Our Love After series continues with a story of abuse, transparency and moving forward. Here’s a detailed account of Krys Midgett’s heartfelt story, written in her own words:

My dad passed away when I was only 13 and my family moved to Portland, TN when I was 14, to be close to her sister. Well, I was new to town and not popular. There was a guy who kept flirting with me, at the teen center. I wasn’t interested at first, but he seemed to be well known and was pretty charming. Turned out he was a ‘bad boy’ and I thought I could help him do better. Fast-forward- we dated on and off all through high school. He cheated on me the whole time because ‘I wouldn’t have sex’. Well at nearly 18, I did and I got pregnant. I married him and quit school (for a year). He was verbally abusive and continued to cheat. But he didn’t hit me and ‘I loved him’.

After my son, Jimi, was born, he needed medicine. My ex-husband did not want to get it because he wouldn’t have enough for a tattoo and drugs. So he kicked us out and we went to my mom’s. Of course, after he partied all weekend and my mom bought his medicine and diapers, he decided to come back and get us. I went back.

When Jimi was 5 months old, the ex came home late and was mad that dinner was cold. I said ‘heat it up yourself’. This was the first time he was physically violent. He pulled a gun on me, loaded it, cocked it and held it right between my eyes, touching my skin, with his finger on the trigger. We had another couple over and they were too scared to say anything. He finally removed it and put it away.

While he was at work the next day, I hid it. Two weeks later, he had taken the rent money out of my purse. He did that more often than paying for any bills, diapers, or food. My mom paid for Jimi’s diapers and bought us food. And she was a broke, widowed mom of 4.

Well, when he went to take the money that he had previously taken, it wasn’t there. He got mad and accused me of giving it to my mom. So, he pushed me, kicked me in the stomach, threw the baby bottle at me, while I was holding the baby. And, as he was driving me to my mom’s, backhanded me and accidentally hit the baby (just barely).

There were other things over our year and half of being married but that kinda sums up the abuse. Turns out he was on cocaine. I only ever thought he smoked weed and drank. I knew he had tried other stuff but didn’t know he was on it. I was so naive. I didn’t even smoke pot or cigarettes, for that matter. I did drink though.

Ok, now how I got out. The very next day, I started talking to one of my brother’s friends… you know the shoulder to cry on. Lanny was 16, I had just turned 19. That’s less than 3 years, no judgment please. Anyway, he could sing and play guitar and he sang to me. He was a great guy and he put up with a lot. I went back to the ex a couple of times because he tried to convince me that he could take my son. But I would still talk to Lanny. I hadn’t cheated but I was not emotionally with my ex. It didn’t take long for me to leave for good.

I went back to high school. Lanny and I dated for a few years. I was too jealous and not quite ready so when he asked me to marry him, I broke his heart and mine. I almost immediately regretted it.

I think he was actually my first real love. I loved my ex-husband but in a ‘I want to help him’ kind of way. Lanny and I had a rocky relationship. We dated on and off til I met my husband. Lanny taught me that I could be loved and how I should expect to be treated. I still appreciate him for that. As matter of fact, I am friends with him and his wife. They are crazy about each other, she is super sweet and they have an adorable family. I have nothing negative to say about him. He was just meant to be the hero is someone else’s story.

Education: with the major support of my mom, I graduated high school the day after I turned 20. Thanks to Mrs. Grogan, in high school, I learned about Pell Grants and went to college. So, I was a single mom, going to college. A hard place to be but definitely worth it. I worked a lot and it took forever. Good thing it did, otherwise I would not have met Brian.

Oh, my husband. He and our kids are my life. He was 19, I was 25 with a 6 year old. Here’s our love story.

I was looking for my friend, Ron, on the WKDF Chat Room (1997). He was always on those chat rooms and I would say ‘don’t meet girls off chat rooms’. But I needed to borrow his car, so I was looking for him. This was before cell phones were affordable.

Well, I got in a conversation with someone and she asked how I was. I My response was ‘great, except algebra was created by people who run insane asylums, to promote business’. Brian chimes in ‘I am taking calc 4 at MTSU’.

Oh, I went to MTSU the year before that. I was back at Vol State because I really wanted to be Editor of the newspaper there. So, I am thinking math tutor. I give him my pager number and he volunteers to help me with math. The very next week, he meets me and my best friend, Sheila, at O’Charley’s in Lebanon to get ready for a math test. The next day, he emails and asks if we can go out on a more nonprofessional level after tutoring is over. We didn’t wait to go out. That was the end of June of 1997. I said I did not want a relationship. My friend Ron told me I needed to give this kid a chance, and I did. We got married in October of 1997. While I was Editor of the college newspaper.

Brian has been Jimi’s dad since then. We also have Robby who is 19 and Tommy who is almost 11. Jimi is now 26. He got married to Tayler and we have two grandsons, Bronson and Wyatt.

We have been happily married for 20 years on October 14th. We are as in love as newlyweds. He doesn’t even raise his voice at me. We do not fight, we communicate and discuss. We appreciate what we have.

I have love, I deserve love and deserve to be treated like I do. Love shouldn’t hurt and you can get out of the abuse and break the cycle.

I finished high school, I got my four year college degree in only nine years. I run a magazine. I run a charity called Give A Little Christmas. I am a songwriter. I did this as a mom.

My incredible mom and my amazing husband made it possible. I got lucky where love is concerned. But, I had to know I was worth it and be strong. Violence is not okay. You deserve your own success/love story.