Why Do We Stay When It's Just O.K.?

By

Why Do We Stay When It's Just O.K.?
Exploring why we stay in a "so-so" or other unsatisfactory relationships

A recent article in the Daily Mail reports on new research finding that of 2,000 adults polled, 73 percent have "made do" with their partner because their "true love" slipped through their fingers.  The survey respondents are “settling” in their romantic relationship.  Why is this percentage so high, and is this really true? What about the all too frequent relationship pattern of breaking up and getting back together many times?  Or  the common relationship pattern where one partner “pursues,” the other “distances,” and this game goes back and forth endlessly. Some people just cannot seem to move on from an unsatisfying relationship.  These are all difficult questions to answer, and have often been explored in the social sciences along with a myriad of other relationship issues. The answer to these relationship conundrums ultimately seems to lie in the psychology of “attachment.” 

What is “attachment” and why is it so important?

The theory of attachment was initially developed by Mary Ainsworth (1913 - 1999) and John Bowlby (1907 - 1990), two psychoanalysts who were attempting to comprehend the anguish often experienced by infants who had been separated from their parents. These researchers observed that infants would go to surprising lengths to prevent separation from their parents or to reestablish contact with a missing parent.  Some of these behaviors included crying, clinging or frantically looking for their caregiver. They also postulated that such actions are common to a wide variety of other animals, and consequently believed that these behaviors may serve an evolutionary function.  From that data, they argued that these attachment behaviors were adaptive responses to separation with a primary attachment figure--someone who provides support, protection, and care.  Because human infants, like other mammals, cannot feed, clothe or protect themselves, they are dependent upon the care and protection of adults.  As a result, babies who are able to successfully and consistently get their needs met from a parent or caregiver are more likely to thrive.

Article contributed by
Advanced Member

Marni Feuerman

Counselor/Therapist

Marni Feuerman, Licensed Psychotherapist

Location: BOCA RATON, FL
Credentials: LCSW, LMFT
Other Articles/News by Marni Feuerman:

7 Conversations That Will Save Any Rocky Relationship

By

If you heard that a therapist's method of helping couples in a distressed relationship bond again had a 75% success rate (as opposed to the rather dismal 35% success rate of other forms of couples therapy), wouldn't you want to learn more about the methodology? Dr. Sue Johnson has done exactly that. She has created a whole new way of helping couples ... Read more

21 Signs You're In An Emotionally Abusive Relationship

By

Domestic violence is once again in the forefront of the news. This is in part due to abusive incidents with sports figures or celebrities that have become very public. Abuse is not always as obvious as being hit or shoved, called degrading names or cussed out. In fact, it can very well be underhanded or subtle. You may find yourself feeling confused about the ... Read more

Mixed Signals, Decoded

By

As a therapist, my single clients and friends often ask me what might be happening in their relationships when they get "mixed signals" or "mixed messages." First, let's define what this means. UrbanDictionary.com states that mixed signals are given by people who contradict themselves via words or actions when they are interested in a ... Read more

See More

PARTNER POSTS
Latest Expert Videos
ASK YOURTANGO MORE QUESTIONS
Most Popular