Why Do We Hang Onto Toxic Relationships?

So just why do we hang onto difficult relationships?

Sometimes it seems as if we’re programmed keeps to desire love – for a lot of people, it’s almost as important to them as food and water. Is that why, even if we know that we’re with the wrong person, we blind ourselves to seeing that? Even when every part of us tells us that someone is wrong for us, we stay.

So why is that? What keeps us in a relationship, or friendship, even when it seems so difficult?

Maybe you’ve already experienced this with a prospective partner – you meet, you like each other, you meet for drinks or coffee, share a meal and before you know where you are, you’re a couple. You meet each other’s families, you know each other’s friends and to everyone else you seem like a perfect couple.

But underneath, it’s different – you don’t feel it’s at all perfect. They always have their phone with them but never reply to your texts, you make plans but they’re not followed through, you never know where they are and although they refer to you as their girl/boyfriend it doesn’t seem like that. They’re physical, you’re emotional; you like talking, they stay silent. If you challenge them, they say things like “well, I’m not really a texter. I prefer face-to-face conversations”. Although there’s nothing wrong with that, you can sense the dishonesty lurking there.

They only talk about themselves and aren’t interested in you most of the time…..and so it goes on with you always making the effort to be there for them but it rarely being reciprocated.

You tell yourself that you deserve better but do you really believe it? It takes courage to break off this sort of relationship that you may have become dependent upon in some ways and it may be that you’re not ready for that step yet. It could be one of the following as well:

  • Change is difficult and means doing things differently. If you break up, it will mean not having someone special in your life; there will be no phone calls, no-one to wake up next to and no-one to share the rent. These things can seem very daunting.
  • Most of us are quite emotional creatures – we’re complex and can often feel love and hate at the same time. This can happen when someone breaks your heart – you hate what they’ve done but you still love them and they will always have a special place in your heart.
  • We hate the idea of failure – we don’t want to give up on something that seemed so important and want to stick it out so that we don’t have to say that the relationship failed. Somehow, that seems to indicate that we made a poor choice of partner/friend in the first place and that’s hard to face up to.
  • Some people thrive on the drama of it – the yelling and screaming or the day-long sulking. There’s also something to complain about to friends – toxic relationships provide a lot to talk/complain about.
  • We think that we can somehow fix it, or fix the other person, but in reality it’s hard to ‘rescue’ someone, especially if they don’t want to be rescued. In reality, it’s often easier to be with someone who isn’t quite so complicated and who wants a more equal relationship.

So, it seems that we stay for a lot of reasons that are difficult to understand but some of those reasons are bound up with our lack of self-esteem, not wanting to be alone or the desire to feel needed by someone.

If you feel that some of the reasons you put up with less than you really want, it’s time to look at your own feelings of self-worth and discover how you can feel better about yourself. Once you’ve achieved that, you’ll be able to look at your relationship in a different light and judge whether you get enough out of it to stay.

Remember – “Relationships are like glass. Sometimes it’s better to leave them broken than hurt yourself trying to put it back together”. Anon.

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