Sunday, July 1, 2012

Why Do We Stay?

It's been a long time since I posted anything here that wasn't related to Harry Potter. But it's late and I'm pensive so here it goes. For some reason the question keeps popping to my mind tonight: why do we stay with someone we know doesn't fit? This could just be the fact that it's after midnight and I just watched an episode of the MTV show Awkward talking (actually this is likely exactly what it is and you should read no further into my sleep-deprived ramblings) but I wanted to address this question.

So why do we stay? I'm sure almost everyone out there has done this. Stayed with someone they shouldn't have even after they knew they should have left. This is not a post to address victims of abuse or people who stay in bad relationships because they think it's better for their kids. Those are situations and issues I cannot begin to touch on because I haven't been there. This is instead a question for when you've dated someone, realized this is not going to work and yet stay with it, hoping you're wrong.

And why? Why do we do this? I think for a lot of people it comes down to being scared. Scared of one of three things in particular.

We could be scared of hurting the other person. Unless it's a really bad relationship (and still sometimes even then) ending something hurts. Not as badly maybe as being the person who's broken up with, but it still is not a good feeling. You care about this person at least a little or you wouldn't be setting aside time to spend with them. And the memory of the good times is still there. Those don't go away because you decide a relationship isn't working. You don't want to cause that person pain and so instead of breaking it off, you stay longer that you should to put of what you know has to happen. And then you just feel worse.

I've been here. I've known things aren't working, known it would be better for both of us to break things off. He even gave me a moment to take an out. But I didn't take it. Because some part of me still wanted it to work, even when I knew it wouldn't. He was a friend first and I didn't want to hurt him. But in the end, it still hurts. Things like that don't hurt less when you give them more time.

We also stay because we're afraid of being alone. You don't know if there's anyone else out there who will ever love you or want to be with you. You think being in this relationship that doesn't quite fit is so much better than living alone the rest of your like and becoming the Mad Cat Lady or Crazy Snake Man. Because we've been told all our lives that being alone means there's something wrong with you. That you're not good enough. That you don't matter. Even when you know it isn't true and you remind yourself of this, there's often the nagging voice that says you're lying. Because it's so much harder to kill an idea.

Been here too. It's scary, when everything in our world tells us the ultimate goal is finding a life-mate, to find yourself alone. So maybe you hold on to someone because it's nice not to be alone for once. It's nice to have someone to go out with, to talk to. Especially if you have few friends close by to do these things with. Being alone is harder, even more so if all you can see are couples. But being alone can also teach you things about yourself. And you should know yourself before you try to figure out someone else (oh yes, I am the zen master)

Last, we stay because we don't realize what we're missing. This can be especially true if you have very little dating experience. You know love isn't the magic bonanza Hollywood makes it out to be, but you also don't know quite what it is. Maybe you settle because while you might not have that passion, you've found a good person. You don't know if it's love, but you don't know that it's not.

This one is much much more subjective and harder to pin down. I only know this reason exists because I didn't realize what was missing until I found that connection. It didn't last long as a relationship, not really even a relationship, but it showed me what it's supposed to feel like. I'm sure some people can go through their whole lives, meet someone who's nice and kind and treats them well, and never feel that zing that you feel when you meet someone who could be the "The One". And that works...until you meet that person and then realize what you're missing (I'm pretty sure this is how some cheating happens).

I am in no way insinuating I am any kind of an expert in this. I'm 21 and been in very few relationships. I have so little experience it's hilarious. These are just the thoughts I start to have at 1 in the morning. And I am far from having all the answers. This is contemplative, not comprehensive. And far from the only opinion.

So what do you think? Why do you think people stay with those they're not meant to be with?

1 comment:

  1. This is quite insightful, and pretty much right on target. There are also many combinations, complete and partial, of the reasons you have mentioned. The Fear of Hurting the Other Person/ Fear of being Alone combination is particularly hard to overcome.