If you ever did write anything about me, I’d want it to be about love.

3 Jul

There’s no way to begin this story where it started, so I’ll tell you its end first.

It ends with a night when a man – just barely a man, mostly a boy, full of jokes and laughter and passionate opinions – held me down on the thick black asphalt of the parking lot by my neck.
It ends with him driving his knee into my stomach, bursting parts of my intestines and telling me he should kill me. When I stood up, he punched me in the side and broke my rib.
We said we were in love.

I’m not supposed to tell this story; I should keep it private, I should hold it back. But this story, my story with him, has a life of its own. I know this because it’s still alive.
Sometimes, when I sleep on my left side, my ribs will ache.
If I’m worried that someone will read this and use it against me, somehow, to hurt me, I must remember that my memories already do that. A familiar song, the grass by the Charles River where we once fell asleep draped over each other, the photos of us together – they’re harsher than any person, filled with that living ghost of where he and I stood and slept and kissed.

It was Independence Day when we met, and I’ve often thought of this curious timing. After some messages back and forth, I drove from Amherst to Boston and walked up the back steps of his building and there he was, sitting on the balcony. He was twenty-four years old, drinking a beer and smoking a cigarette and reading a book. His shirt was off. He was muscular and unfailingly Italian. I had never seen and will never see anyone so handsome.
We began kissing immediately and went to his room, where the air conditioning relieved the humidity and we had sex and then had sex again. In the hum of the air conditioner, we were sticky and exhausted. We talked about our lives and joked about too many things.

From there, it was four months of he and I together; back and forth, a two hour drive. Four months: looking forward, it can seem like forever. Looking back, it can feel like nothing. The black asphalt is like nothing, too. That night, there’s no world, no color. This is what nothing feels like, I think, until I feel his knee push down into my stomach.
“I should crack your skull open and leave you for dead.”

But before that night we’d walk in the morning with his dogs. They’d charge past us into the fields behind his parents’ house. They’d get lost and we’d have to find them. They’d return to us wet and happy. The mornings were cold and we’d hold hands. Those hands felt so thick.
Or sometimes we’d walk without the dogs and there were a hundred things to talk about.

Before that night, we fucked on the floor of his parents’ house. He’d just moved back, and I’d helped him pack, carrying furniture down the steps on a hot summer day. Boston was too hard on his own and he wasn’t sure what he’d do. He always thought his life was a mess.
Underneath us was the rug of the bedroom floor. We were covered in each other and cushioned by it.
“I’m so happy to see you,” he said. And then, “Please don’t ever leave me.” Those words stayed with me.
“I won’t,” I said.

That night, before he hit me, I started to cry. I knew I was leaving and moving to San Francisco. “Please, I don’t want to go without you,” I told him.
“Shutup,” he said. “Stop crying, you’re pathetic.”

I feel like it’s important to tell you, this isn’t the “complete” story. I wasn’t innocent of everything, and this is why people get confused: As if you must be completely clean and loving or else maybe you had it coming.
People would ask, “Did he hit you before?” Or, “Have you been in other abusive relationships?” The answer to both questions is no.
Is it so hard to think that the person who gets hit didn’t do anything to deserve it?

They’d ask, “What happened?” Or, more nuanced, “Why did he do that?”
What reason would have satisfied them or me? As if someone could even give a reason.
Because he was angry. Because he was hurting inside. Because he couldn’t cry and so hated seeing me cry. I don’t know. I wonder if people asked me “why” as a sort of protective amulet for themselves. If they knew why, maybe they could stop it from ever happening. Maybe it would all make sense.
But cause and effect lost its value on the asphalt.
Nothing links up, nothing makes sense, there’s only feelings and actions as you’re lost to something bigger than yourself. There is no cause.
In that way, and perhaps in that way only, it’s like love.

Once, I stole his hat. He told me he loved his hat more than he loved most people – a green Boston Red Sox hat that they didn’t make anymore. He came over and when he was drunk, I took it and hid it. I don’t even know why. It was a game or a joke or a grasp for power. I told him I didn’t know where it was, and he was furious. I returned it weeks later, but never told the truth. He knew the truth, he knew I hadn’t miraculously found it, but I never said so. And in spite of everything that happened after, I’m sorry I stole that hat.

Many times I was too upset, I was too dependent, I was too easy to unsettle. I wanted everything to be pure and happy and I shoved it out of balance so often.
Before I met him, I’d planned to move to San Francisco, and I asked him to come with me. He said yes, and we started to talk about our apartment together. We imagined a whole different city. The way the light would be different. What our bedroom would look like in the morning. Those images settled into me and they were like breathing. I became used to them and they kept me going, they woke me up.
Then a week later he said he wouldn’t come, and I had to imagine something different.

I cried and didn’t know where to turn or what to do. We looked at an apartment in Boston together, but it wasn’t the same. The motion of moving west had already seized me.
We’d sit at his dining room table and draw funny pictures together and reveal them, laughing. I was on my way, even then. I kept feeling like it was inevitable – I had to go to San Francisco. Please come with me, I asked too many times. I’m sorry for asking so many times.

And still, we’d spend time together as the end and that night rushed towards us. He told me about a book he’d read in which a lover, locked in prison, tears at the stones of his cell, bloodying his fingers and breaking his bones. He screams the name of his beloved.
“I’ve always wanted a love like that,” he told me. “Completely consuming.”
I could have guessed, then, that I was that love, and that this had no way of ending without blood and broken bones. But I thought we had something different. That maybe there was no cell, no prison, and that we were free. That we could hold each other when we wanted and that nothing was keeping us apart.
A few weeks later, after we got into an argument at a bar, he was lying in my bed.
He stared ahead and said, “I blew it. I feel like I’m losing this intense love you give me that I’ve wanted all my life.”
“You’re not,” I said. “Don’t worry, you’re not.”

I had to call the police and lawyers. There were medical bills to pay. There were charges to be filed. By a blessing, the bills were paid in another way and it never mattered. But before that, I had to call him, to try to get it settled.
“You’re not going to make me feel guilty for this,” he told me. He told me I made him do it. That was the most painful part of all. I thought, Do you hear yourself? Can’t you hear yourself saying what every abusive person has said on television and in every story?
“I’m not an abusive person,” he shouted.

I kept wanting a different outcome. I kept searching for a memory that wasn’t there; one in which he said, “I’m so sorry and I feel so ashamed and I’ll help you pay the bills and I love you.”
But the memory doesn’t exist. I wasn’t sure he ever even saw what he did as wrong.

Years later, I saw his old roommate who had moved to San Francisco. He said hello. He asked to hang out. I had nothing against the former roommate. He was always sort of defensive, but nice enough. He’d never done a thing to hurt me, and he was funny. I didn’t dislike him, even if we were never quite friends. But his presence was a sure sign that I hadn’t “gotten over it.” I could barely speak.
“I don’t,” I said, and stopped.
My sentence lingered and the friend said okay and walked away.
I took a breath and followed him.
“I don’t think you understand,” I said to the friend. “I don’t think you know what happened.”
“He’s my friend,” he said. “So even to hear your side wouldn’t…”
I cut him off.
“The last time I saw ____, he broke my rib. He put me in the hospital.”
His face drained of color – I’ve heard this expression before, but had never seen it. His face was pale. He hadn’t known.
“I don’t have anything against you,” I said. “But being around you is traumatic for me, in a way.”
“I understand,” the friend said. We hugged each other.

Somehow I thought the man I’d loved let everyone know. He was so charming, I imagined him telling people and having them simply shrug it off. Horrible, maybe, but in the past and let’s focus on the good stuff, right?
But the look in his friend’s face. Maybe I just read it there, maybe it was just a look of unknowing. But no, no, it was there. Fear, almost.
So the man that beat me up had never really confessed. He was raised Catholic, maybe confessing was unthinkable.
Perhaps, instead, he’d said he’d gotten into a fight with me. No big deal, people would think. They might even take his side.
Which means somewhere he had a sense that something was wrong, that he had been wrong in hitting me. I’d never even hoped for that before. In concealing the truth, he was admitting it to me.

Once, when we were on my couch, eating cookies, being gluttonous, he turned to me and held me. “You’re like this ginger molasses cookie,” he said. “I’m finished and I want more and more. You’re like,” he kissed me at each word, “my little ginger molasses cookie.”

