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The Trouble with Staying or Going: Why Most People Don’t Leave Their Relationships When They Should


If you’re in a long term relationship that you may feel isn’t headed anywhere, you start weighing your options. Whether you and your partner have been arguing a lot or things have simply fizzled out, you start to think about what it would be like to move on from the relationship. You wonder if you should take the leap and leave in order to start new with someone else.

However, being that you’ve been with this person for an extended period of time, there are certain things that stop you from leaving. Sure, you might think from time to time that you want something new or deserve something better, but you end up staying anyway. On some level, you want to go but you simply can’t.

That’s the trouble that I find a lot of people in long term relationships go through: the struggle of whether or not they should keep going; is it worth the fight?

Out of fear

If you’ve been in a relationship for long enough, you kind of have no idea how to date anymore. You’re relationship might not be that great, but you sit there and wonder if the grass is greener somewhere else. Is it better to stick with the shit you know or venture off to find out that it may be even worse somewhere else? If you’re in a relationship that you’re not quite sure you want to be in anyway, what’s likely keeping you there is the fear of the unknown.

The fear of whether or not you’re going to find someone else. The fear that the someone else may not be that great. You factor in pros and cons, but at the end of the day, you stay in order to feel just a bit more secure. However, you always wonder what you could.

You hope it gets better

If you’re in a relationship that isn’t reminiscent of a rom-com starring Katherine Heigl, you may often feel like you deserve more. Someone who loves you more, someone who treats you just a bit better, someone who looks at you like you’re the only person in the entire world. Granted, we typically see that in the movies, but quite often we find ourselves wanting it to be the reality. So, we sit down and have a “chat” with our significant others.

We talk about what we want and need from a relationships and hope that the talk will actually change something. We may want to leave to find something better, but we stick around in the hopes that the relationship we’ve already established blossoms into somewhere we really want.

You have faith

Over and over again, you give your partner the benefit of the doubt. They fuck up, they apologize, you try to move on. It’s vicious cycle that you can find in nearly every relationship. When your partner messes up, you eventually forgive them and have faith that the problem won’t arise again. Unfortunately, the problem usually arises again.

Because you forgive over and over again, you end up resenting your partner and yourself. You resent them because they keep making the same mistake and you resent yourself not leaving when you should have. Because the problem never really goes away, you find constantly convincing yourself that it just might.


At the end of the, you’re with someone that you love. So, even though you might struggle with whether or not the relationship is actually working, you stay because you really do love this person. Unfortunately, what a lot of people tend to forget is that sometimes love simply isn’t enough. Love is the basis for a relationship, but there are other important factors to consider.

Staying for love is noble, but not realistic. You have to have someone who trusts you, respects you, considers your feelings, doesn’t hurt you, and thinks about the future with you. Otherwise you have someone that you love but can never really move forward with.


The killer: comfort. If you’re been with someone for long enough, you’ve developed a certain level of comfort that you’ve become accustomed to. Sure, new relationships are fun, but when you’re with someone and you’re comfortable, that’s the real goal. Unfortunately, people often mistake comfort for happiness.

Just because you’re comfortable with someone doesn’t mean you should stay in the relationship if you’re unhappy. Comfort can be found anywhere, it just takes time.

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