Reflecting on my past relationships (and many, many mistakes), I decided to compile a list of bad reasons for staying in a relationship.
Breaking up is hard, and the stress leading up to the big decision can feel almost unbearable.
Nonetheless, you should face the challenge head-on. Because staying in a relationship that no longer brings you joy can have major long-term, negative effects on not only your physical and mental health but also your finances, your work, other relationships, etc.
“Being in an unhappy marriage (…) has been linked to an increased risk of a variety of diseases, such as heart disease, cancer, arthritis, type-2 diabetes, and depression” (WebMD)
If you’ve been thinking about breaking up with your partner but can’t seem to make up your mind about leaving, here’s a list of 10 bad reasons for not breaking up. Or in any case, 10 not good enough reasons for staying in an unhappy relationship.
9 Bad reasons for staying in an unhappy relationship:
Bad reason #1: You are scared of being alone
The first not good enough reason for staying in a bad relationship is that you are scared of being alone or worry you will be lonely.
That’s a legitimate fear but not a good enough reason to sacrifice your physical and mental health over. Also, is it fair to your partner to only stay with them because you don’t want to be alone? What if the roles were reversed?
The truth is, and to borrow someone else’s words, “alone time or “me time” can be rewarding if you know how to be alone with yourself”. I’ve already written on that topic (see below).
Make it your new priority to fill your life with healthier relationships, to make new friends, or to revive and nurture old friendships that you’ve probably neglected while you were in your (bad) relationship, etc.
That is a legitimate goal to have and a very fulfilling one. Just think, with just a little bit of effort and consistency, your life could be massively different in 2 years from now.
- Master the art of solitude: 16 useful tips for when you hate being alone
- What to do when you have no one to hang out with?
- How do you make friends when you are all grown up?
Bad reason #2: You think no one else will love you
Another bad reason for not breaking up is that you believe that no one else will ever love you. Or perhaps you even wonder why anyone would love you in the first place.
First of all, that’s a load of crap, and secondly, it’s up to you to keep your negative thoughts in check.
But most importantly, this is not a good enough reason for staying in your unhappy relationship.
So, here’s how you can start dealing with that fear:
- Understand that the reason why you think no one will love you is because you don’t yet love yourself. It is time for you to explore that.
- Beliefs can be changed. One highly effective way I found for deconstructing my unhealthy beliefs and reshaping my thinking was to learn about, and adopt, CBD or Cognitive behavioral therapy techniques. I found this book particularly useful.
- Another super-effective way I’ve found for replacing self-limiting beliefs is through daily (and targeted) affirmations.
Bad reason #3: You don’t know what the future holds
Being scared of the unknown is not a good enough reason for staying in a relationship that makes you unhappy.
News flash, no one knows what the future holds. Even when you are in a relationship, life can still sucker punch you: with a car accident, an illness, a job loss, a hurricane…
Your situation could change overnight no matter how “set” your life and future appear to be in your relationship.
The best you can do in the face of the unknown, is to decide on the general direction you want your life to go, plan the immediate next step(s), learn from your mistakes, constantly improve your skills (so that you get better at facing challenges)… and understand that the rest will unfold in due time.
Bad reason #4: You are in a bad financial posture
Another bad reason for not breaking up is when you tell yourself that you don’t have enough money to be on your own.
Don’t get me wrong, being broke can be a legitimate reason for delaying a breakup to a certain extent.
But the real issue is not that you’re too broke to leave your unhappy relationship. The real question is, what are you doing about it? What are you doing to improve your financial situation?
How fair is it to your partner if you only stay in the relationship because you are in deep financial trouble or because of the security they offer you?
Please note that I have nothing against dating someone for money if it’s something that’s been decided and agreed upon between the two people.
But if not, and you stay in a relationship that makes you miserable only because you are in deep financial trouble, then I’ve got news for you: it’s time to face your finances!
Find help, talk to a personal finance specialist, look for a second job, ask for a raise, reduce your spending, sell your stuff, commit to paying off your debt, etc.
