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Love Shouldn’t Hurt on Valentine’s Day or Any Other Day

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It was just a few days into the semester at a local community college where I was teaching a critical thinking class.

I had just dismissed the class  when an attractive female student stopped by my desk before leaving the room.

“I just want to let you know that I’ll have to drop out of school for now,” with a distinct sadness in her voice.

“I’m sorry to hear that,” I shared. “Are you moving?”

“Actually, yes. I’m moving into a shelter with my two kids to get away from my husband.”

“Oh,” I could hardly catch my breath.

“He knows my schedule, and so to be safe we must go into hiding for a while.” Her fear was palpable. “I don’t know when I will return,” she said as she slowly turned and left the room.

I never saw her again.

In my 40 years of teaching, she was not the first nor the last of my students who left school to begin their escape from domestic violence.

I never saw any of them again, but I think about them.

Many women (and some men too) are hurt by the same people who once promised to love and protect them.  When this happens, the fear of abuse and even death can be overwhelming.

Here’s hoping that you have a great Valentine’s Day full of love and affection from your significant others. Unfortunately, there are some for whom Valentine’s Day is not a happy day at all.

Troubling concerns associated with Valentine’s Day

1. For the wives and children who are victims of violence and abuse Valentine’s Day is just another day of fear, dread and anxiety.

2. Many cheaters get caught on Valentine’s Day because they  show up for both their lovers and spouses too.  For this reason, Valentine’s Day  is a banner day for private investigators according to this article and this one.

3. Animal abuse and domestic violence are linked according to this article.

More troubling concerns associated with cheating and domestic violence

1. If you’re one of those people who asks why women stay in abusive relationships, watch the video above and read this article where Leslie Morgan Steiner, author of Crazy Love , shares her own disturbing story and those of others. She is in an advisory group for DC Volunteer Lawyers Project.

2. Out of marital cheating often grows other endeavors. One writer was so upset at catching her husband cheating on Valentine’s Day that she started a website, www.revengelady.com to give advice on revenge, she says, so that you can bring happiness and humor back to your life.

3.  It’s not unusual on dating sites to see applicants admit in their profiles that they are married and just looking for a fling. (Wonder how I know this?)  But how about a website like http://www.ashleymadison.com/ devoted to encouraging cheaters who are looking for affairs.

4. As many as 90% of the women in jail today for killing men had been battered by those men. See the Fact Sheet on Battered Women in Prison.

5.  In the video above, Steiner shares these chilling statistics:

  • One in three women experience domestic violence at some point in their lives.
  • 500 women and girls a year are killed as victims of domestic violence.
  • It’s extrememly dangerous to leave an abusive relationship. More than 70% of domestic violence murders occur after the victim has left.


What can you do about all this?

1. Learn to recognize the early signs of abuse. The abuser usually seduces and charms the victim before slowly isolating her from her friends and families.

2. Break the silence.

Lorri Galloway, executive director of Eli Home, speaks with reporter.

Lorri Galloway, on the right, executive director of Eli Home for Abused and Neglected Children, speaks with reporter. Date unknown.


3. Help break the cycle of abuse.

4. Don’t let these grim facts and  experiences turn you against love and Valentine’s Day. Instead,

  • Spend the day with loving friends or relatives. Since I’m mateless, I’m going to enjoy a local jazz performance with a group of friends.
  • If you are going to be alone on Valentine’s Day, Mashable suggests some Netflix movies just right for the occasion.
  • Recall the interesting history of Valentine’s Day here
  • Call to extend loving thoughts to someone else who will be alone on this day and will be uplifted to hear from you.
  • Visit a nursing home to spend some time with those residents who never get visitors.
  • Attend religious/spiritual services since this year Valentine’s Day falls during the Christian Lent season
  • Extend random kindness to a stranger today.
  • Leave random love notes in a public place you visit today. See Writing Letters Brings Double Happiness.
  • Share this post with folks you love and on your social media sites.

[This is an update on a similar post I wrote on Feb. 14, 2011]

Can you think of other ways we can celebrate love and Valentine’s Day? Leave your ideas in the Comments.



  1. Thank you for sharing this message that is just as true and valuable every day of the year. I have experienced domestic violence. I stayed for awhile. And then, I found the courage to leave. Supporting women and children in this situation by donating,volunteering, or praying is a valuable gift not only for them, but for our world.

    • This is a powerful message. The statistic that one of out every three women is abused or knows someone who is makes me shiver.

  2. Hi Flora,
    I really believe that building strong self-esteem and boundaries in children could help to prevent future problems. It seems that people that cheat and or abuse have major psychological problems that don’t allow them to feel empathy for the pain they cause.

    Not to worry though, people who harm others get back what they give out. It’s called Universal Law.

    Take Care.

    • Hi Justin,

      You are absolutely right. For parents to build strong self-esteem and boundaries in their children they have to have those in place within themselves.

  3. Valentine’s Day has always been a challenge for me (starting with the fact that my dad died on Valentine’s Day!). So for me, self care on that day means keeping a low profile and doing quiet things I enjoy.

    But the point of your article, of course, is to increase our awareness of all the forms of domestic violence. I think more and more people are indeed becoming more sensitive to this issue, not only in the US but in other countries as well.

    Thanks for spreading the information.

    • Hi Galen,

      It makes for a very different memory with your dad having died on Valentine’s Day. You are smart to be gentle with yourself on that day.

      It’s so important to keep talking about and exposing domestic violence because it thrives in silence and in the dark.

      Thanks for stopping by to share.

  4. This is a powerful message that needs to be shared. Thank you.

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