Blog by Yessica Maher, los Angeles Native.

She explores life after marriage, starting a career in her late 30's, relationships, breaking cycles of abuse, online dating, self care, fertility and depression. 

It's all over the place, but so is living. 

Can You Spot Domestic Abuse Early On?

The thing with standing in the empowerment of who you are is once you do it, you feel it when you aren't anymore.  It would be awesome to be able to say that my break in writing was about profound revelations and delving deeper into who I want to be, but I spent the last couple of months trying to dig myself back into a life that doesn't serve me. I was in a relationship.  I was being a girlfriend and seeing where I needed to grow.  I enjoyed parts of being a couple.  I kept looking at the cost of the relationship, and feeling that the benefits outweighed any sacrifice.  I had a few moments of frustration that I wasn't taking the time to watch the ocean, or go hiking, but I couldn't blame him.  It was the layers of my history telling me that being in relationship means being in service.

I visited my Dad on Sunday.  Part of our conversation was about the God I was raised to love and serve, and he admonished me that I can't say I love God if I don't obey his laws.  (I broke a few major ones in this relationship.) I left saying I loved him, and he said love is obedience.  Just the day before I had seen my nieces.  I told them I knew my boyfriend wasn't the one, but he was the one for now.  I knew it was about being in the moment, but I didn't see when that moment ended, but they did.  As I was telling them I wanted them to be authentic . . . I wanted them to stand up to their parents and aunts . . . stand up to me because "no" is an answer and never needs an explanation . . .

I got a call from my sister the next day.  My nieces heard what I said, but I was showing up to them as a lonely and sad woman.  The woman my family had started to get to know was disappearing under the weight of my relationship.  I had grown into someone I was proud of, but I couldn't see how love and service, and sacrifice meant that I was putting him before myself and taking leaps and bounds backwards.

It was a weekend where I got feedback from my loved ones that shook me.  I didn't wake up and snap out of it until a conversation with him that showed me how different we really are.  It was a moment where I looked at the ways he wanted to control my finances and other ways I choose to live and it was a moment where I wanted to run.  Having been in the situation before, I was lost again.  Was I overreacting? Am I seeing things that aren't there? It was both familiar and terrifying.  And it was time to walk away, but I wasn't sure.  The next day we argued by text and rather than tell me how he felt, he started putting me down.

I watched a video on Facebook today and as it got closer to the end, I started sobbing.  I may just be hormonal, but it resonated profoundly: [facebook url="https://www.facebook.com/AlexLeeWorld/videos/1105464309536408/" /] Once I ended the relationship, he begged me to take him back and as the second day wore on, he started a text stream of insults against me and my family, making threats and accusations. But I've been here before. It only took a moment to gaze in the mirror and remind myself of who I am. It only made me feel better about my decision to end things, no matter what my future without him looks like.

We were together about two and a half months, and I'm still trying to figure out how I missed the signs of abuse that are so clear today. He wanted to help around the house and made changes as improvements. He enrolled me in what he thought was best for my family. He wanted to lead my household but I couldn't give up complete control and he made that feel like a failure on my part. He made me feel like I was wrong to not relinquish the power I had over my home, even though I knew how ridiculous his request was to me, my children, my family and anyone else that knows me.

I wanted company when I started online dating. I found it. I was convinced that it was okay to spend time with "Mr. Right Now," but I know it's better to be alone than in a relationship that doesn't serve me and make me grow. I'm alone again and being single feels like freedom again.

What Financial Abuse Looks Like

What It Means to Make Space for Someone or Something In Your Life