I Stayed With A Guy Out Of Pity — Here’s Why You Shouldn’t

I know it makes me sound like a terrible person, but I stayed with a guy out of pity because I couldn’t bear to break his heart. I realize in hindsight that I should have left ASAP, but hopefully, sharing my experience will help you avoid making the same mistake as I did.

  1. I discovered i was dating a person with addictions. Two months into a new relationship with a guy who seemed perfect, he started to go AWOL. Sometimes I couldn’t reach him for days at a time. I wondered if he wasn’t interested so I confronted him and he confessed that he had a drug addiction problem.
  2. I instantly wanted out. I had previously dated an addict and it drained me of all my resources: time, money, energy, health. I just couldn’t bear to go back into that vicious cycle of trying to help him and realizing I was actually making things worse so I planned to break things off with the guy.
  3. He basically manipulated me into staying. Just as I was preparing to end things and second-guessing my decision a lot because he was such a cool guy when sober, he started to depend on me more. He would tell me that I was the only one who gave him a chance and I was his entire world which made me feel terrible. What would he be like if I left him?
  4. I tried to make it work. Despite my inner voice telling me not to continue dating this guy, I just couldn’t leave him, especially when things started to get worse. Here’s the thing: I should have listened to that inner voice because putting his needs above my own was a bad idea.
  5. His life was a bad drama. He had a job but he lost it. His parents cut him off and his sisters didn’t want to talk to him. Ugh, it was like all the things that could’ve gone wrong did in the matter of a few days did. Everyone was bailing on him and I didn’t want to be like them.
  6. I thought I could help him. I wanted to help him get back on his feet because I just couldn’t bear to walk away from him when he was going through such an unbelievably rough patch. It just didn’t feel right.
  7. I was playing the martyr. I knew I couldn’t save him from his addiction, but I also knew that it would really kill him if I were to leave him. I thought if I stuck it out with him, he’d get back on his feet. Like breaking up with someone on their birthday, I thought it was equally mean to break up with them when they needed someone.
  8. It screwed me over. Of course, this was a bad idea. As my BFF told me at the time, he would find a way to survive. After all, how had he managed to survive before I’d entered his life? At the time, I thought she was cruel but looking back, I see that it wasn’t my responsibility to stay with someone who needed help, especially because he was always in need of money and I became his 24-hour psychologist on standby.
  9. It wasn’t fair on either of us. While I had good intentions to help him, it wasn’t right of me to stay with him out of pity. I didn’t love the guy and he probably didn’t realize that. Plus, it wasn’t fair on me to force myself to stay in the situation because I could’ve been in a much happier, healthier situation if I’d cut my losses and walked away.
  10. I suggested friendship. When I finally realized I couldn’t keep being dragged into his darkness, I told him that I wanted to end things because I wasn’t happy, and I suggested friendship instead. It made so much more sense because being his friend instead of his GF helped me to set more boundaries. I felt relieved to be out of the drama so I could focus on myself for a change. Soon after our breakup, he latched onto some other woman. It was clear he always needed someone to pay his way and listen to his issues.
  11. I can only fix myself. This experience taught me that I can only change or fix myself. I can’t save people or even be there for them if they simply don’t want help. This guy didn’t want to get help for his addiction, and it kept us both stuck. I have the power to walk away when a relationship isn’t right for me anymore. I shouldn’t beat myself up about doing that – and if you’re breaking up with someone toxic, you shouldn’t beat yourself up either.


Giulia Simolo is a writer from Johannesburg, South Africa with a degree in English Language and Literature. She has been working as a journalist for more than a decade, writing for sites including AskMen, Native Interiors, and Live Eco. You can find out more about her on Facebook and LinkedIn, or follow her on Twitter @GiuliaSimolo.