As a general rule, most of us know when a relationship is over. A couple plagued by constant fights and depression cannot possibly be in Happy Land.
Despite the obvious signs, some people continue to stay in dysfunctional relationships.
This fact may leave you raising your eyebrows, but it warrants understanding. There are a few reasons for the phenomenon.
Signs of Dysfunctional Relationships
Most people who choose to remain in dysfunctional relationships do not realize that they are in them. They become unwittingly enmeshed in these toxic connections and do not recognize their signs.
The first of these is tedium. If you are part of a dysfunctional relationship, you would have the same argument continually with your partner. The two of you never resolve your issues.
Both of you will avoid accountability, and engage in blame-shifting. There is a fair amount of gaslighting, and it always seems that any argument is the fault of the other party. There should be peace and relative happiness in every relationship; endless arguments would point to something amiss.
Being a partner in a dysfunctional relationship means constant apologizing. You will find yourself giving explanations for things that you did not do. If you start each sentence with “I’m sorry,” you know that you are in the wrong relationship.
A relationship should be stress-free. You should feel relaxed and look forward to meeting your loved one. If you feel dread and keep expecting a conflict to erupt, you are probably in the wrong relationship.
You are with the wrong partner if you find it hard to discuss small matters without fighting. You find it hard to make decisions with him because whatever you say ends up being the irrational, wrong thing.
You have no sense of optimism. The dark cloud over your head refuses to disappear. You feel as though your relationship is tying you down and oppressing you.
Reasons Why People Stay in Bad Relationships
The fact that your friend has remained in a dysfunctional relationship for so long may bewilder you. She may share some of the following reasons, and they may help you understand her dilemma.
One of the main reasons two people in a difficult marriage try to hold it together is children. Despite the difficulties, they may not want to break up their families. Neither spouse wants the kids to see them showing their worst behavior.
An engaged or married couple may have financial obligations like a house, car or insurance. Untying the knots would be time-consuming and to a large effect, depressing.
3. Time and Emotional Investment
Two people typically spend years building their life together. They may have mutual friends that are hard to leave and often, properties they spent effort maintaining.
4. Public Opinion
Most people do not break up their marriages for fear of what people may think. Society tends to disregard people with failed relationships.
No matter how sour the relations between two people are, love brought them together. They may stay in a dysfunctional relationship because they still have affection for each other.
Many people hang on to their dysfunctional relationships in the hope that things will improve.
Thoughts to have before leaving a dysfunctional relationship
A dysfunctional relationship can be agonizing, and there will come the point when you have to put it to an end. It is never easy to disentangle yourself from any relationship, but having these thoughts will ease the process.
Know that the painful moments will pass. Whatever hardship you are experiencing will end once you put a stop to the pain the relationship is giving you.
Remember that putting a stop to the chaos also ends the hurt for the both of you. It enables both you and your partner to move on, and perhaps meet the real loves of your lives.
The breakup is not a loss. You will gain relief as you will no longer be tormenting each other. Remember that staying on will cause you more hurt.
Bear in mind that a relationship is just a chapter in your life and not the full story. Ending the present chapter may get you excited about starting on the next one.
When someone reveals that he or she is leaving a dysfunctional relationship, have a little empathy and give him whatever help you can.
That person may have more reasons for leaving than you may realize.
By Michelle L.