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“I Know He’s Bad for Me, but I Just Can’t Leave Him”

Have you ever thought this to yourself?  Many women have at some point in their lives.  Whether your partner is abusive,* or your connection with him just isn’t what it used to be, you may be going through something like this right now.  If you’re having sex, or if unexpected pregnancy is a possible concern, the situation may feel especially complex.  You’re not alone!  A community resource like Avenue Women’s Center can offer the support you need to move toward your best and brightest future.

Avenue Women’s Center has been a trusted resource for women since 1981!  We offer professional, compassionate early pregnancy support.  No woman should have to navigate an unexpected pregnancy or a difficult relationship alone.  We’re committed to providing high-quality services, paired with emotional support, at no cost!  We can also help connect you to other organizations in the community that offer ongoing support for women that can help meet your individual needs.

Learn more about our completely confidential first-step pregnancy services at Avenue!

When You Just Can’t Seem to Walk Away

Maybe your partner avoids you or seems indifferent to your needs.  Perhaps his temper flares up sometimes, and he makes hurtful comments or even becomes physical.*  Maybe he’s been unfaithful.  Or, for whatever reason, it just feels as though the relationship has soured.  And yet- you just can’t seem to walk away.  When an unexpected pregnancy takes place under these stressful circumstances, women may worry about a partner’s capability to co-parent, or fear that the pregnancy would make it harder to get out.  This is a really challenging place to find yourself in.  At Avenue Women’s Center, our goal is to empower women in situations like yours through caring support, helpful resources, and reliable information.

So, Why Do People Stay in Unhealthy Relationships?

Psychology Today provides some research-based explanations.  Do any of these resonate with you, or offer insight into your own relationship?

  • Individual standards are an important factor. We all hold our partners and relationships to certain standards, whether we’re conscious of them or not.   If you expect more problems and less fulfillment, and those low expectations are met, you may feel relatively satisfied- even though the relationship isn’t healthy.  Women with low self-esteem are especially vulnerable to this.
  • Many of us tend to prioritize a partner’s positive qualities over his negative ones. Research suggests that people tend to value a partner’s positive personality traits above other characteristics, whether or not the relationship is good.  When negative qualities emerge, they may be swept under the rug.
  • Sometimes, there doesn’t appear to be a better alternative. If staying with your partner seems better to you than being single or dating someone new, you may feel less motivated to leave- particularly if you tend to have low self-esteem.
  • Some partners are manipulative.* If your partner tends to have this personality trait, and suspects that you may leave, he may try to control you and the situation.  This could come in the form of belittling, shaming, or threats.  Distress related to physical or emotional abuse can discourage a woman from breaking things off, because she may not feel capable of leaving.  And that’s manipulation at work.
  • Many of us tend to stay in relationships we’ve invested in. If you’ve put a lot of time and effort into a relationship, it may feel harder to leave.  Perhaps you and your partner share a home or a family.  Those are investments too.
  • Love can be a big influencer. Maybe your thoughts and feelings don’t agree on whether or not your partner is good for you.  It’s also possible to have strong positive and negative feelings about your partner at the same time.

Your situation may involve other factors too.  Perhaps you’re emotionally or financially dependent on your partner.  Maybe you feel isolated, or lack support.  Circumstances like these can feel very complex and overwhelming.  That’s why it’s critical to stay connected with people who care.

Are you hoping that your partner will change for the better?  The painful truth is that this may not happen.  But whatever the future holds, your health and safety here and now are more important than anything else.  Check out the information below- and reach out for support!  Perhaps trusted family members or friends could offer a shoulder to lean on, or a fresh perspective.  Avenue Women’s Center can be a part of your support system too!  In our experience, women feel most equipped to make their best pregnancy decision when they’re safe, supported, and well-informed.  And that’s what we strive for at Avenue.

Reach out and learn how we can help meet your needs through this challenging season.

*If you’re in an abusive relationship, and believe your safety or someone else’s may be at risk, call 911 right away!*

*Illinois also has a hotline you can reach at 1-877-TO END DV, 877-863-6338 (Voice), or 1-877-863-6339 (TTY) to make a safety plan.*

Check out our blog, “Facing an Unexpected Pregnancy with an Abusive Partner.”



Psychology Today.  (2017, May).  6 Reasons Why We Stay in Bad Relationships.  Retrieved from:

The information provided here is general in nature.  It is not a substitute for a consultation with a medical professional. Before any medical procedure, it is imperative that you discuss your personal medical history, risks, and concerns with your doctor. If you have questions during or after a procedure, your doctor should be immediately contacted. Avenue Women’s Center is not an emergency center.  If you are experiencing severe symptoms, such as bleeding and/or pain, seek immediate medical attention.  Contact your physician, go to an emergency room, or call 911.