Why Men Stay In Relationships With Women They Don’t Love

It’s a common misconception that men will only settle down when they’ve found the one woman that makes them incredibly happy. They’re looking for their other half just as much as the next person, but sometimes, they settle for someone they don’t necessarily see as their “forever person.” So, why do men stay in relationships with women they don’t even like?

Love clouds things.

You can love someone and not like them all that much, or vice versa. I’m sure as you read that, a specific person popped into your head, so you know it’s true. When a man likes a woman’s company but isn’t romantically in love with her, he might stay because it makes leaving that much more difficult. He cares about her and doesn’t want to hurt her, but he also doesn’t want to be in a relationship with her long-term, so he’s a bit torn.

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They get comfortable.

man upset on end of bed, girlfriend behindistock

As Refinery29 points out, it’s easy to get into a comfortable routine with someone, and once that happens, it’s hard to break out of it. Just like people get comfortable at jobs they don’t like, the same sentiment can happen in relationships. When he gets into a rhythm of life with a woman, it’s far easier to keep up with the motions than shake things up with a breakup.

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Laziness is a real factor.

That’s right — the same men that are too lazy to put any effort into the relationship are likely the same ones that are too apathetic to leave it. It all comes down to doing more than the absolute bare minimum of anything. Some people just aren’t built to get things done.

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The perks outweigh the negatives.

Maybe their partner is a culinary genius, does their laundry, and is great in the sack. Whatever the case may be, if they see their situation as mostly positive, some men will stay for the sake of the pros. All relationships require work and not everything is all roses and rainbows, but something that should never happen in a relationship is apathy.

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Two incomes are better than one.

couple fighting unhappy argument relationship©iStock/DragonImages

It’s often assumed that women are more likely to stay with a man for the sake of financial security, but it’s 2024, and both (or should we say all!) genders are achieving professionally. In fact, CNBC reports that in 2023, most women were either making just as much or even out-earning their husbands by an average of $53,000. That means that both partners can be reliant on the other’s income. It’s hard out there on one salary.

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Their spouse is incredibly attractive.

If a man thinks he’ll never get a woman as attractive as the one he’s with, and he’s as shallow as a bathtub, he may not care that much about leaving. After all, it’s all about having a bit of arm candy, and as long as he has that, he can deal with the downsides (at least temporarily). Eventually, though, he’ll come to resent the woman he’s with, even if he doesn’t want to stop being intimate with her.

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Pressure from family can be intense. 

Parents can sometimes be harsh, even when you’re an adult. They want what’s best for their grown-up children and sometimes they think that means settling down and starting a family ASAP. If a man has a woman that he knows will give him that picture-perfect home life, he may just jump in with two feet to appease those around him.

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Fear of the unknown is real.

The future is scary for everyone. When a man has an idea of where he’s going to end up and who’s going to be with him when he gets there, it can be hard to give that up, even if that person next to them isn’t exactly what they want.

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He’s worried she’ll find someone better.

Some men want to stay in relationships with women they don’t like simply because they don’t want anyone else to have them. It’s petty and cruel, but it’s a fact as true as any other. The ego is very real, and in men, it’s often fragile. They’ll do whatever they can to ensure they always feel like the heroes, and that sometimes mean staying in relationships with women they don’t love just to feel powerful and in control.

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Something is better than nothing.

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.

Loneliness can be a killer, and everyone wants to be loved. That means for many people (not just men!), sometimes being with someone is better than having no one at all. They’re desperate to have someone beside them in bed at night, even if it’s not someone they actually love.

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They don’t have a new prospect yet.

This is related to the previous point. In general, people like to have a new thing set up before they get out of a relationship. Not everyone is like that, but there are a lot of people who don’t want to jump ship into empty waters. Certain men will stay in an unhappy relationship for the simple fact that no one else has come along and sparked their fancy. When another woman does come along, it won’t be long before he’s out the door.

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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.