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Why Some Men Can’t Leave

Updated on November 28, 2013

sometimes kids are the most important

Men stuck in abusive relationships

I have read several articles about bad or abusive relationships and the common thread is the fact that most people think you should just leave. That is where this article was born. When it comes to men in bad relationships that’s not always possible and is easier said than done.

Men in bad relationships are often trapped in to staying and the women know it. The fact is there is a lot more men out there in this situation than people like to admit. It is taboo to think that men can actually care more their kids than they do for themselves and their well being.

In the courts, the cards are stacked against a man from the very outset. The court system has been tilted in favor of women for a number of reasons, but basically it boils down to, they think that children are better off with their mother. In extreme circumstances, a father may receive custody but these cases are rare compared to the amount of times it is granted to the mother. When the mother does receive custody, the children will often become pawns to get what they want, using the power of love as a weapon for years on end. When a man is trying to prove mental abuse, it is far more difficult to prove in court than physical abuse. A lawyer can twist the facts to the point where the man become the cause and the abuse is the effect. Then the question becomes, if it was so bad, why didn’t you leave a long time ago? Staying for the kid’s well being is often turned into, what is worse seeing your parents fight or leaving? But if the abuse is mental, there are often no outward signs that the kids see, like in a physical abuse situation. The men in these situations will do whatever they can to hide any emotional distress from the children, this way the emotional issues are self absorbed and not spread to the kids.

Men who are often the main source of income for the family and have provided the way of life that they have come to expect, are subject by the court to continue this financial responsibility. This financial burden is so overwhelming for some men that they can’t actually afford to support themselves and still provide for the family. Men faced with this situation, especially older men in abusive relationship where they have sacrificed all their friends over time to avoid conflict at home, wind up with no one to turn to for help. They will end up facing the fact that they be homeless and living where ever they can just so they can continue to financial support their children. The child support laws are set up, when a man is unable to pay child support due to job loss or some other reason; they will actually face jail time. This makes no sense at all, how can a person find a job while sitting in jail, the penalties for failure to pay child support becomes a scary prospect. I know that the laws was original set up for “Deadbeat Dads” but I have seen it used as a scare tacit from women toward their ex’s to exert power and control.

Then there is the thought of starting all over again. Men who have invested half of their life creating a home, a business and a stable atmosphere, will often sacrifice themselves in order to maintain that stability. This home life stability relates directly with work stability and the fear of losing it can outweigh any other obstacles that may face in their relationship. This stability also affects the children and the men know it. Taking away that stability, no matter what the reason, will be blamed on the person who leaves and the emotional scares, though maybe covered up over time, never completely disappear.

For older men forty and over with teenage children at home, the struggle to leave becomes that much more difficult. They care so deeply for their child’s well being that they feel that leaving would dramatically decrease the chances of the child succeeding on the same level that they are now. If these men are fathers of students that excel in school they already see the pressure of the advance classes on the kids and some teens would simply shut down if the stability at home is gone. The so called, professional psychologist says,” They just need counseling,” that’s a crock! No matter how much counseling they get, they will never get over the separation of parents in time for it not to effect their most influential learning years in high school. Besides, who is going to pay for this counseling, the man who just lost everything or woman who is taken everything from him?

Verbal abuse toward men is probably the most common type of abuse. Degrading comments, such as, you are a failure, you can’t do that or you need to grow up are only a few. Then there is the temper tantrum. Women who will scream and fly off the handle for no apparent reason, one misplaced comment can set them off and nothing the man can say or do will calm it. The woman will calm down over the course of the next few hours, but until they do, the men will absorb the metal humiliation of being degraded, called names and forced to apologize for something that never even happened.

Another thing is the withholding of sex as a form of abuse. Women will often use this as a form of abuse to the point where the man actually loses desire to a point of not caring about sex. Then we he doesn’t care if he has sex or not that conversation becomes, “you must be cheating on me, you use to want to have sex all the time.” The fact that he was forced to learn to do without it doesn’t even seem to be a part of the equation. You might be surprised in the E.D. (erectile dysfunction) cases that aren’t E.D. at all, just a learnt lack of desire. If they were put with an attractive caring woman that didn’t use sex as a vice, they would have no problem performing at all without any drugs at all.

