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why do people stay

(61 Posts)
Justbreathing Tue 18-Apr-17 10:09:50

in dysfunctional relationships. I spent 10 years in one. My mother spent 25 years in one, a lot of my friends seem to be in them.

two of my best friends are in dead marriages and they tell me some horror stories about their relationship, I would never judge them for staying, but I just can't believe such wonderful people have ended up so ground down, on antidepressants, drinking to numb the pain, and I'm sure their OH arent happy either.

I just cannot believe the huge amount of low level unhappiness that most people I know are in.

not looking for any particular answers, I've read about FOG and obviously each person has their own personal reasons. but I It's sad to think most people I know will get divorced when their kids are older, and will have lost a huge chunk of their life feeling miserable like my parents.

some will make it, it just doesn't seem in the majority

PhilTheSAHD Tue 18-Apr-17 10:23:29

My relationship can be quite dysfunctional at times, I live for the times when it isn't and in the hope that we can sort all our problems and put an end to the dysfunction. I might have my head in the sand, I'm not sure. Whats FOG?? All I get on google is the weather condition or other acronyms that don't seem related to relationships.

Mari50 Tue 18-Apr-17 10:25:42

I have no idea. I'm emerging from a 14 year relationship which wasn't even particularly that good after about 12 months in. He made sure my self esteem was totally screwed and then basically reeled me in and out for the next decade or so. I added to the mess by falling pregnant.
I've arranged counselling for myself because I need to find a way to forgive myself for wasting my entire 30's on a man who sexually and emotionally abused me otherwise I'll become incredibly bitter and I can't let the bastard ruin anymore of my life.

Justbreathing Tue 18-Apr-17 10:44:26

FOG is Fear, Obligation, Guilt.
yes, it's wasting all those years that seems so pointless and sad.
but I know we all need to work out our own way of dealing with it.
I knew very early on I was unhappy, but I felt so paralysed.
THERAPY all the way, I think that everyone should have it!!!

Joysmum Tue 18-Apr-17 11:21:20

I think much of it is fear of the unknown and not having the faith that a life apart would be better than a life together, however bad that is.

Teddy6767 Tue 18-Apr-17 11:24:58

I think it can be the fear of being alone and having to go through the whole dating process again.
It's a shame but human nature can often be to stick in bad situations because they're comfortable instead of taking a risk in the unknown.
I also think a lot of manipulation can go on in dysfunctional relationships - whenever my ex would hurt me he would always apologise profusely and promise to never do it again.... until the next time. I was very much under his spell and wanted to believe he would change so badly.

wizzywig Tue 18-Apr-17 11:25:58

Not having money?

QuiteLikely5 Tue 18-Apr-17 11:27:39

Money/kids/fear of the unknown

User75478973479 Tue 18-Apr-17 11:53:05

Christ knows. Humans are complex and for some reason have been conditioned over the years to follow a set of rules that seem very difficult to undo to everyone's satisfaction.

My mum was in one for 40 years until my dad died. My first marriage was poor for 5 of the 10 years and this one has been boring for the last 8 of the 17 we have been together.

To be honest I don't think I'm cut out for long term relationships. My cold upbringing has left me a bit dysfunctional I think when it comes to relationships.

JellyBean31 Tue 18-Apr-17 12:09:36

I was in one for 23 yrs, I don't think I recognised it was dysfunctional/toxic until about 9 yrs in when I had some individual counselling. Until that point I went along with the "agreed" opinion that it was all my fault and things would get better if only I would change.

I still stayed though, even after I realised that was a load of BS. why? 2 young kids, finances intertwined, the eternal hope that a he may get struck by a bolt of lightening and things would get better...don't know really..

I don't think of it as wasted years though, I have 2 amazing DSs who despite living with us have grown into to amazing young men who value respect and freedom within relationships having seen how destructive it is when one partner is controlling. Also, I wouldn't be the person I am now if I hadn't lived through all of that. I am more confident and more comfortable in my own skin that at any previous point in my life.

Justbreathing Tue 18-Apr-17 12:14:26

Yes I think you're right to look at it that way jelly bean. I just wish I had left sooner.
I don't know if my mum wishes she had left sooner, she says she was too poor to. I would say they inflicted huge damage on my siblings and me.
Problem is, we can't see into the future, so it's always the unknown.

pudding21 Tue 18-Apr-17 12:15:10

I recently left a 21 year relationship, 2 kids, happy times but the last three years more and more dysfunctional and EA.

Why did I stay? Why do I still have him invading my life. Well I grew up with parents who loved each other but was dysfunctional where my dads needs trumped that of my mums. I learnt form that. I had children thinking it would be for life.

I guess I have low self worth in that I felt his needs should always come before mine no matter what. I have friends who would never stand for that and have either had lots of shorter relationships or are happily married. They value themselves.

Also fear, guilt and obligation. Fear being the biggest factor. Of the unknown. It was the hardest decision of my life and is still causing me a huge amount of pain. i am working on looking out for number 1.

Other people stay because of finances, family situations etc. No one relationship is the same.

LineysRun Tue 18-Apr-17 12:16:19

Mostly not wanting to leave children alone with the other parent, along with fears around housing and money.

