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Intimate Partner Abuse Screen




Abusive Relationships - Why Do People Return to Their Abusive Relationship?

domestic violence consulting expert


By Dr. Jeanne King, Ph.D.


A common question people have about individuals in abusive relationships is: why do they stay? A more perplexing question to bystanders looking in is: why do they go back? And moreover, why do they go back again and again and again?


It is estimated that a domestic abuse survivor will return to her abuser seven times before finally ending the relationship for good. What draws one back into the same abusive relationship again and again?


Why They Return to Their Abusive Relationship


I would venture to say that many of the reasons people go back to the relationship are similar to the reasons why they stay in the abusive relationship, however with some slight differences.


In working with thousands of people over the years, I notice that the absence of a realistic and desirable long-term living plan outside of the abusive relationship residence is one of the number one underlying—and often unconscious—reasons domestic abuse survivors give their former relationship another try.


While one may certainly be aware of feelings that remain alive, hopes and dreams that sparkle, habits and customs of comfort, the operative motivator to let their exit go is often dissatisfaction with the alternative they have in the absence of the abusive relationship.


Safety Measures to Insure You Stick with Your Exit Plan

If you are in an abusive relationship, look to create two plans: an immediate safety exit plan and a long-term plan that you can see yourself transition into over time. While in the crises mode of your initial exit, you can see your transition circumstances as temporary.

And you can then begin to visualize the more long-standing plan you can and want to transition into. If this is satisfying to you, you will be less likely to fall prey to that which lures people back into abusive relationships.

For more information about ending and healing from abusive relationships, visit and claim your free Survivor Success Tips & eInsights. Dr. Jeanne King, Ph.D. helps people recognize, end and heal from domestic violence.  © 2008 Dr. Jeanne King, Ph.D.

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©Copyright 2008 Dr. Jeanne King, Ph.D.

Dr. Jeanne King is a licensed psychologist and domestic abuse consultant. Feel free to contact us if you need help with physical and/or emotional pain, stress-related illnesses, or relationship abuse issues at home or in court. Contact Us to reach Dr. King.