Is love really enough? I often hear people say “I love him/her” even if their relationship is harmful, abusive or unhealthy. They stay in this relationship for the wrong reasons and sometimes they find it extremely difficult to leave the relationship. Leaving can be more complicated than it seems. There are many reason why men and women stay in an unhealthy relationship. The following will explain some of the reasons why people decide to stay in a harmful relationship.
You Need to Believe You Deserve a Better Relationship
Why would a woman stay in a relationship with a guy who puts her down, hems her in and even physically abuses her? Why would a woman hold down two jobs to keep the rent paid and food on the table while her boyfriend sits around smoking weed all day? Why oh why would a woman allow herself to be emotionally blackmailed by her boyfriend’s threats that he will kill himself or her or both of them if she even talks about leaving their relationship? There’s no easy answer. Often it’s a complicated mix of a number of answers.
It’s not at all uncommon for relationships to have some challenging times. But if you keep getting hurt and if you know in your heart that the relationship is diminishing you, yet you still keep going back for more, it may be time for you to get into therapy or to find the resources in your community that can help you extricate yourself from a controlling or abusive partner.
Sometimes we are more afraid of being alone again than of being in a painful relationship. You’ve been alone and it’s lonely. You want someone to talk to in the evening, to cuddle up to at night, to take the kids once in a while. Even picking up his laundry, cooking meals he doesn’t appreciate and fighting with him is more appealing than coming home to an empty house. If he does help pay the bills and do a few chores (and especially if he pays most of the bills and can be counted on to do some of the heavy work), it’s even harder to think about going at it alone. Supporting a family and doing everything to maintain a household as a single person is really, really hard. Maintaining the fiction that you have a partner feels better than dealing with the reality of having to do it all by yourself. But it’s okay to be alone. It’s about loving yourself more!
We sometimes feel we can change someone and turn them into what and who we need. All you have to do is find the right words and behave in the right way and they will become the partner of your dreams, right? Doesn’t love conquer all? It doesn’t. You can’t make another person be someone they aren’t. They have to want to change. They have to be willing to work on themselves. They have to change because they want to be a better person and not because they made an insincere promise to you during a fight. You know all this, yet you think you’re the exception. You are going to find a way no matter what.
Men can be absolutely charming and romantic, especially in the early stages of a relationship where everyone is on their best behavior. Did you boyfriend wine and dine you in the early days? Did he tell your everything you wanted to hear? Did he show you his vulnerable side and did it melt your heart? Did he seem to feel genuinely terrible after the two of you fight—he brings you flowers, apologizes and promises to be less jealous. You are his everything and lovemaking at this time is delicious and you want to give him another chance. Things are wonderful for a while, but then it starts all over again and there’s going to be another blowout. Over time, his demands for all of you attention hem you in again and you find yourself frantically explaining every move, every phone call and every late night at the office.
You don’t have to live this way. It’s time to stop accepting indifference, abuse and manipulation because your don’t believe you deserve to be with someone better. Take charge of your life and make some changes. If he is committed to changing with you, seek help together. If he isn’t, work on your self-esteem and confidence and find someone new. A stronger you will be able to hold out for the loving relationship you deserve.
A person who stays in an unhealthy relationship may do so because of:
Believing that abuse is normal: Perhaps someone grew up in an environment where abuse was common and do not recognize that their relationship is unhealthy.
Low Self -Esteem: A person with low self- esteem may believe that the abuse or maltreatment is their fault because their partner constantly blames them or puts them down.
Pregnancy or Parenting: A person may feel pressured to stay in an unhealthy relationship because of pregnancy or may feel pressured to raise their child by both parents. Also, the abusive partner may threaten to take away their child if they leave.
Change: A person may stay in an unhealthy relationship because their partner promises that they will change and they hope that they eventually will.
Settle: Some people may settle being an an unhealthy relationship rather then being alone. The thought of being alone may scare someone and would rather be with anyone. According to Dr. Wendy Walsh, who wrote Should I Stay or Should I Go?: Why Good People Stay in Bad Relationships “a partner is afraid to be single, he or she imagines that being in a bad relationship feels okay. And he or she also distorts the future by really thinking that single life will be far worse than it actually turns out to be.”
Good-enough: Someone may believe that the abusive partner is “good-enough for me” and may feel that they do not deserve better. Or the abusive partner may have already convinced them that no one else will love them more than they do, that they will only love them and their “weaknesses” and that they are not good enough for others.
Personal Needs: It is important to not compromise your self-worth. Know what your needs are and how to find happiness. Stick to your needs and find the confidence to walk away.