We have all heard that story of a friend (or a friend’s friend) who was stuck in a bad relationship with some guy and who was, for some odd reason, not ending the whole flop show!
In fact, we might have ‘tchk’ed and ‘oof’ed and shaken our heads in dismay as we learned that these “love birds” got into a fight so bad one day that they ruined half the things in their apartment and engaged in a public faceoff on social media… only to get back together a few days later. *Sigh*
Well, here’s the funny thing. Most of us are excellent at recognizing bad relationships when it’s happening to someone else. But when it comes to us, we often end up making the same mistakes!
Why? That what we are going to discuss in today’s article–the top 20 reasons why people choose to stay in bad relationships even when it is obvious to the entire planet that they should save their hide and leave.
Just remember: most of the reasons below are closely related to low self-esteem and other personal flaws that increase our likelihood of deluding ourselves into thinking a bad situation is actually good. So if you deflate like a soufflé while reading this list, it’s a surefire sign that your gut already recognizes the toxicity of your present relationship!
This is the biggest reason why people choose to stay in bad relationships!
They think they do not have any better alternative and so are afraid of letting go of their partner, however life-sucking they might be.
All because they are terrified of being alone for the rest of their lives… or worse, being mocked by society for not having a partner by a certain age.
It’s really tragic! But it is actually a belief rooted in low self-esteem. Why else would anyone believe they will never find someone else when there are 7.7 billion people teeming in this world?
Hot and cold partners are dangerous. They can acclimatize you into believing that on the bad days, something just came over them. Because they really aren’t anything like that!
And so you hold on to the sweetness and downplay the bad points, telling yourself that no one’s perfect.
Only, healthy individuals aren’t perfect either. But they still have stable personalities and behave well because they know there’s no excuse for bad behavior. That’s why it’s easy to accept their flaws. You know they will continue to grow and mature. After all, they were not born with their current level of maturity!
Research has shown that people with low self-esteem, especially those who were raised in bad environments, tend to normalize negative behavior and keep finding themselves in the same bad situation over and over again. And after a while, because of this constant normalization, their perspective of reality becomes skewed and they believe that this is how all relationships are.
This delusion can be so deep sometimes that when their friends and family tell them that their relationship is all wrong, these people often ‘fight’ for the prestige of their partner and defend them to the end!
Research has proven that children who grow up in unhappy homes are more prone to developing personality disorders and exhibit antisocial tendencies than those who grow up having two homes with two happily divorced parents. The keyword here is happiness.
That’s why it’s frustrating that a lot of people still buy into the false belief that a divorce will affect their children so badly.
It’s a bad atmosphere and the constant fights that affect kids most, not the divorce! In fact, 80% of children adapt well after the divorce and soon find their groove again. So no need to worry.
This is a big one! Because sometimes you are too young and inexperienced to pick up the signs of bad financial habits. And so you end up in a relationship with someone who keeps borrowing money from you and never returns any until the debt is so high that you cannot leave them anymore.
Because what if they don’t return your money just to spite you? Or pretend they never took any money from you if you complain to law enforcement? It’s too much of a headache for passive people and so they remain in the relationship with the hope that they will leave as soon as they have recovered their principal.
We briefly touched upon this in the point about debilitating beliefs that keep us trapped in a bad situation. But it bears repeating. Because, while the idea of monogamy for life is beautiful and stems from a place of devout belief, it can still destroy your life if you end up choosing the wrong person on your first try.
And, honestly, most of us choose the wrong person on our first try!
So no brownie points for putting yourself through intolerable situations just because you are afraid you will feel like a loser if you change your opinions!
Most people are afraid of failure because deep down inside they feel inadequate and worthless. So they constantly try to prove to the world that they know what they are doing. And you can see this in all spheres of life, including the romantic one.
Thus, people stay in bad relationships. They are afraid of what people would say when they find out that the relationship broke after just a few months (or a few years). They don’t have the tools to understand that failure teaches us valuable lessons and prevents us from making mistakes… if we pay attention when it happens the first time!
Some people are terrified of conflict. It gives them cold feet just thinking about it. And so they tolerate intolerable behavior from their partner and distance themselves in other ways. Like ruling out physical affection or behaving passive aggressively.
In fact, some people are so afraid of their partner’s temper that they would rather take the negativity than attain release from the relationship than break it off on their own.
And so they suffer in silence. Never learning that in life no one will fight our battles for us. We have to learn to do them on our own.
Well, this is us calling out the pink elephant in the room! Because the truth is, those who are stuck in bad relationships almost always have extremely poor self-esteem. And you will notice that most of the points on this list are simply symptoms of this debilitating psychological problem.
That’s why these people choose to stay in horrible relationships!
It’s because their internal standards are skewed so badly that they feel that’s all they deserve.
Trust us: as friends and family, you will never succeed in convincing them that they are stuck in a bad place. They are psychologically incapable of understanding you until they go through intense therapy to build back their confidence and self-respect.
