Reminder: Staying In Bad Relationships Keeps You From Finding Good Ones

Sometimes it’s really hard to break up with someone you’ve been with for years even though you know they’re not the greatest match for you. After all, you’re probably just really used to them being around. Maybe the two of you combined finances or have become so co-dependent that it’s just tough to leave. However, if you don’t exit now, you’re wasting time finding someone you’re actually compatible with.

  1. Think about where this relationship is going. The answer is probably nowhere. If you’ve been together for years but have never talked about the next step, this is likely it. So think to yourself, do you still want to be where you are right now in five years? Ten years? He could be the nicest guy, but if you haven’t been happy for a while, nothing is going to change here.
  2. Remember that it’s going to hurt no matter what. The act of breaking up is really hard to do, and it can get very messy based on how much your lives have entwined after all these years. If you’ve grown close to his family, it’s a shame to know that they’ll no longer be in the picture after you split. But how much is your happiness worth? If you’re not going to break up with him now, it’s not like it’ll get easier later.
  3. The longer you’re with him, the more your self-esteem will tank. When a relationship has run its course and has become negative, the two of you aren’t going to treat each other very well. It’ll be completely different from when you first started dating. The more the relationship drags on, the less he’s going to respect you. Don’t let him potentially ruin the next relationship you’ll have by making you feel like you can’t do any better. (For the record, yes you can.)
  4. You need to prove him wrong. In his head, he’s so used to this arrangement and assumes you’ll never leave. You’re much stronger than that. Not only can you step away from this bad relationship, but you can find someone who understands how valuable you are as a girlfriend. Remember, living well is the best revenge.
  5. Even the worst relationships might need some recovery time. Even if you’ve been checked out for months, it’ll still require a little bit of time to adjust to being single again. So if you’re hoping to ditch this guy and meet Mr. Right, you might want to tag at least a month or two onto your timeline. You want the best version of you out there, so give yourself some time to adjust and move forward.
  6. The longer you wait, the more you’ll convince yourself that you’re actually happy. If you keep telling yourself that every relationship has its issues, you’re right. But you’re reading this article for a reason—you know this guy isn’t the one for you deep down. Don’t let your mind play tricks on you. Get him out of the picture and don’t look back.
  7. Things may take a dangerous turn if he’s starting to develop red flag behavior. If he’s started to push you, shove you, call you names, or frighten you, you need to step away now. Forget about a new relationship—this is for your safety. Any sort of unwanted contact will just lead to more as time goes on. This is more than just a bad relationship. It’s abusive, and it’s not going to improve. Make your exit plan, call friends and family for support, and cut off all contact.
  8. Yes, you will regret this later. Everyone has regrets of some sort. Make sure one of yours isn’t “I wish I broke up with him a lot sooner.” If you’re in your twenties or thirties, these are your golden years to go out there and have fun and meet like-minded people. Don’t let this guy zap your energy away. You only have one life, and you don’t want it to just pass you by.
  9. He’s not going to be the one to do it first. If he’s being lazy and not pulling his weight in the relationship, he’s not going to break up with you. Why should he? He’s living the life right now—he has a girlfriend and doesn’t even have to put any effort into his relationship. If you wait around and hope that he’s the one who makes the call, you’re going to be waiting for a long time.
  10. You might not think someone better is out there, but they are. If this guy has been your only relationship, you may wonder if you even have what it takes to date someone else. Having been with him for some time, you might not even know how dating today works. You have the control to change this situation and see for yourself. It’s a lot better to be single and looking than in a relationship and chronically unhappy.
Karen Belz is a New Jersey native who is currently living in Maryland. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Speech Communication with a focus in Broadcasting and Print Media Studies from Millersville University of Pennsylvania. Since graduating, she has written for sites like LittleThings, HelloGiggles, and Scary Mommy and is currently an e-commerce editor at Bustle.

When she's not writing, she enjoys making her phone run out of memory after taking too many photos of her dog. You can find her on Twitter @karenebelz or on Instagram @karenbelz.