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Why is it so difficult to leave an unhealthy relationship?

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Leaving a relationship is not as easy as it seems. There are a lot of emotions and memories associated with the person, which can cause people to stay in an unhealthy relationship. Furthermore, they are afraid of the change that can occur following the end of a relationship. No matter what the nature of a relationship is, we all want someone to love us. As a result, people expect everything to be fine one day and believe that’s how a relationship should be.

That, however, is not the case. You should understand that if something does not make you happy, you should let it go. And it doesn’t take long for an unhealthy relationship to deteriorate into a toxic one.

Let’s find the causes behind why people struggle to leave a relationship

Researchers from the University of Minho in Braga, Portugal, believe they have discovered why people stay in bad relationships, and it may have something to do with the “sunk cost fallacy.”

unhealthy relationship
You should not feel trapped or stuck in a relationship! Image courtesy: Shutterstock

The “sunk cost fallacy,” according to researchers, is an effect in which people tend to stick with something because they’ve already invested so much time, money, and/or energy in it, making it difficult for them to let go – even if it’s not the best decision.

To understand more about this, Health Shots got in touch with Dr Sonal Anand, Psychiatrist, Wockhardt Hospitals, Mira Road, Mumbai.

Here 7 major reasons why leaving an unhealthy relationship can be so difficult:

1. They have been in an enmeshed family

“Sometimes families that don’t function well can have a lasting psychological impact. People who have been in such family environments are so used to it that they get used to unhealthy relationships as well and feel that this situation seems more familiar and so find it difficult to move away,” says Dr Anand.

2. Learned helplessness

Leaving an unhealthy relationship necessitates confidence and self-esteem. However, some people lack the motivation to leave an unhealthy relationship because they believe there is no way for them to escape their circumstances. They may believe that they will never find a solution or that they are the cause of the unhealthy relationship. And this can make getting out of the situation difficult.

3. Lack of control

People who are in an unhealthy relationship frequently attempt to end it. But they don’t in the end. It occurs because some people have low self-esteem and, due to that, they believe they have no control over relationships and situations. As a result, people choose to stay rather than leave.

unhealthy relationship
It is okay to leave an unhealthy relationship. Image Courtesy: Shutterstock

4. Expecting happier days are around the corner

People stay in unhealthy relationships because they believe they have invested significant time and energy in this relationship. As a result, they anticipate that everything will be fine one day. Dr Anand says, “It’s normal to hope for better days, but sometimes this hope can get too prolonged and lose objective.”

5. Common friends and family relationships

Social norms may require perfectionism in relationships, putting pressure on both partners. The individual may believe that he or she will not be socially accepted without the partner among close common friends or even family members. That makes it hard to break up. “Even the obligation of children can be a factor here. Some people endure just for the sake of their children,” says Dr Anand.

6. Being clueless

Some people are unaware that they are being manipulated and believe that their unacceptable behaviour patterns are simply errors. As a result, they make do with what they have. It could also be a first-time relationship, making quitting difficult.

unhealthy relationship
Don’t lose yourself in the process. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

7. Previous heartbreaks

Some people go through difficult breakups and don’t want to go through heartbreak again. They could also become dependent and believe that they can’t live without that person. So they refuse to leave.



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