Why We Stay In Relationships Way Too Long
You know how it goes – how it feels. You know the thoughts that trip through your head.
Maybe I’m just in a bad mood.
Maybe this is just the reality of long term relationships and I need to be more realistic.
Maybe if I (or both of us) try harder, it will feel right.
So you stick it out. You take it a day at a time. And it doesn’t get better.
Why do we let relationships linger past their expiration date?
A bit of insight.
1. We forgot we have a choice.
You’ve become a duo. You say “we” instead of “I.” It’s easy to forget that relationships aren’t written in stone. Relationships should make you feel expansive.
Remember that you chose this relationship. You have the option to choose again.
2. We stay for “their” sake.
You don’t want to hurt them. They’re going through a tough time at work and you don’t want to add to the load. One of the most common reasons for delaying a breakup is to prevent our partner from feeling shitty. We may feel that the decision to spare our partner’s feelings is the kind-hearted and evolved choice, but it can actually be more damaging in the long-run.
Your partner has the right to a relationship with someone who adores them. By dragging your heels and squandering your and your partner’s time, you’re doing a disservice to both of you.
3. People expect us to stay together .
You two are at the top of every barbecue, holiday and birthday party list. You and your honey are THE couple. You two are A Good Time. Maybe you’ve even got a big ole’ diamond on your finger and families and friends expect a wedding. Regardless, staying together because people expect you to is a prescription for a life time of unhappiness.
4. We’re so invested.
You can’t stop now, after all that you’ve invested! You bought furniture together, for the love of God! We’ve all been there and we all know this is totally irrational. The fact that you’ve spent a lot of time together doesn’t mean that you have to spend your future together.
5. We’re afraid of the breakup.
Maybe they’ll yell. Maybe they’ll cry. Maybe you’ll have to change your Facebook relationship status and then everyone will make comments and send you a million emails and texts. And you’ll have to separate all your books and DVDs. And yes, it will be kind of awful.
But wouldn’t it be significantly more awful to spend years and years with someone who doesn’t light your fire?
5b. Honestly, it all dials back to number 5.
When broken down into it’s most raw, unfiltered essence: we’re afraid. Fearful of being alone. Because we think “alone” will leave us vulnerable and potentially deemed unlovable. This is not true, of course. But when comfort, as we know it, is threatened, our survival nature can quickly overtake intelligence and irrational behavior reins supreme. And in this case we stall a long overdue separation.
Breaking up can be a crushing experience.
But staying together for the wrong reasons will nonetheless dismantle you.
Just more slowly.
If you’re in a relationship that’s run its course, take a deep breath and give both of you the freedom you deserve.