Bad reason #5: You are too comfortable to leave
Another bad reason for staying in a relationship is if you only stay because you are scared of losing your comfort. That is, UNLESS maintaining a certain way of life is the most important thing for you, and the relationship you are in is not “that” bad.
However, maintaining a certain way of life at the cost of your mental and physical health, to me, does not sound like a good idea.
Choosing to stay in a bad relationship despite the negative impacts it has on your emotional well-being sends the wrong information to your brain. Not only do your actions build negative self-respect, but they also crush your self-esteem and sense of self-worth.
Figure out what’s more important for you. If it’s the luxury lifestyle, it’s fine. But decide.
Bad reason #6: You believe that you can’t do better
Another bad reason for staying in an unhappy relationship is when you think you can’t do better. This is an especially bad reason for not breaking up if you are in an abusive relationship or one that truly makes you unhappy.
The only reason why you don’t think you can “do better” in your next relationship is because you don’t believe you deserve better.
This one is similar to Bad reason #2 and so I would recommend the same steps.
Also, if you struggle with your mental health and self-esteem, consider seeking professional help. The right specialist can help you navigate this period of life in ways you cannot believe.
Bad reason #7: You are afraid your partner will replace you with someone “better”, very quickly
What your partner or someone else chooses to do with their life does not concern you.
Also, this fear has nothing to do with your partner and everything to do with your own insecurities and the negative beliefs you carry about yourself.
Maybe today you worry that they will find someone younger than you; but 15 years ago, when you were younger, perhaps you worried about your partner meeting someone prettier. And later, you will worry about them finding someone more successful (or whatever).
My point is, that fear does not necessarily describe an objective reality. The sooner you realize that it has nothing to do with your partner or their (potential) next flame, and everything to do with your own feelings of inadequacy, the sooner you can start dealing with it effectively instead of holding on to (and hiding behind) a bad relationship.
Bad reason #8: You’re scared you will regret leaving
Another not good enough reason for staying in a relationship, is if you are scared that you will regret your decision.
Think of it this way: either you make the decision, realize you regret it then find ways to possibly fix your mistake; OR you don’t leave and spend your entire life wondering if things would have been better had you followed your instinct.
If you worry you might regret leaving because of the reasons listed above… then, I refer you to points 1 to 8.
If you worry you might regret breaking up because you (will) still love your partner, I totally get that. I broke up with someone I still loved deeply (and who still loved me). That’s the worst.
But you know what? It was necessary. Love does not conquer all, and love does not a couple make.
It takes more than love for a relationship to work. And sometimes, you need time apart before you can figure out a better way to be together. Especially if that relationship is affecting your mental and physical health.
Bad reason #9: You are scared your family and friends will judge you
Staying in a bad relationship because you worry your family and friends might not understand your decision is definitely not a good enough reason for not leaving.
You are the one in the relationship, not them.
Also, you need to accept that, if people want to judge things, it’s their right. Just like you are free to judge whoever and whatever you want to judge. No one can tell you what to think and not think, and you can’t tell them what to think either.
However, if you stay in a relationship because you worry about what your family and friends will think, consider this:
- They will get over it eventually.
- Also, if they do judge you, it says more about them than you. Their reaction could very well be a signal that you need to find more supportive friends. Or that you need to choose your friends better.
- And finally, even if someone judges you at first, does not mean that they won’t eventually understand where you are coming from.
So don’t allow yourself to be rattled too much by what other people think of you. They are most likely only projecting their own fears onto you.
Ok, so after this long talk about what constitutes a not good enough reason for staying in a relationship, I will leave you with what follows.
You only move forward when you try to take new steps.
That you make mistakes is not the issue. That you don’t learn from your mistakes, that is the real issue.
Jump. Try. Don’t blame yourself or beat yourself up for every (bad) decision you make. It stops you from daring to make them.
Just do, and then learn. And have faith.