Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Bad Romance by Heather Demetrios! I am so excited to be a part of this tour. Heather is one of my favorite authors, and this book really is amazing, and one that is so very important! This wasn’t an easy post to write,  but I think it’s quite vital to know that we’re not alone, so… there you have it 😀 

Bad Romance by Heather Demetrios
Published by Henry Holt and Co. (BYR) on June 13th 2017
Pages: 368
Source:Copy provided by publisher for review
GoodreadsAmazonBook Depository

Grace wants out. Out of her house, where her stepfather wields fear like a weapon and her mother makes her scrub imaginary dirt off the floors. Out of her California town, too small to contain her big city dreams. Out of her life, and into the role of Parisian artist, New York director—anything but scared and alone.

Enter Gavin: charming, talented, adored. Controlling. Dangerous. When Grace and Gavin fall in love, Grace is sure it's too good to be true. She has no idea their relationship will become a prison she's unable to escape.

Deeply affecting and unflinchingly honest, this is a story about spiraling into darkness—and emerging into the light again.

My Story

Bad Romance is the kind of book that I’ll recommend that every single person reads. If you’ve been in a relationship, want to be, have friends who do, whatever. It’s important, vitally so. My initial impetus for this post was a “signs I wish I’d seen” topic, but it morphed as I went along. Because here’s the thing: Of course we all want to see the reasons before situations intensify, before they get beyond our control. Is that realistic, though? In some cases, sure, which is why teaching warning signs is important. But sometimes, it doesn’t matter if you’re the most knowledgeable person around. Feelings often cloud our logical judgment, even turn us into someone we never thought we’d be.

Let’s rewind a bit. Way back, even, to when I was Grace’s age, even younger. I’d seen women in my family, friends of my parents, and as I got older, even friends of my own struggle with relationships that were clearly harmful to them in some way. And I suppose, as we tend to do when we can’t quite relate to the experience, and as I definitely did, I had the thoughts of “wow, I would never be that girl”. How easy a thing to say when you’re never in the situation. My mom had left a really bad marriage long before I was in existence, and I always thought it was the absolute bravest thing I had ever heard her do- and this was a women who used to skydive for shits and giggles.

I think what I underestimated in these situations was that our emotions have such control over our choices, and often mask the right choice, the choice maybe we’d want to make under different circumstances. Choices we’d swore to ourselves we’d make if ever presented with them. Reading Grace’s story in Bad Romance, the signs were clear, no question. It was difficult to read, for such a myriad of reasons. But the main reason was that this story is so honest and made me confront some really ugly truths.

I could probably spend hours talking about all the red flags that I “missed”. But the truth is, I didn’t miss them at all. They were there; I am and was perfectly capable of seeing them. I even discussed them with others. No, these signs didn’t elude me at all. Rather, my passivity and general terror in regards to making decisions and change were the catalysts to me not doing a damn thing to change my situation.

But we should talk about the signs, so that you can be sure to see them too, if you ever find yourself in such a situation. Certainly, I was able to see the infidelity in various forms. Yet I went back. After it happened once, twice, and then more times than I can even count. There’s the physical intimidation, which is an interesting sign. It’s more subtle than direct physical contact, but certainly is a red flag. Because hitting things, making someone feel like you are capable of harming them, that’s an abuse in its own right. There’s the emotional components that would probably take me an entire post in itself to list, but the gist is that nothing I did mattered, and social isolation was incredibly real.

The irony really is that it wasn’t a situation where I was so “in love” that I couldn’t stand the thought of leaving. Truth be told, I don’t think it was ever even love to begin with, in retrospect of course. No, my reasons were… alarmingly mundane. Being scared of having difficult conversations, letting my family down, feeling selfish, financial ramifications, those are the things I struggled with. Didn’t matter that I’d been unhappy for as long as I can remember, didn’t matter that I felt like I was a shell of my former self.

And the worst part of the whole thing is, I blamed myself every minute. Not for the behavior that I knew was wrong, but for allowing myself to remain in the situation despite the behaviors. Despite my insistence to myself that I was a strong person, that I would not let myself be treated like this, it took a long time before I was finally able to admit to myself once and for all that I was done.

But still, the blame- the self blame- continued. Because I did see the warning signs. I saw every single one. And I kept putting myself right back into the situation. I don’t fully know if it’s because of insecurity or straight up fear, but dissolving a marriage is probably not supposed to be an easy choice, I suppose. Eventually, I had to look at it like this: Yes, I messed up a bit. But not because I was cognitively trying to make myself unhappy. And either I could continue to beat myself up over something that was in the past, or I could try to cut my old self some slack, and try to plan to move forward.

I wish I could tell you that there’s this awesome happy ending at the end of this post. But I can’t. I don’t have a tale of happily ever after that took place when I realized that I am a person who deserves better. But maybe that bit of forgiveness, the knowledge of knowing that I don’t need to sit around in misery for the rest of my life, that is a happy ending in itself. And I hope that I can continue to forgive the mistakes I have made, as well as those I inevitably still have to make.

Follow the Tour! 

