Toxic Relationships

Mar 202012
Authors: Morgan Mayo

In 1958, Lana Turner was repeatedly beaten by her gangster boyfriend Johnny Stompanato until her daughter stabbed him in the stomach. Halle Barry was hit so hard by her ex-boyfriend that she lost hearing in her right ear.

To this day, Madonna calls Sean Penn the love of her life, even though he was found guilty for domestically abusing her in 1988. And then there was the 2009 Rihanna and Chris Brown debacle, in which Rihanna was beaten black-and-blue the day before the Grammy’s. Now the two are reconciled and recording music together.

Through all of these stories courses the same resounding question: Why do intelligent women with incredible futures continue to fall for bad men?

I have always had a somewhat questionable taste in guys. But recently, it became clear that perhaps I may need to re-evaluate some of my standards after I spent a significant amount of time crouched in the back of a man’s closet, praying I wouldn’t hear a gunshot and desperately trying to come up with an escape plan should the wrong guy happen to open the closet door.

I trust this man completely around other women, yet when he’s half an hour late to pick me up from the airport, I begin to secretly worry whether he’s stolen my car. I know he’ll be over when he says he will, but I also know he’ll never tell me where he’s coming from or what he’s really been doing. We talk all the time, but when I get a call at 3 a.m. I know it’s more than likely coming from a jail cell.

And yet, even as I’m writing this and realizing how much of a freaking idiot I am, I’m still sitting around in his flannel shirt with his chain around my neck.

I never thought I would be the girl that would be stupid enough to get involved in a dangerous relationship. Yet here I am, wholeheartedly believing that a good guy who does bad things is still ultimately a good person.

So why do we do it? Why do we women risk our safety and our futures for men?

I think one of the main reasons for me is that I watch entirely too much T.V. It’s not “The Godfather” or “West Side Story.” Dying as a young lover in the middle of gang violence isn’t romantic –– it’s just f***ing stupid. The thug who’s rough around the edges with a sensitive side is a figment of Hollywood imagination. In a real culture of violence, there are no happy endings.
Women also love fixer-uppers. The thought of a man from the wrong side of the tracks, all muscular and tatted and filled with ambition makes me quiver all over.

For some reason, women seem to believe that the more violence, abuse and trauma in a man’s past, the more attractive and perfect he’s going to be once he cleans up his life. But unfortunately in most cases, men with turbulent pasts don’t turn into moody emotional writers who write deeply felt prose about their past life. A violent past makes a person jaded and hard until the violence is perpetuated into their future. The cycle will repeat and you will be caught in the middle of it.

And then there’s the excitement. Ninety-five percent of my life is all picket fences, school and soccer moms walking their Labrador retrievers in suburbia. Yes, hiding on the floor of a closet is slightly terrifying, but it was something different. Relationships feel more passionate when there’s a real chance of one of you dying in the near future.

Dangerous relationships are sexy, fast-paced and completely stupid. Powerful, independent women risk their safety, their dignity and their futures for relationships that are ultimately dead ends. But as long as you’re along for the ride, just remember that broken hearts will heal a lot faster than broken bones.

Awkward times are ahead my friends! But until we meet again…Cheers!

Morgan Mayo is a junior creative writing major. Her column appears Wednesdays in the Collegian. She can be reached at

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