He was passionate and charming, a God-fearing man sustained by the strength of his convictions and the force of his personality. He did not hesitate to speak his mind and did so bluntly and plainly. He conveyed power, self-assurance, and a rugged masculinity. When she was with him, he made her feel protected and watched over. She fell for him hard.
They were together for 8 years. At first, he seemed to treat her well. Though not a generous man by nature, he occasionally managed to bestow modest gifts upon her, about which he made a great fuss. Over time, he became less giving and less attentive. He seemed to take her for granted. He began to ignore and minimize her needs, thinking only of himself and his cronies. He became secretive and deceitful. He spied on her. He spent unwisely and took money from her. He burned through their savings and amassed a mountain of debt. He behaved rashly, even picking fights with strangers. When she brought up his behavior, he angrily questioned her love and intimated that she was unfaithful. He told her that no one would care for her if he left.
Despite everything, she stayed with him. She looked the other way or made excuses for his behavior. She rationalized that he could not help himself, that he was just naturally intense and passionate. She felt like she needed him. So she stuck it out, busying herself with work and taking refuge in the creature comforts of eating and shopping—and in the illusion that everything was all right.
More years passed, and then something shifted. His hold over her waned, and she managed to gain her independence. She even started to see someone else, who seemed more kindly and sensitive to her needs. But she remained burdened by the legacy of her prior relationship. She was haunted by crushing debt and painful memories that defied escape. She despaired, and her new relationship suffered. He could not rescue her, and she faulted him for this inability and his matter-of-fact demeanor.
When her old beau began to woo her back, pledging that things would be different, she found herself oddly tempted.