We’ve all been in dead-end relationships before and we know the smartest thing we can do is end them ASAP so we can move onto something that’s actually worth our time. However, we tend to stay long past a relationship’s sell-by date, and new research reveals that our reason for riding it out is actually kind of self-centered and egotistical.
A study out of the University of Utah, the results of which will be published in November’s Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, found that even when we know a relationship is all wrong for us, we tend to stick around because we convince ourselves that our partners would be lost without us if we were to leave them. How messed up is that?
Researchers called on 1,348 volunteers, all of whom were tracked over a 10-week period. Of the participants, 500 admitted that they wanted out of a relationship that was clearly going nowhere but also revealed that they didn’t follow through on that because they thought they were doing the right thing for their partners.
As lead researcher and assistant professor Samantha Joel, Ph.D., explained, “When people perceived that the partner was highly committed to the relationship, they were less likely to initiate a breakup. This is true even for people who weren’t really committed to the relationship themselves or who were personally unsatisfied with the relationship.”
While this may be the excuse we give for sticking around, it’s a pretty bad one. After all, no one wants to be in a relationship with someone who clearly doesn’t want to be with them, right? We’re not doing our partners a favor by staying with them when we’d rather be with anyone else (or even on our own), so it may be time to get over ourselves and realize that dead-end relationships really are better off dead.