Recently, a friend of mine told me she couldn’t see a long-term future with the man she was dating, but that he was a comforting figure during a time of extreme chaos.
After graduating from college, taking up full-time employment and moving back home, a reassuring presence didn’t seem so bad.
But is it the right move to stay in a relationship with someone if you don’t see a future with him or her?
Let me start off by saying that in no way am I bashing my friend.
Many of us have been with a person who wasn’t right for us, but for whatever reason, we stayed with him or her anyway.
Remaining in a relationship that might not have a future isn’t necessarily a bad thing, however, it is important to know all the facts so you can make an informed decision.
Here are seven reasons why we stay in the wrong relationships longer than we should, and when to know it’s officially time to abandon ship:
1. You feel like you are in way too deep.
You have been with your boyfriend or girlfriend for so long that whether you realize it or not, you feel stuck.
You have the same friends, you feel close to his or her family and you live down the street from each other.
Maybe you even live together.
Your lives have become so intertwined that you aren’t sure how to get out.
In fact, you’re not even sure if you can get out.
But no matter how closely connected you are with a person, you are never stuck.
There will always be options for you.
The longer you put off those options, the harder it will be to break away; but, there is still always a way out.
2. Something feels off, but you can’t pinpoint what it is.
We have all either been in a relationship or have known someone in a relationship that just didn’t feel 100 percent right.
You are happy in your current relationship for the most part, and there aren’t any obvious red flags about your significant other.
Your friends don’t have anything bad to say about your boyfriend or girlfriend, and your parents seem to like him or her.
So, what’s the problem?
Just because there isn’t a concrete reason to break up with someone does not mean you shouldn’t break up with him or her.
In fact, feeling off about someone — even if you don’t quite know what it is — is the red flag.
Trust yourself. You are a smart, intuitive person.
If you are aware enough to acknowledge that something is off, don’t ignore it.
Odds are, you are right to think that.
3. You grew up together, and you have become a part of each other’s identities.
Long-term relationships, especially when they begin at a young age, can be complicated.
If you’ve grown up dating the same person, it can be challenging to find a separate identity.
This can make breaking up a whole lot harder.
But it doesn’t matter how long you have been with someone.
At the end of the day, you are your own person.
In fact, if you don’t feel like you are your own person without your significant other, maybe it is time to start reevaluating.
If you're afraid to break it off because you don’t know who you are without your boyfriend or girlfriend, and you feel like something is wrong in your relationship, it is time to take a good, hard look in the mirror and walk away.
Maybe you both just need some time apart and will end up together in the end.
Either way, it is imperative you become your own person.
4. You are afraid of being single.
Being single can be terrifying, especially if you are used to being with someone.
It can be a scary endeavor that often leaves people immobilized in bad relationships.
But no matter how daunting "singlehood” can seem, it is also a necessary step toward achieving independence.
As backwards as it seems, being a confident, strong, independent individual will ultimately lead to stronger relationships in the future.
If there’s something wrong with your relationship, but you stay in it because you are afraid of being alone, it is time to rethink things.
Avoid codependence and a negative relationship by taking control of your happiness.
Take some much deserved time and treat yourself.
Spend time with your friends, family, pets and most importantly, with yourself.
5. You want to avoid heartbreak, so you wait for someone better to come along.
You’ve dated a string of people to avoid the inevitable crumbling of your heart.
Now, once again, you have found that something isn’t right.
However, before you pull the trigger on your current relationship, you want to find someone else.
This happens more often than you would think.
Why cause yourself pain when you could start dating a new person before you break up with your current partner?
That way, you’ll be so absorbed in your new relationship, and the heartbreak won’t be as bad.
But this way of thinking has its flaws.
Eventually, the hurt does catch up to you, and when it does, you are left dealing with the emotional distress of five breakups rather than just one.
Grieving is healthy, and it makes you a stronger person in the end.
If you don’t allow yourself to properly grieve and heal, you are missing out on a wonderful opportunity to grow as a person.
Plus, if a person has no problem secretly dating you while you are still dating someone else, you should probably question his or her motives.
6. You fear you’ll never find someone better.
It is normal to question whether or not you’ll find someone better, especially if that person hasn't come along yet.
But the truth is, if you are staying with a person solely because you are afraid you won’t find somebody better, you will find somebody better.
Because let’s be honest: You can do a whole lot better than staying in a relationship for that.
It’s important to remember how small this moment is in the bigger scheme of things.
You are surrounded by millions of different people you haven’t met yet.
If you are open to meeting new people, a whole new set of doors will open for you.
7. Time spent with someone you don't see a future with is time wasted.
Time is precious, so don’t waste it.
Instead, spend your time bettering yourself so when you do find the right person, you will be the best version of yourself.