Three things. I repeatedly talk about three things that help to keep people, myself included in that category, on track and self-accountable.
1. You are where you are because of the choices you have made.
2. You are exactly where you are supposed to be.
3. God has a plan. He is not surprised by anything happening in your world.
Those three beliefs have helped me for years and I know have helped others. In fact, other than, lead with love, my entire platform/belief system...whatever you want to call it, is based on those statements.
And they work pretty well. It helps us to take responsibility for the choices of our lives. It helps us to have a bit of "control" over our little corner of the world. It's an overwhelming thought believing that we have to try and "fix" others or try and change them in order to make us happy, or make our world feel orderly. It's not possible. The only person we have any say over is ourselves. The only person we can change... is looking back at us from the mirror.
It's not just a set of beliefs... those statements are based in fact. When you feel you've wandered down the wrong path and are bumped up against a brick wall, you can... every time... go backwards and see the choices that were made that got you there. And even more than the choices; the thoughts you were thinking at the time that convinced you of those choices. Which halts any kind of "victim mentality" of "why is this happening to me?"
(Yes, I realize there are things that have nothing to do with our choices, and the random acts of others, but let's focus on the bigger picture of how we govern our own lives regardless- sometimes in spite of- those around us. Okay? )
And I believe that. I believe that with all of my being. And it's easy to share these statements as advice or "warnings" to others while everything is sunny and rosy in our world.
But... what happens when it's you.
What if it's you that have found yourself in dire straits and you can't accept why or how you got there.
Do you still believe?
Are those statements still true?
Do they still stand the fact-test?
Yes. They do.
2023 began for me with the startling discovery that my husband had emptied our bank account and abandoned all responsibilities in our marriage. He broke all communication. And just walked away. (Here is where I say this isn't the first time he's walked away from our marriage... this is actually number three.)
You can see where I'm going with this, right?
While I was... (and am, still) shocked... Surprised... Hurt... I can see the path of my choices. And when I am crying to God about my anguish, He comforts me, because He knew this was coming. The red flags were there all along. I saw them. I ignored them.
I have my reasons for going back again and again trying to hold a crumbling marriage together, but they were wrong. I didn't want to see. I didn't want to believe.
I am where I am today because of choices I made... or perhaps, didn't make. I refused to see the person before me and instead chose to believe that I could love enough for both of us. I chose to believe that I "couldn't" leave the marriage because he needed me. I chose to believe that if I just hang on, things would work themselves out... we just had to get to this point... or that goal. It's a hard truth when you have to look at that face in the mirror and acknowledge that you let her down. The lack of making choices... got us here.
Abandoned and facing bankruptcy.
I may have had the best of intentions. I may have believed I could fix things. I may have known that he didn't love me in return. But the choices I made... put me right here.
You are where you are supposed to be.
How could I possibly be where I'm supposed to be? I can accept that I made bad choices. Loved the wrong people. Trusted the wrong people, but do I deserve to be here? Is this really what my life is supposed to be? I am filled with shame. I am fighting depression. I am being humiliated and lied about and slandered. I am in such a deep, engulfing pain that it can't POSSIBLY be what is supposed to be happening right now, right?
Yes. Apparently it is.
God knows what's happening. And He is not surprised.
So... if I believe number 3. I have to believe number 2. And if I TRULY believe number 3, I need to dig in and find out what He wants me to learn from this.
Therefore, I need to lean into Him even more and not do ANYTHING without consulting Him. I am obviously grounded from making my own choices for a while because I think with my heart and not my head.
God says, "come to me and I will give you rest". He says to lay my burdens at His feet. He says that HE is the way the truth and the light and HE will make all things work for those who believe in Him. He will grant me strength in my waiting and I will get through this.
I will make new choices. I will cry. I will be sad. I will allow the feelings of guilt and abandonment to pass through me, but I will choose not to stay there. I will not seek revenge. I will forgive, but I will not forget.