We have a hunch that whoever came up with the phrase “beggars can’t be choosers” either had no self-respect or was someone used to degrading other people and “putting them in their place.” That’s why it’s so surprising that this phrase is used so frequently in romantic connotations! Especially when a woman is, according to society, about to cross over to the wrong side of the “marriageable age.”
Is it so hard to understand now why so many people in bad relationships think that’s the best they can do? Especially when they were single longer than any of their friends? Sometimes until their 30s?
Research has shown that people in love tend to downplay their partner’s bad traits and give more importance to the good ones.
It helps them acclimatize to the partnership and prevent conflicts.
So if their partner has a terrible anger issue but is a very romantic person, they will forgive the rages (even if it harms them physically or psychologically) and pay more attention to the flowers, romantic dinners, and lavish gifts they are pampered with.
No wonder they exclaim “what are you talking about?!” when their friends point out the blatant mistreatment: they’re blindsided by what little good is in the relationship.
Some people have the misfortune of attracting only manipulative people into their lives. It could be because they are very innocent and have a forgiving nature or maybe because they have a penchant for making the same mistakes over and over again!
But the outcome is the same. Their partner arm-twists them into staying by either threatening painful consequences or by brainwashing them into believing that their mind is playing tricks on them. And freeing oneself from such manipulations can be quite tough because first, it involves acknowledging that their partner’s regular behavior is abnormal. Most people aren’t ready for this the moment someone stages an intervention.
Married couples face this issue the most when they are contemplating a divorce. But financial and legal hurdles can be faced by other couples as well. Especially if the partners live together and have many shared resources or have already invested a ton of money in their relationship.
Nevertheless, this point is mainly for married couples because divorcing someone is a big pain in the neck!
Considering all the legal fees, custody battles (if children are involved), and splitting of assets involved in the procedure, it’s rough going.
And that’s not even considering the catch 22 of getting your partner to sign the papers in the first place! Or dealing with the emotional blackmail you are put through by either side of the family.
Movies and books and songs and poetry. They all speak about love more than they speak about anything else. And this can convince people that love is supposed to be experienced in a certain way.
Like choosing a fundamentally incompatible partner just because you happen to feel the rush of desire in their presence. Or, “making it work” when it’s obviously not working, just because you took sacred vows at the altar.
Trust us, there’s nothing more dangerous in the world than these false beliefs. And we face the painful consequences of our beliefs more often than we face the consequences of an enemy’s.
Financial dependence is the biggest reason why women, since practically the beginning of time, have chosen to stay in bad relationships and marriages. That’s why divorce rates are statistically high in countries where women enjoy social-economic rights and have income independence.
In such places, women have a low tolerance for negative behavior from their partners (as it should be).
Other forms of dependence are emotional, like when both partners are deriving confidence and self-esteem from the other’s affection, and physical, like when one suffers from a serious health problem and is afraid no one else will be willing to support them as their partner has.
Sadder words have not been spoken. But it’s a dark truth: Many people get trapped in bad relationships because they can’t stomach disappointing their parents or tolerate the judgmental ways of the extended clan and society-at-large after a divorce.
In fact, society at large still frowns upon divorced women and looks down upon their character. Just because they had the courage to stand up for themselves and get out of a horrible relationship!
But you can’t blame society. When you crave approval, it’s a sign that you think you are inadequate deep inside. It’s a self-esteem problem. And the only way to overcome this is to learn to respect yourself and know you are enough.
Some people don’t really live their lives. They zombie around town until its time to plop into the grave. And there is nothing you can do to help them.
They have given up on hope and have taught themselves to tolerate the adversities that life throws their way.
Not only that, but they’ve also become accustomed to the atrocities their partner commits against them. They are too insecure to take control of their lives and would rather waft along under someone else’s guidance. In short, they need professional help. But some people tend to shun even that. Because what’s the point?
Human beings are social creatures. It’s how we conquer the world. That’s why we are wired to care for our fellow humans and abhor hurting them.
Unfortunately, this altruistic way of socializing can backfire badly on those who are stuck in bad relationships. They keep thinking of the pain their partner will go through after a breakup and postpone the decision indefinitely, unmindful of the fact that they themselves are in great pain.
Ironically, these people are more likely to ghost on their mates when they find an alternative partner. So we guess they just needed the right kinda nudge!
Actions speak louder than words might sound like a cliché, but it’s true. Nevertheless, people still get fooled by words every single day, especially when the lines come from someone close to you.
That’s why a lot of people remain stuck in bad relationships because they keep hoping that their partner will change their ways. After all, they did say they would do it, didn’t they?
Well, they did. But they said it again after you had the same fight all over again in a week. And then again. And again. And all the while they never exhibit even the tiniest change in their behavior.
Human beings are capable of deluding themselves to an unimaginable extent. No wonder people refuse to change their beliefs even when faced with facts that contradict those beliefs!
So is it really that hard to believe that there are people in this world who battle on in bad relationships and still go around telling everyone how lucky they are to be with their partner and how much they love them? It’s almost like they are secretly trying to convince their gut with every positive “review” and social media post about their relationship. Regardless, we all know how that story ends.