Why Do We Stay In Toxic Relationships?
When I was little, I wanted to get married when I was eighteen years old. I don’t know why I chose that number I remember always wanting to be married, have a husband, and start a family and thought eighteen was a right age to do that.
My eighteenth birthday came around and guess what, I was still single, so getting married never happened. I continued to be single till I was 22, and even then, I was still technically single. I met this guy on a local chat site, and for a while, I thought he was my boyfriend.
I stayed in this fake toxic relationship for several reasons, and I’m not alone on this. So many women are staying in a relationship with a guy they deep down know they shouldn’t.
The guy makes this relationship turn toxic, and instead of leaving, the woman stays and continues to have so many negative emotions. About her boyfriend, about life, about herself, and experiences pangs of guilt.
Why do we continue to stay in relationships with guys that do nothing but bring down our self-worth? And why the hell do we let them?
Why don’t we as women have the guts to stand up to our partner and defend ourselves? Some of us do, and it results in fights, and mean names thrown at each other.
You hear people ask the question, “why doesn’t she just leave?” There are so many reasons why she doesn’t “just” leave the relationship.
Maybe she’s afraid. A lot of toxic relationships turn violent, which makes the woman too scared to leave. She might fear that he’ll find her and do worse to her than he has in the past.
They could share children, and she’s not sure how to get her and her children out of the relationship safely.
She’s afraid that no one will believe her and think she’s lying about the whole thing. She doesn’t feel like it’s safe to leave, which installs panic and fear of leaving.
“We want to be loved, and we’re afraid to be alone.”
Maybe we’re lonely. A lot of us don’t want to be alone, so we stay in a toxic relationship. We want to be loved, and we’re afraid to be alone, and somehow, we think being in this kind of relationship is better than being single and lonely. A good friend of mine keeps going back to the same deadbeat boyfriend and back to the same toxic environment.
I tell her all the time that she deserves better and the way he treats her is not right, but she insists on going back to him because of she still kind of likes him. She also doesn’t want to be alone, and I try to tell her that she won’t be alone. She has her friends around her to do things with, so she’s never lonely.
To an extent, I understand not wanting to be lonely. For years I was alone because I didn’t have a boyfriend. I felt left out on things couples would do, and I never felt like I was a part of any groups.
I don’t have a boyfriend, and I’m not married, so I always feel I was left out on conversations since they were conversations couples have with other couples.
I live with my parents due to health issues, so I don’t have a house of my own. How am I able to contribute to a conversation about which type of tile should you buy when you’re remodeling your bathroom? Simple, I can’t.
I felt lonely because I didn’t have a boyfriend, and for that, I got in a toxic relationship with a guy because I didn’t want to be alone. Of course, I didn’t know it was a toxic relationship when I got in it. No one does, or they wouldn’t get in one.
I also didn’t want to feel pathetic anymore since all my friends are married with children or in relationships so they can’t drop everything and come hang out with me. I hated being in my 20’s single with nothing to do.
We love him, and he makes us happy. So many of us stay in unhealthy relationships because we’re still in love with our partner. So, we think, how can I leave him when I love him? That’s when you ask yourself, what exactly does he do to make you happy?
Does he do nice things for you? Does he cook breakfast in bed for you? What does he do? If you can’t think of anything, then he doesn’t do anything to promote happiness in you, and you shouldn’t be in love with someone like that.
I am aware that it’s not always easy to continually cook breakfast in bed or do thoughtful things. I am sure he does do some nice things, but it doesn’t compare to the number of shitty things he does to you.
I didn’t want to leave my fake relationship with S, because I thought I loved him. He made me feel good inside, and it was nice to be around him. That’s before I knew the whole thing was a lie.
After I gave it some serious thought, I realized that I didn’t love him. I loved the idea of being in a relationship; I was in love with that feeling and took it as if I was in love with him.
We might be afraid of change and the unknown. Change can be scary, especially the type of change that is unknown. After a while of being in an unhealthy relationship, we start to get used to the environment.
We begin to believe that we’re the reason for the connection between us being awful because our partner always blames us.
We fear about how our life is going to be once we get out. We don’t know if we can do any better because our self-esteem is low from the constant verbal and emotional abuse from our boyfriend.
We’re scared that we might end up in a worse situation than the one we’re already in. We don’t know if leaving is the right thing to do, and we rather stay in the relationship where we feel secure.
We don’t want to make a mistake, so we stay where we know the environment. We stay because we don’t want to leave and throw it all away for an uncertain and possibly unhappy future.
We believe he can change and will. This is an old lie we as women have been telling ourselves about our boyfriends for the longest time. We stay with him because we’ve seen his good side. You know, the side he never shows you anymore. The side he’s only revealed at the beginning of the relationship.
Our friends ask us, “Why are you still with him? He’s such a jerk!” And we respond with, “You don’t know him the way I do. He’s a great guy, I promise! You need to get to know him more.”
We believe our friends don’t know what they’re talking about because we know he has a beautiful side to him because we’ve seen it. We feel like they’re not fair to him so instead of being upset at the rightful person — our boyfriend- we get upset at our friends.
We stay with our boyfriend because we genuinely feel like he can change, and we don’t want to feel guilty, leaving him when we could have stayed and helped him be better. It all comes back to blaming ourselves.
When our relationship becomes toxic, we need to realize that it is not our fault. No matter how hard our partner wants us to believe we cause it, we don’t.
We need to be strong, not just for ourselves but for all the other young girls that look up to us. Such as daughters, nieces, and little sisters.
We need to teach these young girls that this type of relationship is not okay. Your boyfriend calling you stupid, fat, or ugly is not love. Just because he apologizes for all the mean things he has said, it still not love.
Even though I would like to meet a man and be in a relationship, I’m not going to get in just any relationship for the sake of being in one. I would rather be alone and stay single forever than be in a relationship with a guy who makes me feel like a bunch of dog turds.
We need to start believing in our worth and owning it. It may take some time, but we can do it. We’re strong; we’re powerful, we’re women. We have balls of steel.
JennyB is a freelance content writer, blogger, and 3X Sepsis survivor. She’s also a Golden Girls enthusiast and Las Vegas fanatic. She writes about the daily struggles living with chronic pain.