I heard recently that a man I dated briefly dated in my early twenties has been arrested for domestic violence. I had an instant flashback of him hitting his brand new puppy, who had been left alone for hours, for peeing on the floor. It was the last of the few dates that we had.
Ending this relationship was easy. I wasn't that attracted to him to begin with, I was leaving for graduate school in a few weeks, and that smack across the puppy's face just brought the curtain down a little sooner. I wondered what I would have done if circumstances had been different - if I'd loved him as much as I did my college boyfriend, if I hadn't been moving out of state, if he'd hadn't hit that puppy until after we'd gotten married.
Relationship violence, I think, looks at lot different on the inside looking out than it does looking in. Perhaps that's the reason it's so hard to leave, that and the very valid fear that leaving will just make things worse. And it can; ending a violent relationship without careful planning can be fatal.
But it can be done. Here's how to reduce the risk:
The Bottom Line
Violence can intensify when a partner tries to leave a relationship, so it's imperative your escape be carefully planned. However, just as some woman gets trapped into an abusive relationship every day, this very minute a courageous woman is leaving one - despite the safety risks, the uncertainties ahead, and her conflicting feelings. She's realized, as did Rebecca J. Burns, that long-term domestic violence is ". . . like being kidnapped and tortured for ransom but you will never have enough to pay off the kidnapper." You decide which is worse.