10 Reasons Even The Smartest People Don’t Leave Bad Relationships

When you’re on the outside looking in, it can be baffling when you see two people who are clearly terrible for one another but stay together for years on end. You might wonder why they don’t just end things instead of continuing to be miserable together, but the fact is that there are plenty of reasons why even the smartest people end up feeling like they’re stuck in lousy relationships:

  1. They want financial stability. Two incomes are much better than one, especially in today’s economy. It makes sense that so many people would stay in an unhappy relationship for this reason alone. It’s easier to justify that going it alone would be a lot harder even if you were free to find a more compatible partner.
  2. They’re scared of being lonely. There’s no doubt that feeling alone sucks, but it’s a lot better to be single than to be in a relationship and still feel lonely. Still, the fear of spending nights without someone to warm the other side of the bed can be enough to make some people stick with partners who leave them feeling cold and unfulfilled.
  3. They prioritize comfort over happiness. Being comfortable with someone takes a while to accomplish, and once people settle into that rhythm, it’s hard to break. Being content with a crappy relationship is destined to end in disaster, but that doesn’t stop lots of couples from trying to stick it out anyway.
  4. They fear dying alone. Especially as they get older, lots of people start to panic when they realize ending things with their partner might mean being single for the rest of their lives.  Personally, I think having someone you don’t really love anymore holding your hand at your death bed is worse than having no one next to you. But not everyone shares my opinion.
  5. They don’t know what a loving relationship even is. A lot of people settle for crap because that’s all they know. They’re in denial because they’re ignorant to what real love is supposed to feel like. They might think that what they have is normal, but in reality, no one who’s ever truly been in love would settle for such a lousy partnership.
  6. They feel pressure from society. A lot of people feel like they should be married with a family by a certain age. It’s hard to blame them — we’re constantly told by society, the media, and our loved ones that settling down and having kids is a huge life milestone, so the idea of breaking up with the person who’s likely to help you complete that isn’t exactly appealing.
  7. They have low self-esteem. This one is simple. People settle for BS relationships because they don’t think they deserve love or happiness from their partner. Their low self-esteem keeps them in a crappy partnership because they don’t believe they’re worth anything more.
  8. Starting over can be scary. Having to split up possessions and learn how to sleep alone are just a couple reasons why going back to being single can be terrifying. Lots of people don’t realize that the only thing scarier than starting over is being in a relationship that sucks the life out of you.
  9. They’re prioritizing their partners happiness over their own. It’s not uncommon for someone to stay in a bad relationship for fear of hurting their partner… even if means doing harm to themselves in the process. They’re willing to stay and be miserable as long as their significant other seems to be happy. What they don’t realize is that eventually, all those negative emotions will build up and end up hurting their partner anyway.
  10. They’ve convinced themselves it’s not that bad. Denying that their relationship is crap is much easier than admitting failure in love yet again. They’ll turn a blind eye to all the negative aspects of their relationship and persuade themselves that the very few positive qualities it has make it all worth it.
Angelica Bottaro has a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Trent University and an Advanced Diploma in Journalism from Centennial College. She began her career as a freelance writer in 2014, racking up bylines in The Good Men Project, MakeWell, LymeTime, YouQueen, and more. She eventually shifted her focus and began writing about mental health, nutrition, and chronic disease for VeryWell Health.

You can follow her on Facebook or check out her website at AngelicaBottaro.ca. She also posts on Instagram @a.ct._b and Twitter @angiiebee.