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10.20.2009

I Hate Your Boyfriend

I'm very protective of my friends. If I were honest, I'd admit that I'm overprotective of some. I've long said, and in fact did list as one of my "30 Secrets, 25 Random Facts" that I'm more protective of my friends than myself. All of this usually means that I'm the chick men hate. I have a lot of guy friends and they all tell me they hate their girl's friends and I'm the chick they hate the most (ok, they don't say the last part, but I know it's true). In fact, in recent years, I've attempted to not be so critical of my friends' boyfriends. I did a post on what to do when your friend is dating someone you don't like and I decided, in the end, to keep my mouth shut and, in the words of a clever commenter, "stay out of grown folk business."

Today, one of my most favoritest bloggers, OneChele did a post on domestic violence. Make sure you read it, her stats are incredible (and not in that good way). In the comments I shared about a friend who's boyfriend is a punk.

I met my friend Katrina the fall of my freshman year in college. She lived down the hall from me in our freshman dorm and we found out that though she moved away, we were from the same city, knew a lot of the same people and even had lived in the same neighborhood. We became fast friends. A few choice decisions on Katrina's end put her a year behind me in school. The summer after our second year she was in summer school and got to know the rising star on our football team; the quarterback. I had already met Patrick and I never got a good vibe off him so when she called to tell me they were seeing each other, I'm sure my reaction left much to be desired.

Fast forward a semester and she and Patrick are hot and heavy and living together in an off-campus apartment. Our schedules kept us from seeing each other quite as much, but through some mutual friends I began hearing that she and Patrick were having a lot of problems. I began making greater efforts to see her to let her know I was still around and she took the opportunity to try to help me get to know Patrick. There was something about the way Patrick didn't really look at me when Katrina was around and the way he never spoke to me when we saw each other on campus that left me with a bad taste in my mouth. One night, Katrina said to me, "Patrick says he thinks you hate him." I laughed and responded, "I don't know him enough to hate him." Katrina quickly said, "I know; that's what I told him." I could tell things about their relationship were amiss, but she seemed happy so I didn't see it as my place to make any comments.

Finally someone told me what was really going on: Patrick was beating her. He had broken 3 of her phones, left marks on her face and was intimidating her. I knew something had to be done when I found out one night she was hiding in a mutual friend's closet. A few days after that night, I was finally able to get ahold of her. We spoke and she confided in me that she was ready to leave. She hadn't been back home in a full day and when she left, Patrick had gone into such a rage that she said everything that could be broken in their apartment was. I grabbed my BFF and we drove Katrina over to her apartment to get her stuff since she figured he wouldn't be home. We pulled into the parking lot and she immediately spotted his car. I told her I was more than happy to go in with her, but she was afraid my presence would upset him. I told her that if she wasn't out in 10 minutes, I was coming in.

10 minutes later, she text me to say they were talking, he was sorry and she thought she should stay. Knowing the unfortunate cycle of abusers, I immediately got out of the car and went to the door. Katrina anticipated me doing that and met me at the door. While I was far from convinced that everything was "ok" I knew I couldn't make her leave with me.

The next week was full of similar situations. Finally, I grew tired of the cat and mouse game and I quit answering the phone. I told one of our mutual friends who Katrina was also confiding in that when Katrina was ready to go she could call me, but that I was done playing games. In the meantime, Katrina began confiding in another mutual friend of ours who she had had a "thing" with prior to Patrick. Joseph started giving Katrina money thinking she was trying to save up to leave, and he bought her another new phone when Patrick broke yet another one.

One night, the BFF and I returned from a road trip to find Katrina sitting in the lobby of our dorm. The three of us hadn't been together since the first night at her apartment and so we decided to go to Waffle House for a late night meal. I called Joseph and he agreed to go. We all met back up 20 minutes later and were headed out when Patrick came downstairs. Without a word, Katrina disappeared and it was all the BFF and I could do to keep Joseph from killing Patrick. That night, I decided I was really done. Katrina had used me, Joseph and the BFF. We were all done.

Fast forward to now. Katrina and Patrick have a beautiful son who I call my nephew and are not together but still living together. Katrina understands that if she ever truly gets ready to leave, I'm here, but until then, I don't care. Patrick knows, as I've made it clear to him that if I ever even THINK he's put his hands on her in front of their son, I got something for him and I will make SURE he gets it. That's the decision I've made for this situation. I have to say going through this has helped me understand better the thinking that makes a woman stay; I still think it's crazy but I better understand. I still hope that Katrina will get real about leaving him, but I know that their son makes that harder.

Domestic violence is one of those things I never thought would happen to any of my "strong, independent, black female" friends but it has and I've been surprised both at her and my own responses. I prioritize keeping my friends safe and I have to say at times I felt I'd failed her. Now I'm just focused on making sure my nephew grows up healthy and happy even with a loser for a father.

2 comments:

Akirah said...

Damn. That's so sad. And hard. I think you are being a good friend. At the end of the day, she has to make the decision to completely eliminate him from her life. And I'm sure having a son together only complicates things further.

Ya. If I were you, I'd hate him too.

Ms. Behaving said...

WOW...That's sad indeed.

It's unfortunate (yes) but we all need to realize that we can't want more for a person than they want for themselves.

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