Why the hell do we stay with people we don’t belong with for so long? We all do it. We’re all perpetually guilty of staying with people for the wrong reasons or because staying together seems like the easiest thing to do.
I remember with my son’s dad the exact moment I should have opened the escape hatch. I was talking to my parents about this fight we had a week before I was supposed to move in with him. My excuse? It’s too late! I can’t now! I’m moving next week!
My shit wasn’t even packed yet.
It wasn’t too late. It is never too late. I could have ended that shit right then and there and saved myself another two years of misery and crying and fighting and wanting to put a pillow over his face at night.
Three months after move in, it came back around: “Get out of this relationship. Get out of it now. He is emotionally dead. Get out.”
But at that point I hit comfort and familiarity being my excuse. I think this is the biggest factor in why we stick it out. It’s familiar. You get into a routine. You know what to expect and predictability trumps happiness. We confuse the comfort with love. We’re just settling for what is fine for now instead of putting in the work or simply waiting to get what we actually want.
So another two months go by and we have another explosive fight. I had just lost about 30 pounds. I worked my ass of. We were driving 4 hours away to a concert right after work. I had been up since 6am and not eaten all day. We’re on the highway and I say that we have got to stop at the next exit and grab whatever was available so that I can eat. He called me, “tubs.” I pulled over the car and told him to get the fuck out.
I didn’t talk to him for another 5 hours. It took arriving at our destination and drinking for me to acknowledge his presence. But it was a long few hours drive where all I could think of was how badly I needed this relationship to end.
Another month goes by and I find out I’m having a baby! Total calm on the outside. Dying inside because I know exactly what is coming in my future. But I tried. I tried really hard.
Trying isn’t enough when the relationship is that sour. There was nothing to salvage. There was no love. There was just two people who knew each other, knew their surroundings, knew their routine, and knew what to expect every day. So it had to be enough.
Until finally enough was enough. And the only thing that saved me from not going on to marry him was the thought of my son growing up in a house with a mom who hated the sight of his father. I promise you I would have married him. So in a cruel and weird way, having a baby saved me a lifetime of misery or at least a messy divorce. (Don’t regret ever having that wonderful little boy though. He’s the only thing I’ve ever gotten 100% right.)
This vicious, psychotic cycle we put ourselves through is insane. It defies all logic and reason.
I’ve heard and made every excuse to stay in a relationship that simply should not have been.
I’ve stayed because I thought loving someone would be enough. I’ve stayed because breaking up with someone who was nice didn’t seem like a good option, no matter how incompatible we were outside of being cordial.
Really though, the familiar sounds, smells, and routine of a day or life in general are enough to make anyone stay. Who wants to start over when you can’t be thrown off by anything? Even shitty behavior is at least shitty behavior you’re aware of.
We become complacent with the worst living conditions, the most unhealthy relationships, because it’s less work than breaking through the fear of what changes life will bring if you end it.
Settling is what we do when we’re afraid of opening up to greater possibilities. It’s what we do when we convince ourselves that this is as good as it gets. It can get better if we allow it. We can move on and form relationships that mean something when we decide that “comfort” isn’t the only thing we want in life.
We need to stop seeking comfort in our own sadness instead of reveling in all of the things that will put us exactly where we need and deserve to be.