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The ONLY reason you should stay in a relationship

Are you COMPLETELY satisfied with your current relationship?

The more couples I come across, either through work or simply through a growing interest in the mechanics and details of a healthy relationship, the more people I see who are simply not content in theirs.

I don’t believe it can ever truly be a one-way issue either. Even when there is an obvious dominant person in the relationship, to have an unresponsive or lacklustre partner is equally dissatisfying.

These observations were further brought to my attention recently on a forum that I occasional visit. Someone posted the following sarcastic yet poignant mantra entitled ‘My girlfriend’… It is the last line that really makes me empathise with this person:

“I love how she rarely wants sex.

I love how she never does any housework.

I love how she nitpicks at harmless things I do.

I love how she is gaining weight.

I love how at age 22 I feel like a middle-aged married man.

I love how I feel I can’t leave her.”

For this article, I am going to list a couple of reasons as to why someone might stay in a relationship, even if they know it is not wholly right for them, before revealing the ONLY reason you should stay in a relationship… :)

Self-validation:

It is pretty validating to know that there is someone who is devoted solely to you. For someone of moderate or low self-esteem, being openly single can be like admitting you are not good enough for anyone. Whilst in a relationship, this thought can never be justified.

If you honestly don’t think you are ‘good enough’ for anyone, then no romantic partner is really going to change that. Your sense of self-worth and self-esteem should never be derived from another person.

Peer approval:

Another reason why some people will always make sure they are in a relationship is due to wanting the respect of their peers and society in general. Even back in my school days, it was always the ‘cool kids’ who were in relationships.

Obviously at a young age, relationships are rather trivial but I remember myself dating one girl in particular called Hannah (we were only 12 years old, how cute) simply because I thought it would make me look cool… I don’t think we ever even spent any time together; we merely enjoyed the status of having a boyfriend or girlfriend. :)

In adulthood, relationships aren’t so infantile but still a good question to ask yourself is, “would I date this person regardless of what anyone else thought?” It’s a good question to ask yourself, whether you are in a relationship with said person, or wanting to be.

Extra resources:

There are lots of external benefits to being in a relationship, namely the addition of greater financial flexibility. Further down the line this becomes even more significant. When a couple decide to live together, a double income really comes in handy for general living expenses.

I know a lot of people put great importance on materialistic elements of their lives but anyone who has experienced any form of enlightened state, knows how internal happiness triumphs over any external resources.

Regular sex:

The prospect of an unknown bout of celibacy is daunting to anyone who has been in a relationship for a while, especially if they have let their social life slip whilst doing so.

That is one of the reasons why I advocate maintaining a healthy social life whilst in a relationship. Not only does it keep your personality attractive but also, if you become single again, you can quickly pick yourself up and start meeting new people immediately.

Scared of being single and lonely:

An extension from not wanting to lead a sexless life is just generally not having a soul-mate or companion there whenever you desire. Most would agree that the emotional loss of a breakup is probably more emphatic than the physical loss and so a lot of people avoid that situation completely regarding breaking up, even if deep down they know they want to.

Being single is great for the people who know how to embrace it. There are so many new people to meet every day (either romantically or socially) that feeling lonely is purely a self-inflicted curse that can easily be turned around.

Too much investment to just throw away:

If you’ve been in a relationship for several years, it is quite difficult to simply walk away from it, even if you know it is the right thing to do. The thought of having to start all over again and spend at least another couple of years getting to the same stage with someone new is a rather intimidating one.

What you have to realise is that the longer you stay in a crestfallen relationship, the longer you are postponing finding the person you are really meant to be with. Whether you have been with your partner for four weeks or four years, the only time that matters is NOW, so make sure your decisions are not ones influenced by past feelings but ones influenced by current feelings.

It should be quite obvious by now what the only reason to stay in a relationship is…

The ONLY reason to stay in a relationship:

The only reason you should stay in a relationship is if it is actively making you happy!!

As the old saying goes, ‘life is too short’ and this definitely applies to relationships. If a relationship is not actively making you happy and you know that you are in it due to one of the reasons listed above or any similar reason, then find the courage within yourself to do something about it.

A thorough analysis of your current feelings towards the relationship should only be done whilst in a calm and contemplative mood. It is easy to defiantly arrogate a breakup during a raging argument and later regret it and that is something I recommend avoiding.

In the case of my own relationship, I don’t explicitly tell my girlfriend that the instant I am not happy with our situation I will be out the door but I would like to think that I convey my standards in a way that I won’t let them be abused consistently and unjustly and I would have no problems leaving amicably if that was compromised.

