A Coward Is A Man Who Awakens A Woman's Love With No Intention To Love Her

It's not that he never planned to love you, he just never intended to love you the right way.

A Coward Is A Man Who Awakens A Woman's Love With No Intention To Love Her dekazigzag / Shutterstock

When my mom was 49, she married my sister's 18-year old-friend. Yeah, I know. But this isn't a story about how messed up that was, though it undoubtedly was. 

This is a story about how messed up HE was. 

And it's a story about how much he messed my mom up, a cautionary tale for those of you who still have time to change things.

Hurt people hurt people. I know that.

I also know that sometimes, someone doesn't have to be hurt to lash out with words like whips, to profess love with their kiss while they grind your spirit underfoot like broken glass


My mom's fourth husband was born mean. It doesn't really matter what twisted his DNA that way, or which gene was the rotten banana peel — my mom slipped on it and fell hard enough to break every bone in her life.

She'd been on shaky ground for years, but he opened like a sinkhole underneath her, just about swallowing her whole.

How? Well, in a million little ways. Every day, his words falling into her cracks, chipping away at the softest parts of her, the ugliest kind of erosion.

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What waves do to rocks and shorelines over centuries, he did to her in just a few short years, a constant battering of her heart, her sense of self-worth crumbling like sand through his hands.

He lied, and he cheated, and he made her crazy. She'd call me at two o'clock in the morning, swearing she'd smelled another woman on his clothes, certain she was losing her mind.

She wasn't wrong but even when he got someone else pregnant, she stayed.

She stayed because she loved him — and that was the worst thing of all.

Because there are people in this world who will awaken a kind of cursed love within you, calling it forth like a snake charmer, pulling it out of the basket of your body with music that sounds like promises, but every note is a lie.


It feels like you're powerless against it, the moon crooning to the ocean waters, so you stop fighting and give yourself up to it and maybe for a little while, things are good.

For months or maybe even years, there's hand-holding and considerate lovemaking, random acts of thoughtfulness, anniversaries remembered and celebrated.

But eventually, inevitably, whisper-thin doubts start to swirl above your head while you're lying in bed beside him.

He acts different. He smells different. The kind smile that once set your belly on fire now sends ice creeping up your spine.

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The words fall empty even if you're in his arms, and you know you're doing yourself a disservice by not leaving, complicit in a crime against yourself every day that you wake up next to him but you feel hopeless against the force of the love you think you have for him.


And it's not so much that he never planned to love you — he just never intended to love you the right way.

Because all of that? The swaying, the swooning, the black rose you feel blossoming in your chest the first few times he touches you? That's not real love. That's only the way he's hypnotized you. And when you know you're hypnotized, it breaks the power it has over you.

You can ignore the code word, the snapped fingers. The curtain is pulled back, revealing him for what he is. He's a coward, shrinking back against the light, trying desperately to maintain the illusion.

True love, the kind of love that lasts, it lives in the light, it doesn't hide from it.


It took my mom getting terminal cancer to learn her worth, to break the spell, to climb back into her basket and pull the top down tight behind her. But you don't have to wait for something so traumatic.

If he's shown you who he is, then believe him. Believe him, and walk away.

You are better than the words he uses like ropes to bind you.


You deserve love that shines like sunlight.

Untie yourself and go find it.

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Cassie Fox is a writer and photographer. Equal rights and informed choice in everything are hugely important to her, and all of these things together form the backbone for much of her work.