Why Stay in an Abusive Relationship?

It is important to be aware of the fact that these relationships are not abusive all of the time. There is usually a pattern to the abuse. Tension may build up, physical abuse may occur, but then this may be followed by the abuser apologizing and promising to change.

Listed below are some reasons that are frequently given by a victim when asked:

“Why do you put up with it?”

  • Embarrassment about what other people may think if they found out about the abuse

  • The victim’s belief that only he or she can help the abusive partner get better

  • Belief that control and consistent jealousy are signs of love

  • Belief that the partner will change or that he or she can change that person

  • Belief that everything will be fine when the partner’s problems are solved

  • Friends may think that the abusive person is great and pressure the victim not only to stay in the relationship but also may make that person feel guilty for thinking about leaving the relationship

  • The dating partner promises never to be abusive again, and the victim believes that promise

  • Fear of leaving the relationship because the dating partner threatens or harasses when told about plans to end the relationship

  • Low self-esteem, as a result of emotional and verbal abuse, may result in the feeling that he/she will not find anyone better and does not want to be alone.


Ok, I understand what an abusive dating relationship is like. In what was is a healthy relationship different?

A healthy and nurturing relationship takes a lot of hard work! Mutual trust and respect are necessary. When two people have been dating and are feeling comfortable in a relationship, the following dynamics are usually present:

  • You feel safe to express your feelings

  • If one of you wants time alone, the other accepts it

  • You encourage each other to have friends and to enjoy activities that you do, either separately or together

  • You have open and spontaneous communication

  • You each take responsibility for your own behavior and happiness

  • You both learn from and accept mistakes

  • You deal with conflict directly and resolve it

  • Neither of you attempts to control the other

  • Your relationship allows individuality, freedom, and personal identity

  • You deal with anger in a way that does not hurt the other person, either physically or emotionally

  • You both encourage the other’s personal growth, change, and exploration of interests

  • You regularly accept flexibility and compromise

  • You do not need to act submissively or seductively in order to please your dating partner

If you think that your dating relationship contains some signs of abuse or if you think that it is time to end the relationship and need support, please do not hesitate to call.Safe Harbors of the Finger Lakes, Inc.

(315)536-9654 Yates County

(315)781-1093 Ontario and Seneca County