Are you in a toxic relationship and are you wondering why you can’t stay away from each other? Why, in spite of the hurt and the anger, breaking up is just impossible?
So many of us get in this position where, in spite of being absolutely miserable, we hold on, stuck in the cycle of suffering.
Why do we do that? For many reasons. Knowing them might help you finally realize that you can let of someone and get on with your life.
So, why can’t you stay away from each other?
#1 – Those moments of happiness.
You know what I am talking about – those moments when everything is great.
Perhaps its watching the kids open their Christmas presents, or uniting against difficult in-laws or simply enjoying a sunset together. Those moments that bring you back to where you were at the beginning of your relationship, when you were a team, when you loved each other.
Those moments are very potent ones and they are moments that make you pause and wonder if breaking up is a good idea, if perhaps there isn’t hope that you can work things out. They make you wonder if you could ever have moments like this with anyone else.
And those moments of happiness are wonderful. But they are just moments, aren’t they? Moments in the middle of the misery you are both living with.
So yes, appreciate those moments but ask yourself if those moments are worth it.
#2 – You don’t want to give up.
I hear this from so many of my clients. ‘I am not a quitter.’ And I can totally appreciate that. No one wants to give up on anything, especially something as important as a relationship, so they hold on, believing that, perhaps even by sheer force of will, if they don’t give up, all will be fine.
What I tell my clients when they tell me they don’t want to quit is that it’s important that BOTH partners in a relationship are fighting to keep the relationship, that it’s not a one-sided effort.
Many of my clients give and give and give in the face of the misery, hoping that their person will just love them again and that their lives together can be happy and not hell on Earth. But if their person isn’t trying in return, there is no fight to fight and giving up might be the only option.
Remember, giving up is okay. Sometimes there is nothing that can be done to save a relationship and throwing in the towel doesn’t mean failure. It means that you are strong enough to let go of something that is making everyone miserable and move forward towards happiness and love.
#3 – Habits.
I know it seems really basic but one of the reasons that you can’t stay away from each other, even though you are miserable, is because of habits and traditions.
I know that when I was considering leaving my husband because we were both miserable, it was the small things that kept me from doing so.
The thoughts of no more Friday night videos and Caribbean Christmases and summer visits to my mom and sharing of carpool duties were enough to paralyze me into staying. I couldn’t imagine there being any change in the things that we had been doing for decades.
Are there things that you and your person have always done together that seem impossible to let go of? Whether they are big or small, they are often enough to keep us from leaving.
I can tell you this, 10 years after my divorce, I have someone else to watch Friday night movies with, my kids and I have kept up the tradition of Caribbean Christmases and summer visits to my mom’s. And somehow, everyone seems to get where they need to be, even though we are no longer married.
So, don’t let habits keep you in something that is making you miserable. Life is too short!
#4 – Fear of pain.
Many people don’t realize that one of the reasons that they don’t make change, whether it be leaving a relationship, moving to another town or changing jobs, is because they are afraid of the feeling of pain that might result.
Our bodies are hardwired to avoid and fear pain – it’s a matter of survival to do so. So, when we are faced with something potentially painful, like the loss of a relationship, we shut down.
Our brains do whatever they can to stop the pain from coming. Think about where you are right now – is your head full of all sorts of competing thoughts? Do I stay or do I go? What happens if I do? Will I ever be loved again? What about the kids? The thoughts go round and round and round and you are exhausted and left searching the internet for answers.
That is your brain, sabotaging you from taking a step that might cause you pain. And it’s a every effective tool because the confusion shuts us down from taking action unless we can push through it.
So, recognize that your fear of the pain is probably a big reason why you just can’t leave.
#5 – The attraction.
A LOT of my clients who are in unhappy relationships still have really good sex lives.
Perhaps it’s the drama of their situation or perhaps it’s a chemistry that has never faded since the beginning. Whatever it is, that attraction is real and important and hard to walk away from.
And, when the sex is that good, it’s like those little moments – it makes is hard to rationalize walking away. I mean, if the sex is amazing, the relationship must be salvageable.
Unfortunately, sexual chemistry and healthy relationships don’t always go hand in hand. Some people have good sex and just can’t agree on anything else. Conversely, I know people who are madly in love but their sex life struggle. It’s very frustrating.
Like pain, sex is a primal thing, something that helps keep us alive and propagate the species. The prospect of giving it up can be terrifying and the fear that we will never feel so good, sexually, again, is enough to stop us from walking away from someone who makes us miserable.
Knowing why you can’t stay away from each other, even though you are miserable, is the key to actually doing so.
If you know that when those little moments or the sexual chemistry pop up and makes you question everything, it’s important to consider if they are enough to change things, to make you happy. If you worry about having to do things differently or are scared of letting go, ask yourself if you could adapt, if you could ride through any pain, if it means finding love.
Don’t stay with the wrong person even a moment more. Your love is out there waiting – don’t make them wait much longer!