We’ve all done it. It’s nothing to be ashamed of. Whether it’s in the past or present, we’ve all been in a relationship that’s hanging on by a thread.
“People stay in bad or inadequate relationships because they may perceive a stigma to being single,” says relationship expert and author April Masini, known for her relationship advice site, AskApril.com.
Or sometimes they’re just stuck in a rut. According to John McGrail, PhD, clinical hypnotherapist, self-improvement expert and personal/relationship coach, “changing these irrational thought patterns can be very difficult due to our natural resistance to and fear of change; it requires letting go of this primal fear and reconnecting or establishing a feeling of true self-esteem, self-loving and self-respect. Sometimes the fear of staying has to be greater than the fear of leaving in order for someone to decide they are going to get out and for something to actually happen.”
Maybe we see it, maybe we don’t; either way, if you’re staying with your partner for any of the following reasons, we suggest you think twice because come on! You’re better than that!
Invested too much time
Relationships aren’t always wonderful but when the bad times outnumber the happy ones, then something is wrong. The odd good time isn’t enough to stay in a rut-like relationship.
Too scared to leave
“Fear is a big motivator for people to stay in bad relationships,” believes Masini. “One of the simplest ways to get over fear that keeps you in (or out of) relationships is to embrace rejection as a gift.
“When you fail or are rejected you’re faced with a door that is closed, and while that may be the worst-case scenario, it also offers you the opportunity to look elsewhere for love, comfort, companionship — closed doors let you know where not to invest, and grasping that concept is how you can overcome fear that keeps you in a bad relationship.”
Too lazy to start fresh
If you feel like you’re in a rut, the tendency is to fall back into old habits. Yes, breakups suck and it’s easy to just exist in a relationship without actually living it. But just because it takes a little work doesn’t mean it’s not the right thing to do.
Trapped in an abusive relationship
This is a tough one. “When what you’re used to is a bad relationship, it’s easy to gravitate and stay in one,” says Masini. “Breaking patterns is how you get out of an abusive relationship, and sadly, everyone has their ‘bottom’ or their low point, that is the moment when they say enough is enough, and leave. Sometimes interventions from friends and family works, but usually, the desire to stay in what’s familiar is stronger.”
Don’t want feelings hurt
Your intentions are honourable but it’s kind of a d-bag move if you’re just sticking around because you feel bad for your partner. Let them go and find happiness elsewhere.
Whatever’s wrong can be fixed
If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. But if it needs a complete overhaul, stop wasting your time and energy. Unlike a fine wine that gets better with age, a bad relationship involving two people no longer compatible only gets worse.
“Some people stay in bad relationships because they’d rather be part of a bad couple, than face the wrath of family pressure and prejudice against their single life,” says Masini. Try and be strong enough, no matter how hard, to stand up for yourself. We know, easier said than done. But it’s your life, your happiness — not theirs.
It’s been forever
She may be your childhood sweetheart, he’s the guy you lost your virginity to in high school, or he’s your first college love. But just because you’ve known him/her for a long time and have history isn’t enough of a reason to drag it out. People change and the people we once were might be totally different from who we are now.
Waiting until someone better comes along
Your real Mr. Right is out there but in the meantime, you’re just going to make do and settle. Do you really want to be that kind of person, one who hurts her partner, someone who might not realize what you’re up to and doesn’t deserve that kind of disrespect? Stop wasting everyone’s time here, mmmkay?
Don’t think you can find anyone better
This is more about your insecurities than your partner’s flaws. The months of empty promises of saying he/she will change have turned into years. If things haven’t gotten better yet, they’re not going to. You can still want a person to improve and get better — you just don’t have to be with them while they’re figuring it out.
Money, money, money
“Many people become financially dependent upon their partner; it’s even more insidious in a way than the emotional dependence,” says McGrail. It’s easy to get caught up in a certain lifestyle financed by your partner but it’s unhealthy when you’re loving the things more than the person. Now go, stand on your own two feet, make your own life and find true happiness.
Our fairy tale meeting was just that
It’s an anecdote you’ve told over and over and dreamed of telling your grandkids one day. But if the quality of your relationship has deteriorated it’s time to forget that adorable way you first laid eyes on one another and remember that that’s all it was: a nice story. And all stories come to an end at some point.
Keeping it together for the kids
“They want to give kids a family environment, and don’t want to put them through custody trials and tribulations, so they stay in bad relationships for the sake of the kids,” says Masini, before warning: “But some don’t realize that the children pick up every nuance of the bad relationship they’re living with and it is better to move on — for the sake of the kids.”
Don’t like change
“Human beings are naturally resistant to change, even when we know the change would be good for us and we’d really like to make it happen,” says McGrail. “We tend to cling to the familiar, whatever it is, painful or not, with tenacity.” What we need to do is overcome that resistance and open our minds.
But we’ve built this life and have all this stuff
“People look to things to define themselves, and it feels like a failure to downsize,” says Masini. “Accepting that failure is the way to overcome it, and then realize that being happy with less is more important than being unhappy with more.” These words of wisdom apply to just about everything in life.
Don’t want to be alone
It’s understandable that a person always wants to have someone in their corner and by their side but being alone is only as lonely as one makes it. Just as much as we crave that need to be in a relationship, we can also own and embrace our alone time. Because it’s only when a person can be truly happy and healthy on their own that they can be in a happy and healthy relationship with someone else.