Fear vs. Happiness. Why Stay Stuck In a Bad Relationship?

I haven’t been in a relationship in a while since I focused on discovering who I am and developing a relationship with myself and with the city – as well as on simply surviving in NYC. Given all that, some people will probably say I have no business giving my opinions on relationships. Maybe so, but I’m gonna give one anyway. I am looking from the side, I look from a different perspective and sometimes I see things more clearly, or, as someone put it, with no unnecessary emotion. I may look without the emotion people in relationships have, but I have my own emotions – and believe me, I am not heartless, I am very sensitive and I have insight into our common traits as humans.

Other people’s well-being has always mattered immensely for me, and the older I get, the sadder I am every time I see people suffer in their relationships instead of blooming in them, simply because they are afraid of change. Fear always takes up the space that was meant for happiness. I love to see couples that are well-suited to each other: I love to see them support and inspire each other since that’s what relationships are all about. Right…? It’s greatly inspiring for an observer, but sadly I don’t know many couples like that. I dare say it’s because many people enter relationships not because they want to be with that particular person, but because they are afraid of being alone. Instead of ending a relationship that is not doing much good for us, and definitely does not fulfill our needs, we stay stuck with it in hope that “something’s going to change”. Yes, it will – but only for the worst.

I am fascinated by one thing I hear extremely often – every time someone tells me their relationship just ended (which makes me sad nevertheless), ALWAYS some version of the same sentence gets uttered: “We were together for 4 years, but it was really after 2 years that the relationship started to fall apart”; “We were together for 2,5 years, but the last year practically doesn’t count”, “We were together for 6 years, but the last 3 were a downhill slope”.

I am not great at math, but in my view it’s quite clear that most couples keep their relationship going for at least twice the time that the relationship is meant to have. How is that possible? Why do partners decide to stay together despite the relationship not working? I can understand the children factor – parents try to stay together because of the kids (even though I noticed that as soon as one of the parents finds a new soulmate, the kid factor suddenly loses its power), but other arguments simply don’t work for me. I simply can’t understand. How can you lose the best years of your lives with someone who doesn’t understand you as a human being, who is not fulfilling your needs (no matter if it’s doing sports together, intellectual talks, or sex). I can’t understand how can you believe that one day it will simply “change”.

I have yet to hear the sentence: „We were together for 3 years, but after 2.5 years something started to go wrong, we tried to fix it but we failed, so we broke up”. I always wonder, what do you when you realized something wasn’t working? Did you sit in front of your partner and did you openly say what was not giving you happiness and what was it that you needed? Or were you just waiting for them to figure it out…? And if you had had this conversation and nothing changed, there was only one solution to that. In case you chose the second option and awaited a change (where did you get the idea the other person will simply figure things out…), it was tantamount to not having done a thing. I will always advocate the first and hardest option. It’s the only chance to save the relationship, it’s the only chance not to lose more years that you could use to benefit yourselves or to meet someone who would make you bloom. I don’t buy into the argument: “You don’t know shit, you’re single. Try having that kind of talk yourself”. I may not “know shit”, but I can assure you I would have had that talk and I can assure you that lack of conversation in a relationship is the quickest road to its finish. I will always put my bet on fighting for one’s happiness, for you may end up waking up next to a stranger after 10 years of relationship saying to yourself: “I should have acted 5 years ago and said: Listen, I’m unhappy, we need to talk”.