7 Reasons Unhappy Couples Stay Together

· November 21, 2015

Surely at some point you have seen a couple argue constantly throughout the day, even showing a total lack of respect for one another. You will agree with me when I say that the first thing we wonder about such a situation is why are they still together?

Things aren’t always the way they seem in relationships. Except around close friends and family, people tend to wear masks to various extents. For example, in a relationship, the person that seems the most dependent can be the dominant one in the relationship and fulfill the opposite role from what we expect as spectators.

It’s true that when we have problems or see negative situations, our rational side reacts by avoiding these situations simply to survive, but there are many studies now showing anger or fear as a kind of bond.

Keeping in mind the results of these studies, we can even make the claim that in some situations, anger can be more powerful for keeping a couple together than infatuation.

When we are in a relationship, we seek characteristics that qualify it as a harmonious experience, but this sentimental argument does not always have a strong foundation.  Difficult relationships are often built and chosen by both people, and the following seven reasons are often behind the decision to stay together.

1. Feelings of guilt.

There are people who stay in a relationship because they feel guilty if they leave their partner. Normally these are situations in which they feel sorry for the other person.


2. Power games.

When there is an uneven distribution of jobs or of any other situation in a relationship, the partner that is not as active will tend to depend on the other, going with the flow and even being “swept away” emotionally. If this situation takes place, the person in question will feel lost without the other, who “wears the pants” in the relationship.

3. Being unaware or unable to express true thoughts or feelings.

Despite the image that we can have of people, not everything we see is “the way it seems.” There are probably countless moments when you have felt very bothered, but you had to keep your composure to avoid losing your job, ending a relationship, or just to avoid hurting the person who is by your side, or yourself!

If we are not feeling or acting loyal to our values, or our partner is not acting in a positive way, we can feel frustrated and angry with ourselves just for consenting to this situation. When we project this anger toward our partner, we can give ourselves temporary relief, but afterwards, this irritation or anger will return, creating a vicious/addictive circle.

So, hiding, blurring, or not saying what we are thinking or feeling will cause us, at times, to maintain an “unreal” relationship.

4. Assumed “agreements” that are not formally expressed.

Making agreements between two people that are inferred, but never end up being formally agreed upon can make the relationship dangerous when the purpose of these silent agreements is to allow and/or avoid habits like infidelity, excessive spending, bad behavior. Good verbal and nonverbal communication is essential to a healthy relationship, as is being transparent and truthful at all times.

5. One or both partners believe they deserve to be mistreated

In most cases, adults are voluntary participants in relationships, no matter how unhealthy they may be, as there can be secret rewards for both people. The most common reasons used to justify staying together are usually children, finances, time invested, shame of separating, both people’s religions. 

Also, if we find ourselves in a relationship that has emotional mistreatment, it is possible that one of the members believes that they deserve to be mistreated. This situation can change if they internalize the message that you do not deserve to suffer emotional abuse from your partner.

With this new way of feeling and thinking, you will learn to say no and develop a healthy ego, necessary for overcoming the situation. In the end, you will be conscious of the fact that no negative situation, misunderstanding, or damage done justifies your unhappiness.

6. The hope that things will improve

Things can change, it’s true, but it is not usually habits, and this is even more true when the uncomfortable situation is prolonged.

There are many people who prefer to defend themselves with hope and the passing of time, as justifications for their relationship. But the truth is that if they spend so much time unhappy, change will be more complicated if there is no compromise or determination from both sides.

7. Fear and insecurity about leaving

On many occasions, people decide to maintain a relationship they have, even when they are not happy, for fear of making the wrong decision of leaving them or due to the insecurity of not knowing how their life will be without the other person.

Emotionally healthy people know how to their own tools in a positive way.

When you are conscious of all the emotional characteristics and situations that can cause us to be carried away and maintain a negative relationship, you are able to get rid of the fear of being alone with your own frustrations and insecurities. You know yourself, you are conscious of your limits, and, what’s best, you feel free to love and be loved back.