Why would any reasonable woman stay in a bad relationship?
Well, reasonable may or may not have anything to do with it. I’m going to break down some of the reasons people stay in relationships they should really be leaving:
Fear of being alone. Although it’s extremely nice to have a companion and a love in life, it is not a good experience trying to squeeze square pegs into round holes. If you’re with a guy out of fear of being alone, then it’s not even the guy you want – it’s the avoidance of not having a guy. If you just want to avoid not having a guy, you’ll take just about any guy who’ll line up. It doesn’t bring peace. (It’s also curious to me why women think a man can stand their company when they can’t, but that’s a whole other issue).
For some women it’s the devil you know vs. the devil you don’t. There’s something comfortable about staying – even in a bad relationship – because at least you know what you’re getting.
Others make the excuse that “it’s not that bad.” I remember one woman who called in about her second husband being physically violent. She said she knew how to deal with violent guys, and this one was less violent so it was “not that bad.”
“Not that bad?!” It blew my mind to hear that. It doesn’t matter what comes before the word “bad,” it’s still bad. That’s called denial.
Some people just can’t stand the notion of having failed, especially if they have lost a marriage or a relationship in the past. They just don’t want to acknowledge that this is a failure. Well the way I look at it, the failure is not in leaving when the relationship doesn’t work – the failure is not leaving. The purpose of dating is to discern whether or not the other person’s a good match. Once you discern that they’re not a good match, hit the eject button.
Sometimes the guy has some kind of leverage over you. You’ve done something really dumb, like shacked up with him or put down half the money for a house or condo that you’re not going to get back. Or maybe he’s made you a kept woman and you don’t know how you’re going to survive on your own.
You believe he’ll change. After all, he said he would. He says he’s trying, and really it’s you that’s making him so mad. If you only stopped making him so mad or crazy or annoyed, he’d stop doing whatever it is that bothers you.
He makes you feel special. Even though you’re not quite good enough (in his mind), he’ll manipulate you to feel grateful that he’s with someone like you. He says things like, “You’ll never find anybody to care about you as much as I do.” That’s laughable. If somebody says that to you when you know you’re in a bad relationship, just say to them, “Well thank God nobody else is going to treat me like you do.”
Some women become so absorbed with the other person and isolated from their friends and family that they don’t get feedback from anybody else. They deny that anything’s wrong and try to hide what’s going on.
Lastly, women sometimes won’t let go of a relationship because of the time and energy they’ve invested. However, it’s just the opposite. The longer you stay in a bad relationship, the more time and energy you’re going to spend.
If you’re in a bad relationship, don’t just think that working harder is the solution. If you keep having the same problems, arguments, hurt feelings, and resentments, and nothing gets resolved, end it. If you’ve been to couples counseling and you can’t reach a place of understanding, move on. Realize you’ve made a mistake and you’re not compatible. Don’t go from therapist to therapist until you get someone to agree with you.
Remember that life is finite. I think that’s one of the most important things people forget. You only have so many days to be alive. How do you want to spend them? Do you really not want to face your fears and stay with what you have?