We have all had someone tell us a story about some terrible, painful relationship. We can’t understand why someone would stay in something that hurts them so much for so long. We listen to people who tell us stories about how they fought too long to hold on to something that really wasn’t worth holding on to. We listen to these stories. We offer them advice and/or encouragement. Ultimately the relationship ends after weeks/months/years of misery.
When we know someone who is in a situation where the bad clearly outweighs the good, when they seem to be clinging desperately to
something or someone who isn’t worth the effort, we tend to be critical of their situation. We hear endless complaints and tales of woe. We become annoyed by their unwillingness to see the situation for what it is. We judge them for not leaving. Our sympathy turns to apathy because of their perceived lack of self-respect.
We have all known someone who has been in this sort of situation yet most of us will find ourselves in a very similar scenario at some point in our lives. We will find ourselves in some relationship that is not giving us what we need and we will likely stay until it hurts us, even after it is hurting us. Even though we have witnessed or heard stories and predicted the outcome of these toxic relationships in other people, we will hold on.
Why, after everything we have learned, would we stay in a relationship that makes us unhappy? The answer is simple. We stay for the same reason everyone who has ever told us one of these stories has stayed; our relationship is different. What we are experiencing is clearly beyond the grasp of anyone else. In short, our situation is the exception.
The situation seems different to the people experiencing it. It is more complicated than all those other sad sack’s miserable situations so surely you will have a happy ending. All of the trials and struggles you stuck it out through will yield positive results. After all of the hurt and pain you will finally be happy.
Guess what? You and your fuck buddy/friend / pseudo boy(or girl)friend situation is no different than all those miserable experiences you heard about. You are desperately holding on to a fantasy. I assure you, you are not the exception; you’re the rule. It always feels different when you are in it.
You justify the actions of those who hurt you and lose a bit of yourself with every new attempt to keep your awful pseudo-relationship together. The rule is simple… if they aren’t willing to commit even after you’ve said you are, then you are not going to wind up with this person . He/she doesn’t want a relationship with you and the odds are he/she has even told you that directly.
Your situation isn’t that complicated or that different. You fell in love with someone who doesn’t feel the same way about you and you stuck around hoping you’d convince them otherwise. The longer you stay the more used you’ll feel, the more of yourself you relinquish, the more hurt you’ll feel when it is all over. You don’t want to be with someone who makes you feel like you are not enough because if you stay there too long you are going to start believing it.
Say I’m wrong; your relationship is the exception. Do you really want to be in a relationship where you have completely lost you identity just to be with someone who never saw your value? It is actually better to be the rule. It is one of many instructions we will receive in our lives. This one is teaches us that accepting less than we deserve (mutual love and respect) is not how your love story will end.