I discovered the most common reason women don’t leave bad relationships in a book about business, by Amanda Lang. If you’re stuck in a relationship rut, this may give you the boost you need.
In Mr. Unavailable and the Fallback Girl: The Definitive Guide to Understanding Emotionally Unavailable Men and the Women that Love Them, Natalie Lue explains how and why men blow hot and cold, where the romantic future disappeared to, how you ended up in a bad relationship, why you’ve been together for a million years but aren’t going anywhere, and how and why you’re involved with this guy in the first place.
In The Power Of Why: Simple Questions That Lead to Success, Amanda Lang shared the story of a successful, professional woman. She was a star at work, but stuck in her loveless, unhappy marriage. “Recently divorced, she had known for almost 10 years that she should leave her marriage,” writes Lang in The Power of Why. “The reason was straightforward…”
Before I share the number one reason women stay in bad relationships, I want you to think of three of your own reasons. I remember staying with a jerk because I was 33, ready to get married, and scared it would never happen. I ignored all the signs of a bad relationship.
What are three reasons you think women stay in bad relationships? I’d love to hear from you in the comments section below.
The Main Reason Women Stay in Bad Relationships
Picking up from Lang’s quote above…
“The reason was straightforward. She not only didn’t love her husband, she didn’t like him either. ‘I look back at my own reasons for failing to act and they seem really flimsy,’ she says today. For years, she told herself she couldn’t leave because she wanted children; when she and her husband didn’t have kids, she told herself she couldn’t leave because she didn’t want to be alone.”
The fear of the unknown is the number one reason women stay in bad relationships.
“’In retrospect, it was ridiculous,’ she says. ‘I wasn’t a victim of abuse, I wasn’t unable to support myself, I wasn’t clinically depressed or incapacitated in some way, I don’t belong to a religion or come from a culture where divorce is frowned upon.’ She really had no good reason to stay other than that status quo bias,” writes Lang in The Power of Why.
Was “fear of the unknown” one of the reasons you think women stay in bad relationships?
How she finally decided not to stay in her bad marriage
“I made up a long list of things, I tried to be as specific as I could, then dealt with them one by one,” she says. “For instance, I was worried about having nothing to do on the weekends, so I joined a book club and signed up for tennis lessons. I told myself, ‘You’re not committing to divorce, just to some weekend lessons.’”
This woman got over her reason for staying in an unhappy marriage by forcing herself to question how she would deal with the unknowns – and her fear of them.
And, she spent time thinking about what her life would look like if she stayed in her relationship.
“I figure out what my life would look like in five years, then years, fifteen years if I stayed. I thought about things like what would happen if I got really sick, or if he did, or if one of us lost our jobs, or one of our parents needed to move in – I really tried to think not about how things were at that moment but about what could happen and how I’d cope or feel. “
She tried to be rigid and objective in planning her divorce – and in coming up with a long-term strategic plan.
Help for women who don’t want to stay in bad relationships
If you tried to leave but find yourself stuck in a bad relationship, read Why Is It So Hard to Leave a Man Who Hurts You?
Women stay in bad relationships for a variety of reasons, but I think fear of the unknown is one of the strongest. And, fear that we’ll never be loved again if we leave.
If suspect your partner is abusing you, read 5 Signs of Verbal Abuse in Relationships.
And, as always, I welcome your thoughts on the reasons why women stay in bad relationships. I can’t offer advice or counseling, but writing about your experience may help you see your relationship – and your self – more clearly.
Is your relationship in trouble? Get 7 Steps to Fixing Your Marriage from relationship coach Mort Fertel. It's free and helpful, no strings attached.
Need encouragement? Sign up for my weekly "Echoes of Joy" email - it's free, short, and energizing. Like me!
May God bless you with wisdom and peace, courage and faith.