Blogger: 5 advice tips to give my younger self
Guest Post: Author Interview
Blogger: Tips for encouraging self worth
Blogger: Red Flags to Look Out For
Blogger: Some signs that I wish I had seen
Blogger: What things I wish I’d had during my Bad Romance
Blogger: Relationship advice
Blogger: Bad Romance story along with some tips
Blogger: Tips for Self Worth
Blogger: List of Bad Romances in Pop Culture
Blogger: Bad Romance Story
Blogger: Bad Romance Story
Guest Post: How to make sure that your relationship is a healthy one

So, let’s talk. Do you have any “bad romance” stories you’d like to share? Tips for people who have been in bad romances? Feel free to share away! 

Posted June 3, 2017 by Shannon @ It Starts at Midnight in Blog Tour, Discussion, Giveaway / 14 Comments

14 responses to “Bad Romance by Heather Demetrios: #ChooseYou Blog Tour

  1. oh my gosh Shannon, thank you so much for sharing this post with us. I have been in that situation before where I have been too afraid to make change because of what everyone else would think. It sounds like this story was really relatable and helped you realise some things about the situation. Sending you all the love, don’t beat yourself up over it! It’s definitely more apt to forgive yourself first and foremost, and move on.

  2. Thank you for sharing your story with us, Shannon. It’s so easy to ignore of disregard the signs because of a plethora of reasons. I was in a pretty bad relationship as a teen. I knew it was bad then but I didn’t realize how bad it truly was until the last few years. I agree that realizing you deserve more is a happy ending. You do deserve more and you deserve to be happy. Sending hugs and love your way, Shannon.

    • Aw thank you ♥♥♥ Hugs to you, too. You’re right, there can be SO many reasons for it- something that I didn’t really understand when I was younger. I think I thought too black-and-white, you know? Now, I have so much more of an understanding, and it is heartbreaking to think about young women in this situation.

  3. Thanks for sharing your story!! I was in a BAD ROMANCE too– and I’m about halfway through the book and I feel like Heather Demetrios was following me around from like 2000-2003 to get material for the book. I basically dated Gavin’s clone– minus the hot rockstar stuff.

    I get what you are saying about seeing the signs and ignoring them. I definitely did that too. And when I wasn’t ignoring them, he was convincing me that he was going to change. Also, it was my first super serious relationship, so I think I wasn’t experienced enough to KNOW that love isn’t supposed to be like that??

    Great post. I think a lot of teens/young adults benefit from hearing stories of people who have been through it.

    • Aww thank you love! I am SO sorry about your situation, too- I read your post a little while ago. The book is phenomenal, I just hate how real it IS- how many people go through this kind of stuff. I think that was my problem too- I had never been in a legit relationship, and like, people in my life were always telling me that my standards were too high, that I was expecting too much, etc. So I assumed that maybe settling was just… reasonable? But then when the bad shit happened, even though I KNEW that wasn’t okay, I was so full of self-doubt that I don’t think I was capable of making the right choices.

      I am really glad to hear you say that about people benefiting from hearing it. That means a lot. ♥♥♥ Like, I always heard the REALLY scary stuff growing up- you know, hardcore physical abuse- but no one ever seemed to talk about the more subtle harmful stuff.

  4. Sharing this side of you is SO incredibly brave because so often we want to hide the messy stuff under the rug. We want to pretend that we’ve got it all figured out even when we’re drowning. My prayer is that you’ll be able to move forward decisively and do whatever you have to do to get yourself (and your kiddos, because I know that’s one of those things that holds you back—the little humans caught in the crossfire) into a better situation AND that you’ll be able to do that without blaming yourself for the woulda coulda shouldas of the past. I know—easier said than done, but that is my hope for you!

    • Aww thank you, love! That means SO much ♥♥ You are so right, it is easier to hide the messy stuff. It’s one thing I have never talked about on my blog before, and it has always felt very… inauthentic. Especially when I read other people’s posts about their families and such. But it has been a long time coming, and after YEARS of waffling about it, I finally made a decision with my new therapist. You’re right, the kids have been a BIG factor- but ironically, the thought of Lena especially ending up in a similar situation is one of the main factors for me for knowing what I have to do. Like, if this is what she sees her whole life, she’ll think it’s normal, think it’s okay for HER to be treated that way. And it isn’t like her father is a bad person, but our relationship was not something that I’d want for her in a million years. I appreciate the support SO much, Nicole, I really can’t tell you how much it means to me.

  5. Thank you so, so much for sharing your story with us, Shannon <3 It is hard at times, to see the signs of a wrong relationship because you are too, into it and let your emotions get in the way of being rational for sure ; and the blame is something I definitely relate to as well. But we shouldn't beat ourselves up, just try to move on and remember that we deserve the best and should not settle for less.
    I am impatient to read this book as well 🙂
    Beautiful post! 🙂 <3

  6. Sam

    You ladies are getting me all choked up with these posts. Yep. Had bad romances and also a multitude of toxic friendships. It took me many years to live by the famous statement, that I would rather be alone for the right reasons. I am glad the internet brought you into my life, because I love reading your thought, and I look forward to many, many more discussion. =)
    Sam @ WLABB

  7. Lots of hugs to you. Thanks for sharing your experience. I hope it will help give your readers a little of your strength, if they are in the same boat. I have not been through a bad romance, but my mom did. I’m so proud of her for standing up for herself.

Leave a Reply