You’ve been dating for a while now. You started out happy and optimistic. You believed you two would stick it out, the two of you against the world. But it has not been working out. There are red flags everywhere, some really big. You’re tired of having the same fight over and over. You are not enthusiastic about the future. But you can’t bring yourself to leave. In the last two posts we’ve talked about good reasons to stay in a relationship and bad reasons to leave a relationship. Today we take a different direction and see terrible reasons to stay in a relationship.
I know. I know. Breaking up is such a big step. It’s not something you rush into. But if you’ve been having these thoughts for a couple of months, we need to talk. Here are terrible reasons to stay in a relationship.
I don’t want to be alone: I strongly believe loneliness is a state of mind. You can be lonely even in a crowd of people. To be honest, the times I was the loneliest I was in a relationship. Ironic. Right? Well it happens. What you need to do is get comfortable being alone without necessarily getting lonely. Force yourself to have some “me time” and learn to love your own company. Get rid of the idea that if you are alone you can’t enjoy yourself. Find those hobbies you used to love before this relationship. Here’s the thing, a year or two ago you didn’t even know this person and you were just fine.
Fear that you won’t find someone else: This is something we don’t say out loud, we think about it quietly. Most times you know you are getting a raw deal in a relationship. But you hang in there longer than you are supposed to because deep down you are terrified you might not find someone else who will love you. This is made worse when your partner is emotionally abusive and makes you feel like you can’t do any better and they are doing you a favor by being with you. Stomp that low self-esteem under your feet and remind yourself how great you are. Focus on your good qualities and someone will notice them.
He’s/ She’s not too bad: They are not too bad is not an A it’s a C and you can do better. You want to be with some great, someone amazing. When someone asks you how your boyfriend or girlfriend is you should have something better to say than “well, he’s alright. He’s not that bad.” The real reason you are staying is because you don’t want to be alone or you fear you won’t find love again. Deal with that and stop settling for a mediocre relationship.
They will change, it will get better: This is one of the worst reasons to stay in a relationship. Dating is one of those things where what you see is what you get. Unlike a new job, you are not forced to keep improving and so unless your partner wants to change they won’t. Your staying won’t make them change either. If you raise character issues that are bothering you and you see no change, walk away. Most times, it gets worse not better. Please don’t marry them thinking they will change, they won’t. Flirting with other people during dating will grow into infidelity. Leave now.
The biological clock is ticking: I know people have been nudging you asking when you are getting married and mum even stopped hinting and now just out rightly asks about grand kids. Every weekend there is a bridal shower and the next there’s a baby shower. Relax. I have been married for 3 years and I can tell you for free this stuff is hard. You need to get into this with someone who is committed to have your back and not someone dating you grudgingly. Don’t stay just because you feel like you don’t have time to start dating again.
I don’t want to hurt them: This may be a big deal if they have given up something e.g. changed jobs or moved towns to be with you. Here’s the thing though, they will still get hurt when you break up with them six months later, even more if in those six months you were distant and not there 100%. At some point you will start seeing them as a stumbling block to a life you want and you might end up hating them yet you’re the one who stayed.
I’ve invested too much: This is not a valid excuse to stay in a bad relationship. Monetary investments can be shared. If you are feeling you’ve given too much time to leave now think of this, each day you waste wondering whether to stay or leave is more time wasted. Look at the relationship as a learning experience but don’t stretch it longer than it should last.
Dating is so much work: Really? You would rather stay in a bad relationship than go through dating again? I know the dating process sucks especially since you haven’t done it in so long but still. C’mon. The real reason you are scared is because you are worried you won’t find someone better. In that case refer to point no. 2 and remind yourself how awesome you are.
Don’t drag on a relationship unnecessarily. It’s time you are never going to get back. Also don’t keep making excuses for your partner. See them for who they are. It will save you time and prevent unnecessary resentment.
Author: Wanjiru Kihusa
I am Wanjiru Kihusa and I’m a writer and founder of Still A Mum – an organization that seeks to reduce maternal and newborn deaths in Africa. I am especially passionate about women and children.
I blog to share my thoughts and experiences hoping that in the process someone will learn from my life.