IsNotGold Tue 18-Apr-17 12:18:18

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Zaphodsotherhead Tue 18-Apr-17 12:29:21

I stayed in my marriage for a very long time past what was reasonable, for fear of living with no money. And it was horrible. I left my EA husband and brought my kids up with quite shocking levels of poverty. Damp, mouldy house (all I could afford to rent), going without food so they could eat, robbing Peter to pay Paul with the bills.
They all grew up relatively healthy and happy, four of the five went to university, all employed now in decent jobs. But it was tough, and I'm still not quite convinced i did the right thing.

Mrskeats Tue 18-Apr-17 12:36:56

I think a lot of the reason is financial
If houses were cheap I wonder how many couples would be together

peppajay Tue 18-Apr-17 12:50:58

I often think of leaving my husband who is EA and doesn't want anything to do with his kids. BUT it isn't that easy just to up and walk away. We had the conversation this weekend that he will never ever leave the house he hates living with us but refuses to be financially screwed and leave the house which is his pride and joy. Ok I could change the locks and pack his stuff and tell him to f off but I don't have the confidence. I told him over the weekend i would leave the house with the kids if he sets me up in even just a small flat as I would be so much happier without him but if inwant to leave I need to get the money to do it (I work part time in a minimum wage job!!) So at the moment itnis easier for me just to stay. Marriage is dead and buried but we cope by just pretending he isn't there and ignoring the EA. Hard but I think leaving him with no financial assistance would be harder!!

NotOneThingButAnother Tue 18-Apr-17 13:17:58

definitely finances. This time last year I had a good job I could have got a mortgage on that money, but DCs say they don't want to live in a rubbish area and share a bedroom again. I'd have to work full time, we might have to give up our dog. H would be a constant dark shadow in our lives, he's not well so would be looking for support and personal care.

I am scared of how its affected the kids, well - how he has affected them particularly, both have low self esteem - and wonder if I will pay the price when they wont bring the grandchildren to visit. Frankly I wouldn't want their partners and small children to see H anyway, he's disgusting.

Pandora85 Tue 18-Apr-17 13:24:17

I have to say there are so many reasons why people stay.
For me it's as follows:
Im not actually sure if mine is a bad relationship or its me being overly negative and fussy. Other people have it way worse than me and I don't know if I just dislike life or its my relationship.

I'm not prepared to walk away knowing that I would be taking my dd away from her dad unless I am sure it's the right choice. She loves him to pieces and he loves her too (even if I wish he'd help more etc)
Plus I don't want to destroy his life and I worry that leaving would ruin him. I've always cared about other people above myself and don't ever want to think that I have caused someone else hurt or pain.
I think I'm a bit of a glutton for punishment (is that the right term?) maybe I'm "martyr like" in my own head (and that's a really bad thing to be as I know I'm no martyr and you don't get a prize at the end for making other people happy but sometimes I seem to make out like I am)

Think it all stems from hugely poor mental health and I should really get to the bottom of it but any counselling I've had I tend to fear failing (as if you can fail in counselling) and then I pretend I'm getting better and stop going. Maybe I just haven't found the right counsellor.

Then just general fear of my marriage failing. I don't really know many people who have divorced. Come from a family with no divorce and friends come from families where parents stayed together.
I guess possibly some of those weren't happy or aren't happy but you just don't see that side to it all.

I am high maintenance and struggle with self esteem, am very negative about myself and my life (I'm honestly not sure I'm quite right mentally and am pretty sure no one else would want to even attempt to handle my issues - theres the fear of being alone bit)

It takes a lot of guts to leave what you consider stable and comfortable for the wide open unknown and its not a risk I can take. Maybe I'll be miserable for the rest of my life.
I'm not miserable all the time and think maybe it's a "grass is greener" mentality and actually leaving would be no better than staying as dh is not awful, we've just grown apart and gone through some horrible s#*t the past few years. I don't always find him attractive anymore, more friends than lovers I guess but maybe that can change and is just a consequence of what we have been through.
Dh says he wants to be married and loves me lots. He often thinks there are no problems in the marriage at all so maybe I am seeing things that aren't there.

I guess my point is that we all know relationships are bloody complex and confusing so leaving one is 10 times more complex and confusing.

Justbreathing Tue 18-Apr-17 16:12:40

problem is pandora when do we ever know it's the right choice. Usually only with hindsight and most people I know who don't leave swear blind it's the right choice for their dc.
only one admitted to me, the kids would probably be better off out, and they still couldn't bring themselves to leave.
if you're very negative about yourself, don't you think this might improve if you're happier? I mean I know you don't just leave and are happy, but at least there is light at the end of the tunnel.
I also do know that the day to day can be OK. I only realised how badly not ok it was once I was out. and I still care about my xdp, I hope he will be a happier person in the end.
I would go for the counselling, I felt that way about it too, and actually it's allowed me to be open for the first time ever!

yetmorecrap Tue 18-Apr-17 16:29:29

I think money is a big part sadly for many, look at nigella lawson, the minute Charles saatchi had her grabbed by the neck, the removal van was booked!!

LesisMiserable Tue 18-Apr-17 16:33:27

Money and feeling guilty towards the children/other person.

Basically worry about how the decision will affect everyone else.

Keepithidden Tue 18-Apr-17 16:38:49

Money, and losing DCs. I'm not primary carer, I am the breadwinner. Couldn't support two homes so would lose the kids. Besides, its a commitment raising DCs a responsibility far greater than the pursuit of happiness, at least at the cost (non financial) it would come at.

MrsMarigold Tue 18-Apr-17 16:40:12


robinia Tue 18-Apr-17 18:27:07


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