Young People Happier Than Expected When Abusive Relationship Ends

C. Price

Written by: C. Price

C. Price

C. Price is part of's content team. She writes advice articles, how-to guides, and studies — all relating to dating, relationships, love, sex, and more.

Edited by: Lillian Castro

Lillian Castro

Lillian Guevara-Castro brings more than 30 years of journalism experience to ensure DatingAdvice articles and reports have been edited for overall clarity, accuracy, and reader engagement.

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According to a study conducted by Purdue University, young people who leave their abusive relationships end up feeling significantly happier than they expected to feel.

Researchers studied 171 people with an average age of 19, all of whom were in an abusive dating relationship. More than 80 percent of the participants were women.

Participants reported at least one act of verbal, psychological or physical abuse. These participants also checked in with researchers every two weeks for three months, rating their happiness levels and how happy they expected to feel if they ended their abusive relationship.


“Young people who leave their abusive

relationships end up feeling happier than expected.”

By the end of the study’s three-month duration, 46 participants left their abusive relationship.

Study author Ximena Arriaga said the data suggests individuals may have a difficult time leaving abusive relationships because they underestimate just how negatively these relationships affect them.

“The more aggression they experienced from their partner, the bigger the gap between what they had expected and what actually happened,” said Arriaga, an associate professor of psychological sciences. “So, not only are people misjudging their future happiness post-relationship, but they also are misreading how poorly they feel in the moment while in their relationship.”

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