Published: Sep 02, 2011 1:04 PM EDT
Updated: Sep 02, 2011 1:08 PM EDT

NAPLES, Fla. -- Despite the abuse, and even after a divorce, missing teacher Amy Patterson returned to her ex-husband Daniel Proctor. Experts say, for many women, that's not uncommon.

"We could spend all day talking about why people stay in bad relationships."

Rosa Leon has spent years helping survivors of domestic violence. She can't say exactly why missing teacher Amy Patterson decided to return to Daniel Proctor, even after he went to prison for second degree assault against her. But love, she says, is usually at the top of the list.

"I think the belief that people have in their partner, in that they actually are going to do what they're promising - keeps a lot of people in bad relationships," she said.

She says the profile of an abuser, is a man hungry for control and power.

"When there is a breakup, the abuser loses all their power and control, so their ultimate goal is to regain that power and control. So, they'll do anything. They'll say anything, to make that moment better," said Leon.

Many times the abuse happens behind closed doors. "There is a shame factor. It's not the first thing you want to talk about to people so that they know, it's a very behind closed doors issue. And people are embarrassed,” she said.

Experts say, women also return to abusive relationships because of financial, cultural, and even religious reasons. A woman will return to her abuser a total of seven times before she finally leaves for good, and one in four women are abused in their lifetime.