Love not strong enough reason to endure abuse

By Amber Siwicki

Most people have probably experienced being in love by the time they get into college. There are ups and downs, joys and sorrows, and a ton of confusion thrown into the mix. Typically, most relationships that involve that binding word do not ever see that storybook ending we all wish for. Furthermore, in the midst of all those highs and lows, we eventually start to ignore some of the lows because we desperately want to maintain our relationships. This leaves the burning question: when is it time to call it quits?

According to the 2005 report from the National Center for Victims of Crime, 32 percent of college students report having been a victim of violence by a previous partner. Twenty-one percent report being victims of violence from a current partner. Has violence in romantic relationships become so commonplace in society that we no longer feel it is time to walk away?

I have seen all sorts of relationships throughout the course of my lifetime. In some instances, no matter how bad it gets, members of a couple just won’t cut each other loose. On some level, staying in an abusive relationship becomes a sort of self-administered punishment. Punishment for what? No one could be sure but the person sticking around.

I have seen a couple scream at one another with noses literally touching. They use every nasty word known to man and have even invented a few. Many people have been around to witness this couple literally roll around on the ground while kicking each other and pulling each other’s hair and clothing. One partner in this relationship has also punched the other in the face on several occasions. Once they have each had a good night’s sleep, they will be on the couch, cuddling as though the fight never happened. Could this be healthy? In my opinion: no.

Though it is safe to say that relationship has its downside, filling in as your partner’s personal punching bag would carry a much more extreme title.

An oft ignored element of this type of violence is its effect on the people who are not involved, but witness it just the same. How awkward it feels to watch this manic behavior week after week. I would hardly call it fair to the people who end up getting trampled when trying to separate the overly aggressive couple.

When there is more bad than good in a relationship, I would have to think it’s time to cut the ties. When you have a gathering of friends over at your house and you end up putting on a free boxing match, it may just be time to move on. When your apartment walls start bearing the weight of your frustration from an argument with your significant other to the point that they start to resemble Swiss cheese, you have to start questioning if it is going to be worth the security deposit loss.

For these couples, perhaps the arguing, the violence and the cruel words are all worth it. On the other hand, I’m sure most other people in romantic relationships would contest that. Personally, I would much rather talk it out rationally than take a blow to the face.

Amber Siwicki is an opinion columnist for the Northern Star.