A dear friend of mine was discussing the male habit – in some cultures – of insisting on telling a woman that he needs her so badly he cannot live without her. It is considered in some places romantic and loving to claim that you would literally die without this one all-important irreplaceable person to prop you up in life. In contrast, to state what is actually healthy (I love you, but I could still be happy without you) is considered cold or distant. My friend’s theory is that this media-propelled idea of “romance” is the dark underbelly of the domestic violence culture. Because if you need someone that much, they cannot leave you. You have to keep them. It’s life or death.
I have thought about this a lot, especially as I spend so many days in domestic violence courtrooms. I also think about it pretty much every morning, when I exercise to music and listen among other things to love song lyrics. Take the music away from the song lyrics, or set the domestic violence perpetrator’s words to music, and they become one and the same.
When I’m without you, I’m something weak. I can’t live, if living is without you. You’re my everything. Only you can make this world seem right. Don’t let me suffer. Without you, my world would crumble. You’re my reason for living. We only said goodbye with words – I died a hundred times. You took my heart and you threw it away. I’m broken in two. I’ve been so lonely, I could die.
Yes, these are all song lyrics.
What did I hear in court this week in response to why a man violated a no-contact order? “She is my whole life. When she left me, she took my life away. I have nothing now. I cannot get over the heartbreak. I lived for her. She is the love of my life and my best friend. I can’t do anything without her. I am trying, but I feel so sad and desperate. I had to try to reach her. She is everything to me. When she left me, she killed me inside. I have nothing to live for without her. That’s why I had to try to see her.”
Set it to music, and you have a “romantic song”. Right up until the romance ends, and then you have a domestic violence scenario.