Why do we stay in relationships that we know are well past their expiration date? Here are five of the most common reasons:
1. You blame yourself. By saying, “Well, maybe it’s me,” you turn yourself into the bad guy. It’s an excuse and deflection so you don’t have to dump the other person.
2. You want to avoid the pain. You may rank your relationship as a 5 out of 10 on the happiness scale, but breaking up will temporarily bring you down to a 2 or 3. Even though eventually you’d be happier (let’s say a 9), you stay with a 5 because you don’t want to slip down to a 2 or 3.
3. You don’t want to be lonely. There’s something very special about having chemistry with someone and being connected. You become open and vulnerable, and it’s hard to give that up even though it’s clear you should.
4. You feel stupid that you’ve held on this long. You stay in a mistake simply because you spent a lot of time making it.
5. You’re afraid. The number one reason people compromise their values and don’t let go of a bad relationship is the fear that they’re not going to find someone else. The possibility of never being loved again makes the devil they know better than the devil they don’t. That’s why it’s important to maintain a great support network of friends and family. Nothing makes breaking up scarier than feeling completely isolated. Get involved even more than you ever were with your friends, charities, and hobbies.
And once you know the relationship isn’t right, don’t drag it out with all of this neurotic stuff. It doesn’t make things any easier. Just face it, accept it, and suffer the pain. Suffering is the only way we grow.
Want more Dr. Laura? Join the Dr. Laura Free Family to listen to Dr. Laura's daily Call of the Day and receive her Daily Dose newsletter!