You only have nostalgic memories of your earlier courtship days. Every time you think of the good old days, of the sumptuous meals in fine restaurants, the long love letters and the feeling of being wanted, you can’t help yourself but wish that those days could return.

Fast forward to today and your once prince charming, the apple of your eye, the perfect gentleman and the man who swept you off your feet effortlessly has turned into a monster. You can’t recognize him. You find yourself wondering what went wrong. You can’t reconcile the man you fell head over heels in love with and the guy who has become the source of all your pains.

It was a match made in heaven. He was the perfect gentleman. He ticked all the boxes. He was tall, dark and handsome just as you envisioned it while growing up. He called countless times a day to check up on you, he knew how to put a smile on your face when you were moody and stressed up and knew all the buttons to press. You were over the moon and thanked your lucky stars for such a great partner.

So deep in love you were, that you didn’t notice a few red flags here and there. Like the flashes of anger of every time you didn’t reply his calls on time or the fact that he flew into a fit of rage whenever you went for a night out with girls without telling him. Your love for him blinded you and the fact that he complemented you in ways you never fathomed made you fall in love deeper with him.

Every single night, you envisioned the day he would go down on one knee and propose to you. You looked forward to the day that he will utter those irresistible words “I want you to be the mother of my kids, to walk with me through the turbulence of life”. You had rehearsed of how everything would go and what a great wife and mother you will be. Everything was going on fine. It’s now 5 years since you walked down the aisle with the supposed love of your life and the smile on your face has since been replaced with tears and long faces.

Every single day is a nightmare. You simply can’t imagine how this once sweet gentleman turned out to be an abusive and insensitive human being. He has literally turned you into a punching bag. Physically and emotionally abusing you at will. What went wrong? Despite pieces of advice from close friends to walk out of the marriage, you simply can’t muster enough courage to do so. You find convenient excuses to stay on in this abusive relationship.

It begs the question, why do people stay in abusive relationships? Why is it so difficult to walk away? Is “for better for worse” a prison sentence of sorts? Well, how about we shed light on some of the silly (if I might call it that way) reasons as to why people stay on.

· Societal expectations

Goddammit! Really? So you become someone’s punching bag because society expects you to work out things in your marriage? You are constantly wondering what people would say if you walked out of your marriage. This is even more apparent in societies where divorce is frowned upon, where a woman who walks out of marriage is stigmatized and societies where a woman’s place is in the kitchen and satisfying her husband’s sexual needs.

Wake up and smell the coffee! A marriage needs to be built on love and mutual respect. Granted, love fades but if your significant other turns abusive and loses all respect for you, it’s time to take stock and make a decision that is in your best interest. Forget about what the society expects of you, what your friends will say or how you will be perceived in certain quotas. Walk out today or we will come to your funeral tomorrow!

· The kids

Believe it or not, countless women out there brave the beatings, the abuse, the expletives and all sorts of abuses in the name of their children. They stay because somehow, in some twisted way, they believe that the kids should be brought up in a proper family set up. They don’t believe in single parenthood and will brave the abuses in the hope that their partner will change one day.

Unfortunately, it never ends well. The kids also need to be brought up in a conducive and loving home. They need not be exposed to violence and in as much as you might want them to be brought up in a proper family set up, the violence and abuse actually pose greater risks to their psychological well-being. I understand it might be scary but the encouraging thing is that there are many successful single parents out there.

You deserve better, your kids deserve better and you were meant for greatness. If the marriage doesn’t work out, if the beatings have become the norm, pack up and leave!

· Financial constraints

“I don’t have a job”. “I am a stay at home mum”. “I fully depend on my husband for everything”. “I don’t know where to start if I pack up and leave today”. These are some of the reasons that women give for staying on in an abusive marriage. They brave despicable and atrocious things simply because they believe that without their partner, they cannot amount to anything. Is it really worth it? No!

You have to begin somewhere. Learn a craft, do some menial job if you have to but don’t stay on and die in the process because you are financially dependent on a man. Make up your mind today, stifle your fears, take the first bold step and never look back. Your destiny is not tied to any person. Take charge of your life today and disentangle yourself from that abusive relationship.

Granted, the above mentioned are just a few main reasons why people stay on in abusive relationships. There are indeed more outrageous reasons married women stay on. The question you need to ask yourself is, Is your love for him reason enough? Are the reasons you keep telling yourself really worth it?

Emancipate yourself from emotional slavery, take the first step towards freedom. If you find it difficult making a decision on your own, seek for counselling. Talk to someone about what you are going through and when the time comes to walk out, never look behind. You deserve better than battering, emotional abuse and perennial disrespect. Ladies, wake up! You were meant for greatness!