I don't usually stay "down" for long. And I hope and pray this year will not be any different along those lines. I will fall back on my big three:
I am where I am because of the choices I made.
I am exactly where I am supposed to be and I will allow God to use this experience to mold me and repurpose it for His glory.
God was not surprised by these events. He knows my heart. He knows my blind spots. He knows my compassion. He knows resilience.
And ... I will continue to lead with love. It may be at arms length for a while, but... love is love and I can't not give it away. It's no one else's fault. (Well... maybe ONE PERSON... but...) It's no one else's fault that I should withhold love from others.
When I feel lost in my purpose; when I feel thrown off track, I hit the reset button and always go back to the original assignment: Love others as I have loved you.
The Whole Story
This is going to be such a hard post to write, so bare with me...
Things have shifted. And in a big way. Things don't always go as planned, and... you have to shift. The emotion is still really close to the surface so, I apologize if it spews out across the page, but... you've been with me this far, and you're still here so this won't be the first time. Lol
To start... my husband left me in February this year. I knew I was taking this trip alone so, that was just that. If I'm being honest, I didn't give myself much time to work through that grief because I'm a master of being busy. I am always going, doing, creating... all the things. Being a life student and a relationship coach... it is really hard to swallow that my own marriage wasn't a perfect and lovely textbook example. It is humiliating, if I have to put a word on it. It feels like I learned nothing if I couldn't even see and remedy the issues in my own marriage. I must be a terrible relationahip coach.
What they don't tell you in your relationship classes, and you have to pretty much figure out for yourself is that... sometimes, you can't control another person's actions. And by sometimes, I mean, MOST times. You have no control over someone else's choices.
I had no control over his leaving me... I just had to decide how I was going to respond and what I was going to do next.
Fast forward to half way through my trip...
My husband's health is failing. He suffered injuries while serving his country and they are tired of being ignored. In short- his vertebrae is crumbling and trying without success to reframe his bones and muscle structure to still give him support. It's not working. He's going to require surgery (or series of surgeries, and if it sounds like I'm making light of it, please understand that it's my defense mechanism. )
I need to get back and take care of my husband. I love my husband and this is that part "in sickness and in health" that I agreed to whether he did or not. I believe in marriage and I want a happy marriage, but I can only do what I can do. And do it to the best of my ability without judgment, or punishment and in an unconditionally, loving way. And what I need to do is get to Alabama to get my husband through this surgery and physical therapy on the other side, in the most loving and supportive way I know how. God is pretty amazing and is capable of turning this marriage around at any point, so I walk in faith.
No dates have been set, as yet for the surgery and I have come to realize that I will no longer be able to travel. It's a hard pill to swallow since I've worked so hard to finally get here and now I have to put it to rest. I am so very thankful that I was able to have this one last bang of a trip. (Sidenote: This is WHY you don't wait until retirement to follow your dreams or do the things your heart tugs you toward. Don't ignore it. Don't wait... you might not get the chance "later".)
I am beyond grateful that I got to follow The Oregon Trail... It wasn't the trip that was originally planned, but I'm not sad. I saw so many things. I learned so many things. I made friends along the way. I learned things about myself that I would have never discovered otherwise. I got to "meet" all of you. These memories will set me up for a very long time.
I have yet to go through all the photos, something to look forward to.
A lot of new wheels have been put into motion.
- I cancelled the PostCard Club.
As I have mentioned before, I did not receive an income from the Club, and more times than not, it cost more than it brought it. Plus, I will no longer be traveling, so it seemed the right thing to do.
I have decided that all the members will still get their ornament and the 2020 group will still get their digital copy of my book A Devil's Errand when it is released. I will still send out all the postcards for the month of September and for those who purchased for the full year, I'll send along other gifts instead to make up the difference.
- The History Revisited Facebook Group.
The group... oh... this is hard... I have enjoyed my time with you so much and I have loved getting to know you throughout the years. And those who popped in every once in a while... I saw and appreciate you too!
