Things were great in the beginning. There were sparks. You felt butterflies. And you felt truly safe and cared for. But now, you’ve been together for a while, and things have changed. You are often upset, sad, or frustrated. You feel unappreciated, overwhelmed, and exhausted. You wonder whether you’re overreacting, or if it may be time to end the relationship. But, rather than struggle with the decision of whether to leave, it may be more helpful to get honest with yourself about why you stay.
We stay in relationships for a lot of reasons. Sometimes these are healthy reasons: that our partner help us become an even better version of ourselves; that we feel supported and loved; that we are helping one another learn and grow.
But sometimes, we stay for not-so-healthy reasons. Often, we stay in a relationship because we are simply afraid of being alone. Sometimes we worry that if we leave, we will never find love again. And sometimes we stay because we feel an obligation to help, or even fix, our partner.
Sometimes we stay with someone even when we know the way they treat us is not healthy, maybe even abusive. Your partner may keep you away from friends and family, put you down, or hurt you – either emotionally or physically. Yet still, you are confused about whether to leave or stay.
You may have real concerns about leaving. You may be afraid for your safety, which should absolutely be taken seriously. Your partner may also have controlled all of the finances, making it difficult for you to get away. Leaving is never an easy decision, and it may take time to plan and prepare. But, the first step is to get truly honest about why you are in the relationship at all.
One reason we often stay in unhealthy relationships is because we feel unlovable. We believe that this person is the only one who will ever truly love and care for us. Sometimes we believe this because our partner has made us feel that way, by creating a vicious cycle of putting you down and then lifting you back up again – making you feel like they are the only person who will ever accept and love you. It’s also possible that you felt unlovable before you ever met your partner, possibly due to an abusive or neglectful childhood or a prior abusive relationship.
Before you can truly move on and heal from an unhealthy or toxic relationship, you have to feel and know that you are worthy of love, and that you are absolutely loveable. What your partner is doing, by manipulating and controlling you, is not love. True love never feels limiting, restrictive, controlling, mean, or hurtful. True love feels liberating, free, and safe.
To create the life you truly deserve, you must realize that you deserve true, healthy love. You deserve to be with someone who treats you with respect and dignity, and reminds you of how magnificent you are. Most of all, you deserve to treat yourself this way, as well.
So, what are you getting out of this relationship? And, be honest: Is it worth it?