As a general rule, we know when we’re done. A constant depression coupled with no communication, no joy, no laughter, no physical contact, no love…no need to really explain further, right? But despite the telltale signs, many of us continue to stay in relationships that have clearly run their course.
Those couples suffering may spend all of their time together bickering and arguing, and the rest of it avoiding and withdrawing, but something still stops them from pulling the plug. From the outside it may seem like a complete mystery why, but here are just five reasons people stay in bad relationships…
1. The Devil You Know …
Bad relationships can be habit forming: it may not be good, but you know what to expect. For some these familiar patterns bring a kind of comfort, and induce an almost irrevocable inertia. Coupled with a fear of change, this can be decidedly lethal, and potentially lead to many years of unhappiness. In this scenario, it’s important to understand that ‘familiar’ doesn’t necessarily mean ‘good’. Try and look beyond what you have to what could be, and find the strength to make a change. Imagine the relationship you want, and don’t stand still until you’ve got it.
2. The Practicalities
For many, the everyday practicalities of day-to-day living get in the way of making the right kind of life-changing decisions. Perhaps it’s a financial situation – how on earth can you rent or buy a place on just your income? What will you do for health insurance? Who’s going to do all those jobs around the house? Maybe you’re simply too embarrassed to tell your friends? Here it’s important to know that for every problem, there is some kind of solution. Sometimes it means taking baby steps to get to a new place that will ultimately be better for everyone. Just because your new life is more than a stretch away, it doesn’t mean you can’t get there.
3. For The Children
Clearly this is one of the most complex and serious reasons why people in bad relationships stay together. It’s also perhaps the most pressing reason to make every effort to work as hard on it as possible before giving up. Having said that, if your relationship is abusive or horribly dysfunctional, it could still be better for all concerned to leave it while you still can. It’s neither good for you or your children to be exposed to the worst type of human behavior.
4. Who Else Would Want Me?
Low self-esteem is a huge hurdle to overcome when it comes to getting out of a bad relationship. Often, it’s actually being in the relationship that’s caused you to feel bad about yourself in the first place. Or if not, that’s how you got yourself there – ‘they’re not right, but who else would want to go out with me?’ There are no quick fixes to improving your self-image, and in many cases it can require one-on-one therapy to help turn how you feel around. But remember that what may seem like the worst alternative – being on your own – may not be such a horrible one. Which brings us, finally, to…
5. Fear of Being Alone
Sometimes we have a completely irrational fear of being on our own, which in turn can keep us in a relationship well beyond its sell-by. But when you really stop to think about it, what’s so horrible about spending some quality time with the one person we know we can at least agree with? In fact, some extended alone time can be really good for you. It’s an opportunity to catch up on those things we’ve been not-so-secretly dying to do: maybe it’s a night class, maybe some redecoration… it could simply be giving yourself the time to see those movies you missed. Best of all, though, it’s a chance to really get to know and understand yourself, and give you the chance to discover what it is you need and want from a relationship next time around.