Fear And Other Things: 14 Unhealthy Reasons To Stay In A Relationship
A healthy relationship is the perfect balance between comfort and something that pushes you outside your comfort zone, rational and a little bit of fantasy, sexual and emotional chemistry. Lean a little far one way or the other and you have a relationship that could easily be broken by the ever-changing climate of life. Don’t even base your relationship on these elements.
You recently went through a breakup. You meet a man that recently went through a breakup. It seems like you’re the perfect fit because you understand each other’s pain, and filling in that void of the ex right now sounds real good. Stop right there. You and this guy are not looking at each other for who you are at all. You’re just desperately running from the pain of your ex into the arms of whoever happens to be standing there. And once you are both actually healed from your respective breakups, you’ll probably come to find that you don’t like each other all that much. Because you never really knew each other.
The loss of a loved one, the loss of a career or any major loss is bound to leave a person feeling unsafe in the world and unloved. What a perfect time to jump headfirst into a relationship…WRONG! If you throw all of your energy into a new romantic relationship, simply to avoid the reality that a major shift has taken place in your individual life that you, and you alone, must attend to, not only does that place far too much pressure on the poor guy (he has the job of not just making any woman happy but a tragedy-struck one) the pain of your tragedy is bound to pile up on you if you don’t process it in a healthy, timely manner.
A new move
Moving to a new place is exciting but also very lonely. Suddenly you’re without that close-knit group of friends, you’re without your routine, the bar where “everybody knows your name.” You suddenly feel “un special” to anybody, so you desperately want to feel special to somebody. This might be when you decide to find yourself a boyfriend. He comes with an insta-group of friends you can latch onto and suddenly your empty schedule will be booked. Pause. As difficult as it is to build up your own new crew of friends, you have to do that work on your own because that insta-group of friends that comes with a guy could be just as easily insta-gone if you broke up. Build a life for yourself before trying to stick a man in it.
This is a common type of relationship in college. You live in a dorm, or an apartment with four people, on a street constantly buzzing with like-minded, like-aged individuals always partying or hanging out. You and your guy are never alone. With the buffer of others around, you may not realize it but, you and your guy don’t know each other that well. You don’t need to be a college student to fall into this trap. You could just be a major social butterfly, too. Either way, if circumstances changed, and you and your man didn’t have instant access to other people all of the time, you may discover that you don’t have that much fun when it’s just the two of you. In fact, maybe you drive each other nuts!
You don’t have to be two junkies in a rehab house to have a relationship dependent on recreational substances. Sometimes, two ordinary, functioning people don’t realize that every time they are together, they’re drunk! They share a bottle of wine any night they stay in together. Weekend days are spent at happy hours or bottomless mimosa brunches. If you go out, it’s to a bar. Make sure you’ve thoroughly tested what it’s like to be together completely sober. Alcohol—even just a little—always makes other people seem more attractive, more charming, and you more horny and emotional. That’s the perfect, toxic combination for a relationship built on alcohol or drugs.
You don’t have to be a shameless gold digger to be in a relationship based on money. In fact, there doesn’t have to be a ton of money for this type of relationship to exist. Some couples just use money as a buffer. Every moment is spent out at a restaurant, out at a movie, wine tasting, or on vacation. On vacations, every moment is booked with activities. Money can buy you activities and activities can keep you and your partner from ever really having a heart to heart conversation. You want to know how you and your partner get along with nothing to do but talk, because in this economy, you never know when that may happen!
Shows like The Office and Parks and Recreation make it look so great—the co-worker romance. And, while you both do work at the same place, you have a great bond over making fun of the other co-workers, your understanding of one another’s stresses, and that oh-so-convenient matching schedule, take that all away and you may not get along at all! If one of you lost your job, that one would feel left out whenever the still-employed half told stories from work, they’ll probably be jealous that the other one still has a job, and your schedules will probably instantly change with one of you sleeping in later after staying up late applying to jobs. You’ll fall out of sync fast if your connection was built on being co-workers.
So you’re having great sex—great! It’s an integral part of a healthy relationship. However, if you just hop in the sack anytime you run out of things to talk about, or get in an argument, or see each other…you’ll weaken your abilities to entertain one another out of the sack. And the truth is, there will be many times one or both of you can’t have sex. Perhaps one of you gets sick, or tragedy strikes you and you lose your libido, or the cardio-activity becomes dangerous for one of you.
You’ve done it: stuck it out with a guy much longer than you should have because he was so darn hot. Looks can be deceiving. More importantly, good looks can be so pleasing to be in the presence of, they sort of form a cloud over the fact that you and somebody have nothing in common, or are even toxic for each other. Try spending a week away from that person and communicating only over the phone. Now: how much do you still like them?
So you meet a guy at a Club Med where you’re vacationing for two weeks. You have the time of your life. You feel fireworks. Or, maybe your job lets you re-locate to some exotic spot for a couple of months. And you meet somebody there that you fall in love with. The trouble is these relationships haven’t had to deal with the social pressures of your friends, your family or your real life. Unfortunately, you can’t just run away with a guy. After a while, you’d miss your real life. So, you do need to see how the two of you hold up when there are bills to pay, mother’s birthday lunches to attend, and bars where your ex usually hangs out. Usually vacation relationships don’t last past the vacation.
Fear (of being alone)
If your greatest fear is being alone, then you’re usually willing to give up anything just to be with someone. They don’t want you to work so that you can be at home waiting for them when they get back? You give up your job. They don’t want you to have male friends? You give them up to. They want you to move far away from everyone you love? You’re packing your bags. Here’s the problem with that: if you and this guy ever do break up, you will have nothing left. Similar to the lesson learned about moving to a new city, always build a life for yourself before sticking a man in it.
Fear (of growing)
There are people whose simple presence inspire us, give us confidence and make us want to step out of our comfort zone. And then there are people that let us believe it’s okay to stay exactly where we are. Often, a boyfriend will serve that purpose. You meet a guy in a town you always planned on leaving to eventually pursue bigger and better things, but you’ve gotten comfortable with your routine of drinking beer on his couch every night and going to BBQ’s on the weekends. Change is scary. Pursuing your dreams is scary. And this guy is telling you (whether with words or actions) “You don’t have to do any of that. Just stay here with me.” But if you stay with a man for fear of pursuing your dreams, it will be that man that you resent when you realize in ten years you’re nowhere near where you wanted to be.
You’re co-workers so if you broke up, you’d need to find a new job. You live together so if you broke up, you’d need to find a new place. You share all the same friends so if you broke up, you’d need to make all new friends! It would be a real hassle to make all of those changes but the fear of doing so should not be keeping you with somebody that you do not want to be with. If you’re doing that, you’re similar to the person that fears being alone—you let your relationship determine who you are.
Typically people that get into long distant relationships are just trying to escape their reality. Dating someone in another place is like having a whole new world to escape to whenever you want—a world away from family or work stress, a world where nobody really knows who you are. But, eventually, you will have to have the talk, “So, are you moving here? Or am I moving there?” You can’t be long distant forever and when you merge lives, if he was just mean to be an escape, he’ll have lost his allure.
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