would never come. Even after I found out I was pregnant with his child, instead of being excited, he handed me 200 dollars and asked for me to have an abortion. It crushed me, but ultimately he got his wish, not because I went through with an abortion, but we soon found out the pregnancy was tubal and that, if I tried to continue the pregnancy, it would kill me. Even in that situation when I needed him the most, all he could do was blame me for the failed birth control. And yet my dumb ass stayed still. Even when most people would have seen the red flags, I kept on my rose-colored glasses and pretended things would get better. They didn't.

After we finally broke up, I was taken advantage of sexually and found myself pregnant again by a man I had known for less than a week, but this time, the pregnancy stuck. So I was left, a single mom of now soon-to-be two children, with no idea what to do with myself. I was still at a loss after finally coming to terms with my now ex boyfriend never really loving me, so I shut the world off. I decided it was finally time to love myself again, and I did exactly that. Fast forward to about seven months later and. very much pregnant, I decided to put myself out there and made a profile on a popular dating app. Not really having too high of hopes, I figured I would just try. This time not because I was in fear of being alone, or that I felt I needed a man, but because I wanted one. I was ready to leave my past behind me, and that's when I met him. Him being the one I call my own, the one who changed everything for me.

I met a man who didn't look at me in disgust because I was pregnant. I met a man who actually wanted to get to know me, and not just what my insides feel like. A man who knows chivalry isn't dead and lives by an oath to take care of me, because it's what makes him happy. He loves my children, as he loves me, and never stops trying to show his love and gratitude for us meeting.

I never thought that love was going to be for me, especially after my past. Especially after all the hurt, abuse, and torment I allowed myself to feel for the last seven years of my life. But here I am now, knowing that everything I went through taught me the lesson of appreciation, because of all that pain and suffering, now that I've found someone who treats me better than I could have ever imagined, I appreciate the little things just as much as the big things. I look forward to the future again, with no fear. I finally can believe in love again, because I am shown it daily.

Even though I went through so much pain and heartache, I sit here now able to smile and know that the pain—it goes away. So my advice to anyone who reads this and has felt the way I have:

Know that someone, somewhere out there, will love you the way you deserve. There is someone out there that can't wait to kiss you, love you, and give you the world, even if neither of you know it yet. Don't let the darkness of others drag you down. You deserve the world, and you deserve to let your light shine bright, because one day, the right person will come along and appreciate that light.


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    Elaine  GreyWritten by Elaine Grey

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