Many women nowadays are stuck in unsatisfactory relationships where they feel they are doing the most but receiving the least. They feel unappreciated, tired, and cheated. I know the feeling because I was there. I was in an almost 5-year relationship with a boyfriend from high school. Towards the end of it, I just had this overall sense of dissatisfaction and incompatibility. I was feeling it at 3.5 years in, but stayed another 1.5 years. I’m still kicking myself for allowing that to happen, but why did I do that? Below are a few misconceptions I held that led me to staying in an unhappy relationship.
It’s not all that bad. Relationships are like a shit sandwich. No matter how amazing a sandwich is, if it has a little bit of shit in it, I wouldn’t eat it. Oh, he’s kind and helpful and always available BUT he doesn’t have a job/school plans and sits at home all day gaming? Or he’s wealthy and provides for you BUT he talks down to you and disregards your feelings? Or he’s funny and great to hang out with BUT is a little bit racist/sexist? Nobody is perfect, but your man has to be perfect for you. If your man has values that are a dealbreaker for you, don’t minimize them. If your goal is to settle down and have children at x age, then don’t be with a man who will waste your time. If your goal is to build wealth and be financially independent and retire early, don’t be with a man who has no concrete plans to contribute. If your goal is to live a healthy lifestyle, then don’t be with a man who has bad lifestyle habits (drugs, bad diet, don’t exercise).
I can’t find anyone better. Here’s some numbers. There’s about 6B people in the planet. Let’s say half of them are men, and maybe about 20% in your desired age range, there’s literally hundreds of millions of people in the world who could be your potential partner. Now that number gets smaller as you hone in on compatibility requirements, but don’t kid yourself when you say that your man is literally the best person to be your partner. Here’s an idea: you have multiple soulmates. The main factor deciding which one of your soulmates you end up being with is location. If you perceive that the dating pool around you is not your cup of tea, then move. Don’t go looking for a husband in downtown LA.
I don’t deserve any better. If you find yourself saying this, girl, you need to work on your self-esteem. I’m not going to kiss your ass and tell you that you are already perfect. Maybe you are, maybe you aren’t. But one thing I am sure of is that you do deserve better than someone who makes you unhappy. Why would you rather be unhappy in a relationship than being a neutral/happy single person?
I already spent x amount of time on this relationship. This is what we call the “sunk cost fallacy.” You already invested so much, and it’ll be a loss if you walk away. In my case, I already spent about 5 years on my relationship, and it would have been a shame to waste all that. WRONG. Whatever time I spent in that arrangement is gone and cannot be taken back. If I spend more time on it, I’d just be screwing myself over. At the end of the day, there’s nothing else to gain but everything to lose.
I can change him. Women date men wanting to change them, and men date women wanting them to never change. One big problem women have is they date potential. They date potentially good men, potentially wealthy men, potentially successful men, potentially marriage-type men. But men don’t date potentially beautiful women or potentially kind-hearted women. Do you see the difference here? We need to stop dating potentially anything men. They should already be perfect for us when we meet them. Sometimes men lie about themselves and we lie about our feelings about the values and habits of men we date or we were just too high from the honeymoon phase that we gloss over their deal-breaking faults. Either way, don’t count on people changing because we are all adults here. They’ll change when they want to when it benefits them. Stop making it convenient for them to have a partner when you’re the only one doing the physical and emotional labor of keeping a relationship together. You are not his mother, you don’t need to raise him.
A big part of realizing when/why you need to walk away is knowing your worth. You need to love yourself above all else. You cannot pour from an empty cup. You must live your life for you because no one else will. You need to depend on yourself for happiness. Only then will you find how easy it is to let go of unfulfilling relationships.