14 Women Who Stayed In Toxic Relationships For Too Long Reveal Why They Did It

by Candice Jalili

Plenty of women have been in toxic relationships in the past, but the more perplexing question for those of us who have never been in them could be why women stay in toxic relationships. As an outsider, it can be hard to understand. But a recent Reddit AskWomen thread asked ladies who've been in unhealthy relationships in the past to come forward and share their stories and explain why they took so long to leave. There are plenty of reasons a person might stay in place, and there's no shame in taking however long you need to move on from a relationship that's no longer working for you.

Even if you've never in your life been in a toxic relationship of any form, it's impossible not to empathize with the explanations these women share for why it is that they chose to stay in their toxic relationships as long as they did. Maybe your current relationship isn't making you happy, and you want to read about someone who's been in your shoes. Maybe you've left an ex behind and feel that, in hindsight, you should have parted ways sooner. Maybe you're reading on behalf of a friend whose romantic decisions you just don't totally get. Whatever the case, read along and learn from these women's stories.

All she knew was her troubled past.
I had a f***ed up childhood and it was all that I knew


She was in a bad place mentally.
my mental health was all kinds of f***ed up.


She was afraid to be alone.
at the time it was the only friend I had and didn't want to be lonely.


She believed she was unloveable.
I was convinced I was unlovable so if I left, I’d never find “love” again.


She made excuses for them.
I chalked their behaviour off to being stressed at work. I also was low-key amazed that someone could be attracted to me, and my fear of losing that affirmation kept me around for a lot longer than I should've.


She still cares about him.
Because I still care about him.


She didn't want to lose the good parts of the relationship.
It's cos you don't part with just the toxic. Sometimes, you part with the good stuff about them too.


She thought it was her fault.
I was convinced it was my fault, so if I just did better, they would get better.I was also much younger. Now I'm all, "kthxbai."


He threatened murder if she left.
Because the threatened to kill me, my family and the cat if I ever left.


She felt totally dependent on him.
It was my first relationship and I felt completely dependent of this one person.I loved him more than anything. I knew he did not love me and I still stayed with him because I did not want to be alone. I always thought without relationship and a boyfriend I would not worth anything. It took me two years to leave. I`ve learned a lot in these two years. Above all it is important to love myself and that I do not need anyone to be worth something.


She had to get her finances in order.
I am not sure if mine took so long, but we were together almost 4 years, and married 8 months. I think deep down I knew I shouldn’t have married him. It was 8 months after marrying him I left. 4 months after being married that I knew I had to leave. I spent 4 months working and saving money with the help of support services. I knew I needed to be financial independent so I wouldn’t be tempered to go back.


She was ignoring her own gut.
Because that person was so emotionally abusive, that he made me so insecure and unable to trust myself, that when I those feelings of 'you have to leave' kept surfacing, I would ignore them. It took getting some external perspective, a bunch of health issues and a true 'rock bottom' situation to get out.


She was hanging on to false hopes.
I was grasping at straws, thinking that our conversations about behavior and expectations and mental health were building and understanding and deeper friendship between us, that she was growing as a person and so was I and our 'misunderstandings' were just bumps along the way. But then the same shit kept happening, and I just could not see the benefit of performing the same emotional labor yet again knowing it would likely change nothing.


If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic abuse, call 911 or the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1(800) 799-SAFE (7233) or visit