Up Next: 7 Reasons Women Stay in Bad Relationships

(Update: All the posts of this series have been collected into one piece, Seven Reasons Women Stay in Abusive Relationships, and How to Defeat Each One of Them.)

Just a quick note to say that tomorrow on this blog I’m going to begin a series of seven posts, each dealing with one of the seven reasons I think women tend to stay in relationships they should leave. Though I may not write them in exactly this order, those seven reasons will be:

1. Having to Create a New Self Image. (Nurturing, forgiving, healing, self-sacrificing martyr: OUT. Self-Preserving, selfish [bad word that rhymes with “itch’]: IN. Not an identity switch a lot of women are comfortable making.)

2. Fear of the Unknown. (Better the devil you know than the devil you don’t, and all that.)

3. Too Embarrassing. (Ah, the allures of public failure.)

4. Playing Your Family’s Old Tapes. (So often succeeding in life means psychologically breaking with—betraying, really—one’s family. Tough stuff.)

5. You Love the Lovable in Him. (Everybody’s got an angel in them; you keep loving the one in him. It’s real; it’s there; it’s not helping.)

6. How Could He Be So Different From You? (You simply can’t fathom that he really is exactly the person he keeps proving himself to be.)

7. He lies.

Lately I’ve received some very touching testimonies from women seeking input from me and my readers about difficult relationships they’re in, so here and there I may interrupt this series in order to present such letters. Please don’t hesitate to send in such a story of your own if that’s something you’ve been wanting to do; I’ll be sure to deal with it in whatever way you request.

All right, then! Until tomorrow! Be here! Or be … well, somewhere else.

Here’s the follow-up to this post: From Selfless to Selfish: 1 Reason Women Remain in Bad Relationships

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  • ashley

    i was prevousily in a bad relationship and found my way out of it. it took a good 5 months for him to stop bothering me. he literrally stalked me, harrassed my family and i, disrespected my family and came into a house and made a hole in the wall. i lived in fear for 5 months. and now..for some reason im back with him, he made me believe things were going to be different, i felt like i still loved him and i did. but now its been 5 months sicne ive been with him again and he's just worse than wat he was before. he's even hit me. I dont know what to do anymore. ih ave no way out. im scared..the first time was already bad enough..he said it'll be even worse this time, he said he would threaten me..and he said he's worse because of me. i really dont know waht to do. i want out.

  • toni

    Get out now, Ashley. You did it once, you can again. He is not worse because of you….he is not worse at all…he is who he is and will always be if you stay and let him. He is who he is even if you aren't there. Get help… it is out there.

    Don't ever look back.

  • Ashley: Yes, as Toni says, the first thing you need to do is get out. And the second thing you need to do is get serious about figuring out what exactly you mean with the “for some reason” in your comment. If you don’t get to the bottom of what’s really going on there, you might as well stay where you are, cuz in one way or another you’ll only end up going back to that anyway.

  • Lesley

    Hi Ashley, you deserve more…All women deserve more. He needs help and needs to get it for himself. You cant help him, if he ever tries to tell you he can change again, just say NO, the best thing I can do for myself is to be on my own, and the best thing you can do, is to get the help you need and to take responsibility for your issues and to not put the blame on me, as this is your baggage. Just know you need support, love and encouragement, just look after yourself, you need to be strong since this man has tried to take what strength you have from you….Now be superstrong and get it back, but dont be afraid to get this support and love from others who care for you! Bless you Ashley.

  • jan w

    Wow, John, I think you’re the smartest man I’ve ever met. How did you know all this about the stupid things women do to themselves? I’m just learning it, and I’ve been a female for 56 years.

    I’m on the pecipice of (1) loving myself and (2) ending my emotionally crippling marriage of 36 years. It’s a process that’s taken me from miserable, to terrified, to curious about a bright new future. Wish me luck.

    Your brand new fan,


  • Jan: thanks very much for what you've said here. I appreciate it. And yes, yes, yes: Good luck to you, sister.

  • Linda Rouillard

    I’m a new fan. My sister just left a 30 year abusive relationship last October. We had only been calling it abuse for 1 year when she finally got out. A beautiful forum for DV helped me to help her and then helped her in ways unimaginable to get out and stay out. She left once before a year ago May, but it was too soon and too much for her to bear at that point. It’s been almost 8 months now since she left him and is going ‘no contact’ for 6 months now. I believe she truly is done with him.

    My question to you is, how can she be helped or help herself to get over it in her own heart, faster? She has really bad PTSD and cannot work. Do you have any suggestions or services that you know of that can help her along in this area? She lives with my husband and myself and our mother lives with us too. I’m happy to have her here but I hate seeing her sad and almost invisible so much of the time.

    I know it will just take time, but any help you know of or have yourself would be greatly appreciated.

    Thank you.