Why Stay for so Long? Part Five – Fear of Consequences

Here is part five of my blog series which looks at why people stay in toxic, unhappy relationships for too long. Being frightened of the consequences from your ex after becoming single again.

The blog series has been written in response this commonly asked question from readers of my poetry collection ‘Poetry for the Newly Single 40 Something.’ (Stairwell Books)

It is said that the most risky and vulnerable time for a person in any kind of abusive relationship is throughout the time of separating.  The breaking-up of a relationship, any relationship, is difficult beyond measure.   In lots of ways, it can be likened to a bereavement, after all, it is the death of something.  Total readjustment is needed when becoming single again to a new and often unexpected way of life.

Separating or divorcing can be a time of fear, loneliness and uncertainty and unfortunately, not many people get through life without some experience of it.

For a person stuck in a relationship where physical, verbal or emotional abuse is commonplace, the effects can be magnified.

The sufferer of the domestic abuse will no doubt already have issues with self esteem which their soon ex-to-be will capitalise on.  They will probably receive all kinds of threats and warnings as the partner realises they are bringing the relationship to the end.  For example:

  • I will find you wherever you go
  • I will never leave you alone
  • You will be easily replaced
  • I will turn the children/family against you
  • I will cut off your money
  • I will just get someone better than you
  • You will have to watch your back, etc, etc

Emotional effects on you can also take the form of promises to ‘change’ that will almost certainly never materialise or may do, just for a short time before the original behaviour will be reverted to.

At a time of extreme vulnerability, your partner will do everything in their power to make you fear their threats or warnings until you back down and remain trapped in the life they have created for you.

Fear of the actual leaving, uncertainty of whether you will cope after divorce and dread of loneliness can keep you in a toxic relationship where you are not even living half a life, if you do not do something to break the cycle.

Reaching out for help to lessen your susceptibility at this time is crucial.  You can, and will get through this and you will get to a point where your former partner cannot do anything to affect you anymore, be it physically, emotionally or verbally.

With the right support, a stronger, happier, more confident version of you can em

erge and one day, you will look back and say, with conviction ‘Why did I stay so long?’

Maria Stephenson  The views in this blog post are my own and are not intended to replace any professional advice which can be found through the following links:







The Path of Least Resistance

 Following stones and crevices

that he’s driven roughshod through,

appearing gentle and placid

yet riding over opposition;

trampling all in his way,

gaining speed as he nears his goal.

Unstoppable, glib, all-powerful,

infiltrating whenever a weakness is found,

shouting louder to be heard.

I’ve become wise.

Held, for long enough

in his narcissistic grip.

Maria Stephenson from ‘Poetry for the Newly Single 40 Something’ (published by Stairwell Books – http://www.stairwellbooks.co.uk/html/bookshop.html#PoetryfortheNewlySingle40Something



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