Like I’ve said before, even the most ostensibly perfect relationships will have short blips but a happy couple should be able to overcome these fairly swiftly. If these negative phases are becoming more frequent or prolonged, then some reflection might be required. I talked about this in more depth in the article ‘How to get through bad patches in a relationship’.

What if I have REAL contingencies such as kids or a mortgage?

One final note is if a couple are beyond the means of casually breaking-up. If you are married, have a mortgage together or have kids together then obviously the circumstances will require a lot more practical thought. Some questions to ask yourself if you are in such a situation are:

  • What is more important between my happiness and my lifestyle?
  • Are the negative aspects of my relationship actually detrimental to my children?
  • Could I realistically manage the debts a divorce entails?
  • How much do I respect my own happiness?

I hope some of this has been of help. :)

Much love,

Sam

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23 Responses to “The ONLY reason you should stay in a relationship”

  1. Charlie says:

    Why do we always read articles about women not wanting sex. I find myself in a very happy relationship with a guy I love who always had a high sex drive and lately he has found that because of stress we don’t have a sex life…..please any advice on this?

  2. Linda says:

    Hi Charles. I can just suggest you just one thing, please don’t let anything affect your relationship. May be your sex life is not coming out well because of stress,but you can always work on that stress and improve your sex life. Take a break from work, try and spend more quality time with each other.I am sure things will get better. Wish you lots of love and happiness in life. God Bless You!

  3. Hey Charlie,
    Linda had some good suggestions. Like she said, it’s about MAKING time for you as a couple, breaking the routine and setting aside quality time together. You can’t FORCE him into having his sex-drive back as it was but you can LEAD him towards it.
    There are many specific ways to reignite a sexlife and it is something I plan to cover on this website soon. :)
    Good luck and thanks for posting (Linda too) :)
    Sam x

  4. seb says:

    nice post. im not in a relationship so it doesnt apply to me but i really enjoyed reading this. one question though. how long should you leave it if youre unhappy before breaking up? incase it is just a “blip”.
    seb

    • Hey Seb,
      Every relationship is different and every person is different so there is no set duration for these negative phases. It will normally be fairly obvious whether it is just a phase though, or whether it is related to the relationship as a whole.
      If you are going day to day, through a variety of emotions and ALWAYS concluding that you are unhappy with the relationship, then it is probably more than just one thing.
      As a complete rough guide though, I would say if you’ve gone a whole week feeling nothing but contempt for your relationship, it is unlikely to change suddenly without considerable effort.
      Hope that answers your question. :)
      Sam

  5. Hey, found you on the 31days to better blogging.. cool site. I also write about relationships from a slightly different angle.. and i like what you have to say!
    I’ll be back and may refer to you in a future blog… once i’ve set up my editorial calendar!
    df.

    • Hi,

      Thanks! :)

      I just had a look at your site and it looks very insightful. I’ve bookmarked it to have a proper read later but I can already tell I’m going to enjoy reading it. :)

      Let me know how you get on with the rest of the blogging tasks… Joint motivation is always good. :)

      Sam

  6. GarykPatton says:

    You know so many interesting infomation. You might be very wise. I like such people. Don’t stop writing.

  7. Sonia says:

    I really like this post, Samuel! It is smart, funny and realistic.
    Here is a great deal of common sence.
    on the other hand, happiness is relative and a person has a difficulty to deceide if the relationship makes him/her happy: Does that mean that there are more pluses than minuses? Or does it mean that the majority of time you feel content?
    I experienced (still am) a relationship with many breakups but we held it somehow together. Split up, both had other relationships, and got together again. It is a nightmare, but we can’t live without each other. Am I happy, are we happy? I don’t know but sometimes a break up seems just like the worse solution, it just makes us both sick.
    It may be too late to get out. I’m 30 and talking like 60year old, so I would advise everybody who is thinking that he or she is with the wrong person, to do something until it’s too late to get out.
    love to everybody!

    • Hi Sonia, thanks a lot! :)

      I agree, happiness is often hard to quantify and getting logical about a relationship such as making a list of pros and cons doesn’t really help at the time. It is often brought about by not being wholly happy in the first place and will only aid in heightening the confusion! All relationships come with their fair share of strain and placid moments but what I was getting at is that personal happiness for a relationship should FAR exceed any negative feelings, on an emotional level not a logical one.

