Real Love Leaves No Bruises

I had been seeing my ex-boyfriend for almost two years. My previous ex had left me for a friend of mine. So, I had been wary of being with another person. However, my guy, Manuel, was so cute. He was Model-like material, and all the girls wanted him. He only spoke Spanish, and I only spoke English. After a while, we both learned each other's languages. That wasn't a problem. In the beginning of the relationship I hung out with my friends, had my own fun, and didn't think anything of talking to guys I used to date that still remained friends with me. So, I didn't figure he had a problem with this stuff because it all happened in the first month or two we were going out. He didn't know enough English then, but in the future when he did I told him. He had a complete fit, asking how he could trust me knowing that I hung out with people I was with in the past. He assumed that I did stuff with them, which I didn't, because I am a very honest and trustworthy person. A few months after that fight Manuel and I went to a party at my best friend's house. She was dating one of Manuel' friends, but he wasn't at her house that night. She got into a drunken rage and became out of control. At one point she locked herself in a room with my boyfriend and kissed him! I found this out months later. But it gets worse. After another six months, I found out through friends that not only did they kiss, they had sex! I confronted my friend and she told me it was true, the two of them did have sex that night. My boyfriend denied it completely. I stayed with him anyway because I was dumb. It didn't get better after that. He cheated on me and then left me for this other girl. Eventually, he wanted me back, and I agreed. This isn't the best part. The best part is that it reached a point where Manuel started to beat me. Now, I must admit, there were many times when I initiated the fighting, and I even got physical with him a few times. After a while, he started hitting me back. One day he seriously beat me up because I bothered him when he was sleeping. He gave me almost twenty bruises and a bloody nose two times. After the lies, the cheating, and the beatings I finally left him. And I would advise any girls who are getting hit out there to do the same. I didn't think it was wrong. That is until I got so many bruises in one fight over waking him up when he was cranky. I realized then that such behavior wasn't real love. It was pain, and I didn't deserve it. They don't love you when they do that to you. If you let them do it to you now, you'll wind up dead in the future.

— Renee, 22

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