11 People On Why They Stayed In Unhappy Relationships, Because Nothing Is Ever As It Seems

by Christy Piña

Every relationship has highs and lows. Nobody's bond is 100 percent perfect all the time; a little dash of conflict and boredom is totally normal. But it's hard to tell exactly how much you should put up with before you leave. The reasons why people stay in unhappy relationships vary. You may simply be comfortable with your partner and your relationship, without genuinely being happy with them. Or maybe there's something tying you two together, like a child or a rental agreement, that can keep you from being able to act just based on your feelings.

My ex and I were together for two and a half years, and a few months into our relationship, I had already started having mild doubts about whether or not I really wanted to be with him. He did everything right, but my heart just wasn't in it. My feelings for him fluctuated throughout our entire relationship. Sometimes I was all in, and other times I was just in. We were together, and it was nice, but looking back now, I don't know if I was unfalteringly happy. He was my best friend, and I loved being with him. But if I was truly happy in our relationship, I wouldn't have had doubts about it as often as I did, and I wouldn't have developed feelings for someone else, like I did.

Relationships aren't as black and white as we'd wish sometimes, but that's a part of life. I stayed with my ex because he was good to me, he meant a lot to me, and we had a lot of great times together. I put off ending things because I didn't want to hurt him, especially if there wasn't anything particularly wrong with the relationship. Those were my reasons to stay, and here are 11 Reddit users' reasons, too.

She Stays Out Of Guilt
I'm still in my unhappy marriage (almost 7 years married, 9 together). The couple of times I have tried to say that I wanted to leave, he goes on about how he doesn't want to lose me and things will be different. While we have a lot of good things together right now - two kids, steady jobs with great combined income, a house - and have some things in common, it feels like history is the only thing we share anymore and that I don't feel anything more than guilt keeping me tied to the relationship any longer. I don't have any desire to work on the marriage and would rather be alone. I just feel like every attempt to leave will be met with desperate begging to stay, and I'll do it out of guilt and because it's easier in a way.


She Dug Herself Too Deep
I knew within the first month but I kept thinking that if I were patient and worked at things that it would get better. Then we moved in together, then we got married, then we had a kid. I just kept getting myself in deeper and deeper. Last year it all came to a head and I left him. It was awful. The hardest thing I've ever done. He's not a bad guy, but I wasn't happy. And I couldn't make him happy. I just didn't like myself anymore in that relationship and I thought we both deserved better. I did not want to live a lifetime like that.


A Common Mixup Of Friendship Love Versus Relationship Love
About 1 year into our relationship I realized there wasn't any romantic attraction to him. Having sex with him was a chore. I would put it off as long as a could, and we could go 6 months at a time without it.
I stayed with him because I confused friendship love for romantic love. I was very comfortable. He treated me very well, and had me laughing all. the. time. He was an interesting person and we were so close to each other.
I realized it was time to break up when I found myself constantly fantasizing about my life with other guys. It was incredibly hard to break it off because I was going to lose my best friend, but mostly because I did not want to hurt him. I knew I had to end it because it wasn't fair to him or myself.


They Had A Family To Think About
We should have divorced the first time we separated. But we worked on things and got back together and had kid #2. And we both tried really f*cking hard to make it work. But we were just so incompatible by the end. Our misery was obvious to our kids and I just couldn't give my children that kind of childhood.


She Didn't Want To Quit
I think our marriage was thoroughly broken for probably 3 years before I could think the word "divorce," and it took me another two years to be able to say "I want a divorce" and walk out. I just didn't want to be a quitter, I guess, but eventually I lost all hope and realized that I wanted and deserved better than another 40 years of grinding it out.


She Didn't Want To Hurt Him
When I came back from uni, he got me a job where he worked (bad idea!) and things started becoming more serious. It was obvious that he had become more emotionally involved then I had, and I should have slowed things down then. But I waited until after we got a place together and got engaged to realise that he was an overbearing, ridiculously clingy, paranoid person. It wasn't until he really stepped over the mark (told all my male friends that I wanted nothing more to do with them through my facebook!) that I realised that the only reason I was staying with him is because I felt sorry for him and didn't want to hurt his feelings.


We'd been together for a year and a half, but I realized it was failing around December, and then didn't break it off until late May. I think I didn't leave simply because... it wasn't that bad. He was a decent enough guy, I sort of enjoyed his company, and I didn't want to hurt him. I guess it was just complacency and a desire not to hurt someone I cared about.


They Were Together Out Of Habit
If I had to guess I would say the first 3 years were great with more highs than lows. After that it started to shift to less highs and lows and then more level.
The last year or two it just was and then we began drifting apart. We were going through the motions. I had accepted that we would marry and I would rationalize how great I had things because I had no reason to complain. She was a great person and we had a good life together.
It wasn't until the point where she felt herself becoming attracted to other guys that she called for a break. I realized that if I didn't end it then it would drag out further so I just ended the relationship cleanly.


We were together for a total of nearly 8, and the first 4-5 were great. We just eventually became too familiar with one another, and lost all respect for each other. We still said we loved one another, but the spark was no longer there, and it was more out of habit than out of actual love or respect. Neither of us wanted to admit it was a sinking ship, let alone be the first to jump off. It wasn't until we spent more time hating being around one another than we did enjoying the other's company that we realized it just...wasn't working.


She Didn't Want To Be Hidden Anymore
I couldn't put my finger on exactly what I was unhappy about at first so I figured I was fine where I was. But I was bored. I was bored watching him play video games when I came to visit. I was bored constantly talking about his interests but not mine. I was bored hanging out by myself because he apparently had better things to do. He wouldn't introduce me to his family (I am white, he was Pakistani) and only inteoduced me to his other white friends (in case the brown ones told his parents he was dating a white girl). I just wasn't up for being hidden; how could we really go anywhere that way? I realized the only thing we were doing that felt good was the sex; otherwise we had very little in common.


Something In The Back Of Her Mind Told Her They Weren't Supposed To End Up Together
I was worried about my relationship about 4 months into it, then again a couple months later, and pretty much every few months after that for the next 4 years. It was always different things, but there was just always something in the back of my mind that we should not end up together. Towards the end, I had a huge crush on this other guy and was getting butterflies and stuff just being around him; it made me realize that I really needed to end it and move on. If I could feel so strongly about someone else, then I shouldn't be with my boyfriend. So we broke up.


Even though staying in an unhappy relationship may feel like you're doing the right thing, it can end up causing you and your partner more harm than good. You're in something you may not necessarily want, and they think everything is all sunshine and rainbows when it's not, and that's not fair to either of you. There's someone out there who may be a better fit for both of you — someone who neither you nor your partner will ever question your happiness with. You will find them.

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