There is a myriad of reasons why people stay in toxic relationships. And while I hate to admit it, some of them are pretty reasonable. That may sound odd, but there is no one size fits all approach to life, and we all have different journeys. I am by no means saying to stay in a bad relationship. What I am saying, is that if you’ve ever judged someone for doing that very thing, you might want to try walking a mile in their shoes first.
You know this person’s not good for you.
You know it’s not healthy; you know you should leave.
You feel almost ashamed that you’re still there. And yet — there’s something holding you in it, something you don’t quite understand.
It’s the reason many people struggle to leave toxic relationships or, after they’ve left, continue to wrestle with the loss of something they knew was bad for them.
It’s the breakup that’s not about their partner. It’s about something else altogether.
Table of Contents
Here are 8 reasons why people stay in toxic relationships.
1. Intermittent reinforcement.
In toxic relationships, there is a cycle of good and bad. During the bad times, the other person may want to leave and decide they cannot take it anymore. However, as soon as they decide that, out of nowhere, their partner will shift back to being good again. This intermittent reinforcement makes them doubt themselves for thinking they should leave. And this can be a vicious cycle.
2. Because of their kids.
One of the most common reasons, I would bargain, is that there are kids in the picture. One parent may fear that if they leave, it will ultimately lead to their child coming from a broken home. And for those of us who have come from a broken home, this fear can be especially prevalent.
3. Because they are afraid of being alone.
Many people stay in bad relationships because they do not want to be alone. They don’t necessarily want to be with their partner. However, they don’t want to be alone. Fear is a great motivator.
4. Because they are afraid they can’t survive.
In many cases, people are financially and otherwise dependent on their partners. Sometimes people move in with their significant other and lose their job, and end up relying on their partner to take care of them. Or they may be a stay at home mom who depends on their husband to pay the bills. The thought of leaving, and losing that security can be scary.
5. Because they don’t understand how toxic the relationship is.
A lot of times, people are blind to how toxic their relationship may be. Because many people grow up in toxic homes, they don’t know any different. As adults, they end up in the same toxic relationships, because it is what they have always known as normal.
6. They see the best in their partner.
Some people see their partner’s flaws and look past them to see the good. While their wife may cheat, she also is the one that loved and supported them when they were going through a bad time, and now he wants to fix her. The problem here is that we cannot fix anyone by ourselves. It takes the person who needs to be fixed to fix themselves.
7. They feel guilty if they leave.
Manipulation is also a major motivator. Some people may be so jaded by their partners that they have been manipulated to feel guilty if they leave. “What will he do without me if I leave?”
8. They are afraid of what their partner may do.
And another thing to consider is fear. Especially in an abusive relationship. It is not always so cut and dry for a woman to just leave. Oftentimes, abused partners (men or women for that matter) threaten violence if their partner leaves. Some even threaten their lives. And this is terrifying.