Many are in toxic relationships and have no idea that they are. There are others who know that their relationship is destructive but stay in it year-after-year. Why? Why do we not trust ourselves enough to listen to that voice inside of us that is screaming for us to break up with him?
A lack of self-love causes many to remain in toxic relationships. I struggled with loving all of me and tried to fill the voids in my life with my relationship and I failed miserably. No one can fill the void that you are experiencing, you have to fill your own cup.
Settle and Stay
I believe that we stay in toxic relationships because its easier to settle than it is to fight for sanity in our relationships. While struggling in my own toxic relationship, I projected many of my negative feeling about us onto him instead of addressing my ultimate problem, my lack of self-love.
Instead of speaking up for myself, I would stay quiet to avoid arguments. I would cover up my feelings so that I wouldn’t be a nag.
I stayed in my relationship for years, knowing that I was not getting what I needed.
I was lacking self-trust, self-esteem, and self-empowerment. Here are some reasons I believe that a lack of self-love causes people settle and stay in their relationship:
- fear of being alone
- fear of starting over
- low self-esteem and self-worth
I realized that my relationship was toxic when I asked myself why I am still in one. The answer I discovered were all the reasons I listed above. It was scary thinking about starting over, being alone, and how to rebuild my self-love, but I knew that if I did not remove myself from the relationship then I would loose myself.
Everyone wants to feel comfortable when they are in a relationship with someone, but can comfort hold you back? Yes it can, especially in a toxic relationship.
I was so comfortable with my dysfunction that I was absentminded of the destruction I was causing myself.
You do not want to be comfortable in a relationship that is not healthy because you begin to loose your identity as an individual and you begin to adapt toxic and negative behaviors. Here are some of the signs that you are too comfortable with your toxic relationship:
- you stop arguing and when you have an argument they are unfair and belittling
- you hold in your emotions
- you are scared to speak your mind consistently to your significant other
- you feel alone even when you are with them
- you would rather be around other people with your partner than just spending time as a couple
- communication is limited
- you neglect your self-care
- you are constantly calling your friends about your relationship troubles with the same story
Advice: Spend time checking in with yourself for 1 month. Ask yourself “how are you feeling today?” Think about how you feel when you are around your significant other. Are you holding back where you need to be standing up for yourself? Are you bored, anxious, or restless around your partner? Make a pros and cons list about why you are with the person you are with. Be honest with yourself and break up with him if all signs point to you being too comfortable.
The fear of being alone causes many to stay in toxic relationships. Many of us are afraid that if we end the relationship, we will not find anyone else to accept us or to love us. I had to learn to accept myself in order to find the strength to be comfortable in my loneliness.
My fear of loneliness could not be my reason to stay in my relationship.
When I realized that I spent a lot of time feeling lonely even when he was around, that is when I decided that I needed to make a change for myself and for my relationship. Something was missing and it wasn’t being filled with my relationship, I was the only one who could fill that void. My self-love needed to become priority in order for me to defy my fear of being alone.
If you are afraid of ending your relationship because you don’t want to be alone, your self-love is lacking.
Advice: Start taking yourself out on dates (don’t invite a friend, just go somewhere by yourself). Spend time getting to know you and what you like. While you are alone, ask yourself, “Why do I feel afraid of loneliness?” Get in touch with and become more aware of why the idea of being alone scares you. If you determine that a reason for your relationship status is because you do not want to be alone, break up with him.
3. Starting Over
I am a creature of habit; many of us are. New things can be scary and new people can be scarier. I didn’t want to date again and I definitely didn’t want to start over. Like me, if you were in a relationship for many years, the first thing that came to my mind was if I ended it, how much time I would have wasted. That is just your inner-mean-girl trying to keep you living in self-doubt, fear, and insecurity.
No one should stay in a relationship because they are afraid that they will not be able to find someone else who will want them.
Closing a door is just the opportunity to open a new one, but you have to check in with yourself and know that you deserve to be in a healthy relationship in order to move on.
Advice: Ask yourself, “Have I changed for the better or the worse since I got into my relationship?” Do you feel like the person you are with is the person you deserve to be with? How do you feel when you are with that person? Check in with yourself and trust your intuition and your heart. If everything in your body is screaming, END IT, break up with him; your heart will thank you.
4. Low Self-esteem and Self-Worth
Do you know your worth? I thought I did, but when I looked at what I allowed in my relationship I realized that I was settling for a life I didn’t sign up for. When I was younger, I made a list of the qualities I wanted in my relationship and the type of man I wanted to be with.
I was allowing things in my relationship that the childhood me would have been ashamed of.
When we are lacking in knowing our self-worth, our self-esteem is impacted in a negative way. We begin believing that we deserve the toxic relationship that we are in. Many stay in relationships that are toxic because they believe they are not beautiful enough, or have the best body, or that they are not smart enough to be with someone else.
By falling in love with all of me, I was able to accept that I needed to change my relationship status to single, and that I deserved to be with the person that I wrote about as a child, not the person I settled for.
Advice: Every morning for 1 month, lift your hands in the air and say, “I am beautiful. I am brave. I am a bad-ass,” over and over again until you begin feeling the strength of those words in your heart. Fall in love with all that you are so that you will demand that same love from the person you are with. Your ass needs to break up with him, if you don’t know your worth by settling for a love that is not uplifting your self-esteem.
We have this desire to save the person that we are with. How can we expect to save someone else when in reality no one can save us from ourselves? Ignoring the pain does not make it go away and ignoring your feelings do not make them go away. Are you staying in your relationship because you are feeling guilty about the following:
- you cheated on them
- you lied to them
- you feel like you will be a quitter
- they are struggling financially
- they are struggling with their mental health
I stayed in my relationship for years because I thought that if I left, I would be to blame for giving up on us but in reality, I was giving up on myself by staying.
Advice: Begin to focus on self-forgiveness. Ask yourself, “why do I feel guilty?” and “how can I begin to forgive myself?” Think about the root of the guilt; is it personal or something involving your significant other. Ignore your inner mean girl by calling her out and telling her “I am not a quitter for moving on.” You cannot save anyone from themselves, so stop trying. Break up with him and forgive yourself and then forgive them.