Why Do People Stay In An Abusive Relationship? Research Paper Sample
Relationship may decay with time and people may become abusive in relationships. Many people realize that their partners are abusing or mistreating them, but they decide to stay and maintain the relationship. Usually people stay in abusive relationships because they hope that someday their relationship may improve. People who never faced such situation often wonder that why people stay in an abusive relationship. This paper proposes a discussion on why people stay in an abusive relationship.
Rusbult and Martz (1995) in their research study analyzed different factors and conditions that made people to stay in abusive relationships. The authors say that the decision to stay in abusive relationships largely depends upon three major factors: first level of dissatisfaction in relationships, level of emotional investment made in relationship and economic alternatives available with the person. According to research, the commitment of partners increases when they invest heavily in relationship. For example, partners who are married or have child are more likely to be emotionally attached as compare to partners who are not married (Rusbult and Martz).
The level of commitment toward relationship increases when emotional bonding between two persons is very strong. In such situation, the likelihood of stay of partner in abusive relationship increases. Rusbult & Martz find out that level of dissatisfaction also play a major role in deciding the stay of person in abusive relationship. A person stays when dissatisfaction is lower and situation is affordable or bearable, but higher dissatisfaction often results into break-up. The role of dissatisfaction is applicable in both cases when male or female is being abused in relationship (Rusbult and Martz).
Economic dependency of person on her partner also influences the decision of stay in abusive relationship. In majority of cases, it is observed that women who are economically dependent on their partner choose to stay because they do not find any better option for themselves. Eckstein (2010) in his study analyzed various reasons that made people stay in abusive relationships. Eckstein conducted his research study on 239 women and 106 men who were in abusive relationships (Eckstein).
Eckstein says that there are social, religious, and personal factors that do not allow person to leave abusive partner. People who were in abusive relationship mentioned that their religion does not allow them to leave their partners; hence, they are forced to remain married no matter how worst the situation is and how abusive their partner is. Eckstein says that people feel embarrassed in disclosing failure of their relationships in society; they feel that it may get better in future. Men do not disclose abusive relationship because they fear that it will damage their masculine image (Eckstein).
In certain cultures and societies women are told by their family members, and by members of the society that men are in-charge or head of the house, they have right to control their women and being violent. Women from such cultures try to keep their men happy under all circumstances; they keep silent when they are being abused by their men. Women become isolated when they do not receive any support from family members and friends; under such circumstances they decide to stay with abusive partner because it is not possible for them to break relationship and stay alone.
Eckstein found that some people do not leave abusive partner because they feel that someone has to be strong in order to maintain the relationship; they believe that ending relationship means ending love and showing that you are not committed to your love relationship. It is very hard for the people to leave someone who they love most and planned to stay together for rest of their life. People tolerate all pain and abuses with a hope that one day their partner will understand the situation and he will stop abusing. People also tolerate abuse because they fear that after leaving relationship their partners may beat them or kill them, or damage their image in society or among children (Martin et al.).
Child is another major factor that strongly influences the decision of person to stay in abusive relationship. Couples with child believe that both parents are equally important for the child. Absence of one parent can adversely impact the child. Presence of both parents facilitates development and learning of the child. After child situation becomes different for parents, as any decision taken by them will not only impact their own life but also the life of child. Therefore, people decide to stay in abusive relationship because they believe that it is good for their children.
After analyzing the subject it can be said that there are various social, cultural, religious, family and personal factors that influence decision of person to stay in abusive relationship. People with strong love, commitment towards relationship, child and economic dependency are more likely to stay in abusive relationship. People stay in relationship with a hope that their relationship may get to a different level in future.
Eckstein, Jessica J. "Reasons for staying in intimately violent relationships: Comparisons of men and women and messages communicated to self and others." Journal of family violence 26.1 (2011): 21-30.
Martin, Andrea J., et al. "The process of leaving an abusive relationship: The role of risk assessments and decision-certainty." Journal of Family Violence 15.2 (2000): 109-122.
Rusbult, Caryl E., and John M. Martz. "Remaining in an abusive relationship: An investment model analysis of nonvoluntary dependence." Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin 21.6 (1995): 558-571.
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