I fell in love with a guy, and we had a happy relationship for years. But, he began hitting me, drinking a lot, and forced me to quit school…

During my sophomore year in high school, I fell in love with a guy, and we had a happy relationship for years. But, he began hitting me, drinking a lot, and forced me to quit school. Both of my parents are deceased, so one day when he beat me too much, I showed up on my male friend’s door (who I hadn’t seen in years) and he took me in. As we renewed our relationship, we began to develop romantic feelings for each other, but my ex keeps trying to get me back in some very violent ways.

Question, why does your ex still have access to you? Are you still in contact with him? Does he have your phone number? Have you changed your phone number? Does he follow you on social media? Better yet, do you follow him on social media? Rule number one when it comes to leaving an abusive situation is to cut off all methods of communication with your abuser. I may be assuming, but it seems that you haven’t. Why is that? Do you hold out hope that he might change? How does your ex know where you live? I do understand that there are ways for your ex to get your home address without you giving it to him, but when it comes to the phone number and social media, how does he have access to any of that? Maybe I’m jaded, or very wise, but from my personal experience, abusers never change. I went back after the abuse, and although he stopped hitting me, he still chose to abuse me mentally, emotionally, verbally and financially while also manipulating and controlling me.

And something you wrote stood out to me. You said, ‘one day he beat me too much’, what does that mean? It sounds to me that you would have stayed if he hadn’t beat you as hard as he did. But you have to understand, he shouldn’t have been beating you at all. There is no level of abuse that is tolerable! And I do get that individuals who have been abused have been conditioned into believing that they deserved the abuse, but I’m here to tell you, from one abuse victor to another, (I say, victor, because survivor makes it seem as if I barely came through the trauma and as if I was forced to overcome the trauma, NO, I chose to overcome the trauma, abuse and leave, thus the term victor instead of survivor) you didn’t deserve the abuse and that YOU ARE WORTHY OF MORE! And sometimes it takes you and others repeating it over and over, telling you that you weren’t the problem, that you were only a symptom of the problem and that you are a worthy being, for you to reprogram your brain from the conditioning your abuser gave to you.

And I’m happy that you have a friend that you were able to turn to and depend on in your time of need. And I’m also happy that you are entering into a healthy relationship. I am so proud of you for knowing that you were worthy of more. And it takes A LOT of courage to walk away from your abuser, so I tip my hat off to you!

In regard to stopping your ex, is there any documentation of him harassing or stalking you? Do you have pictures of your abuse? I ask because it would be a great idea to get a restraining order, even if it’s a temporary one, just to have his actions documented. But it’s never a bad idea to get the police involved, they are there to help, so reach out to them. Also, have you thought about self-defense courses? They could teach you to protect yourself in the event that something does happen while also helping to raise your self-esteem. Most abused individuals suffer from low self-esteem, so taking a couple of self-defense courses will empower you and even boost your self-confidence.

Also, have you thought about counseling, individual and couples? It would be a great idea to talk with a professional to help you navigate your feelings and help you heal. But also, they could help you as you embark upon this new relationship. They can help you both take stock of where your heads are after everything you’ve both experienced, you with the abuse, and him seeing you like that. Once again, I am so proud of you for having the courage to leave and for taking the steps to leave, and I wish you so much happiness and unconditional love in your new relationship.