I Was a Single Mom in an Abusive Relationship but Breaking Up Was Hard

Inspiring 22

Back in 2001, I gave birth to a bouncing baby boy named Ben. His father, my sorta-boyfriend, wasn't always a particularly nice man. He'd gotten into some bad habits while I was pregnant - he'd frequently disappear, only to yell at me if I dared ask where he'd been, claiming I was "trying to ruin his life."

Once my son was born, I realized that I couldn't allow him to grow up watching his mother be treated in such a manner. So I broke it off with his dad before he ever knew us together.

Ben is now 11 going on 45, and has never known life with his father and me together. But don't be fooled: breaking up with him was one of the hardest things I'd ever done.

You read those stories of empowerment, of women who've been able to raise their children, walk away from emotional abuse, and go on to lead healthy and wonderful lives.

In reality, the loss of that relationship struck me harder than I think anyone ever understood. It wasn't the bond he and I shared - that had long been trampled on by infidelity (while I was pregnant) and mockery. I'd venture to guess that he had more respect for rocks than he did for me, but sometimes, the comfort of our memories together - even the bad ones - was hard to let go of.

There were nights I'd spend roaming the countryside in my car, sad songs on the radio, while I searched my soul AND managed to put the baby to sleep. I missed him so much sometimes I could hardly speak about it.

The worst feeling was knowing that I was missing something that wasn't good for either of us. I knew the relationship was dysfunctional and could never be fixed, but I still missed it. I missed the comfort and familiarity I'd had with him, even if he wasn't always so kind to me.

And it made me angry. I knew I shouldn't care, that I shouldn't ever miss him, that I should say, "THANKFULLY, I DODGED THAT BULLET," but the words took years to come out of my mouth. When they did, I meant them. It was then that I was finally able to take the power back.

It's been well over 10 years now, and I'm proud to say that I no longer feel any angst when it comes to that relationship. We've both moved on and become semi-friends. I wish him no ill will, and I imagine he feels the same about me.

The memories have faded, the pain is gone, but I'll never forget the wanting. Wanting someone who was, in all senses of the word, bad for me and the turmoils inside me.

And that is why I never question why women stay in bad relationships.

Have you had a bad relationship you couldn't quit?

Image via robertvitulano/Flickr

astromama, single moms, breakups, exes, cheating


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Karma Grant

I have and at times mentally it still plagues me. And I do still look at others and wonder why they stay. Why can't they be stronger than I was?! Of course I am not evil to them about it, it's just a thought in my brain.

Casey Dalbey

I could have wrote this-but mine was 2000 and I was able to sever all ties in 2001. It became a physcally abuse relationship before it was over. We haven't seen him since May, 2001, and the only contact is child support paid through garnishments to the state. Its not easy to get out, but life gets better. I have been happy with the man of my dreams for 8 years which helps to take the sting away from the abuse all those years ago.


Mary Cimino

This is why I talk to abused women, I share my story and help them get out when they ask for it. The hardest part for me is seeing it happen and they act like nothings wrong. I tell them my story which didn't end well, I was shot 3 times and stabbed 15 times by my Ex while pregnant with his child. It's a miracle both my daughter and I survived. She's a healthy 5 year old now who doesn't know her biological father. It hurts at times but I hit the lottery with my new husband, he loves both of us and as far as both of us are concerned is her "Father."


I think it's hard very hard for those of us looking in who have never gone through any of that,we tend to be a very judgey bunch. I'm glad for all who have made it out to the other side. Brava! Sounds like it isn't easy.

nonmember avatar April

Thank you for writing this. I am going through this now. We split in july and going through a divorce and custody issues and restraining order. The emotional and mental and sexual physical abuse is still hard to cope with and yes its a huge array of emotions. I dont want him back or that life but yet i miss the familiarity of the day to day i was used to. Its crazy cycle. Thank you for writing this. It puts into words what i couldnt.


Rosas... RosasMummy

I'm in one. I think my relationship is definitely abusive, but I am so lost in it I don't know which way is up anymore, I think I have behaved in abusive way also. I feel so guilty for letting this be the environment my little girl is in, but most of the time it's a good environment, there's no physical abuse ever, but I hate the idea that she will grow up thinking that I am ok with being treated the way he treats me when he's pissed off and that she will either treat others that way or allow others to treat her that way.

nonmember avatar A Guy

So can someone explain it to me (in all seriousness): Why don't women walk away the first time there's abuse? I really don't understand, but would like to.

If every woman walked away as SOP on the first abuse, guys would figure it out pretty quick.

Marissa De Lory

A Guy- in my experience,  abusive relationships don't start out that way. You just start making excuses and justifications and as you're with someone longer and your love for them deepens... you make more excuses and justifications. My ex was so charming when things were good but 5years having left him, I still reel just thinking about how messed up and mean he was. Its hard to get out when you're in it and you've romanticized your reality. It's like standing too close to the TV, you can't see things for want they are.

Black... BlackLidya

It*s very hard to break your family,no matter how bad you,as a woman,are treated,when you know your kids love their dad and really want to be with him,more so if he is a good dad to them but a crappy husband to you.

I*m on that edge right now,after years of being verbally abused,put down in front of everyone and even physical abused,thinking what splitting up will do to my children...I know one thing for sure,that I don*t want my boys to grow up thinking is OK to treat women like dirt,belittle them or abuse them in any way.

It*s my job as a mom to make sure they will become good,loving men that are a blessing,not a curse for the women they will be with.

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