At one point in our lives we've all been a witness to or a victim of abusive relationships.
On the celebrity level we've seen the Tina and Ike Turner story play out; the toxic relationship of Whitney Houston and Bobby Brown leading to what some believe was her ultimate demise; the Barbie and Ken doll relationship of reality TV stars Spencer Pratt and Heidi Montag; and even The Material Girl herself and actor Sean Penn back in the 1980s. The very strong and beautiful Halle Barry was once hit so hard by her ex-boyfriend she permanently lost hearing in her right ear. And then, of course, there was the very public Rihanna and Chris Brown debacle in 2009 -- pictures of Rihanna's swollen, bruised and bloody face leaked and public service announcements and awareness campaigns became a standard on television in the months surrounding the beat-down.
Physically abusive relationships are often more magnetic to the naked eye than those that are verbally and emotionally abusive. For me? Been there, done that and I vow to never go back to that low point in my life.
When I was attending Colorado State, I lost almost all of my closest friends. I single handedly let one person rule my life -- my every move -- and dreaded what consequences I might undergo when I didn't pick up my phone on the first or second ring. I would have to take pictures of my timecards at work to prove that I was indeed waiting tables from 4 p.m. to midnight. I was "allowed" to go out with my friends if you asked him, but the repercussions simply weren't worth it.
I became weak, lost who I was as a person and lost who I wanted to become.
It was two years ago, but even to this day as I sit here stronger and smarter in The Sun conference room with tears in my eyes, I can't help but ask "Seriously, Kate? How stupid were you?" And "Why did you put up with that?" Through my story and all similar stories, it's the same resounding questions. When you're in it you become numb and reality becomes nothing more than a paralyzing sensation. Only those who have been through it get it. But it's those who have been through it and have gotten out of it who know just how difficult it truly is.
So how did I get out of it? It sounds a hell of a lot easier than it was, but I hit my breaking point and I snapped. I snapped hard. I was graduating from college and figured that now more than ever would be a great time to start fresh. I knew what I wanted in my life, and finally, I was not going to let anyone bring me down from the diploma and job offer-high I was on. I cut the cord and kept myself busy through hiking, coaching, reconnecting with old friends, working and packing for my new life in the Sunshine State.
So, is it fair to say that nice guys always finish last? And that all girls like bad boys? That dangerous relationships are sexy and fun? History proves that even the most powerful and independent women risk their safety, their dignity and their futures when in bad relationships and later regret it one way or another.
Since I was in junior high school I've always said that I would be lucky someday to have a relationship as strong, as pure, as committed and as real as my parent's relationship is. With complete confidence I can say that I have found my other half, my soul mate and my best friend in Collin. Each day I wake up knowing that I am loved as equally as much as I love him. Our love is simple, but in the most complex and deepest way.
So those of you who have related to this column more than your average reader, remember that broken hearts will heal a lot faster than broken homes and broken bones. The grass is greener on the other side, and you -- and only you -- know what really happens behind closed doors.