Seeing as how I'm about to be a full-time caregiver, I feel the best course of action is to delete the group as I won't have the time to keep up with it and again... not going to be traveling or visiting historical sites until further notice.
I will still be producing the Bag of Bones Podcast, for those of you who need your history fix. I'm going to turn all of my (spare) attentions on that and my author life. I'll be writing books, coaching and maybe creating some new writing or history courses, I don't know. I have no idea what my future looks like, but my writing is everything so it will continue in some form or another.
I would be so honored if you would follow me on my Facebook page(s)-
Elizabeth Bourgeret- Author and/or Bag of Bones Podcast
Perhaps we can continue our friendships there.
If neither of those are a fit for you, please know that I will miss you and again, have enjoyed beyond words your participation and presence in my life.
- The Wildwood Conestoga
I am grateful that I will get to visit with my children (both in MO) and my family (mostly in AR) before I get settled in Alabama where my husband and his family reside.
The Conestoga will be sold next month. It has served me well, kept me safe and the new owner gets a new set of tires! Lol!
What a good, mostly sturdy companion it turned out to be :)
Money is about to get extremely tight, so I am downsizing in every way.
I have been so blessed and so ridiculously grateful to have been able to come on this adventure. It truly has been an adventure of a life time and I am beyond thankful that I was able to make it to Oregon.
I have earned my Coast to Coast title and being an ocean girl at heart, that's no small thing.
I have SO many new story ideas that have come from this trip so I will never run out of book tasks. And being able to see what they saw, feel what they felt, touch the flora and fauna, cry with their pain, celebrate thier victories... I promise you to give their stories true depth and emotion so you feel as if you are there. Witnessing the land and their crossing (even the California route too!) I will have SUCH an advantage to creating an authentic Oregon Trail Series.
So, I am blessed. I'm not upset. A little sad, (okay fine, a lot sad) but I know that I will continue to be blessed in other ways, because my God loves me, and shows me everyday.
So I walk... and drive... in faith.
Thank you for your prayers and words of encouragement. Thank you for your friendship. Thank you for taking this journey with me. Thank you for being my penpals.
If this could NOT be a good-bye, but just a transition... that would be really great.
So... not goodbye... I'll see you on my author page or the Bag of Bones page
And don't count me out... there's more to come from this plucky author, I promise...
The heart wants what the heart wants. How many times have you heard people say that to explain why they stay in a toxic relationship?
The statement usually goes along with a shrug. Nothing they can do about it. They just love their mate so much that it would do no good to leave because they would find their way back. The circumstances are beyond their control.
They want to be in a relationship so badly that they are willing to settle for things less than they deserve. Sometimes it shows up as abuse. Sometimes it's neglect. Sometimes the puzzle pieces just don't fit, but it's not uncomfortable enough to do anything about.
Oh! I just want to shake some sense into these people! That is not love! Love goes both ways! Love doesn't just take and take and take. The heart does NOT want that!
I believe that you believe that it is love. But if I've said it once I've said it a hundred times, love NEVER hurts. That is not the design of love.
The thought of leaving hurts, I know. The thought of being on your own is scary. Having to start all over again with someone new is daunting. But you are worth more than staying in a relationship that doesn't serve you.
I've got news for you.... the heart wants a loving partner. The heart wants love in return. We were built to give love and seek love in return. SEEK LOVE IN RETURN!!! Notice what 's missing??
We want to believe that love is a feeling... that we just are swept away, and we have no control over the flow of the current. Whether it's calm, or it pulls you under and you're gasping for breath.
But love doesn't just happen. Love is a functioning, growing system that two people are supposed to work together to create. When it's love, you are both building a foundation. One that will last and that you can stand on and feel solid ground when a storm comes.
When a relationship is only one sided, that is not love. If you are feeling alone, or that you are doing all the "work" to maintain this relationship, what kind of a foundation does it have to stand on? We all know that a foundation that is littered with cracks or chunks missing isn't going to last for long. And every storm that comes along chips away at those crack a little more each time....
