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: ACSW, LCSW, LMFT
Other Articles/News by Marni Feuerman:

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

Don't Let Your Smartphone Make You A Dumb Lover

By

It is unnecessary to point out how much Smartphones and other forms of technology have significantly enhanced our lives. I am, however, seriously concerned with how it has affected intimacy, closeness and bonding in romantic relationships. As a couples' therapist, I have heard issues around technology brought up in countless sessions. Often, the ... Read more

The Pursuit of Happiness

By

     It is our constitutional right to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”  Now, if only this came with a specific set of instructions. I’m fairly certain that our fore-fathers long ago wrote these words with the best of intentions. I have a feeling they may have been happier then we are today even while living in ... Read more

See More

Ask The Experts

Have a dating or relationship question?
Visit Ask YourTango and let our experts and community answer.

FROM AROUND THE WEB