why is it so hard to leave a relationship
People who have never been abused often wonder why a person wouldnБt just leave an abusive relationship. They don t understand that breaking up can be more complicated than it seems. There are many reasons why people stay in abusive relationships. If you have a friend in an unhealthy or abusive relationship, support them by understanding why they may not want to or be able to leave. Fear: Your friend may be afraid of what will happen if they decide to leave the relationship. If your friend has been threatened by their partner, family or friends, they may not feel safe leaving. Believing Abuse is Normal: If your friend doesnБt know what a healthy relationship looks like, perhaps from growing up in an environment where abuse was common, they may not recognize that their relationship is unhealthy. Fear of Being Outed: If your friend is LGBTQ+ and has not yet come out to everyone, their partner may threaten to reveal this secret. Being outed may feel especially scary for young people who are just beginning to explore their sexuality. Embarrassment: ItБs probably hard for your friend to admit that theyБve been abused. They may feel theyБve done something wrong by becoming involved with an abusive partner. They may also worry that their friends and family will judge them. Low Self-esteem: If your friendБs partner constantly puts them down and blames them for the abuse, it can be easy for your friend to believe those statements and think that the abuse is their fault. Love: Your friend may stay in an abusive relationship hoping that their abuser will change. Think about it if a person you love tells you theyБll change, you want to believe them. Your friend may only want the violence to stop, not for the relationship to end entirely. Social/Peer Pressure: If the abuser is popular, it can be hard for a person to tell their friends for fear that no one will believe them or that everyone will take the abuser s side.
Cultural/Religious Reasons: Traditional gender roles can make it difficult for young women to admit to being sexually active and for young men to admit to being abused. Also, your friendБs culture or religion may influence them to stay rather than end the relationship for fear of bringing shame upon their family. Pregnancy/Parenting: Your friend may feel pressure to raise their children with both parents together, even if that means staying in an abusive relationship. Also, the abusive partner may threaten to take or harm the children if your friend leaves. It s Just Puppy Love б Adults often donБt believe that teens really experience love. So, if something goes wrong in the relationship, your friend may feel like they have no adults to turn to or that no one will take them seriously. Distrust of Police: Many teens and young adults do not feel that the police can or will help them, so they donБt report the abuse. Language Barriers/Immigration Status: If your friend is undocumented, they may fear that reporting the abuse will affect their immigration status. Also, if their first language isnБt English, it can be difficult to express the depth of their situation to others. Lack of Money: Your friend may have become financially dependent on their abusive partner. Without money, it can seem impossible for them to leave the relationship. Nowhere to Go: Even if they could leave, your friend may think that they have nowhere to go or no one to turn to once theyБve ended the relationship. This feeling of helplessness can be especially strong if the person lives with their abusive partner. Disability: If your friend is physically dependent on their abusive partner, they can feel that their well-being is connected to the relationship.
This dependency could heavily influence his or her decision to stay in an abusive relationship. What Can I Do? If you have friends or family members who are in unhealthy or abusive relationships, the most important thing you can do is be supportive and listen to them. Please don t judge! Understand that leaving an unhealthy or abusive relationship is never easy. Try to let your friend know that they have options. Invite them to check out resources like www. loveisrespect. org, even if they stay in the abusive relationship. To learn more, check out our other tips on
If you've gotten frustrated with a friend Б or yourself, for that matter Б for not leaving a, you may now have an explanation for why this happens so often. Researchers from the University of Minho in Braga, Portugal, hypothesized that people stick around when due to the "sunk cost fallacy. " This is the same cognitive bias that leads us to sit through a movie we don't like because we've already paid for it, or finish a project that's going nowhere just because we've already put so much energy into it. The basic pattern is that, once we've become invested in something, it's harder to let go of it. And according to the study, published last week in Current Psychology, the same goes for relationships. To find out how various types of "sunk costs" can affect people's decision to stay with their partners or leave them, the authors conducted two experiments. For one, they had 902 people read about four different versions of a relationship; each new version had an altered amount of time, money, and effort invested in it. "In the last few months, you have been feeling unhappy with your relationship," the description read. "For example, little things turn into big discussions and you feel that you can no longer communicate with your partner.
You have not had sexual relations, for a few months now, and you stay at work after hours to delay the moment to return home. Due to this problem with your partner you feel lost and distressed and believe you would be happier if you were no longer in that relationship. " Sure enough, people who had put a lot of effort into making their partner happy and keeping the spark alive, as well as those who had spent money on a house with their partner, were more likely to say they'd stick around, even when it got bad. Money was especially likely to affect men's decisions. For the second experiment, the authors presented 275 people with another hypothetical scenario about a relationship they'd spent either a year or 10 years in. People who were told they'd already been with their partners for a decade stuck around for 294 days longer on average. Operating according to sunk costs is generally by psychologists, since you can't get back what you've invested by seeing something through to the end, and you'll likely just end up wasting more resources. "Together, both experiments confirmed the initial hypothesis that investments in terms of time, effort, and money make individuals more prone to stay and invest in a relationship in which they are unhappy," the authors wrote. "This option was chosen when Б and taking into consideration how unhappy the person was in that relationship Б the logical decision would be to finish the relationship, independently of the prior investments. " The moral of the story? If you no longer want to be with someone and don't see it getting better, you may want to trust that instinct. What you've put into that relationship in the past doesn't necessarily have to determine its future.
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