      As I’ve said before, breakups often make couples realise how important they actually are to each other. The only hard part is to make sure getting back together is sincere and not simply to avert the feeling of loss.

      Thanks for writing… You sound very wise and I hope you write again in the future. :)

      Sam x

    • Lindsay says:

      I am your same shoes. My boyfriend and I break up all the time but it seems unbearable when we are apart but yet we just continue to get back together, fight over stupid things and then break up..repeat. We never actually broke up for longer than a few hours until now. It has been a week now. We still act like we are dating. It’s definitately a confusing situation so I feel for you.

  8. Nat & Ann says:

    When we first married we were virgins! (that happened in the 60’s) Our wedding night and honeymoon were total disasters, I was so scared and wanted nothing to do with sex or my husband. When I finally simmered down it was 8 months later, Husband was very considerate of my feelings. I found out that my husband didn’t appriecate or really want sex. He only was doing it because were suppose to. That went on for 10 years then we had 2 kids. Husband was forced to work nights, and me during the day that way we didn’t have a baby sitter. We never saw each other except at the front door coming and going. The weekends were terrible trying to do everything at home and control 2 very lively boys. We were dead tired by Monday. Needless to say sex was out of the question and from then on till today theres been no sex. That was 30 years ago. Today I can’t remember what sex was like and husband is taking meds for depression, blood pressure, sleep problems and cholestrol issues. Hes fixed with meds so sex will never happen again.

  9. Wow that is an very helpful article for me. I like your style of writing. Maybe you should write more articles of these type.

  10. jess says:

    loved the article. my problem is that my boyfriend is a workaholic and monday through thursday i dont hear from him. i hate to be the girlfriend that gets emotional all the time but seems like im headed that way. when the weekends come we have such a great time we are a happy couple but deep down i know there is something wrong. i love him but i am confused! any advice?

    • Hey Jess,

      The nature of your boyfriend’s work will be the determining factor in why your relationship setup is as it is. For example, is your boyfriend’s work a passion of his leading towards future goals and ambitions, or does he seem unhappy and distant during the week? The fact that you say you have a great time at the weekends and are a happy couple suggests that it is nothing personal or vindictive and merely a blip in communication.

      A David Deida quote that may relate to your situation is, “because a man’s priority is his mission, he will always gravitate to a woman whom he feels will most support his mission.”

      Talk to your boyfriend about the way things are and most importantly find out why they are like that and what you can both do to be completely happy and fulfilled and alleviate any confusion.

      This doesn’t have to be a deeply emotional discussion. You can simply let him know that you love to hear from him during the week too but be careful not to become disruptive of his own lifestyle choices whilst they don’t directly affect yours. A lot of happy couples don’t get to spend a great deal of quality time together but it is about cherishing the times that you can spend together and avoiding taking the relationship for granted the rest of the time. :)

      Thanks for commenting,

      Sam

  11. Susanna says:

    Sam, please help me clarify my own confusion cause I can’t figure it out. My boyfriend has trust issues from previous relationship. He warned me he was not good in relatonships when we started to get serious, which was about 2-3 years ago. I can’t even say when because we broke up many times but got back together because we love each other and want to make it work. I am not happy many days because I want to be with him every day, make plans together, be a family. Its inconsistent with him. When I ask him about moving in together, he says he is getting there…he doesn’t have one thing at my house that would show me he wants to live w me. I feel that when his rent term is over and he will still “not be ready” to live w gf, I will leave him. I feel like I’m settling for work in progress instead of finding someone who is in the same place in life as me. When we are together its perfect, he is getting along w my son too. When we are not together I feel I’m not priority and trust me I’m not high maintenance or needy. I can’t figure it out.

    • Hi Susanna,

      Depending on how a couple meet and whether there is a difference in age, two people embarking on a relationship together may be in vastly different places in life. It can sometimes be difficult to synchronise those differences but most couples that are passionately committed to each other will be able to find ways to adjust and compromise. The key is to find a MUTUAL lifestyle that you both decidedly want.

      It is easy to get wrapped up in idealistic views of where a relationship should be heading rather than how it is now. In most cases, the priority should be creating a deeper connection that will actually make your boyfriend WANT to prioritise the relationship more during times apart.

      You mentioned that your boyfriend has trust issues and has acknowledged relationship naivety in the past. That is something you can help with over time, with practical reassurance rather than verbal persuasion.

      If your boyfriend is not ready to move in together, any form of pressure is only going to cause tension within the relationship. If he does have commitment issues that are unrelated to his emotional investment in the relationship, then that goes back to my point about you perhaps having to take up a more leading and reassuring role to progress the relationship further.