How long can the heart really "want' emptiness just to have someone lay beside them at night? How many excuses do you need to make to others, or worse, yourself for the bruises... or the lonely times... or the neglect? Where does love say that you should tolerate lies, or deceit or unfaithfulness? Let me give you a hint- it DOESN'T!
The heart wants what the heart wants...
That is just romanticized logic for staying in a defective relationship. Because sometimes it's easier to take the neglect than it is to face the conflict that will come. The guilt that rises and gets caught in our throat. The emptiness of being alone. The pain of rejection. The fear of the unknown reaction. The terror of the known reaction...
Love yourself enough to know if you are in a toxic relationship. Love yourself enough to know when to walk away. Yes, it will be difficult. We have no control of what others do and do not do. We can't expect them to love us back just because we pour out love on them.
Let me say that again: You have not control over what others do. It is not your fault if your partner makes bad, unhealthy choices for your relationship.
You only have control over what you do. What you think, how you respond, your actions, and... what you tolerate.
I'm sure you can read the passion I'm feeling under these words. I'd say that at least 75% of your emails to me deal with unrequited love. And almost every single plea for help is the same... the truth, the signs, the red flags, are all right there, but we love him or her so much that we are blindsided. What many of you are looking for is permission to leave. The others are looking for reasons why... I don't have those answers, but I do know this:
You can't love someone enough for two. You can't; no matter how much you'd like to.
You can't make someone change if they don't want to.
You can't be someone you're not, in order for them to "love you more".
And sadly, most people don't change. If their behavior hurts you, most likely, it will continue.
No matter what you may think you deserve... I promise you, it's never so bad that you should tolerate abusive behavior. Physical. Mental or Emotional. No one else gets the right to mead out your "punishment" as they see fit.
Love yourself, just a tiny bit... just look inward, and see the smallest spark... it's waiting to be seen. You are worth more. You deserve love.
Take one step toward releasing yourself from a toxic relationship. Just one. Then do it again the next day and the next... That spark will grow and ignite a fire inside you and you'll look back and wonder how you put up with such nonsense for so long.
I hope to get that email saying that you have had enough and you are standing your ground; living life on your terms, loving the way love is meant to be.
The heart wants love. Real love. Don't just shrug and take whatever the wind blows your way. Let today be the day that you choose. Let today be the day that you take responsibility for what your heart wants. Just one step.
I'll be waiting for your email. :)
1 Corinthians 13:4
Comment below with #justonestep if you are ready to own your choices or you are showing your support for others in toxic relationships.
Blame It On Any 'Ol Thing
I got my first piece of hate mail...
Don't get me wrong, I've gotten "dislike" mail before. If someone didn't like one of my books or had a differing, intelligent opinion, I've gotten those...
But this one was an all in, all out hate mail. It was a personal attack.
My first reaction was defensive, WHO DOES HE THINK HE IS???
Then I went to sad, Why would he say those things? That's so mean!
Of course, the insecurities kicked in, Maybe he's right. Maybe I shouldn't be advising people. After all, what do I know? I'm nobody special...
Luckily, my brain took over at that point and shut my sensitive heart down!
The long and short of it was that he was blaming me for his girlfriend leaving him. "Because of you, I lost my best friend and lover". That was probably the nicest thing he said in the whole context of the email. The rest was hateful....
Blame is everyone's first response to pain. We automatically look for an outside source we can pin the hurt on to help us deal with it. But things can never reach a solution until we go back and see what our part of the problem was and take responsibility for it. It is not an easy thing to do, but blaming will keep you in the EXACT same place that you are right now.
He went on to say that I was filling her head with stuff like "she deserves better" and that sometimes we "have to be alone until we figure out what is right for us".
Yeah... sounds like something I would say.