When you don’t ever have an apology, you’re forced to find your own. Something that will let you rest. You will an apology into being. After you do it, you’ll still want to hear “sorry” in someone else’s voice. You’ll still want to hear that and breathe.
But you keep moving.

In Massachusetts, in the days following the assault (and I have only after years begun to understand that it was an “assault”), I could have forced him into confronting the wrongness of it.
Massachusetts has a zero tolerance policy for domestic violence. He would have been taken to jail immediately. I had the hospital report: broken rib, contusions in my intestines. And the record of everything else – the internal bleeding, the fear of split-open organs. I still have that yellow piece of triplicate paper. It’s in a box, wondering if it will be used.
But if I made the call I’d have to – I was told by the lawyer – face him in a court of law. I’d have to see him again. I saw him every day and when I close my eyes I will still sometimes see him. But to see him in person – those arms and hands, that beautiful face that used to be full of love? I couldn’t do it. I wasn’t brave enough or strong enough anymore. I was only tired and completely broken.
I struggled for so long with that phone call, and eventually it faded away. Instead, I put all my things in my car and drove across the country alone. I met my friends in San Francisco, and I felt safe. I kept thinking – so curiously! – that I hoped he was okay. How could someone be so angry at whoever loved him? How must it feel to hate being loved, and then to have the person that loved you run away in fear?
I should have protected other people.
I should have faced him.
I should have pressed charges.
That’s what I would have told anyone else to do.

Running away was the strongest, most exhausting thing I have ever done and it still wasn’t brave enough to be right.

There’s a short story by Raymond Carver called “What We Talk about When We Talk about Love.” In it, a character explains that he can’t figure out where his love for his ex-wife went. He used to love her, but now he hated her. She was allergic to bees and he’d imagine himself standing in front of the door in a beekeeper’s outfit, opening a hive in front of her and watching the bees sting her to death.
Another character talks about the screaming, the pulling of hair and the threats.
Of course in all cases it’s clear that the love is still there. But it’s contorted. When you hate someone so much, it’s easy to see the inversion and deformity of love. Instead of being pure and clean, it will take the strangest shapes.
The question isn’t, “Is that love?”
The question instead is what to do with love that’s changed form and that threatens you with all the force and passion that used to cradle and guard you.
We’re defenseless against it. Like a dog that turns on you and attacks you after years of being loyal – you can’t erase all those years and feelings you had because of that one moment. But something has to change because everything has.

On our last night together, I drove from Amherst to his parents’ house and we went to the bars outside of Fenway Park to watch the Red Sox game and drink and be close to each other. We were going to spend the night together and I found myself, later, trapped in that expectation, clinging to it because there was no other way to continue.
I’d told him I was going to San Francisco. I didn’t know if it was a bluff or not, all I know was that I had to tell him and start packing my things. Some sort of magnet was pulling at me and when I resisted it, I fell down.
We talked and laughed and kissed, we walked around town and met his friends. At a certain point, I saw him, standing away from me. I saw him there, on his own, talking to someone else in the loud music and dark light, and I thought, “How can this be the end?”
I saw Boston without me and San Francisco without him and the alcohol was blurring it all together the future and its places with us missing.
We walked back to the car, parked on a rooftop parking lot, totally open, empty. We were drunk and decided to sleep so we wouldn’t drive until we were sober. We got in the car and closed the doors.

I know I said I’d start this at the end. That wasn’t true, because there is no end to this story. I know he’s been to California. To LA where he worked, and maybe to San Francisco where I saw his friend.
I worry that I’ll see him around. Four years later. Would I run? Would I say hello or just open up and cry? Would I be able to move or even say a word, or would I feel pinned to the spot, hurt inside, sick the next day?

I woke up hours later and looked at him and then started crying. There he was, my love, my handsome and defiant boy who loved to be drunk and have sex and make me laugh. He’d beam at his huge muscles and I’d kiss them. He’d make clumsy artwork and show it to me proudly.
There he was, asleep.
He woke to my sobbing.
“Don’t let me go,” I said, though I don’t know if I meant it or if I was talking to him or myself or someone else.
He got out of the car and came around to my side.
He opened the door like a perfect gentleman and told me to stand up. He put his big hands, that used to hold me, on my arms.
“You’re thirty years old,” he said. “Grow up and get your fucking life together. Stop crying like a fucking bitch.”
And I had never seen such spiteful anger from him before. We’d yelled at each other and confused each other. We’d lost our way before.
I said things that I shouldn’t have said or at least that in any case at all, I’d regret.
I don’t remember being thrown to the ground, but then he was above me. He had me by my throat. He would kill me, I thought.
“I should kill you,” he said.

Why now? Why should I write about him? Four years later, it’s Independence Day again; the day I met him on his sweaty balcony. I don’t know. I don’t think about him every day, like I used to. I’ve had to work to bring some of the memories back. I’d forgot, for instance, the time we stopped at a gas station and he ran in and got me a rose. He handed it too me; it was so unnaturally red, and kissed me. I still have that rose in a little box. It’s dry now, and would fall apart if you held it too long.
I looked through letters and photos.
We’re laughing with our hats turned sideways. We’re naked in our beds.
His letters to me are full of grand sweeping statements and pained details.
In one letter, he wrote,
“If you ever did write anything about me, good or bad, I’d want it to be about love.”

When I got up, I couldn’t breathe right. I knew something in me was wrong and feverish, but couldn’t feel it. He threw his fist into my side. He screamed nothing, just a sound like a great pain; like the sound I should’ve been making.
He started to walk away.
I was catatonic and said, “get in the car.”
He got in and I drove him home, a half hour away. I pounded at the steering wheel with my hands, crying. I couldn’t think. I pounded and cried to blot out what had happened, the way you might pinch a spot that hurts, trying to overwhelm the pain.
We got back to his place and like exhausted wheels in a machine, it all worked in slow motion.
We walked up the steps to his bedroom.
We took our clothes off.
We turned the light off and lied down in bed.
I put my arm around him and he said, “You better back the fuck off.”
And that’s when, all at once, my body came back to life. I felt the pain in my broken rib, the bruises on my organs. I got up and quietly collected my clothes and walked to the bathroom. I turned the light on and looked in the mirror. Who was I?
I dressed and went back. He turned the light on and looked lonelier than I had ever seen him look.
“Where are you going?” he asked in a quiet voice.
“This will never change,” I told him. “This will never go away.”
We walked downstairs and I kissed him.
“I love you,” I said. “Goodbye.”

Once, we went to the house he grew up in. We snuck past the back yard, into the woods he played in as a little boy. There was a river there, cutting through a hill and lined with rocks. It was almost dried up in the summer heat.
“A woman lived back there,” he said, and pointed to a house farther back, covered up by trees.
“She told me that a turtle fell on its back on one of these rocks. A snapping turtle. And she told me that if I looked for it, I could find the print the turtle’s shell left on one of the rocks.”
He looked around.
“I never did find it, though.”
He climbed up the hill and stood there. The sun was lit up behind him and he looked down into the rocks, searching for the impression he’d never seen.
He was a boy up there. He hadn’t hurt anyone, he was just a boy.

In the hospital, where I spent the whole next day, in the days and months to come where I felt no trust beneath me, no life in me, no air or easy breathing through the pain of my ribs, I’d think of him standing on that hill. I still think of it, of who he was, innocent, before he hit me and would have to hide that night away.

And then, like the negative to that image, I see his face, shameful and angry, as he’s holding me down against the black nothingness of the ground.
The two are, only now, beginning to be the same person for me. The contradiction cannot be resolved or changed.
“You’ll write about this, and I’ll just be another story,” he said spitefully. “I know you will. You’ll tell everyone.”
“No,” I said. “I won’t.”

138 Responses to “If you ever did write anything about me, I’d want it to be about love.”

  1. Fred Chamberlain July 3, 2011 at 4:38 pm #

    Wow. Thanks for providing me with another needed emotional catharsis and more food for thought. Beautifully expressed.

  2. Courtney Crush July 3, 2011 at 5:04 pm #

    Thank you for sharing this…
    I love you more than I can say. xo

    • Conner Habib July 3, 2011 at 11:24 pm #

      Thank you for reading – I’m so happy to know you. Please keep in touch and don’t be afraid to share all your amazing stories of strength, too.

