24 People Share The Heartbreaking Reason Why They Stayed In An Abusive Relationship

Chao Yan
Chao Yan

With every minute that passes, approximately 20 people in the United States are the victim of physical abuse by a partner they are intimate with. And that’s not including emotional or verbal abuse, which is just as damaging. Sometimes abuse is hard to recognize, especially for individuals who are invested in a relationship, committed to a partner, or going through something profoundly emotional with that person. These statistics are staggering, but they don’t tell the whole story. MentalHelp.Net surveyed 571 people who stayed in an abusive relationship, asking them the hardest, most painful question: “Why did you stay?” These are some of their stories.

Why did you stay?

1. “My wife has some issues with depression. When she is in one of her moods she will say and do things that are so cruel. But it’s not her, it’s the illness. I still love her with all my heart.”

2. “I didn’t want to lose my partner.”

3. “I stayed because we have a son and I do love her despite all of her faults.”

4. “I felt something bad will happen if I left cause he has told me that.”

5. “Because I love my spouse. My feelings of being uncomfortable were short lived and a normal fear that can occur.”

6. “Well, having been married for 10 years, feeling fearful happens sometimes. Doesn’t mean you should end a marriage over it.”

7. “Because although things have been uncomfortable and abusive at times, we have grown as people and learned how to treat each other better over time.”

8. “Half the time they are the greatest partner I’ve ever had (humorous, supportive, compassionate, understanding), and other times they are so emotionally damaging that I utterly hate myself. I feel like I have more in common with my current partner, than I ever have had before, and I’m afraid of losing that.”

9. “When you really like a person sometimes you put aside the bad and only see the good. Like the saying goes, Love is blind. You are blind sometimes or refuse to believe your feelings that really matter.”

10. “To be quite honest, I don’t know. Maybe because when things are at their best, it is better than any relationship I have ever been in.”

11. “I’m planning to break up, I just haven’t bridged that step yet. I’ve tried and felt I needed to get to a point where it would be less painful first”

12. “I was very young, and foolish. most of the relationship patterns and dynamics that had been modeled to me as a child were abusive. I was also abused as a child, so I guess it just seemed…normal.”

13. “I felt as though there was nothing better out there for me and I was told that nobody would ever love me the way that he did.”

14. “We had children and a family and I loved him. And, like a fool, I always believed him when he said it would never happen again.”

15. “I was being manipulated—that’s the only reason I stayed. I was depressed and vulnerable at the time I met them, and they took advantage of that.”

16. “I wasn’t in a financial position to leave on my own.”

17. “I had low self-esteem. I depended on my boyfriend for validation and feeling special. I didn’t want to give up the comfort of having a partner. And I didn’t have the strength to speak up for myself enough.”

18. “I felt that I needed to give his person a chance.”

19. “Fear of being alone. Fear of starting over in a new relationship. Fear of the consequences from my boyfriend at the time.”

20. “Because I didn’t know what a good relationship was supposed to look like and I didn’t know that the red flags were red flags. I was so desperate to have someone love me.”

21. “In my mind, I thought the fact that there was abuse in the relationship meant that my significant other was only showing me that he cared. It’s strange how easily a significant other can brainwash someone into believing such a tale.”

22. “I fell in love with this man, and married him. It was a shock when he started acting abusive. It took me a while to process the fact that he was abusive. I felt numb.”

23. “That’s a really hard question to answer. I have a hard time letting go of people even if it’s not in my best interest to stay with them or be in any type of relationship with them. And our relationship had a lot of ups as well as downs and I tended to hope that we could regain what we had lost instead of realizing how bad the relationship had been for a long time.”

24. “I thought I could somehow fix things, that there was something I could do to help her.” Thought Catalog Logo Mark

Marisa is a writer, poet, & editor. She is the author of Somewhere On A Highway, a poetry collection on self-discovery, growth, love, loss and the challenges of becoming.

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