Thanks to “Sex and the City,” we’re all familiar with the phrase “he’s just not that into you.” Yet many couples who are no longer all that into each other choose to stay together anyway.
Why do people choose to remain in unhappy relationships? According to a recent pair of studies, the more people believe their partner is dependent on the relationship, the less likely they are to initiate a breakup. In other words, you might be motivated to stay in an unfulfilling relationship for the sake of your partner.
I asked some of my colleagues to share more about why unhappy couples stick together — and how you can end a relationship a little less painfully if you choose to break up.
The recent studies suggest that people stay in unsatisfying relationships because they’re concerned about hurting their partner’s feelings.
“In my experience, there are most often underlying fears and insecurities that prevent people from moving forward into a life that might be less comfortable but ultimately happier and more authentic.
These couples tend to settle into a ‘good enough’ relationship,” sex therapist Holly Richmond said.
“But there is almost always a point where it’s obvious that not good enough is truly not good enough, and it causes more harm to the unhappy person to stay than it would to their partner if they left.”