  3. Christian Taylor July 3, 2011 at 5:29 pm #

    I’ve had abusive parents, but I can’t imagine how it feels to fall in love with someone who physically harms you. Love, by its very nature, is about letting your guard down and blurring your boundaries with someone else… The bruises and contusions heal, but the emotional punches… I doubt they are ever truly forgotten.

    • Conner Habib July 3, 2011 at 11:25 pm #

      Thank you for your thoughts – I agree with you and encourage you to continue to be open with your life as well. Much love, CH

  4. Philip July 3, 2011 at 9:45 pm #

    What an amazing piece of writing. You are so lovely and I am sorry you had to go through this.

  5. Brian July 3, 2011 at 10:32 pm #

    As always, so powerful. So raw. So honest and brave.

    Thank you for doing this.

  6. Grant Scicluna July 3, 2011 at 10:41 pm #

    Connor, I am already a fan of your writing, but this was something else. This was so honest and must have called upon all reserves of courage and as a result your story moved me tremendously. As painful as it was to read, the way you capture the vicissitudes of your memories and feelings is beautiful, clear-eyed and so very human. I really do send you the utmost warmest and kindest thoughts as you continue to heal, and I send the same thoughts for different reasons to your ex. I wish him the level of introspect you pause to accord on your own life, and I hope it all comes home to roost for him in moments of catharsis and clarity as it does you. Thank you for sharing this.

    • Conner Habib July 3, 2011 at 11:28 pm #

      Thank you so much Grant. I’m heartened by the responses it’s receiving, including yours. I appreciate your thoughts for him, as well. It’s so hard to find the line between appropriate compassion and not having a boundary. How do we be loving but respond appropriately to the people that hurt us? It seems like you’ve thought about these questions to. Much love, CH

      • Grant Scicluna July 4, 2011 at 1:21 am #

        You can only let the person know you’ve been hurt, then it’s over to them to actually do the work. Your compassion brings tears to my eyes…

        From a writer to a writer, you’ve done a stellar job.

        Apart from this blog, can I read more work? What’s your other published name? And the play? Can I read it?

      • Conner Habib July 4, 2011 at 1:29 am #

        Thanks – most my published work has appeared under my porn name. The play should be finished shortly and I’ll let you know when it’s in pre-production. Feel free to direct me to any of your work! CH

  7. Steve July 3, 2011 at 11:12 pm #

    That was hard to write and very well written. I’ll be sad if it’s not published outside this blog. Glad you’re still alive, independent, and away from a guy who wants to control you forever and always.

    • Conner Habib July 3, 2011 at 11:29 pm #

      Thanks! Well, if you know anyone who would like to publish it, let me know! I’m happy to be alive and to finding my independence as well. Like living, being independent is a constant unfolding. -CH

  8. Bernadette Enriquez July 4, 2011 at 1:05 am #

    Conner, thank you for sharing this with me…it was full of insight, inspiration & heartbreak. So very real, very human, very beautiful & difficult. I couldn’t even imagine a love so grasping?!
    Your an amazing writer…

  9. kristen younes July 4, 2011 at 2:26 am #

    I am so sorry that you were hurt like that. It must have been so painful for you. I bet he is wishing he could turn back time, whether he would ever admit it or not. You are a very talented writer and this was beautifully written. Thank you for sharing such a personal, emotional story with us.

    • Conner Habib July 4, 2011 at 4:15 am #

      So good to hear from you about this. Thank you for the loving message.

  10. M July 4, 2011 at 2:53 am #

    so beautifully and powerfully written. thank you for sharing such an intimate and painful experience with us. I’ve read this post three times. I can’t get the imagery out of my head. I know a part of me always believed that i deserved the treatment i received and i think i allowed others to make me feel that way too. i need to think. thank you.

    • Conner Habib July 4, 2011 at 4:16 am #

      I feel honored to have inspired that kind of thinking. I know the push and pull of feeling responsible. Even as I new intellectually that I wasn’t, it took time to get my feelings in sync with those thoughts.

      • Tim Villanueva July 18, 2011 at 7:33 pm #

        Conner, I randomly found this post (i was so lost in your words I had forgotten how I came to it) and for one bittersweet moment, I felt that I had a shared connection with you (I do not deny I watch porn but I dont really know any names and so did not know about you); I did not go through what you did, but we both endured similar pain, brought on by a boy, whom we viewed so innocent, so beautiful, so perfect. This boy never physically harmed me, but he robbed me of my childhood, my innocence and any chance of happiness, at the age of 6, I was living in the Philippines and him and his group of teenage friends (they were all around 15-18 years old) decided to use me for sex, they did this until I turned 10 and left for England. Until this very moment, I had not told anybody of my shamed past.

        The nights we may both never be fully healed of, fully freed of share similar characteristics. He was very drunk that night and forced me to perform oral sex on him and eventually, penetrated me. For a couple of days later, I was broken, in body and in mind.

        Thank you for allowing me to share this moment with you.

        Timothy John

      • Conner Habib July 19, 2011 at 12:28 am #

        Tim – thank you so much for opening up and sharing this; it takes an incredible amount of strength to voice something like that for the first time.
        Take care, CH

  11. svcoe July 4, 2011 at 3:37 am #

    that was very real. i have been there too. i can not imagine any physically abusive relationship in which alcohol was not involved.

    • Conner Habib July 4, 2011 at 4:17 am #

      Thank you for sharing that with me., and thank you for reading.

  12. logan0678 July 4, 2011 at 5:14 am #

    Wow! You are a great writer Conner, thanks for sharing your history, you will find the perfect man and partner soon, you have a great talent and are very good looking … keep doing what you love … 🙂

    • 9X6 Lubes (@9X6Lubes) October 28, 2011 at 5:49 pm #

      @logan0678 I agree. Conner, you will find the perfect man and partner. I know I did. When that moment comes for you, I know and pray that you experience the kind of love I now experience, one that keeps you going and ignites your soul. Thank you for your story.

  13. Gary July 4, 2011 at 5:19 am #

    That was a beautiful and heartbreaking piece,it must have been both a cathartic and incredibly difficult experience to write.

  14. Steve Martinez July 4, 2011 at 5:28 am #

    Wow. . . How powerful, open and honest. Truly an emotional read. Thank you for sharing. This hits me on so many levels. I am at a loss for words.

    • Conner Habib July 4, 2011 at 5:38 am #

      Thank you for the comment – I’m glad it had an impact on you as a reader.

  15. JJ July 4, 2011 at 5:29 am #

    Very engaging piece.
    I don’t think people that have been abusive really understand the emotional damage they inflict and I really hope your ex has the chance to read over this.

    I believe that the abuse comes from a deep passion and love, but just expressed in the wrong way- it’s not something that I agree with, or will ever understand and it’s a bitter sweet thought for those that have experienced it.

  16. Barbara Steen July 4, 2011 at 5:59 am #

    Conner, I love read everything you write. Thank you for sharing this part of your life, it must have been very difficult reliving those memories. I’m so sorry you were hurt like that. I’m glad you survived and I hpoe you continue to heal. ❤

  17. Greg July 4, 2011 at 10:17 am #

    Ah 24-year-olds, so very attractive and so very fucked-up. I’ve had flings with a few and I’m always surprised by how truly unknowable they are, both to me and to themselves. Each time I’ve thought, “This one is different. I see this man and there’s no bad in him”, but the truth is that there are dark corners in there, and yes, they are boys in men’s bodies, who channel huge passions and haven’t yet worked out who they are. There’s a reason they’re attracted to an older guy, and it’s problematic when we step outside the role and show our vulnerabilities. The most damaging relationship I’ve had in my life lasted only 3 months but it left me celibate for 8 years afterward. I recognise that consuming intensity again now, in what you write. I recognise, too, your need to be scrupulous about what happened. I hope it helps you to get the story down as accurately as you can, as a form of exorcism, so that you can move on. Thank you again for another excellent piece of writing.

    • Conner Habib July 4, 2011 at 3:07 pm #

      Thank you for your thoughts. I’m not sure how his age fits into the picture – I’m not sure what’s going on developmentally at that time, and of course most 24 year-olds aren’t abusive. So I hear you, but can’t quite mesh it in in the way you’ve stated, and I wouldn’t chalk most of his (or anyone’s) behavior up to development after college, because the pathways seem so variable. But the age difference was something I thought about during the relationship and I haven’t written much about it here. The interesting question you raise without really intending to is: Where is the line between explanation and excuse? (Not that you’re excusing anything, but the question does rise naturally from your comment). How much explanation can we give before we begin to apologize for someone? I think about that quite a bit.