Honestly, I don't know specifically who this former couple is but I am thinking that she probably did the right thing by leaving. Because at no point of his rant did he mention that he loved her or was willing to make any changes to win her back. It was all about how his life is miserable without her. That's not love. That's inconvenience.
While this hateful letter was meant to (most likely) tear me down, make me quiet down or maybe even stop me from what I'm doing, but I'm afraid it did a few things in the opposite direction. This is what I have learned from this act of angry opposition:
- While it was probably very difficult for her to leave, she was able to because someone out there gave her the courage to believe in herself. If that was me, I am honored.
- I am doing the right thing. The things that I write are not unique or brilliant, but they are written in a way that the words I write resonate with the ones who are meant to get something from them. What I write and how I write is important to someone, somewhere. And if I am helping even one person, I'm doing the right thing.
- I am becoming a worthy opponent. The Devil is passive until you become a threat and then he begins his attacks. I must be doing something right to get him to turn his attentions to my humble writings. It's okay. I have the Light on my side and it continues to shine down the path I am supposed to be on. (I just have to work on getting a thicker skin!)
- And the writer of the email, you can blame her leaving on any 'ol thing you want to, but the bottom line is: She would have NEVER left you, if you had been treating her right.
Women (in general) are more forgiving. They often give more chances than are healthy. They see the beauty in you and hope and pray it comes to the surface and often stay longer than they should to see it happen. They want and need the security of commitment... It's how we are built. (I know there are exceptions and that is fine, but even the most independent woman want to be needed)
And dear writer of the email that launched an entire blog post-
I don't know if your heart is really broken because she left, or just your pride but here are a few words that I hope will heal your heart.
-I'm am sure that she still loves you and left you unwillingly. From your words, it sounds as if she had to convince herself to step away from the relationship. So, she didn't leave you because she loves you any less.
-I'm also pretty sure she didn't leave you for someone else. She left to save herself. If she DID go to someone else, I can guarantee that it has been building for some time and you just didn't notice that someone else had been giving her the things you were not.
-And finally, if you are unwilling to change or at the very least SEE that you need to change, please, let her go. Don't call her. Don't text her. Don't show up at her job. Don't be her friend on Facebook. Don't try and "just be friends". If you're aren't going to step up to the plate and give her your everything- then give her nothing. Let her go. Let her heal.
-I don't say these things to be cruel, but there is something missing from your relationship and until you find out what that is, she is hurting. And if you love her that should inspire you to do everything in your power to lesson that. Even if that means walking away. If you want to win her back- become the man she SEES in you. But don't woo her back if you're just going to be the same person that hurt her in the first place. Please.
Love is trying to figure out what things you did wrong and CHANGING them because it wasn't working. Love is ALWAYS about the other person. You get love by giving it away. Simple as that.
I'm glad we've had this little talk... I feel much better.
When to Say, "I'm Sorry."
Every couple is going to have disagreements, arguments and maybe even a few knock down drag outs, and all will be well, but I promise you, there will be times when a line has been crossed and your only way to mend the wound is by offering an apology.
Why is "I'm Sorry" so hard for some people to say?
I'm pretty sure it's a pride thing. When you are willing apologize to someone, you first have to admit that you did something wrong. And who likes to do that? Next, you have to put your partner's feelings above your own, and acknowledge that you have caused harm. A humbling task.
Pride is a powerful thing to set aside. But if you continually:
-pretend that an offense never happened
-downplay the hurt
-refuse to take ownership of the infraction
-avoid communicating (with the intent of resolution)
... then pride will destroy your trust, intimacy and may even destroy the relationship itself.
Don't let pride steal the intimacy from your relationship. Allow yourself to be vulnerable to the fact that you just might be at fault.
Avoiding the conversation is not the same thing as resolving it!! By pretending the offense never happened will do far more damage in the long run. You may be able to distract your partner a time or two or charm them into forgetting the offense this time, but believe me, it will catch up to you. No amount of charm or chocolates are going to save you now!!
