Why do people stay in toxic relationships for so long?

Many people in abusive relationships stay in them because they love their partner and think things will change. They may also believe that their partner's behavior is due to difficult times or feel that they can change partners if they are better partners themselves. However, there are many fundamental reasons why someone would stay in a bad relationship, a relationship that is harmful and unhealthy. If you're in such a relationship, this post may help you realize your own reasons.

If you're not in a toxic relationship, this post aims to raise awareness in you and to be more compassionate in your judgment with those who stay. Not contacting and asking for support from others outside the relationship makes the toxic relationship more likely to persist. Now let's say you're in a toxic relationship and have experienced healthy relationships as you grew older; the abuser feeds on constant harm to his victim. Sadly, this often causes the child to equate the dynamics of a healthy relationship with the dynamic of the abusive relationship they are experiencing.

A person with an unpleasant self-image may believe that they need any relationship or this specific relationship to be accepted and even feel “lucky to have one.” It's always advisable to seek counseling if you're in a toxic relationship to help determine the reasons you're staying and what it might be like to leave. The struggle to leave is related to the person potentially not seeing the relationship as abusive or not having prior knowledge about how to get out of a toxic relationship. Many people in unhealthy relationships are continually manipulated into believing that it's not even an option to leave the relationship. People who have bad relationships often have dysfunctional beliefs about love, relationships, and themselves.

People stay in these relationships if they are unconsciously trying to recreate relationships from their past in order to heal them. Knowing that those outside the relationship will listen without judgment and provide security and support is crucial when trying to leave these types of relationships. And while seeking help to get out of these relationships is the most important thing, blaming someone in an abusive relationship is never OK. Hope has a place in relationships when you can see the evidence that someone is trying to meet your needs and wants to improve the relationship for you.

People who have witnessed harmful relationships in the past may simply hope for, and therefore, recreate problematic relationship patterns. It's almost as if the victim of child abuse leaned toward abusive relationships in adulthood because the concept of a healthy relationship is a foreign concept to them, making it almost impossible for them to recognize that what they are experiencing is abuse without proper guidance.

Keith Haggan
Keith Haggan

Extreme internet nerd. Award-winning zombieaholic. Amateur bacon aficionado. Lifelong pop culture ninja. Typical travel evangelist.