Why People Stay in Abusive Relationships

There are many reasons why people stay in abusive relationships. They include:

  • They may not recognise their partner’s behaviour as abuse. Some gay men and lesbians think that domestic violence only happens in heterosexual relationships, so they don’t see it as something that can happen to them.
  • Fear of being ‘outed’ or discriminated against if they seek help.
  • They are committed to the relationship and may believe that they can work it out with their partner.
  • They don’t want to leave their home, their children or their pets.
  • They are afraid of what their partner will do if they leave.
  • They are dependent on their partner financially or for care needs.
  • The abusive partner is sick and their partner doesn’t want to leave them alone.
  • They feel shame and don’t want everyone to know about the abuse.
  • They love their partner and want to believe the promises that ‘it will never happen again’.
  • Domestic violence is about power and control - they may not yet feel strong enough to make the break.
  • Your friend may not recognise what they are experiencing is Domestic Violence.

“I was not happy in the relationship but I knew no one, had no money and much to my detriment I loved him. I was living on the memory of the good times ...” (Kent, 35).