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Dr. Laura Blog

October 17, 2019
Why We Stay in Bad Relationships
Why We Stay in Bad Relationships


Why do so many people stay in bad relationships? Here are some of the most common reasons:

  • Laziness. One of the hidden benefits of staying in a bad relationship is that even though you’re miserable, at least it’s familiar. Ending a relationship means venturing out into unfamiliar and uncomfortable territory.
  • Avoiding the pain of breaking up and moving on. There are few things in life that have more pain and conflict associated with them than breaking up. And the longer you’ve been with someone, the worse it is. 
  • Denial. Our psyches are masters of disguise and camouflage.
  • Playing the martyr. A lot of people justify staying with someone because they’re trying to help or fix them. However, what they are really doing is making themselves feel needed in order to lessen their own feelings of insecurity.
  • Holding onto your childhood.  Many people stay in unhealthy relationships as a way to hold onto a dynamic from their childhood. For more on this topic, read my book, Bad Childhood – Good Life.  

So, how do you break free from a bad relationship? Just ask yourself this simple “yes or no” question:

Is this something I am willing to live with for the next 20 years?

You must decide what you can and cannot live with, set that as a boundary, and then defend it. That’s where most people get lazy because it means breaking habits, doing something new and different, and taking responsibility for your own life.

I know that change is scary. Nobody thinks it’s fun to throw their lives into chaos and uncertainty. Nobody wants to have to date again, put themselves at the mercy of somebody else’s expectations, and kiss a lot of frogs before one turns into a prince. However, you only have one life to live, so don’t waste it. Spending time with the wrong person is never better than being alone.

Remember, when you give up the bad but familiar and allow yourself to do something new and uncomfortable, the uncomfortable eventually will become familiar and, therefore, comfortable. 

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