9 Worst Reasons to Stay Together, According to Therapists
Don't delay the end of a relationship over any of these excuses.
No one wants to admit that their relationship might have an expiration date. We often let things drag out much longer than we probably should, even when we can tell that being with our significant other is no longer benefitting us. Part of that process involves making excuses as to why we can't break up. But if you have to make certain justifications for not ending a relationship, chances are it's already over. Read on to discover the nine worst reasons to stay together, according to therapists.
The thought of leaving makes you feel guilty.
Guilt should never be the primary reason you are still with your partner, Aldrich Chan, PsyD, licensed psychologist and neuropsychologist, warns.
"Feeling guilty about ending the relationship or believing you owe something to your partner can lead to staying together for the wrong reasons," he says. "It's important to prioritize your own happiness and well-being, and not remain in a relationship out of guilt."
It also defeats the entire purpose of your intention to not hurt your partner, Adrine Davtyan, LCSW, a Los Angeles-based psychotherapist, adds.
"Staying in a relationship that is not working for you is not being honest and truthful, which can be incredibly hurtful to the person on the other end," she explains.
They are good at convincing you to stay.
If you've often debated ending the relationship, don't let a few sweet words every once in a while keep you from doing so. Kevin Mimms, LMFT, licensed therapist with Choosing Therapy, says that it's important not to fall victim to a partner who is really good at convincing you to stay when you've already decided you want to leave.
"They are good at talking but short on follow-through," Mimms cautions. "Choosing to stay in spite of how they act on a regular basis can definitely be detrimental."
There is social pressure for you to stay together.
It's important not to base your reason for staying on people outside your relationship either, Chan adds.
"Deciding to stay together because of external pressures, such as family expectations, societal norms, or the fear of judgment, is not a healthy foundation for a relationship," he notes. "Your relationship should be based on your own feelings and desires, not on what others think."
You have a fear of loneliness.
You should be with your partner because you want to be with them, not just because you want to be with someone. The fear of loneliness often pushes people to stay together, but this can "lead to resentment and dissatisfaction," according to Chan.
"Learning to be content and happy on your own is important before seeking companionship," he advises.
Or you're afraid of things changing.
The fear of change also tends to stop people from leaving a significant other, Chan notes.
"Change can be intimidating, and some people stay in a relationship simply because they fear the unknown," he says.
But if you are too afraid to leave your comfort zone, you may get stuck in a relationship that is "not fulfilling or healthy" for you, Chan warns.
They are exciting.
It might not seem like a bad idea to stay with someone just because they're fun and exciting. But over time, you may realize that the excitement comes with a downside, according to Mimms.
"Something that is exciting now may feel unpredictable or unstable later," he shares. "Excitement can be good, just recognize and consider the potential drawbacks."
You work together.
Maybe you met your significant other at your job. Or perhaps you started working together after you began dating. Whatever the case, you shouldn't let a shared place of employment or business keep you involved romantically, according to JustAnswer therapist and relationship expert Jennifer Kelman, LCSW.
"While it may be difficult to unwind the employment space, it isn't a good reason to stay together, as the issues within the relationship may play out in the working environment," Kelman points out.
You depend on them financially.
Financial ties can also make it hard to leave.
"Staying together because you are financially dependent on your partner can be problematic," Chan says. "It's important to seek out financial independence so you can make relationship decisions based on emotional factors rather than financial ones."
But even if you're not financially dependent on your partner, you shouldn't stay just because "they are wealthy or make a lot of money," according to Mimms.
"This is a terrible reason to stay because you are choosing the stability this person offers you without being similarly committed to this person as they are," he explains.
You have children together.
Something that comes up often with couples is staying together "for the sake of the children," Davtyan tells Best Life. But while your intentions may be good, the importance of a two-parent household doesn't supersede the harm children can experience when seeing that their parents are not happy together.
"In fact, staying in a relationship solely for the children can have negative consequences for the children—especially if the relationship between the partners is unhealthy or toxic," Davtyan says. "Children can be adversely affected by witnessing conflict and dysfunction within their families. Instead, it would be most healthy if the couple acknowledged the downfall of their relationship and focused on creating a different type of relationship outside of a romantic one, such as co-parenting."
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