  18. Mark P July 4, 2011 at 3:00 pm #

    Thanks for sharing your story with all of us. I understand now what you said in your tween about this taking all your energy to write. thanks for expending that energy to share with us. As an academic, it’s refreshing to see how you blend your academic life with your naughty life. I enjoy watching your movies and reading your prose.

    • Conner Habib July 4, 2011 at 3:09 pm #

      For me, there isn’t a separation between porn and the rest of my life – how could there be? It’s not like there’s the blog and there’s porn and there’s teaching – it’s just my life. The work for me is trying to figure out how it all relates. Thanks for the comments and the kind words – CH

  19. Jim Farris July 4, 2011 at 3:37 pm #

    Thank you so much. I’m reposting this on my Facebook page. I appreciate you for so many reasons. – JF

  20. Fauzi July 4, 2011 at 3:51 pm #

    Wow…I am speechless.

    Thank you for sharing such a profound and painful experience. Hopefully this will serve as a message to others that such behavior is not permissible in any type of relationship.

    I really don’t know what else to say, other than thank you again…

  21. Jen July 4, 2011 at 4:16 pm #

    I can only imagine what it must have taken for you to write this and to share this. Thank you for finding the strength to share your story. You are a beautiful, talented and inspiring person. Peace and love.

  22. Rachel July 4, 2011 at 4:53 pm #

    I don’t know you, but thank you for sharing this story.

  23. GreggySF July 4, 2011 at 5:29 pm #

    Conner, this is beautifully written. Of course I’ve said that about your blogs before, and it’s always true.

    As you probably know, I’ve always felt some kind of closeness between us even though I barely know you. Yet, every time I meet you it’s like seeing a good friend. And even though I love your porn personality, I don’t consider myself a fan-boy or groupie, but rather someone who has the privilege of knowing you as a sensitive, beautiful, human being [who just happens to be HELLA cute!].

    Yesterday when I handed you the flyer about the boy who had been murdered in the Castro, I noticed that you looked at it for a long time before putting it away. I found it a bit curious, but felt that handing it to you had for some reason been the right thing to do. Having now read your story about your brush with violence puts things into a better understanding.

    Thank you so much for sharing your life with your fans/friends. Each time I learn a little more about you it makes me proud to know you.

    • Conner Habib July 5, 2011 at 5:10 pm #

      Thank you for your thoughts, and for doing your part to help keep our community safe. It’s a big service even if it’s just walking around, it helps people feel a sense of unity.

  24. teambiff July 4, 2011 at 5:41 pm #


    My dear calf man, I had no idea you had experienced such pain. Sadly, I could relate to much of your story, on both sides. It is, in a twisted, unfortunate way, nice to know I’m not alone. Unfortunate, though, that others feel this deep-seated pain. You truly are a gifted and talented writer and I’m proud that we had an opportunity to meet in person even if it was briefly. I’m sharing this with everyone I can, it puts into words much of what I’d been feeling lately. Thanks again. =)


    • Conner Habib July 4, 2011 at 7:20 pm #

      Thank you Biff – I’m moved by your kind words and I’m filled with gratitude from yours and other comments. I’m glad this touched you. Take care, handsome.

  25. Brad Ford July 4, 2011 at 9:47 pm #

    I read your story because BIff had posted the link on his FB page. Being in a relationship for the past almost 17 years, I find it completely foreign that two people could love then hate each other, switching like some poster boy for bipolar disorder. But I’ve said many times (and to BIff just this past week) that ‘love’ and ‘hate’ aren’t opposites because both are fully passionate conditions. The opposite of ‘love’ is ‘indifference’.

    Psychological and psychiatric textbooks are filled with cases of people remaining in abusive relationships primarily because the are able to overlay the negative experiences with the positive ones. The way I was brought up, the positive experiences are the norm and you can only blot your copybook with negative and then you are blackened forever.

    While I can’t see either Ley or I ever getting into a major argument, certainly nothing which would ever fall into physical violence, I know full well that there are people like that out there. People who live binary lives. Either black or white, on or off, lacking the ability to nuance shades of grey.

    These are the people you don’t want to be near when they eventually DO go off but because their good side is equally passionate, that dark side is kept successfully hidden, even from their loved one, until they detonate. I really feel sorry for you that you were there when he DID detonate but you can probably take it forward that you should be able to better recognize similar guys when you meet them.

    Again Conner, very well written, with moderated passion and accuracy and I trust without the revisionist bent that you could very well have employed. I wish you the happiness that Ley and I have in your next relationship

  26. Seamus Dicaprio July 5, 2011 at 5:31 am #

    i ‘m sorry for your experience …and thank you for sharing .there ‘s one saying for you :
    scatter it ,if you can ‘t hold the sand.
    love you

  27. Kyle Michel Sullivan July 5, 2011 at 5:31 am #

    Jesus, Conner…that was rough…and I hope you’re well. And I know for a fact, you won’t understand the full meaning of this for another 5-6 years, once the emotion has receded and a form of clarity begins to take its place. My thoughts are with you.

  28. Hunter July 5, 2011 at 1:23 pm #

    As always, beautifully and thoughtfully written, my friend. Thank you, Conner.

    “The question instead is what to do with love that’s changed form and that threatens you with all the force and passion that used to cradle and guard you.” – I’ve been there, in a previous relationship and one that lasted almost 8 years (the last four of which were non-sexual). The realization of “love that’s changed form” for me was characterized by frequent day dreams of what life would be like without him. And by frequently I mean daily. My porn name comes from a song that was my theme song then titled “Hunter”, a Dido track that proclaims, “I want to see the world alone again, To take a chance on life again, So let me go…”.

    Fortunately now, I’ve got the man and relationship of my dreams. It’s been over 10 years for us and I’ve never had another one of those let-me-go fantasies. I don’t even know how to imagine my life without him.

    Much love from Beantown,


    • Conner Habib July 5, 2011 at 3:11 pm #

      Thank you, Hunter.
      It’s always surprising to me that people send me emails thanking me for what I do, either the writing or the porn (or often, both). I hadn’t considered that what I do could affect people in such a positive way. I think what you and Cole are doing is so beneficial – an open and loving relationship that the public can see and appreciate. If we try to be ourselves fearlessly and openly, and if we’re not afraid to be naked – figuratively or literally – then we can really give to the world.
      Much love to you, brother,

  29. Scott Saraceno July 5, 2011 at 5:41 pm #

    Powerful and beautifully tragic; a very brave move. You are a very talented writer and a genuine lover with an open heart, which is, for the boy in your past, just too damned much to appreciate when consumed with his own self-hate and shame.

  30. Aris Tsoumis July 5, 2011 at 5:44 pm #

    Hello Conner,
    first time I read something you wrote, saw the link in your twitter profile. And lucky me, to read something so personal, so real, so well-written. I think it’s a step forward for you that you can talk/write about this. Keep getting over it, never forget that you are a wonderful person.
    Take care
    Athens, Greece

  31. Francesca July 5, 2011 at 9:32 pm #

    My chest heaved to cry, then suppressed to show strength, so many times while reading this. Thank you for creating something so beautiful with this experience. Thank you for sharing.

  32. Katherine Scott Nelson July 6, 2011 at 10:21 pm #

    Yes yes yes yes yes a million times yes!

    This post is seriously amazing. I am as awed at the raw honesty and truth on display here as I am at your writing itself.

    I’ve been working on a memoir about my own intense three-month abusive relationship, and for me the hardest thing to write about is how much I loved her and the extent to which I went to get that love in return. In some ways it’s the deepest shame I have.

    The line between explaining and excusing is something I wonder about a lot, too, especially since we all live with these made-for-tv-movie narratives about how “they were once a victim too,” or “because your family of origin was dysfunctional you couldn’t see it coming” and no matter how much you push back on them, some readers will still fill them in.

    (the rumpus sent me here, by the way. I’ve bookmarked your blog.)

