4 Reasons We Stay in Bad Relationships

My nieces are such a great resource for helping me to remember not only what I went through when I was dating, but we talk about things they are currently going through as well. They are in their mid 20′s, quite the intelligent young women filled with much more insight and the ability to be introspective than I was at their age.

The topic of conversation last night was breaking up and why we stay in relationships too long. Not only have I personally experienced being in a relationship WAY too long and where fighting was normal, but the up and down drama became a routine. Somehow we justify this because when it’s “good” it’s really good, but when it’s “bad” it makes your life miserable. And then there are the litany of excuses to stay. Here are just few we came up with.

1. Afraid you won’t find someone else that you will feel as familiar and comfortable with:
Not only will you absolutely find someone that you are comfortable with, but the right relationships for you will not be so difficult. Just think about the abundant amount of single people seeking a relationship. AND….remember, it’s NOT suppose to be that difficult. There is an ease and flow when you find the right partner for you. Paste this message on your bathroom mirror!

2. Afraid the other person will be better or “fixed” with someone else:
Think about this….So What?? Staying in this relationship only traps you both. You are not only dishonoring yourself by staying in the relationship, but you are keeping them in the relationship as well. If your partner will work better with someone else, this also means that YOU will work better with someone else. This also stems from your own insecurity and your ego. You do not need to obtain your own self importance by trying to fix someone else. Begin doing exercises to boost your own self worth and let go of the ego desire to control someone else’s life. It’s not your place to keep someone trapped when setting the relationship free could be the most honoring thing for both your lives.

Next: Two more reasons people overextend relationships and key things to remember

3. Better to have someone than to be alone or lose your safety net.
Really? Is your own company that bad that you would rather feel mediocre all the time than feel happy? In my opinion, learning the skill of being happy and whole on your own without needing someone else’s approval or acceptance is crucial before being in a committed relationship. When you come from a place of being healthy and secure within who you are and embrace your own ability to self soothe, then your relationships will change. You will drop the need to stay in a relationship too long because you have the confidence in yourself to be in the world without a partner and have fun! What a concept…have fun on your own and begin doing those things that you put on the back burner while you were in a relationship. Become your own safety net!

4. Break up process and confrontation is scary.
In perfect world, ending a relationship would be a mutually comfortable decision. This is rare. Telling someone that you want out is not easy, however doing it skillfully and gently is important. Being loving and honest is important. Make sure you allow your partner their feelings and simply let them know that the relationship is not working for your life. Chances are that if you are unhappy, they are unhappy too.

I am sure there are many more excuses why we stay in a relationship too long, but when you are unhappy in a relationship and have explored different options to heal it, making the decision to end it is the next step. I would not recommend ending a relationship when you are in the middle of an argument or angry with the other person. It will not stick because when you get back on that “high” again with the other person you will end up back together. This decision should come from a place of balance. Sit quietly and ask yourself, is this how I want to live my life? Is there more pain than joy in this relationship? More fighting and struggle than peace? Is there ongoing dis-satisfaction? Do you like yourself in this relationship?

You know in your heart if you are simply making excuses to stay in an unhappy relationship or if the relationship is just going through a bad patch.

Remember, these points:
- It’s not suppose to be that hard
- Do things that you have put on the back burner
- Learn to enjoy your own company
- There is someone who is a better fit for you

Take a breath, be honest with yourself and take action!

Related Links:
Breaking Up
Breaking Out of Negative Relationship Cycles


Jess No Fwd Plz K.
Jessica K4 years ago

Thanks for these statements. I completely agree, being in a relationship only because you don't want to be alone or thinking you have to fix your partner are not great reasons to stay. May I suggest, though, that a person take an autopsy on past relationships when they end. You may find there's a certain kind of person you're attracted to and make adjustments either to maintain a healthy relationship with your archetype or avoid it altogether.

Tammy Taylor
Tammy Taylor5 years ago

These "relationship" articles that I'm reading here tonight have been so helpful ... putting everything that's going on in my life into perspective, things that I couldn't put into words are jumping off the page at me .. thank-you very much!

Heather Marvin
Heather Marvin5 years ago

I have also seen people leave marriages believing they could do better but not always seeing that they too had baggage. Then they have wandered from one man to another still not finding their Mr right.Obviously abuse is not acceptable in any relationship.

J.L. A.
j A5 years ago

thanks--so many societal pressures encouraging staying no matter what...nice to see affirmation of why leaving can be the best for all

Cyrille D.
Cyrille D5 years ago

Maybe you're right. Maybe being unhappy, unsatisfied, hopeless and desillusionned should be more than enough to leave a dysfunctionnal relationship. But, I can't help thinking that the problem, the real problem, often is elsewhere. Of course, I'm not talking about a physically/mentally abusive relationship. That's totally different, and yes, if you find yourself in one of them (especially with children), you should leave as soon as possible. But, for the other type of "bad relationships", I cannot help thinking that there is a reason to everything and that, if you really try hard enough to understand and learn from what's wrong, you can probably do something to save the whole thing. But then again, it is much simpler to just pack up your bags and leave. I guess the fighter in me as a hard time considering that option. In all cases, such situations are very very traumatic and hard to live. I wish you all luck on your paths !

Robyn L.
Robyn P6 years ago

As someone who stayed "too long," I also balance it with blessing my sweet mistakes.
Every choice we make makes us, and we get lessons and opportunities.

We did split after 13 years of marriage, and we both are better for it.
Using the other was a convenient excuse to not be what we could become.

But I bless him for every second, because I love who I am, and who he became... just not enough to be his partner again.

Vanessa S.
Vanessa S6 years ago

After leaving a 12 year relationship (8 years of it married), I totally can relate to this article. Every single day is a struggle. I totally agree with what Katarzyna said above, but I would also like to add that if there is EVER any abuse of any kind (physical, verbal, emotional) separate yourself from that individual as soon as safely possible. Even if you love them, and you believe that they love you. If you are really that important to each other, you will each get the psychological help needed to become emotionally healthy individuals that can carry on a healthy and happy relationship. Once you have left, never re-enter the relationship without a psychologist who knows with all honesty about the entire situation recommending that it will be safe to do so.

jane richmond
jane richmond6 years ago

sent this to my daughters

Camila K.
Kamila A6 years ago

ending a relationship is like experiencing a death, or like doing a killing, even if its merciful for both of you, or just you. Its admitting that you were wrong. Its facing karma. Its traumatic and incredibly painful but a courageous act when it is done for good reason. I hate it.

Lupe G.
Guadalupe G6 years ago

I know from my experience I didn't get a chance to be my own person long enough to know what I was looking for & having had nothing but failed or "settled" relationships to compare my perspective to didn't help, but I was able to break the cycle. It's still a struggle but I am working each day to face the fears mentioned above because as is repeated; "it's not supposed to be that hard"!