So go ahead. Do the deed. Don't put it off any longer. Take responsibility for hurting your partner's feelings and do what needs to be done to salve it. Not sure how to go about it?
Here are a few tips:
- Just start by saying it. I'm sorry. (That will get their attention!) But don't stop there...
-address the problem (I'm sorry for...) Let your partner know that you are acknowledging the unhappy emotions you caused. This, usually means more than anything else you can say. Try to identify with your partner's feelings. It may not seem like a big deal to you, but it is to your partner. Don't argue your point, use this as a chance to try and understand.
-really make an effort to say and show how you are going to change in the future in case a similar situation arises. What's the point of apologizing if you have no intention to change? Make sure your partner knows you regret causing the pain and that you sincerely want to work toward a resolution.
-ask for forgiveness. These words are truly humbling and powerful. By asking for forgiveness, it shows that you are choosing to start again with different behaviors. It encourages trust.
-do what you say. Trust grows when you demonstrate the changes in your actions and behaviors that will benefit the relationship.
When NOT to say "I'm sorry"
-when you don't mean it anyway and you're just trying to "move things along".
-not every conflict requires an apology- just be sensitive to times when you know you have crossed the line. You'll know. You'll feel it. And if you don't, the silence will usually let you know.
-if you're just going to deflect it. (When you actually turn the offense back on your partner- guilt) "I'm sorry if you think...." or "I wouldn't have ____ if you hadn't ___" "It's not my fault if you took it that way..."
-if you're just going to take your partner down with you. "I'm sorry, but remember that time when you did ___ to me?"
-and worst of all, if you're just going to repeat the same offense time and again.
Sometimes it may take a few hours or maybe even a few days before the emotions settle down and you can discuss the offense with your partner. Take that breath. Don't storm off or slam doors, just let them know you need a break. This is not the opportunity to hope they "forget about it". If you want to make things right, you're eventually going to have to address it. Just do it, and get back to loving.
Sometimes it may take a while to be forgiven. And that is their right. If you hurt some one and they need time to grieve, allow them that time. And when they do come to accept your apology, be gracious. Don't hold a grudge or get defensive, allow for reconciliation.
I hope this helps. Too many relationships are being slowly shifted a part because of the pride that blocks the apology. We all make mistakes. Take the responsibility to own up to yours. Make things right, make the changes and grow closer together.
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What Love Isn't
Ahh, the month of l'amour... (read in a very thick French accent) Love is everywhere. Flowers, gifts, cards, wedding proposals... February creates the feeling of passion, romance and long lasting love.
I don't want to be the one to pop your shiny helium balloon or anything, 'cause I'll be the first one to go all crazy for Valentine's Day, but just because it is the month that invokes the spirit of love... does not mean that love is what you are feeling!!
Sadly, I am here to tell you what Love. Is. Not.
And it breaks my heart to do so, because I want everyone who wants it to feel those butterflies and goosebumps of love. I want everyone to find that special someone that will stay with them forever- through thick and thin, good times and bad, fat days and skinny days, and all that stuff. But just because it is Valentine's Day does not make it so...
A client of mine had recently gotten away from an abusive relationship. He was both physically and emotionally abusive. He was her addiction. But she finally broke free and moved back in with family for support. She started going to church and became an active participant. Through our sessions she began to realize the destructive behavior and how it impacted her life and the lives of her children. She began to see that maybe this wasn't love, because love doesn't do those terrible things and cause pain to each other. Love only lifts you up. Love never tears you down or manipulates.
She had cut off communication and went out of her way to avoid seeing him and took this time to concentrate on healing. She had to realize that she could live without him, that she was addicted to him lustfully, and that she did not deserve to be treated in such a harmful, manipulative way.
Enter Valentine's Day. In walks Mr. Wonderful with a bouquet of flowers and a shiny helium balloon... oh, and one more thing... a ring. My client went blind, deaf and dumb but still managed to accept his proposal.