    • Conner Habib July 7, 2011 at 12:20 am #

      Hi Katherine –
      Thank you so much for your response. I hear you and finally decided to work past worrying about the reader, I suppose. It makes sense that you raise these questions and linked here from therumpus. Stephen Elliot’s work is so deeply and even disturbingly honest. I read Adderall Diaries over a year ago, and it gave me the courage to be more open.
      Thank you for bookmarking/subscribing. I hope we get to meet one day and discuss further. In the meantime, I’ve added you on goodreads. 🙂

      • Katherine Scott Nelson July 7, 2011 at 6:57 pm #

        Yay! Yeah, I have the feeling we’d have a lot to talk about too.

        By the way, are you familiar with this project? http://www.facebook.com/pages/Queering-Sexual-Violence/145781798799190

      • Conner Habib July 11, 2011 at 6:57 am #

        Hey hey – thanks for that – I’m not! I’m interested for sure though. Are you one of the 34 writers involved? Please do email me and tell me more? connerhabibsocial at g mail

  33. [dave] July 7, 2011 at 4:19 am #

    Hi Conner, Thanks for sharing these words, they’re powerful ones.

    (I came from a link over at the Rumpus as well.)

  34. Christopher Koehler July 7, 2011 at 10:13 pm #

    This is why the best write is often the most personal.

  35. April D. Peters July 9, 2011 at 11:15 pm #

    Hi, Conner. I’m here via Cavin Knight. He linked this on his Twitter. I’m sitting here with tears in my eyes crying so hard I can barely see. I am so sorry that this happened to you. This was so well written it was as if I could hear your voice reading it to me. As if I was watching a movie and you were doing a voiceover.

    There were so many things that you talked about that I can relate to. I was in a beautiful loving relationship with a person I thought was The One. I don’t know what happened to us. It was as if our love turned to hate overnight or something. What were once kind and loving words from my Ex all of a sudden became vitriolic, mean, unkind, and nearly hate filled.

    This part really struck a cord with me

    I hoped he was okay. How could someone be so angry at whoever loved him? How must it feel to hate being loved, and then to have the person that loved you run away in fear?

    And although I was never physically abused it has been made abundantly clear to me now from talking with friends, strangers, and a counselor that I was a victim of much unnecessary and unwarranted verbal abuse.

    I can relate to you so much in the part of your story where you say you wanted him to come with you and he said he would but you knew that he wouldn’t. You didn’t want to live without him. He didn’t want to live without you. But what could you do? Where was the middle ground? And what can you do when you feel your relationship that has been so loving and probably the most wonderful thing you’ve ever known slipping right through your hands?

    I could go on and on. I’m chatty. Just ask Cavin. LOL! I’l stop here. Just know that I’m sorry that you ever had to experience this. I am honored and humbled that I got to read it. I’m so glad he linked me to this. It was hard to read and I’m sure it was so hard to live through. But you did it. You made it . You’re a survivor. And I, my Dear, am so damn proud of you.

    Be well, Conner. I thank you again.


  36. jonito July 10, 2011 at 3:25 am #

    You took me there. The confusion, the dichotomy of feeling pain from the one you love. I just loved it. This would be a beautiful screenplay for a film. Your perfect little vignettes of memorys to create your story would be gorgeous up on the screen. Your the shit. Can’t waite to read more of your writings.

  37. Texas July 11, 2011 at 3:29 am #

    Hi Conner. I’ve not heard of you before, and read this from a link on Andrew Sullivan. While you write very well and it’s a moving story, I hope you can hear my comment in the spirit in which it is intended: what that man felt for you was not love. I am a therapist who deals every day with individuals who suffer from severe attachment disorders and trauma, and any person who is so willfully “consumed” by “love” doesn’t love, and doesn’t know the first thing about it. He is very sick. I am thankful that you left the relationship, but I hope that you have pursued the proper therapeutic treatment to deal with what would pull you to this type of person, and why it is that you both so want to be consumed by a romantic partner. If 2 people truly love one another, they make a conscious choice to be together; they are not held together by a shared trauma. I urge you to seek treatment, and I do hope that your ex-boyfriend also has sought treatment to deal with his obvious attachment disorder and addictive behavior.

    • Conner Habib July 11, 2011 at 3:54 am #

      Hi Ryan,
      Thank you for the thoughtful response. I appreciate your experience and disagree with your assessment.
      While there may be definitions for the disorders you present, there isn’t a definition for love. I don’t state this brazenly or as a badge of honor. I’m not happy that love appeared in this guise in my life, and I’m not proud or ashamed of it either. Love has a longer and more profound history than the DSM and as such cannot be held to clinical understandings of the psyche. Indeed, a big part of writing this was to express that love stands outside of psyche, reason, and “cause”.
      Authoritatively declaring that someone is “sick” or that someone needs treatment – however true such statements may be – doesn’t explore the complexity of the issue; it reduces it. I don’t make excuses for abusive behavior, and writing this piece helped brighten any corners in me that were still shadowed by guilt. But being abused – as you know – creates a complex matrix of thinking, feeling, and willing responses.
      I’m glad you’re helping people who are in similar situations, as both abuser and abused do generally need help. The long-term work you do in therapy is no doubt, when taken as a whole, closer to the narrative of love than statements of authority.

  38. Karl of Themyscira....the indescribable lightness of being Wonder Womans number one fan. July 12, 2011 at 8:10 pm #

    Im sorry you went thru all this, what a terribly difficult situation. Im just glad youre long out of it, nothing good ever comes out of domestic violence.

  39. Douglas July 14, 2011 at 1:14 am #

    Very well-written and deeply affecting. I really do not understand why you didn’t have him arrested and sent to prison, but that’s because I have a different temprement than you. I would not have rested until he was rotting in prison. The only time I was ever assaulted, it was on the street by stanger, who attacked from behind. I lost a couple teeth. The police never found out who he was, but I spent hours at the police station pouring over mug books, looking for that face. Two of my neices suffered domestic abuse from their first husbands, and both left them immedaitely, and filed for divorce the next day. We helped one of my neices hide from her abusive husband, while my brothers and I and her father confronted the slime ball and let him know that if he ever laid hands on her again, he would not survive long enough to be arrested. Did we actually mean we would have killed him? I don’t know, but he believed it. One neice found one day that her husband of 20 years, father of five of her six kids, had a computer FULL of child pornography, including naked shots he had taken of children of friends of theirs that he had “babysat.” She called the cops and a divorce lawyer in that order. He was arrested THAT DAY at his job. They worked out a deal to keep him out of jail because, as my neice put it “He can’t pay child support if he’s in prison.” I mentioned to my sister once how proud I was of the way her girls had stood up to their abusers, and she said: “Well, they weren’t raised to have no self-esteem.”

  40. Jemel July 14, 2011 at 4:32 am #

    Mr. Habib,

    I was directed toward this posting from a friend that follows your more closely. I do some work in this area and found your narrative provoking a lot of thoughts and questions in me. I posted a link to it on my facebook with the following introduction, “This eloquent uncovering a gay man’s reflections on realizing that this lover has assaulted him and moving through these memories and the accompanying emotions in the days and years that follow propelled me toward posting this for others to read. Conner Habib if you read this summation, I hope you think it does justice to your amazing narrative justice.”

    • Conner Habib July 14, 2011 at 3:57 pm #

      Thank you for the kind words and for the reposting!

  41. JWWF July 16, 2011 at 3:23 am #

    A Facebook friend posted a link to this article and I’m so glad he did.

    I’ve been there. The second time I went to the ER I knew it was past my breaking point. When the third time was in my very near future, I knew I couldn’t go down that road again. There is forgiveness. There is co-dependence. There is a time to get the hell away, no matter the cost.

    Lord, I wish you and I could sit for a bit over some coffee. There is so much to put back into the world. If I could save another human being from going through what I did, I’d do almost anything.

    The day you realize you are loveable and whole on your own, that’s the day your ready for a real love. You’ll know it when you see it.

    Life brought me a good man. This year we celebrate 15 years of peace, friendship, respect, and a home filled with dogs and love. And yes, the sex is still HAWT 🙂

    One has to come to respecting and loving one’s self first. The rest will follow. Yes, it’s a big step and a scary one, but this side of that chasm is pretty darn good.

    Please keep writing. Domestic violence in the GLBT* community is almost never discussed. It’s taboo. I call BS on the silence. To purloin a phrase: it gets better. It really does. But we have to talk about violence in order to stop it.