You see, there is really no way out for a lot of men. When someone tells a woman to just leave a bad relationship, they are counting on the fact that they will have financial support from the husband and a support system from friends and family. Shelter and support groups are geared toward women, not men. Men are left to fend for themselves and for most men in this situation that means just putting up with it and hoping one day things will get better. Men will hide the abuse from co-workers, friends and family, rather than have to suffer the questions and the embarrassment. They go on day after day, too scared to say something or do anything about it without fear of retribution if the spouse finds out. The fear of being separated from his kids and home rise above the fear of continued verbal and mental abuse.

Last words: The next time you tell someone that they should just leave a bad relationship, don’t think they haven’t thought about it. It just might be that leaving would be worse than staying.

Update 2013:

I have found from further research that a lot of marriages can be saved just by time going by. The thing I have found that a lot of long term marriages have in common, time. This is just saying what may have felt like a no win situation a year ago, may have seen the rough sea's subside to the fact that sticking it out was felt by the partner that love was more important than the struggles of that time. The ole saying goes "times heals all wounds" this can even be true with wounds of emotion. Not to say that this is the end all answer, but giving up just enforces that the love is gone and that there is nothing left saving.

Do you have a story to tell? comments welcome

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    • dashingscorpio profile image


      7 years ago

      "Men stuck in abusive relationships" - In all honesty our lives really comes down to our "choices" and "decisions". None of is "stuck". We just may not like our options! For some people staying put is the least difficult way to go although it may not be the most healthy way. It takes "courage" to change. However I don't believe there is a price too high in order to have peace of mind. Children would rather be from a broken home than live in one. A lot of people stay in "bad situations" because they lack the courage, energy, and desire to make a change. Truth be told each of us gets to set up our own "deal breakers". Some people will bolt at the sign of a wind change while others will stay (no matter what) including verbal/physical abuse, drug addiction, unstable finances, and infidelity. It's important for everyone to remember each of us CHOOSES our own friends, lovers, and spouse. Life is a personal journey. You are responsible for your own happiness. Assuming the role of victim or playing "the blame game" is not an empowering move. It's also a horrible example to set for one's children. The pursuit of happiness is a choice. One man's opinion! :-)

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      8 years and I still have marks on my ankles from my hands when I went for my coustody hearing

      great info / hits home very hard

    • R.Cochran profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Dahlonega, GA

      Child support is just a minor player in the economics of theses situations. Often child support is provided on top of other expensive item required by the man to maintain. The main thing is ofter times the requirement for the man to provide food, shelter and clothing for the child, before he would be allowed to take care of himself.

    • Huntgoddess profile image


      7 years ago from Midwest U.S.A.

      I thought child support was supposed to be based on a percentage of the non-custodial parent's income. That's the way it is in my state.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      I have been telling people this for years. The child support issues are strictly one sided. No mater what, the man will get the short end

      Child support is unfair, unjust and unreasonable. It ruined my life so the dope head could terrorize the children and I'm the bad guy.

    • Huntgoddess profile image


      7 years ago from Midwest U.S.A.

      R.Cochran, Wow, this is really horrible.

      Have you considered the possibility that your partner might have psych problems going on? Perhaps she really doesn't have a good appreciation of what she's doing, or how it affects you.

      Also, though, I'm not so sure that the courts DO favor women as much as you believe. I spent the night in jail for yelling at my ex out in the street. All the ladies in my cellblock were there for the same thing.

      Have you tried speaking to an attorney at all? Maybe you could find a nice attorney. Most of them have those free initial consultations now.

      The only other thing I want to point out, though, is: If you are experiencing mental and emotional distress, your kids DO know about it on some level.

      Perhaps not consciously. But, it does affect them, whether you or they know it.

      I really hope you guys can work it out, and have a happy, peaceful, trusting home.

      (Not that I'm any expert in that field, believe me.)

    • profile image

      win her back 

      7 years ago

      I have really enjoyed reading your hub. Thanks for all your work!


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