Why I Stayed In My Long-Term Relationship, Even Though He Wasn't 'The One'

At this point in my life, I've been in so many relationships that most would assume I know how to navigate one correctly. When things started to go south in one relationship (which I knew they would), I was on to the next one.

Don't get me wrong; I won't date just anyone. But, I have also settled more than once. During my current stint of being single, I've started to analyze why I've let things go on while my gut's been screaming the relationship wasn't right. Why didn't I cut it off the second I was no longer "in it?"

The answers I've found have surprised me:

1. I never gave myself the chance to figure out what I actually wanted.

This was a big one. There have been two instances in particular when I've settled for guys who were way more certain of me than I was of them. In turn, I thought I was wrong to not see a future with them.

I saw the good qualities in them, and I kept trying to bury the lack of passion that came after the honeymoon phase ended. I had this attitude of "Well, there's nothing not to like about them."

In my opinion, this is actually one of the hardest relationships to be in and leave. Being wanted is a great feeling, and it can cause you to ignore what it is you actually want in the long run.

I stayed with someone for three years. The majority of the time, I kept questioning whether or not it was right, even though I knew deep down that it wasn't.

Because it takes me so long to learn a lesson, I did the same thing for another year with someone else.

2. None of my friends were single.

This was always a killer. My last on-again, off-again relationship was easier to go back to because I was the only one of my friends not in a serious relationship. Being in group chats that consist of what "we" are doing on Friday nights – as in them and their boyfriends – isn't the biggest encouragement to walk away from something that isn't right.

Being single is way less fun when you don't have that one single friend to skip the gym and eat ice cream with. So in that instance, it was easier for me to stay in the wrong relationship than get away when I should have.

3. I felt bad about ending it.

OK, this might sound a little arrogant, but that's not how I'm saying it. It sucks when you're the one in the relationship who knows it isn't going anywhere. You really don't want to believe it.

So, when the other person is all gung-ho about keeping you forever and ever, you kind of want to trust his or her feelings more than you trust your own. Being the dumper is a really sh*tty feeling.

Even though you know it's the best move to make for the both of you, you still question it and hate the fact that you made this person feel like sh*t. You're not heartless. You do care about the person. He or she is just not "the one," and that's a hard pill to swallow.

4. Comfort is your gut feeling's worst enemy.

Like everyone else in the world, I love cuddling and watching a movie on a Friday night. I love having that designated person to do that with.

I like relationships, and I especially like the perks that come with them. I can totally admit I like the comfort of being with someone. This feeling can keep you with someone much longer than you should be.

I can't say I regret staying with these people for as long as I did. I've read before that people stay in our lives until we've learned the lessons we're meant to from them. I believe that is true of my situation. So, what was the lesson? Staying with someone when you know he or she is not "the one" – no matter how long it takes to figure it out – doesn't benefit you or the other person.

"The one" is out there, but you can't make space for him or her until you figure out what you want by yourself. Embrace the single days you have. One day, when you find the right person, your relationship will be stronger because of it.