"Why would she get back together with him?"
I've been asked this question all weekend long with regard to this story in the news http://www.suntimes.com/entertainment/people/1454295,chris-brown-rihanna-back-together-diddy-022809.article.
The short answer is - I don't know why those two people may have gotten back together, because I don't know those two people.
But I do know in situations of abuse and domestic violence why people get back together and why this is confusing and hard to understand (and yes, frustrating) for friends, family and co-workers.
First of all, many people I know who are involved in domestic violence say "I love the person. . .I just want the violence to stop." So when a person says they will get help and promises they will not do it anymore, the person who is being abused wants to believe them. And who can blame them? They want things back the way they were before the abuse started. They love the person...not the hitting.
Second, relationships are often very complicated. There are often children and lives involved. Victims are hesitant to tear children away from another parent, family, grandparents. Think about this in your own life. Break-ups are terrible. Does anyone just "walk away" from another partner? It is not easy to do this. Add in the complications of abuse and it is even more difficult.
Why is this more difficult? One of the reasons is that a victim is often told over and over and over and over again that the violence and abuse is his or her fault. If the victim would not behave in a certain way it would not have happened in the first place, so why wouldn't you reconcile since you think you are kind of "guilty" for getting abused anyhow?
It takes a victim of domestic violence an average of 5-7 times to leave a relationship. Each time the person goes they are in the process of leaving. People most commonly stay for their children. . .but then most commonly leave for their children.
So when looking at domestic violence and abuse the focus is really better on safety. . asking your friend or loved one "Are you safe in your relationship?" rather than "Have you left?"
I know this is difficult to understand. But it is not helpful to say things like "Unless you leave that person I am going to break off my friendship with you" or "I am so disappointed in you." Because this doesn't leave the door open for discussion when your friend may need to talk to you. You can certainly express concern, and you can ALWAYS ask if the person is safe in the relationship because you care.
Please feel free to comment on this blog or add thoughts about why a person may get back together.
And thank you, as always for caring about making this issue "Everybody's Business." If you ever have questions, the National Domestic Violence Hotline is available 24 hours a day at 1-800-799-7233 (SAFE).