Have you ever wondered why so many people (including you, sometimes) choose to stay in the wrong relationships, despite knowing that they deserve better? Well, experts might have the answer to that.
I will admit I have been in my fair share of unhappy relationships. What’s worse, I stayed in them longer than I should have. While they weren’t the happiest of relationships, they weren’t necessarily bad ones. There was no abuse, no cheating, no blatant disrespect, no crazy amount of arguing. Actually, there was quite a bit of good in those relationships. They treated me well and we had a good time together. And that might have been part of the problem – there was enough good to convince me to stay. Enough good to overlook my underlying feelings of dissatisfaction. Enough good to think I was happy.
And I was happy on some level, just not happy enough.
This isn’t necessarily an issue when you’re young and new to the dating world. It’s the whole point of dating – trying out and figuring out the type of relationship you want for the long run. But as you get older and these tryouts become longer, it can be easy to get stuck. Before you know it, familiarity can look like love and time spent turns into reasons to stay.
Before you know it, you’re happy… but not happy enough.
Why does this happen? Why do we stay in relationships that are just okay? Why are we willing to settle for a love that is less than?
First things first: What does not happy enough look like? This can be the tricky part because oftentimes it looks pretty good. Maybe your partner is sweet to you and does nice things for you. Maybe you have a great group of friends and you rarely fight. The problem usually isn’t from the outside looking in but rather from the inside looking in.
“Most of the time, we know we are not happy in the relationship, but we usually suppress that feeling because we don’t like to acknowledge it,” says Reisman, LISW-S and psychotherapist. We are basically hiding our true feelings even from ourselves. Our unhappiness, however, will always leave clues.
According to Reisman, the following are indicators your current relationship may not be the right relationship:
1. You find yourself sharing more of your day-to-day life with friends and family than your partner.
2. You often find yourself judging things your partner says or does.
3. The idea of going somewhere with your partner makes you just want to stay home.
4. It’s hard for you to come up with positives about your relationship.
5. Your partner is often critical of you.
6. You don’t feel respected by your partner.
Whether our unhappiness speaks in clear signs or quiet subtleties, as with most things in life, we must understand it to overcome it. Let’s look at the forces driving us to stay in the wrong relationship.
Here Are 4 Reasons That Drive Us To Stay In The Wrong Relationships
1. We Don’t Want To Be Alone.
At a certain point in life, going stag loses its cool, and being the third wheel just plain sucks. We want the couch dates, the double dates, and the plus ones. “For a lot of us, it’s better to be in a relationship that somewhat works than to be alone at night, on the weekends, etc.,” says Reisman. Having someone can be better than having no one.
But this is a slippery slope because the longer we stay, the harder it is to leave. According to Clinical Psychologist and author of Joy From Fear Dr. Carla Manly, “The longer a person has been in an unhappy relationship, the more fearful they may be of leaving and starting fresh.” For with time comes the commingling of lives.