    • Conner Habib July 16, 2011 at 4:01 am #

      Thank you for the kind words and for sharing your story. I’m so happy your pulled through your own version of this and have found yourself somewhere happy. I agree that domestic violence is so rarely talked about in the gay community. Because gender roles don’t define the boundaries in fighting and arguments, the lines for what’s acceptable are (unjustly) blurrier. You’re right that it needs to be talked about – thanks for doing that here with me.

  42. Ryan July 16, 2011 at 4:18 am #

    I can’t help reading this and thinking I’m watching the very best episode of Taxicab Confessions ever. I’m crying.

  43. Karl . July 16, 2011 at 10:46 pm #

    What youve been thru is absolutely awful…domestic violence is the most insidious of violent acts as one never knows when it will happen next. I wish you all the very best in getting your life back together.

  44. Alecz July 17, 2011 at 11:50 am #

    I cried when I read this – it’s is an amazing piece. You are quite the exemplary writer. No one should have to go through this sort of pain – especially someone such as yourself that hasn’t done any harm to anyone, ever. It’s a shame that sometimes people completely innocent and harmless go through a horrific and traumatizing ordeal. I commend your bravery and courage for posting such an emotional and thought evoking part of your life.

  45. Don July 17, 2011 at 2:41 pm #

    Conner–Beyond the obvious (that this was incredibly painful to experience and then write about…), I think that your story emphasizes the humanity in all of us. Too often porn stars–or any celebrity for that matter-are marginalized or dehumanized simply due to their line of work. Since all that we (the audience) see is what’s in front of the camera, it can be easy to discount the “entire” person and simply objectify him/her.

    Although I find you very physically appealing, the rawness of the story made you emotionally and spiritually appealing as well, and in the end, that is so much more significant and “real.”

  46. Alex July 17, 2011 at 9:42 pm #


    There is little more that I can say than thank you. For your honesty, bravery, and willingness to show the scars your life has left you to bare. It is humbling to have been able to read something so pure of heart and your willingness to share that with a complete stranger in the world is remarkable. You have without a doubt inspired me and touched my life. I wish you the best in the stories life still has for you.

  47. Piscean July 18, 2011 at 5:53 am #

    I am writing this with a heavy heart and a sombre mood.I could never imagine the pain one goes through when confronted with such circumstances.I am a chronically singe guy in his mid -twenties from Pakistan,a place where even out of the box straight relationships are unimaginable,let alone homosexual ones.Although guys like me here are on the look out for monogamous partners have to settle with one night standers(thinking in our hands that one day he would change and settle).its this hope that blinds us.I was awestruck with the depth you have described the inner struggle of accepting the fact that sometimes a possible source of love could unexpectedly turn out to be a burst of pain.I hope that you have found closure and sense of peace with tragic past.

  48. Clifford Michael July 18, 2011 at 6:09 pm #

    Incredible. Just absolutely incredible. You really know how to phrase things to tug at one’s heartstrings. And the courage it took to share such an awful and beautiful experience in such a personal and vivid way really puts you at the top of the list of my favorite celebrities. I’d buy your book if you wrote one.

    • Conner Habib July 18, 2011 at 7:05 pm #

      Thanks Clifford! In fact, something is in the works, albeit a bit different than this essay. It won’t be done or out soon, but keep checking! 🙂

  49. anonymous26 July 18, 2011 at 9:53 pm #

    Wow you put a lot of passion into this story. This really hit home for me because I was in an abusive relationship and after three years, I still have the emotional scars. Be strong and let your passion for writing be your therapy. Thanks for allowing me to read this and know I wasn’t the only one who has loved and been hurt physically and emotionally.

  50. David July 19, 2011 at 8:36 am #

    I have to say, I don’t normally post responses to things I read on the net (I can count on one hand how many times I have), I prefer to do my discussions verbally, but after reading this and all the following comments, and even though I can’t directly relate to what happened, I felt compelled.

    Like others have already said, I want to thank you so much for writing this honest and truly thought provoking (I don’t think I’ve ever meant those two words so much before) story. It’s made me cry a little. It’s made me feel too many different emotions to list. It’s also made me think. A lot. About a lot of different things.

    What exactly is ‘Love’? When it becomes so intense and dark and scary, is it still a form of Love? Or has it surpassed that to become something else entirely? Was it even really ‘Love’ in the first place? I doubt I’ll ever know. I’m not even sure I want to know.

    I also wonder where the line is sometimes between explanation and forgiveness. I believe that you can understand someone and even feel a sense of compassion for someone without actually forgiving them. I think it’s okay to both completely understand (for lack of a better word) someone or their actions and still believe their actions were wrong.

    I wish more of us had the courage to walk away from such relationships. If I could wish for only one thing though, it’s that we would all Love ourselves more. Self respect and Self esteem are the two most important things anyone can ever have. I wish I had a lot more of both.

    Even though I’m 27 (28 in a week or two), I know I have the maturity of a teenager, I’m stll a ‘boy’ if you will. After reading this I feel like I’ve grown somewhat. I understand more now. Thank you for that and also for all the insightful responses that follow it. I’m happy knowing that you’ll continue to write, as you’re too good at it not to. I have to say you’ve earned a ‘fan’ (I dislike that word, what does it really mean?). Hope you are well and I look forward to whatever you do in the future.

  51. Gregg July 24, 2011 at 7:46 pm #

    Ahh! What a lovely piece! I teared up, for you and him, and all that have been to that place. You put the slippery quality of an abusive relationship so deftly into words! How hard it is to come to terms that someone you love and professes to love you back can hurt you, and then blame you for making them do it. I’m glad you had plans to move. I shudder to think what would have happened if you had stayed, as so many people who have no ways or means, do.

    The line that stays with me: “Running away was the strongest most exhausting thing I’ve ever done, and it still wasn’t brave enough to be right.” I keep thinking about this sentence. I think running away was brave. Self preservation, baby. Sometimes when something is so wrong, and your realization comes down on you like a ton of bricks, and you still have jelly in your stomach instead of jam, sometimes you just gotta get the hell out of Dodge. It’s hard to say what would have happened if you went to court. He could have gotten off, done time, etc. No one knows. Lots of abusers have their day in court and walk away, free. You would have needed incredible psychological support to get through such an ordeal, but would you have known that at the time? There is a statute of limitations, you could possibly have time left to bring him up on charges if you think he is still perpetrating this behavior on others. But it would be complicated and difficult.

    His friend you saw in SFCA was/is typical of friends of abusers. They don’t know what’s going on, they defend their friend, and the abuser counts on this. When you told him what happened, and saw his physical response, his gut reaction, you knew then that he too was getting hit with a ton of bricks. So sad.

    Love is Love.

    I’m not familiar with your film work, I’m coming from the Headmaster site, and was randomly clicking on the artists. Great website, by the way. You seem like a great, fun person to be around. Good luck in all your future loves!! (I think you will)

  52. Faraz August 17, 2011 at 3:15 pm #

    Conner… I don’t know what to say…

  53. David August 25, 2011 at 12:32 am #

    Thank you for sharing this. I know there are people who can be helped and healed by reading your words, perhaps yourself even. I have my own memory associated with July 4th when I lost a dear friend in 2004. xoxo

  54. DT September 5, 2011 at 3:29 pm #

    Simply: This is fucking awesome — you are a gifted writer. Thank you.

  55. Shunpo September 13, 2011 at 3:42 am #

    Without a doubt those were some of the most honest words I have read in quite some time. I am so thankful you put thought to page and I came across it to read. I have always wanted a way to express a certain thought that you managed to do so eloquently in the following, “Running away was the strongest most exhausting thing I’ve ever done, and it still wasn’t brave enough to be right.” Although my reason for wanting to say or write something like that is no where near your narrative but all the same. . . there it is. It seems so simple all spelled out. . . there it is.

    So glad you decided to share this. It is special, real, honest, and completely relative to so many people in so many untold stories.

    Thank you for helping me put myself back in perspective. It’s not often that happens.

