Why Do Some People Stay in Relationships That Make Them Miserable?

DiPietro Law Group, PLLC

Everybody knows of at least one couple that does not belong together, and yet, can’t seem to cut ties. These partners are clearly miserable, and they make everybody around them uncomfortable. Why, then, if their incompatibility is so obvious, do they continue to stick it out? A few key reasons are highlighted below.

Fear of Being Alone

A surprising number of adults prefer to remain paired off and miserable than strike out on their own. Research indicates that this preference is stronger among men. Fears of going solo may also be amplified among those who married young and have limited experience with single life.

Sunk Cost Fallacy

Some coupled and unhappy individuals don’t worry too much about being single; they’re merely victim of the sunk cost fallacy. This common phenomenon is seen in gambling, career changes, and every other aspect of daily life. It occurs when people continue to invest in an object or idea simply because they’ve already invested in it for quite some time.

A fascinating study published in the journal Current Psychology explored the role of the sunk cost fallacy in bad relationships. Over one third of respondents claimed they would stick out a bad relationship if they’d invested significant money (such as purchasing a house) or effort into it. In reality, however, the years invested in a relationship cannot possibly be recovered; is it really worth wasting even more time that could be spent pursuing a more fulfilling life?

Financial Instability

Lower-earning spouses often remain in bad relationships because they believe they cannot afford to live on their own. This is particularly common in single-income households in which the non-earning spouse has spent several years away from the job market. In other cases, the higher-earning spouse may avoid divorce due to fears of alimony or unfavorable property division.

Fear of Harming Children

Couples with children may remain together because they believe that separation would hurt their kids. Unfortunately, toxic relationships can prove just as harmful. Other parents fear that they will lose custody upon divorcing and spend far less time with their children as a result.

If fear of the divorce process or an unfavorable custody resolution has kept you in a bad relationship, it’s time to get a more realistic look at your options. Educate yourself by visiting our Atlanta family law attorneys for a case consultation. The more you know, the better equipped you are to make the right decision for you and your children. Contact DiPietro Law Group, PLLC today for more information.

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