Are You Staying in Your Relationship for Your Partner’s Sake?
Human nature is many faceted, and different sides of a person’s personality surface depending on the situation. However, most people have a side that wishes others well and wants them to be free from harm.
Studies have shown that people stay in relationships even though they’re unhappy. This often occurs when the relationship is fulfilling for their partners even though it is not fulfilling for them.
It is especially true in relationships with highly dependent partners. If the partner is highly committed to the relationship or if the partner would be greatly upset by the breakup, the unhappy partner may not want to “rock the boat.”
In a Psychology Today article, a psychologist listed various other reasons for staying in unhappy relationships. Some of the reasons included:
- Guilt (feeling like you would let your partner down)
- Retaliation (the other partner might get angry or do or say hurtful things)
- Negative judgment (believing other people would think badly of you)
- The children (protecting them from lifestyle changes)
- Fear of change
Some relationships are not in a state of high conflict but are merely unsatisfying. Couples in this type of relationship often stay together to protect their children against the stresses of divorce.
Fear of Change
Many people are creatures of habit. They do not experience an urge for adventure, and may even harbor a fear of the unknown.
Some people stay in unhappy relationships because they’re afraid they would be even unhappier if living on their own. The idea of living alone makes them feel anxious or depressed. Or, they’re afraid they could end up in a relationship that is even worse than the one they currently have.
Whether a pattern is good or bad, when it is familiar, there’s a certain comfort level in knowing what to expect. Partners in a relationship often create the same kind of relationship that their parents had. That shared perspective is how life is “supposed to be.”
What Can You Do?
Dealing with communication breakdowns, handling misunderstandings and identifying the sources of problems can often improve a relationship. If you want to stay in your relationship but hope to make it better, there are ways our therapists at Affordable Therapy Los Angeles can help.