15 Brutally Honest Reasons You Feel Trapped In Your Relationship

When you decided to commit to your partner, you assumed you’d be happy together for the foreseeable future. However, things haven’t exactly panned out that way. These days, instead of feeling fulfilled and excited for the years ahead, all you can think about is how trapped you feel even though you can’t pinpoint why. Here’s what’s really going on.

1. You’re scared of being alone.

One of the most common reasons for feeling trapped in a relationship that’s clearly run its course is the fear of being alone. You might stay in an unsatisfying relationship because you’re scared of being single again or believe that you won’t be able to cope on your own. Remember, being alone can be an opportunity for self-discovery and growth, and it’s often better than staying in an unhappy relationship.

2. You’re financially dependent on your partner.

sitting apart on the sofa couple

You might not just feel trapped in a relationship if you’re financially dependent on your partner — you probably are! If you rely on your partner to keep a roof over your head and food on the table, the thought of leaving can be daunting. It’s important to strive for a way to get some money of your own and save it up so that you can find your way out.

3. You’re stuck in your comfort zone and are afraid of change.

Change can be scary, and the uncertainty associated with leaving a relationship you’ve been in for a long time can make you feel trapped. The fear of the unknown and of starting over can make staying in an unhappy relationship seem safer. Keep in mind that change can also lead to better opportunities and happiness.

4. Your self-esteem is at rock bottom.

Angry couple or marriage fighting for a mobile phone at home. Jealous caucasian woman holding smart phone and showing message to his husband. Angry girlfriend asking for an explanation to her cheater boyfriend, point at his smartphone

Low self-esteem can make you feel undeserving of a fulfilling relationship. You might feel trapped because you don’t believe you can do better or that you deserve happiness. Recognizing your worth and boosting your self-confidence is crucial to overcoming this feeling and finding your way out of a bad situation.

5. You feel guilty and obligated to stay with them.

You might feel like you simply have to stay with your partner because of the time you’ve invested, shared responsibilities, or your partner’s emotional or physical needs. Guilt or a sense of duty can make you feel trapped in a relationship. Remember, it’s important to prioritize your happiness and mental health. You owe yourself way more than you owe them.

6. There’s a lot of social pressure to stay together.

Pressure from family, friends, or societal expectations can make you feel trapped. You might worry about judgment, disappointment, or stigma associated with ending a relationship or marriage. However, that’s too bad. It’s important to make decisions based on what’s right for you, not on other people’s opinions.

7. You have too many shared assets or responsibilities.

Shared assets like a house, debts, or kids can make leaving a relationship even more complicated than if there were just feelings involved. As a result, you end up feeling like you’ll never be able to leave the relationship because it would be too hard to iron out all the finger details. Consulting a professional can help you navigate these complexities, so consider it if you’re desperate to get out.

8. You’re afraid of rocking the boat.

The potential drama or confrontation involved in ending a relationship can make you feel shackled in place. Maybe you worry about your partner’s reaction or the emotional upheaval that might follow. Learning conflict resolution strategies and potentially seeking help from a therapist can help in this situation.

9. You worry about not having any emotional support.

If your partner is your primary source of emotional support, the fear of losing that can make you feel stuck. It’s essential to cultivate a strong support network outside your relationship. Having friends, family, or a counselor who can provide emotional support can make the process less daunting.

10. You still love them.

couple sitting on the couch talking

You might feel trapped because, despite everything, you still love your partner. Love can make it hard to leave, even when you’re absolutely miserable. It’s important to remember that love should also involve respect and happiness. If you’re constantly feeling trapped, it might be time to rethink your relationship.

11. You don’t want to hurt your partner.

couple in argument sitting back to back on couch

You might be staying in a bad relationship because you’re terrified of causing pain or disappointment to your partner by leaving. While it’s compassionate to consider your partner’s feelings, your happiness and well-being are equally important. It might be helpful to remember that staying in an unfulfilling relationship can lead to resentment and more pain in the long run — for both of you.

12. You don’t feel confident in your decision-making.

If you’ve been in a relationship where your decisions were frequently undermined or dismissed, you might feel unsure about your ability to make the right choice. This lack of confidence can make you feel trapped in your relationship as a result. Building your confidence and trusting your judgment are essential steps in overcoming this feeling.

13. You don’t want to regret walking away.

The fear of regretting your decision to leave can make you feel stuck. You might worry about missing your partner or realizing that the relationship was better than you thought. However, feeling trapped and unhappy are strong indicators that something really isn’t right. It’s important to trust your feelings and know that it’s okay to prioritize your happiness.

14. You (want to) believe that things will get better.

Conflict, upset and couple fighting on a sofa for toxic, cheating or relationship breakup. Upset, problem and frustrated young man and woman in an argument together in the living room of their home.

You might be sticking around because you’re holding onto the hope that things will get better. While it’s natural to hope for improvement, it’s just as important to look at consistent patterns of behavior rather than occasional good moments. If you’ve been feeling trapped for a long time, it might be time to consider whether the relationship is truly serving you.

15. You’re scared of losing the person you are with them.

If you’ve been in a relationship for a long time, you might feel that you’ve become so intertwined with your partner that you’ve lost your individual identity. The fear of not knowing who you are outside of the relationship can make you feel trapped. Finding yourself again can be a challenging but rewarding journey, and one that ultimately leads you to a much better situation.

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Jennifer Still is a writer and editor with more than 10 years of experience. The managing editor of Bolde, she has bylines in Vanity Fair, Business Insider, The New York Times, Glamour, Bon Appetit, and many more. You can follow her on Twitter @jenniferlstill