"He said he was going to change. The Lord told me to forgive him. If I am supposed to be a good Christian, I should give him another chance. He loves me."
I was speechless. She was in her moment of euphoria so, she wouldn't hear a word I said, so... I'm saying it to you.
What Love Is Not....
Forgiveness. Yes Forgive. Yes, always forgive. Because forgiveness is more for you than the other person. It allows you to heal and move forward and not give others control over your emotions. Yes, forgive. Even in the hardest, most painful of circumstances... forgive. But forgiving is not forgetting. Saying that, hear this- Just because you forgive does not mean that they should stay in your life. Let me say that again. Just because you forgive someone, does not mean they still belong in your life! Not all relationships are meant to last forever especially if they are abusive. You are not being a loving, forgiving person if you allow someone back into your life that is going to continue the same behavior. You know why? You are not loving yourself! That is unhealthy!! You deserve better!! Yes, people can change, but if this is the twelfth time you've forgiven and tried over... chances are, no change is going to take place. You've already proven to them that you will take them back no. matter. what. That is not love. To allow yourself to be treated anything less that amazing... that is not love.
Actions speak louder than words. Just because they say it, doesn't mean their behavior backs up their words. Sometimes we want to hear those words so badly that we tend to turn a blind eye to bad behavior. People can only be artificial for so long. Eventually their real, true self will come to the surface. You know it. You see it... but you chose not to. Those three little words are magic. But if the way they treat you and others contradicts those beautiful words, see it and believe it. It is not love.
Being taken advantage of is not love. When you are someone's second choice, and not their priority, that is not love. If they wait to find out if there are any other offers besides yours before they give you a commitment, that is being taken advantage of. And if you are willing to drop your plans because they called at the last minute, you are allowing yourself to be taken advantage of. If they can't put your first, get out of their way. You deserve someone that will be into the relationship just as much as you.
If you have to try to convince someone to love you... they are not for you. You don't match. It's not necessarily a bad thing! Not everyone is going to get along with everyone else! Don't try to force love. Don't look for things that aren't there. Don't try and change someone into your idea of the ideal mate because you will only be hurt in the end. Love is not forced. You shouldn't have to try so hard to make a relationship work. If there isn't a foundation that you can build on, that is not love.
Disrespect is not love. When someone realizes that they pretty much have a green light to do whatever they want, because you'll always take them back they will continue to respect you less and less. They will wear down your standards; coerce you to have you bend your belief system. They aren't as afraid of losing you as you are of them. When someone disrespects you, it is better to remove yourself from that person. They will never suddenly see your worth. And if you continually drop your standards ("yes, he cheated, but I know he was sorry") they will continually cross that new line. And soon, you will feel shallow and empty waiting for them to love you the way you imagined they would. Let them go.
Love is never hateful. Or abusive. Or harmful. If someone lays a heavy hand on you. That is not love. They may think they love you, they may honestly believe they love you, but love is not designed to hurt. More likely than not, it is an addiction. Addictions are possessive, love is freeing. If someone loves you, they would never, ever want to see you in pain. If they love you, they will not cheat on you. No exceptions. If they love you, they will not leave you. If they love you, they will let you know. You won't have to wonder. If they love you, they will have your best interest at heart. You won't have to force them to want to be with you.
Walking away isn't easy. We all want love. We want to feel the joy of love and sometimes we think that if we just keep trying, we can love someone enough for both people. That is not love. And when you keep trying and keep trying waiting for a different outcome, you only sink deeper and deeper into that loveless hole. They are not going to change. So you either have to tolerate their behavior or walk away, loving yourself enough to start again. I vote for the loving yourself option. The right one IS out there, when you are ready. But you can't really give yourself to someone else to love, when the love is not already there within you.
Don't settle for anyone just to have a someone. That... is not love. Be patient. Take care of you. Do what you need to do so that when love comes along, you'll be ready. You'll recognize it for what it is... and what it isn't.