  56. Cole Maverick September 29, 2011 at 8:40 pm #

    Wow Conner, it breaks my heart and makes me angry when I hear about situations like this. Unfortunately I think a lot of us have been thru some sort of traumatic crazy situation like this. Love is fucking CRAZY! It can be an amazing and passionately beautiful experience but it can also become volatile and dangerous when insecurities and alcohol are mixed together.. if you are not emotionally prepared for the intense feelings that can pop up, any thing can happen. All to often crimes of passion dominate rationality in our every day lives, so as gay men we should keep an eye on our friends and step in if we suspect abuse of this kind…what may seem like a normal and loving relationship may in fact be destine for tragedy so step up if you see it happening to someone you care about. After getting to know you Conner and discovering what a truly gentle soul you really are, I wish I had never read this, it makes me want to go to the dark side and teach your X a lesson, but I guess that would defeat the purpose of your message here…its so hard for me to imaging this happening to such a sweat little guy.

    XOXO Big Hug
    Cole Maverick

    • Conner Habib September 30, 2011 at 1:54 am #

      Thank you for reading this and for your kind message – It means a lot to me to have you as a friend and to know you’re moved by something I’ve written.
      xo Big Hug Back

  57. Charles Lawrence September 30, 2011 at 10:18 am #

    I teared up reading this. You are an incredibly strong person to be able to talk about this so publicly. The writing was raw and it was terribly engrossing. I felt myself becoming fearful of each and every paragraph that I read. I hope to never experience the kind of pain and misery that you had to endure with this experience, and I am optimistic that I won’t have to. However, I can’t help but firmly believe that you will find someone (if you haven’t already) that is able to embrace the kind of damage that has been done to you, and tread lightly until secure.

    This is the first I’ve read from your blog and I plan to read more of your entries, but I can’t help but feel like your life must have been completely different a decade ago. Events and tragedies like this completely change our character, and not just the way we act but everything up to our inner mind’s dialogue.

    I hope that you update soon, I look forward to reading about your happenings.

  58. Damien Oz October 8, 2011 at 7:31 am #

    I do not know what to say.

    I am sitting here stunned and appalled and numb and so many other things I can not sufficiently express it.

    Shalom and blessings to you.


  59. Ronnie October 8, 2011 at 6:16 pm #

    this is beautifully written and so tender.

  60. Barb December 7, 2011 at 10:43 pm #

    I can’t imagine what you went through to make the decisions you did. However, having had to make a similar decision that was both right and wrong, I understand the feeling of never being sure that the decision was a good one.

  61. Joshua December 21, 2011 at 10:27 pm #

    I can’t help to wonder about the various reasons that people act in such a away. Personally, I have a hard time allowing myself to cry in front of other people. But I don’t think I could ever see myself beating the crap out of someone for crying. Honestly, I don’t know how a society where so many people say walk in the footsteps of the Lord, His cup runneths over. And then in the next breath say, “don’t be too sensitive,” men don’t cry, blah blah blah. What does it mean to let your cup runneth over?

  62. Bong Bator January 8, 2012 at 6:13 pm #


    …Once I clicked the link to your personal website and began to skim over everything there, I think my mouth dropped open a bit (from excitement rather than shock). Here, I thought, is a kindred spirit. Here’s a guy who recognizes the balance and connection between all the various parts of life many try to keep separate. I’m impressed and expect that I’ll be a fan of yours for quite some time to come.

    When deciding which blog entry to read first, I was immediately drawn to this title. What can I say? I’m ever a hopeful romantic and believe that love (its absence or presence) is THE driving force behind everything we do. I didn’t expect to openly shed hot tears into my cold cup of coffee. Not because anything close to this has ever happened to be, but because you shared this experience with such honesty and rawness. I’m so sorry this happened to you, but thank you for touching us with it.


  63. Tom February 29, 2012 at 6:20 am #

    You are a surprise. I am surprised. ~ Tom

  64. Kevin Faircloth April 2, 2012 at 6:43 am #

    crushingly beautiful, horrifying, and devastating. this is the first time i have visited your blog and you made me feel an overwhelming emotion like I haven’t felt in some time from literature. i couldn’t tear myself away (which is some feat for a writer, since i have pretty bad ADD). i know it has already been commented on a lot, but i felt i just could not go on my way without thanking you for sharing such honest, raw work. thank you.

    • Conner Habib April 3, 2012 at 5:20 am #

      Thank you Kevin. I’m moved by your comment and truly appreciate it!

  65. Michael April 8, 2012 at 5:00 pm #

    My mother was mentally ill. (What a way to introduce yourself… but it seems that no-holds-barred is the order of the day.) She was never diagnosed properly, but it was something along the lines of manic depression, I’d guess. One moment she’d be Betty Crocker baking brownies and the next- literally- she’d be crying uncontrollably and telling me that she wished I’d never been born. That’s a hard pill for an 8-year-old to swallow, even with a brownie on the side to wash it down. Usually I would just internalize it and go upstairs to cry, or pee in the closet. In my stranger/stronger moments I used to wish that she’d hit me, leave some sort of physical mark to show everyone. “See! Do you see how she’s hurt me?” Instead, all I could do is try and tell myself that it was her illness speaking, not the woman who physically created me and brought me into the world, not the woman who was supposed to nurture me and care for me. Over the years she mellowed with time, but when I came out to her and my father, she was unable to reconcile her fierce religious upbringing with whatever biological maternal instinct she may have had. For the last 17 years of her life, she never once talked to me about anything more substantial than the weather, or a new recipe for brownies she might have picked up at Bible study. When she was diagnosed with brain cancer, I tried to forgive her, to look past all the times she hurt me, but the best I could do is just sit with her every so often when I was in town and talk about the weather. Or brownies. Or not talk at all. That was most comfortable for both of us. I’ve been living out of the country for awhile, and when she finally passed, I decided not to come back for the service. Many people told me I’d regret it, a few people told me to make my own decision and not worry about what other people thought. One of my sisters was more blunt: “Mom’s dead. She won’t know if you’re there or not. Do what makes you happy.” The problem was/is: nothing related to my mother makes me happy. Should I have stood up to her more? Should I have been more forgiving? Should I have done more or less? All those times I thought, “She can’t possibly love me and say these awful things to me” but now I see that it’s quite often the people you love that you cut the hardest. And that love doesn’t always mean kindness. And that the endings of the stories are the hardest to tell because they don’t always make sense with what came before. Where was the big deathbed confession on her part that she was secretly proud of me all those years? Where was my last-minute decision to fly 17 hours to stand with the other survivors in my family, also victims of her acid tongue? Where was the ‘love triumphs all’ moment that so many Katherine Heigl movies have promised? And here’s the most difficult question: where was my actual desire for any of that? Because it, too, was missing. Sometimes I play that dirty little trick: “I feel guilty that I don’t feel guilty…” And at the tops of the charts is usually something connected with her. “I feel guilty that I don’t feel guilty for trying harder, for showing her the unconditional love that I demanded, for not caring that much that she was in pain, for feeling that she somehow brought it on herself.” Love can make us do crazy things, and sometimes it doesn’t end with a smile, or a lesson learned. Sometimes it doesn’t make sense, backwards or forwards, no matter what Kierkegaard says. Thanks for sharing your story, and for (possibly) listening to the ramblings of someone who clearly doesn’t know where the boundaries are, even after all this time.

    • Conner Habib April 9, 2012 at 5:02 pm #

      Hi Michael – Thank you so much for being so open here in sharing your story. Boundaries: It’s so difficult to figure out how to best be loving. I’ve started to organize my boundaries around that principle – how can I best be there for this person who is (or isn’t) hurting me? That’s a guide for me – especially since in being loving, it can mean walking away.

  66. Fred (@swamp_fred) May 5, 2012 at 4:39 am #

    Dammit, man. I sitting here fujcking weeping. O gptta tru tjos pme agaom ;ater/

  67. JD June 12, 2012 at 6:43 am #

    I should be asleep in bed but instead I’m reading your blog. I’ve never experienced physical harm in a relationship, but I’ve had someone I really loved once call me a ‘diseased whore’ during a particularly bad fight and it wouldn’t have been so bad if I wasn’t HIV positive. I’d never ‘felt’ words so palpably before. It was like your hit to the gut. The air was knocked out of me. Hot pain in my chest. Laying in bed, I just stared at the silhouette of his back, unmoving. Anyways, good writing, man. Thank you for sharing.

