Why We Stay In Unhappy Relationships

Why We Stay In Unhappy Relationships
Gema Sánchez Cuevas

Reviewed and approved by the psychologist Gema Sánchez Cuevas.

Written by Okairy Zuñiga

Last update: 21 December, 2022

Relationships and love are not only a matter of giving boxes of chocolates on Valentine’s Day or doing a lot of little things.

A healthy, satisfying relationship can make you a better person, a happier and healthier person. In order to achieve this, there needs to be good communication, respect, and good habits as partners.

“The company of another person should add value to your life, not fill an emotional void.”

-Gottfried Kerstin-

When communication, respect, and good habits do not exist, unhappy relationships are born. Unfortunately, many people stay in these unhappy relationships because they fall into the following patterns of behavior…

Not paying attention to your intuition

Has the little voice in your head been telling you for a while that your partner is not what they seem?

It is very common at the start of a relationship for everything to look wonderful. This is part of the infatuation that brings us closer to that person. We usually minimize their flaws and enhance their positive qualities.

The problem begins when certain, rather unhealthy behaviors start to show up or we start to see them, behaviors like lying, acting strange, and being overly jealous.

If you find yourself in this situation, stop turning the matter over in your head or you will end up in one of those unhappy relationships that nobody wants.

Analyze the situation and if you think that the relationship is really falling into unhealthy behavior patterns, seriously consider whether it’s worth staying in. Sometimes you can look for outside help, and in some cases it is better to end the relationship to avoid more serious problems in the future.

The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.

Albert Einstein

butterfly covering girl's eye disappointments

Anxiety about life in a relationship

If your family is like mine, they will want to know when you are getting married. They will seem worried about you being single, no matter what your age or goals in life. It is something very common and you have to learn to deal with it instead of obsessing over the matter.

Many unhappy relationships are born from this concern. Both men and women can be tempted to enter into a relationship so as to avoid the constant questions.

“The problem is that we live in the happy ending culture, the “how it should be” culture instead of the “how it is” one. If they had not taught us that fantasy, I think we would be less neurotic.”


When they are in a relationship, they start to be pressured towards marriage. Finally, they get married, and after a while, they are wrapped up in a relationship that is not the one they want.

The best thing you can do is not to worry about outside pressure. If you are not ready now, simply explain that to whoever is asking you. Each of us has their own time and we have to learn to respect that.

Resistance to leaving the “comfort zone” 

This behavior can be related to the former, but they do not necessarily go hand in hand. Many people simply stay in relationships out of comfort with the status quo, even if the love is gone.

Maybe you care for them, but you do not love them or there are things that you really cannot stand, but you put up with them because it is “easier” than dealing with social pressure.

It can also be the case that there is no outside pressure. Your greatest hope may be to get married and have children so that you can have a stable family. So you look and find a person that wants more or less the same thing. Most likely, that person does not live up to all of your expectations, but since they are willing to give you what you want, you accept it.

As you can imagine, in either of these two situations, you will be faced with unhappy relationships. At the start, it might work. But after a few years, there will be too many problems.

“Never conform and be ‘something’ for one person when you could be ‘everything’ for someone else.”


Couple Asleep on Couch

How to change these behaviors

We all have intuition, even if we do not always pay attention to it. Paying attention to this intuition is the best way to avoid ending up in unhappy relationships. You just need to listen to what your feelings are telling you.

We always try to avoid pain and suffering. This is very normal. For this reason, we can do two things with unhappy relationships: get out of them or convince ourselves that everything is fine. To stay healthy, the best thing is to end unhappy relationships.

It will not easy, but you will be taking control of your life and you will be able to look for a relationship that really makes you feel good.

“Being guided by intuition is not the same as being guided by impulses… Intuition sees beyond what your eyes can see. Impulse is recklessly blind.”


Images courtesy of Nicoletta Ceccoli, Claudia Tremblay, Melissacopeland

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.