I yelped in pain. I knew he was strong, I just didn't think he would really hit a girl. Actually, I knew he would.

"Don't you ever lie to me about what you were doing ever again!" he yelled.

"I'm sorry," I whimpered.

His facial expression softened and he sat next to me. He began to whisper in my ear while stroking my hair. "Sorry, baby, I love you. As long as you listen everything will be okay."

This happened often. My boyfriend had slight anger issues, but they weren't too bad. I mean, he would always apologize; wasn't that good enough?

It wasn't. I always believed it wouldn't happen again. Time and time again he would beat me when something went wrong.

I let him. I thought I was helping him. I scared of him. I was afraid to lose him, afraid to be hurt by him again. I had bruises and scars all over my body. I wanted to get out of the relationship, but I couldn't force myself to be alone. I wanted someone to always be there for me. In my mind, as long as he was it would be oaky.

My dad had died when I was four years old. I had no males in my life until I decided to start dating. I had a lot of boyfriends. Each one broke my heart. But now- now I didn't have to worry about that anymore. My boyfriend promised to never leave me, and as long as I had someone- I thought it would be alright. Sure he hit me sometimes, but all couples argue, right?

That was all I decided it was going to be. Just a slight disagreement and everything would go back to normal.

But it happened daily- actually hourly. He wanted to be with me every second of my life and if I couldn't make that work, he would get mad.

He had family issues too. That was why I let him do what he did. I thought that maybe if I helped him get through a difficult time in his life by letting him beat me, I would be a good girlfriend.

Instead, he criticized me. He told me I was ugly- that I wasn't good enough. He always apologized. What if this really was how people in relationships should act now? I didn't know.

Finally, one day when I had enough of his abuse, I threatened to break up with him. He told me that he didn't care, that he would be happy to break up with me. But when I actually was about to go through with it, he apologized and told me how much it would hurt him to lose me.

I was confused. I was with someone, yet I still felt alone. How could this be possible? I loved him and he loved me. Right? It didn't make sense to me.

I thought that maybe I could take this for just a little longer. Then, one day, it happened. He raped me. I screamed and cried but he was too powerful.

I broke up with him after that. I had lost my virginity thanks to him.

I felt empty, and alone, like something was missing from my life. I became depressed. There was no one left to love me. When my mother found out what had happened, she disowned me- and left me to live by myself.

A few months later- I saw him again. He apologized so many times and said he would never do anything like that ever again.

I believed it. We started dating again and he even took me in to live with him.

For the first month that we were back together, he didn't injure me at all. I started to believe that maybe he really did change. It didn't take long for me to realize that it was too good to be true.

I'm still with him today. The bruises on my body are constant reminders of the pain he's put me through, yet I stay. I don't understand why, and I don't expect you to either. Is this what it means to be loved?