  68. jethroscott June 27, 2012 at 6:00 am #

    I came to this blog to find some kind of flaw with you. I know your porn work. You’re blessed with an innocent cuteness and for at least that reason you’re way out of my league. When I saw you behind me in line at 440, I tried to be natural, but I have a hard time doing that with celebrities. I asked you, Do you mind if I smoke, a genuine question since I hate bothering people with it. You just stared at me and I thought, Here is yet another person of higher social status trying to put me in my place, as if I had no right to address him. I was too nervous to find out if I was right and looked away, sneered, laughed it off, or something like that. So I came here looking for typos, sentence fragments, and logical fallacies. I found instead a four-dimensional person fleshed out in words by a gifted writer and profound thinker. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and experiences. I know this essay must have been difficult to write. But it was brilliant. I could not read it fast enough. You guided me along the jagged edges of your experience and connected it all with the wisdom of your current perspective. Your excellent self-expression has left me sympathetic and pleasantly surprised. I only hope that in my fourth dimension I become someone confident enough to return your stare and find out if you really are a nice guy. 

    • Conner Habib June 27, 2012 at 5:30 pm #

      Thank you for the honesty and vulnerability in your comment. Thank you, also, for the kind words about my writing.
      People have posted on comment boards on other blogs that I don’t smile or say hi when I walk by them in person. It’s true – I’m not always in a good mood or paying attention or thinking about what other people may be looking for from me in any given moment. One of the difficulties of being known before someone actually knows me is that there are expectations set up before I even get a chance to initially meet the person who has those expectations.
      In any case, I’m always working to be lighter and happier when I’m walking around town, and I’m happy to know that you’re meeting me halfway by coming here and being open.
      Thank you so much.

  69. Rod July 4, 2012 at 6:49 pm #

    Wow. Thank you for sharing such a personal and moving story Conner. You’ve allowed us to see your big heart and feel it’s tenderness. My heart went out to you while reading this post. I was surprised by the appreciation you have for the sweet romanticism your ex showed you. It’s a nice side of you to see. I hope you still like romance. 🙂
    I was also overwhelmed with the desire to hug you strongly while reading your story. If we ever meet, I will.

  70. John July 4, 2012 at 7:42 pm #

    I just want to say Thank You for sharing this painfull part of your life. Thank You for being so strong and so brave. I finished reading in tears. It did bring out so many memories of my past. I am not strong or brave as you are, I probably never could share with the world my story, but you have touched my heart deeply.
    You are an amazing writer, unparalel to none writing skills.
    I am glad you are even stronger now than back then. I wish you the best of the best always. You are a real man CH. God Bless You.

  71. Warren July 4, 2012 at 8:23 pm #

    Truly amazing and coming from a honest place… You are beautiful inside and out.

    • Karl July 4, 2012 at 11:21 pm #

      Very inspirational reading…these points being raised here will inspire people to take this seriously.

  72. Mary July 5, 2012 at 5:23 am #

    I’m straight and have never been physically abused but you nailed it. The human condition. Love.

    Also appreciate your response to the therapist as I am currently earning my MA and was scratching my head at his hubris. Well done, an inspiration. Oh and happy 4th, you’ve come a long way, baby.

  73. Diego July 7, 2012 at 6:29 pm #

    Conner, thanks for share this with us. Forgive me for my bad English, I’m from San Juan, Argentina. It help much of us to realize we are bot alone in the kind of situation you lived.

    For 4 years I lived an abusive relationship that ended 5 months ago. He was never fisical abusive with me, but I discovered he was something like bipolar. In some moments he was lovely but sometimes (many times) he exploted for nothing and the agression never ended. I could put and end to the relationship but I still have to share the same work space with him. It`s awful, I know, I have to resist.

    Thanks for your art, I mean all of them

    • Conner Habib July 8, 2012 at 12:28 am #

      Thank you Diego – your openness is really beautiful, and I appreciate your comment. -CH

  74. T August 11, 2012 at 12:06 pm #

    Ok…came for porn and ended up crying… I’m very sorry that happened

    • Joe September 2, 2012 at 1:39 pm #

      I came for porn (clicking and following links rather randomly) and found SO MUCH MORE; too much to even begin articulating with any semblance of cohearance! I’ve subscribed to your RSS feed and may find the courage to share my own story one day. Thank you Conner!

  75. how to cure phobia of spiders naturally January 14, 2013 at 3:55 am #

    Wow that was odd. I just wrote an extremely long comment but after I
    clicked submit my comment didn’t show up. Grrrr… well I’m not
    writing all that over again. Regardless, just wanted to say
    great blog!

    • Conner Habib January 17, 2013 at 6:03 pm #

      sorry to hear that it got deleted. feel free to email me any thoughts 🙂

  76. Sup May 7, 2013 at 9:57 am #

    Thank you very much for writing this. I had someone beat me the way you describe once and well I wish I had written about it but I had no words to describe it then. Now, I have spent years growing strong again and not afraid and I don’t even think I want to remember how it felt although I suppose I will never forget it. Again, thank you for sharing this. It only goes to remind me that other people know how it feels. Maybe people I don’t know and don’t have to know, but that somebody felt as confused as I did, is reassuring.

  77. Shirley Frederick April 10, 2015 at 5:56 pm #

    Dear Conner,

    Thanks for your thoughtful writing, so full of feeling, so kind.

    Here in the Rocky Mountain West I have wildlife living in my big back yard. I sometimes spend time in Yellowstone, where I watch what the buffalo and the wolves and the ravens are up to and think about it. One year two buffalo bulls during the rut head-butted one another, and one of them tipped over and died. I didn’t see it, but I heard about it from one of the rangers. What happened after that is another story too long for this post.

    Closer to home…my cat, who long ago went to kitty heaven, is another animal who taught me a few things. I’d pet him. He’d bite me. I’d smack him. He’d look at me with his yellow eyes and switch his tail. Then he’d go about his business. A few minutes later he’d be curled up in my lap.

    But human interactions are different. We have expectations. We live in the future and in the past. We’re not free to forget. And yet we’re wired to feel intensely and to react spontaneously. If we’re lucky the reaction is loving and the touch comforting, like wolves curled up together in their den on a cold winter night. But wolves are not always loving or cooperative. When he’s ready, strong aggressive young male will go after the alpha male’s throat. That’s not love, it’s dominance. That’s how wolves make decisions. No talking things over in the wolf pack.

    We are still wired like other mammals that hunt, compete, mate, fight, suffer, and die. But as humans we strive to be loving and gentle and kind. How to be an animal and a human being at the same time, that’s our challenge.

    Love and peace to you both.

    • Conner Habib April 11, 2015 at 12:50 am #

      Wow, beautiful response, Shirley. I teared up a bit as I read the words and then read them again aloud.
      Thank you.

  78. janeeatonhamilton June 5, 2016 at 7:54 am #

    A friend recommended this sad, beautiful essay to me. I would love to include it on the queerviolence.wordpress.com blog. Please let me know if that would be okay.

    • Conner Habib June 14, 2016 at 12:01 am #

      Please do, and send me the link or pingback when you do it. Thank you for the kind words.

  79. Bevan Dufty November 11, 2017 at 3:05 pm #

    Thank you for posting this. I have loved you for many years and respected your strength and smarts. You deserved an apology. You deserved to know that his terrible response to your tears was his deep problem and not yours. Thank you for being courageous in so many ways and for speaking up in this important time to fight sexual violence.

    • Conner Habib November 14, 2017 at 12:54 am #

      Thank you Bevan – I am such a huge admirer of you & your work. This means a lot.
      Love, CH

  80. Judith Stevenson November 12, 2017 at 10:02 pm #

    Working in the battered women’s shelter movement and in addiction recovery settings, we discover and validate that it sometimes takes many “tries” to get to that final plunge. But we know that there’s a little bit of new learning, a little bit of new insight and strength occurring in the soul on each attempt. It is never for naught. Celebrate every victory. 💜

  81. Edward R Fernandez July 5, 2019 at 2:32 pm #

    Thank you Conner if this incredibly beautiful piece of writing! Sending love..

  82. Joan Price July 4, 2020 at 8:47 pm #

    This is heart-wrenching and powerful, Conner. I can only imagine how difficult it was to write. It needs to be widely read. I see this piece saving lives when someone in a similar relationship says, “This is me. I need to leave.” Thank you.


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