Middle-Age
Relationships

Avoid abusive relationships


A few years ago, Greta, my partner of 12 years, and I watched "Dateline" hosted by Stone Phillips. The show was about a married Las Vegas couple who disappeared. Foul play was suspected because blood was found and their car was missing. The Las Vegas police eventually solved the case by finding the husband in Orlando, Fla., where he confessed to the murder of his wife. In an interview with "Dateline," the man admitted his guilt. What he did was heinous; he deserved the life sentence he received.

The man explained what triggered the murder. He said his wife had an explosive temper and the night he killed her, she'd been drinking champagne and attacked him with the bottle. He stated she broke his elbow, inflicted physical pain and kept coming at him.

The point in telling this story: If you're living with an abusive person, you need to get out. You could be the one killed or the one incarcerated-even when you are defending yourself.

A person's abuse and anger may have little or nothing to do with you. It could be caused by deep-set emotions from childhood or any number of reasons-jealously, insecurity, feelings of abandonment or other unknown reasons.

The abuse and anger can be triggered by something you're not even aware of. One minute, all's fine. The next, your mate is in your face.

Drinking often accompanies the rage, but not always. You shouldn't allow yourself to be the target of the anger. Get out of the relationship before an event like the one on "Dateline" occurs. Women are usually the victims of abusive relationships, but men can be also.

Often, the abuse starts out as being verbal. Over time, it can escalate to physical. When children are still living at home, the urgency to get them and you out of the situation escalates.

Elton John recorded a song called "Tonight," not the "Tonight" from West Side Story. Elton's version is a hauntingly beautiful piece of music, featuring Elton's electric piano and a plethora of violins, accompanied by the Melbourne, Australia, and Symphony Orchestra.Youtube link to Tonight-simply magnificent

The song begins with a simple question: "Tonight, do we have to fight again?" The song continues by hinting that the couple fights often and the singer would just like to drift off to sleep without another incident.

I often listened to that song when I was in a relationship with an angry woman. It was a song of hope that things would change and the abuse and anger would go away. But it never did.

Anything could set her off. For two years, I walked on eggshells and danced on Jell-O. It was stressful, dehumanizing and no way to live.

One morning I called 911 from my own home because I sensed that the intense verbal abuse was about to escalate to physical abuse. After that incident, I mustered the guts to end the relationship. Thankfully, nothing like the "Dateline" incident happened.

And then I became involved with the kindest person I've ever met. In 12 years, we've seldom raised our voices. We live in peace and harmony, as civilized people deserve to live. As we watched "Dateline," I had flashbacks to my personal experience and gave thanks that my life changed for the better. I even took a little personal credit for making it happen.

If yours is an abusive relationship, or you know a friend or child who is in one, don't settle or let them settle for mental anguish and despair. Seek help and support. Ask your local police for guidance.

Human beings in abusive relationships need to get out. Tolerating abuse and anger is no way to live.

© 2010, Tom Blake

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Tom Blake is an expert on dating after 50. He has appeared twice on the "Today Show" and has written more than 500 columns on dating and relationships. His "Single Again" column appears in The Orange County Register in southern California, is read worldwide and is often featured on msn.com. He is a professional speaker. He spoke at the national AARP convention in San Diego in 2002, and in Chicago. His book, Middle Aged and Dating Again, is a humorous account of his first year of dating after his third divorce. His second book is Finding Love After 50: How to begin, where to go, what to do. His latest book is titled How 50 Couples Found Love after 50. To ask a question or receive Tom's free weekly column on middle-age dating and relationships by e-mail, click on www.findingloveafter50.com or E-Mail.



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