Supporting your partner: what to know

Change is possible—but it’s never easy.

Remember that violence is always a choice but that it’s often informed by trauma. That still doesn’t make it okay. With support, your partner may be able to change their behavior through professional help (we can help identify services) and an invested, sincere, and transformative process.

Still, you shouldn’t expect them to change. Abuse stems from a desire to exert power and control, and someone who uses abusive behavior to get what they want will not give that up easily. Attempting to participate in your partner’s healing process puts you at high risk of further abuse, and abuse tends to escalate when people are confronted with their own behaviors.

Remember that physical and sexual violence aren’t the only types of abuse, and warning signs aren’t always obvious or visible. Your partner may be harming you in verbal or emotional ways through intimidation, threats, or isolation, or other means of control like financial abuse. They must take steps to end all types of abuse immediately.

Addressing the roots of abusive behavior takes time, but a healthy relationship requires an immediate and tangible commitment to change.

You have the right to feel safe and healthy while your partner works toward change, even if ultimately it means you can’t be together. Don’t try to justify abusive behavior and focus instead on the benefits of building a healthy relationship.

If you need help finding services, information about why people abuse, or just someone to talk to about what’s going on, contact love is respect 24/7 by text, phone, or live chat to anonymously speak to one of our expert advocates.