      Like I said, this all depends on what you prioritise in the relationship. You state that when you are together everything is perfect. As such, being together and in that positive state is the perfect time to lovingly discuss some of these issues. Such a discussion should not be about specific details (such as moving in together) but more about ways you can feel even closer; something that will inevitably lead towards acts such as moving in together.

      I hope everything works out for you, :)

      Sam

  12. Susanna says:

    Thank you Samuel. Great points. What do you suggest I do about my impatience. I feel 4 years are enough tomake deep connection, no?

    • Hi again,

      Sometimes it actually helps to mentally disregard how long you have been together, for the simple reason that it will undoubtedly influence your true feelings at this present moment in time.

      Some couples can be together for years and years and never feel deeply connected, whereas some couples feel deeply connected after only a few months. Emotional intimacy can also fluctuate over time, so there is not one definitive timescale for relationships; try not to think of four years as an investment period.

      If your relationship is not how you want it to be then change is obviously advised, be it through verbal means, physical means or anything in between. As you are the one who seems most aware of the issues between the two of you, it will probably have to be you to instigate most of those changes for now. As such, patience is only relevant as long as you are still determined to make the relationship work. If you are waiting for your partner to instigate change instead then you may be waiting a while, depending entirely on his character.

      I hope that helps clear up my answer,

      Sam

  13. DM says:

    I’ve read your article, great work, thanks alot.
    Currently I’m in a relationship with a girl same age as me (26) and tho our first met was a month ago I feel like I know her for all my life and we started dating the day after we met.
    She is well educated, working and independent and I like her just the way she is, but in social situation she is very popular with many friends and on the other hand, I’m a lonely geek and even tho I feel alive and great when I spend time with her I cant break my silence and communicate with her. The other thing is that couple of days ago she made plans for a future that we are together like a married couple and since I know she is serious and realistic, instead of feeling happy, I just thougth what if I couldnt make this things happen, what if I let her down.
    I was in many relationships and I learned alot from each one of them, taking notes in my mind, using them in next relationship, I had my soul crushed couple of times and now after a year with no serious relationship I see myself deeply falling for her. I love her and I wanna spend my every minute with her, but everyday I’m afraid of what happens if this comes to an end and what should I do to stay in this relationship or making it better.

    Any advice is really appretiated.

    “DM”

    • Hi,

      That’s great to hear that you are in a relationship that seems so mutually fulfilling.

      It sounds like everything is going great and heading in the right direction. All of the issues that you have mentioned are personal fears and not actually based on anything tangible in the relationship. The only thing that will start to destroy the relationship is if you start to become self-defeating, changing how you behave due to assumptions.

      If there are aspects of your life that you want to change then you can do so without directly affecting your relationship, especially if your girlfriend seems happy and content. That is only if they are aspects that YOU want to change though. Otherwise, keep doing the things that make your relationship what it is, making sure your commitment and affection for each other is as mutual as possible.

      As for how quickly the relationship has developed and your plans for the future, “taking things slowly” only applies if the speed that the relationship is currently progressing is not mutually fulfilling. Once again, that judgement should be based on how you both actually feel and not based on assumptions. The lessons you have learned from your past relationships should help in this respect.

      Always try to keep your thoughts about the relationship as positive as possible and try to turn off any negative thoughts as soon as they appear; your relationship sounds like it is going great so far.

      All the best,

      Sam

  14. Kate says:

    Thank you for the article. I am in a situation right now that I cannot figure out. My boyfriend is very intelligent, handsome, kind, loving and supportive. He is everything I ever wanted. But I don’t feel the spark and haven’t been happy with him for a year; I feel like the love is missing on my part. I really don’t want this to break apart and lose him, but I’m not sure there’s anything I can do. I’m stuck.

    • Hey Kate,

      Although your boyfriend sounds great on paper, it is the interaction between the two of you, the actual relationship, which dictates how fulfilled and “in love” you feel.

      It may sound slightly nonsensical but if the raw materials are there, love in the form of a committed relationship can actually be forced. There are many proactive steps that result in more love: listening, caring, empathising, sharing and appreciating, amongst others.

      A more thorough step is to target the specific areas that are lacking, be it passion, intimacy, activities, goals or understanding. Once again, that list is almost endless but there are no doubt specific areas of the relationship that if you put deep thought to, you know they would turn the relationship around.

      All the best and thanks for reading,

      Sam