It’s been almost two years since my husband and I said enough is enough and laid all our cards on the table. Before that, life was pretty miserable for nearly two years. We fought all the time. We tried to communicate but we were both hurting in so many ways and neither of us was willing to open up. We said things discouraging. We broke so many of the rules we laid down when we first dated. We didn’t want to be like our parents, and yet, two years ago we were.

Lately I’ve been thinking. Why do we cling on to relationships? All relationships. Why? If we are unhappy, then why do we stay?

I can tell you the reasons that my husband and I clung on. Between the anger and the hurt we still actually loved each other. As high school sweethearts we were each other’s best friend. Anger and hurt often gets you to forget all of that. It only allows you to see all the bad in a relationship. When we allowed ourselves the ability to say what was actually on and in our hearts did we finally begin the healing process. And let me tell you, it wasn’t easy. There were so many things that happened in those two broken years that could have finished us off.

I fully believe my hubby and I were meant to fight through it. But, what about everything else? What about the actual toxic relationships? The one where things are dead. Where a married couple, a friendship, a partnership (any type of relationship really) each party has lost enjoying each other’s company. Where each party (or even one side of the party) can no longer serve the purpose of that specific relationship. Why do we limp along, tied together by the past, pretending like things are good?

The first reason is the past. We attach ourselves to the happy memories that we talk ourselves into staying. We remember the times when they would surprise you with flowers. Or coffee and chocolate. The times when you’d go out on a date and watch a movie or have ice cream. The times when you’d spend hours on the phone talking or on the sofa laughing. Something helpful: Memories take us back. Dreams take us forward.

The second reason is guilt. This one will come in many forms. We feel guilty about the future. Who will help with the house payments? Who will be their friend? Can we hurt them that way? We feel guilty about the past. This isn’t the person we fell in love with. We just need to get that person back. We know they can be better because we’ve seen it. We feel a victimized guilt. we know we love each other, even when they hit us. They really mean to say they love us when they are degrading who we are. Maybe we did something wrong and that’s why we are being treated this way? Helpful hint: Putting yourself first isn’t selfish, it’s necessary.

The third reason is habit. Even if it is a bad relationship you know what to expect. I know what it feels like to be habitual. It brings me comfort. It is the same with a toxic or dead relationship. Even if it isn’t good at least you know what comes next. Helpful encouragement: If it is destroying you it isn’t love.

The fourth reason is self loathing. Sometimes being in a bad relationship will make you think you aren’t worthy. We have this feeling that we are being treated bad because of something we did. It is our fault therefore we deserve the way we are being treated. What good can you bring into another relationship if you are failing with this one? The irrational fear of being alone plays a part. Who wants to hang out with you anyway? Helpful thought: a bad relationship will make you feel more alone then when you were single.

To whoever this is going to (probably to myself if I’m being honest), if you have a relationship that something hasn’t been right for a long time, maybe it’s time to look at what would benefit you? Does your lover love you? Is your friend building you up? Is your spouse being emotionally abusive? Does your friend try to control you? Is your spouse spending time with you? Does your friend put into the relationship?

There is a quote that I’ve once read: sometimes it’s better to move on instead of being the only one willing to fix things. Remember, it isn’t always about what you feel. It’s about what you deserve. Do you deserve to be happy? I think you do. xoxo