Miss Aida
Boyfriends can be the bane of my existence.

Well, not my man, as I seem to have struck gold in that department, but those of my dearest girlfriends. At one point I would have struggled to bring myself to like any of the significant others hanging off the arms of my best buds. I was always civil to them, mind you, but behind their backs lay a very concerned friend.

I thought that time would change things but it seems that that is not always the case.

In my younger years, a disliked boyfriend was just that. Someone you didn't like, someone you thought wasn't up to par with those preconceived standards about your girlfriend. I always thought they deserved so much better, did not understand why they chose to put up with the fights and the heartbreak and were unable to see their boyfriends for what they truly were – jerks.

The wisdom that comes with age brings a lot more responsibility. And opens your eyes a lot more about concerns that I would have never thought of as a high school kid.

A darling friend of mine has been with her boy for some time, and I have never ever liked him. My dislike is not fuelled by some gut instinct (although I must admit that plays some role in this), nor some old belief that he is not worthy of her.

My hatred and worry stems from the way he treats her, with disrespect. It stems from his controlling ways, and I have seen her drift away from old friends, especially male friends, even if the relationship is merely platonic. My anger stems from his outbursts of anger, in which he has said horrible things about her character, and if you know her the way I know her, she is the last person in the world you would say such horrible things about, for she is one of the sweetest nicest people I have ever had the grace to meet.

And therein lies the problem. Within the heart of every woman is a belief you can change the worst of their lovers, and the sympathy to stay, for you cannot help who you fall in love with, and sometimes the strength to realise that things will never be what you want them to be is not always evident.

I believe a man that truly loves a woman does not say things, hateful and hurtful things, that deliberately belittle his so-called 'loved-one's' character. He does not repeatedly call her stupid, he does not force her to cut contact with male friends and he does not make derogatory comments such as accusations of being a slut.

It hurts when I have to watch her hurting, for no reason asides from the harsh lies that pour from the lips of someone she cannot help loving.

I fear the verbal abuse is just beginning, and I fear that if their relationship progresses any further, it will turn into physical abuse.

I worry that I cannot be there for her, and pray that she has the strength to make the right decisions on her own.

It scares me that she is not the only woman I have known to endure the same issues, and that all these women may potentially be victims in the future. And to realise, that all these smart, beautiful, caring women let themselves be hurt the way they do, be demoralized the way they do by men who do not seem to see them for the wonderful people they are, is an issue that will forever haunt me.

In the meantime, I can only be there for you, old friend. You know where to find me.
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