We’ve all experienced bad relationships – either firsthand or as witness to those closest to us. We know these relationships aren’t good; we see the cracks in the crumbling foundation, and then we sit back and watch, though it never seems to actually fall apart. But why do so many people seem to stay in mediocre relationships knowing they’re unhappy? Why is it so hard for people to cut the cord, pack their bags, and say goodbye? The real reason is fear. People are scared, and sometimes it’s easier to remain unhappy than to face the truth and tackle fear head on. Below we present the four reasons people tend to stay in bad relationships.
Number Four: You’re Scared to Be Alone. The world is a scary place, and having someone by your side always makes it feel safer. When you’re in a relationship, you get used to being a pair. You always have a date for weddings, you always have someone to cuddle up next to at the end of a hard day, and you have a built-in best friend who you get to have sex with (but let’s be real, that’s probably not happening much anymore). The thought of facing the world alone is enough to make you keep retreating back to the person you have become so accustomed to, so you stay with them and cross your fingers that things will get better, knowing full well they won’t.
Number Three: You’re Scared of the Logistics. The scariest part of leaving a relationship is figuring out what will happen when it does really end. The logistics of a breakup seem to be enough to keep even those couples that hate each other together, because they’re both scared of the repercussions that will follow. What will happen to the house or apartment you share? Where will each of you live in the meantime? How will you share custody of the kids (or pets)? How will it affect the mutual friendships you have acquired throughout the years? You’re also scared of money issues because you may have been relying on each other’s paychecks for a while now, and you’re unsure how you will move forward on your own.
Number Two: You’re Scared You Will Never Find Someone Else. So, you’ve been lucky enough to find someone and develop a relationship in spite of all of your flaws and gross morning breath, and the thought of throwing yourself mercilessly back into the dating scene is daunting. You think that if you do get the courage to leave, you won’t be able to find another person who is even partially comparable, and you’re nervous to put effort into getting to know someone new all over again. You’re scared that you won’t find that comfort level with anyone else, you’re scared no one will want you, and you’re scared you’ll end up alone forever. So you wimp out, stay in your crappy relationship, and end up not even giving it a chance.
Number One: You’re Scared to Give Up. We’ve all been groomed to believe that relationships get tough, and you should never breakup just because you’re going through a hard time. While this is true, you know in your heart that this isn’t just a rough patch. You see tons of breakups all the time and think to yourself “they should have tried harder.” You don’t want to be one of those people who walks away so easily, and even though you probably fell out of love with your partner months ago, you keep convincing yourself that if you just hold on a little longer, it will get better. You’re scared to be “one of those couples” who just gave up, and you keep trying to convince yourself that you’re not one to just throw in the towel.
Have you tried asking yourself why you’re so scared? You’ve been toying with the idea of breaking up for so long now that you put more energy thinking about actually doing it than you put into your partner. Breaking off a serious relationship definitely ranks as one of the scariest things you may do, but you need to figure out if you’d rather be scared for a short time or living miserably for the rest of your life.
As for finding someone else, who cares if you do or not? The real person you should be trying to find is yourself. Obviously, if you’re having trouble walking away from your relationship, you may find that you are unsure of who you are on your own anymore. Use the breakup as a time to regain your footing and understand yourself again. Being part of a pair is great, but being out in the world alone, free to do anything you want, is extremely liberating.
At the end of it all, you have to know that you are not just giving up. You have worked hard at trying to make it last. When you start realizing that you have put the effort in without any return, you’ll be able to see that you truly are beating a dead horse. How is it fairer to either of you to stay in a bad relationship than to let that person go graciously and release them back into the world? Life, in general, is a scary thing, and no one really knows what they’re actually doing. Love is amazing, but sometimes loving another person means letting them go. Stop allowing fear to control you, and remember that it is in both of your best interests to say goodbye.