Love never punches.
Love doesn’t taunt or threaten.
Love won’t dictate who your friends are or continually try to cut you off from your family.
Love won’t scream in your face, calling you a whore and a dozen other nasty names. It won’t text horrible messages to you or seek to shame you on Facebook. It won’t sneak looks at your cellphone, tracking who else you called.
Love never accuses.
Love won’t willfully crush your spirit, then pretend to be your only fan. Love won’t force you to drink alcohol or try drugs, commit crimes or lie for it. Love won’t look past you, leering at your friend. Or your daughter.
Love never deliberately locks you out of the house or trashes your belongings, then begs for forgiveness.
Love won’t arrive in the middle of the night, reeking of alcohol, demanding sex. It won’t wave a gun muzzle in your direction or slide a knife blade over your skin. It won’t terrorize the children.
Love never kicks you in the stomach, harms the dog or hurts the baby.
Love doesn’t demean.
Love won’t intentionally put your life in jeopardy or send you to an emergency room, bruised and bleeding. Love won’t give you a black eye, then cover up the cause when people ask what happened. Love won’t turn away the police at the door, telling them everything’s OK inside. Love won’t laugh at your pain. Love doesn’t make excuses.
Love won’t use you to look better in front of its friends or simply to feel good about itself. It won’t cause an ugly scene in your workplace or school. It never leaves you feeling totally dependent, helpless even, and wondering, dear God, what should I do.
Love doesn’t abuse and apologize, abuse and apologize and return to abuse again.
That’s not what love is. No amount of drugstore candy, Valentine’s cards or paper hearts can conceal the truth.
If you — or someone you know — is in an abusive relationship, get help from the professionals who understand the emotional damage and all-too-real danger of domestic violence. Ask for advice on how to safely escape the situation as soon as possible. Find shelter. Stop the hurt.