Though most relationships start with a lot of positivity, joy and expectation, they do not always roll out in that manner. Where there are certain qualities that make a healthy relationship, not all intimate engagements possess these.
Furthermore, as human beings, research shows that it is not uncommon for us to be attracted to individuals and relational dynamics that are not always healthy. The question is; whatever the case, why do we stay in relationships that have done their time? Why do we hold on to situations that we know no longer serve us? What makes it so hard to simply let go?
Reasons we Keep Trying Despite All Adversity
As couple therapists and marriage counselors in Palo Alto, we don’t just work with people trying to improve on relationships. We work with people struggling with abuse, infidelity, heartbreak and a whole lot of other stuff.
When it comes to individuals who struggle to leave relationships that no longer serve them, here are a few possible reasons that we have observed.
The Old Shoe
Have you ever owned an old pair of shoes that are worn out to the point that they are no longer good for your feet? The sort that you still wear simply because they are familiar and comfortable? Even if you buy a new and better pair of shoes, they might take a bit getting used to.
Relationships can be similar. When unhealthy dynamics such as neglect for instance, are something we are familiar with due to how we were bought up, the same can feel more comfortable than something healthy! We might find it easier to be in relationships that are less than ideal emotionally because that is what we’re used to.
If this is the case, working with a therapist and exploring where the attraction is and how healthy it may be is one way to work around things.
There are times when we stay with people because we feel that they are the best we can do. We feel there is a lack of alternatives and do not entertain the possibility of being alone. This is loosely related to co-dependence as well as low self-esteem, and again, is something that needs to be addressed in therapy.
Love and Investment
Yes there are times where we simply adore someone and are very invested in them. One example here may be having a partner who sufferers from a serious mental health problem. Though they may be great people and, express care, love and affection, the relationship might be straining for the other individual.
Though we can empathize with not wanting to let go in such a situation, it is important to work on strategies to keep both and your partner safe.
Abuse and Manipulation
Finally, one of the most sinister reasons that prevent people from letting go is abuse and manipulation. In such relationships, the abusive party may threaten, limit mobility, cripple financially and do whatever it takes to keep the abused party stuck.
Water boarding and manipulation are not uncommon here. If the relationship you are in is abusive and reparations have never been made, it makes sense to see things for what they are and look into a way out. This will be hard, but in such cases, most people realize that the worst of the nightmare is being with the person. Here, it is not so much difficult moving on as it is being manipulated to believe that you are incapable of doing so!
Relationships can be a source of strength however sometimes it is in everyone’s best interest to end things amicably and move on. If you’re someone looking for support or counseling to help you decide what you need, we’re here to help! Feel free to get in touch with us and remember, just because the relationship is over, does not mean you are! There’s a world out there that is yet to be explored!