Why Toxic Partners Can't Stay Away From Each Other, Even If You're Both Miserable

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Young beauty woman splitting up with husband

Are you in a toxic relationship you know you should leave but are wondering why you can’t stay away from each other? Why, despite the hurt and the anger, is breaking up just impossible? So many people get in this position where, despite being miserable, they hold on, stuck in the cycle of suffering. Why do you do that? For many reasons. Knowing why might help you finally realize that you can let go of someone and get on with your life. So, why can’t you stay away from each other?

Here are 5 reasons why toxic partners can't stay away from each other, even if you're both miserable:

1. You miss those moments of happiness

You know what I'm talking about — those moments when everything is great. Perhaps it's watching the kids open their Christmas presents, uniting against difficult in-laws, or simply enjoying a sunset together. Those moments bring you back to where you were at the beginning of your relationship when you were a team and loved each other. Those moments are very potent ones.

They are moments that make you pause and wonder if breaking up is a good idea, or if perhaps there isn’t hope that you can work things out. They make you wonder if you could ever have moments like this with anyone else. And those moments of happiness are wonderful. But they are just moments, aren’t they? Moments in the middle of the misery you are both living with. So, yes, appreciate those moments, but ask yourself if those moments are worth it.

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2. You don’t want to give up

I hear this from so many of my clients: "I am not a quitter." And I can appreciate that. No one wants to give up on anything, especially something as important as a relationship. So, they hold on believing that perhaps even by sheer force of will, if they don’t give up, all will be fine. What I tell my clients is that both partners in a relationship must be fighting to keep the relationship — it’s not a one-sided effort.

Many of my clients give and give and give in the face of misery, hoping that their person will just love them again and that their lives together can be happy and not horrible. But if their person isn’t trying in return, there's no fight to fight. Giving up might be the only option. Remember, giving up is okay. Sometimes there is nothing that can be done to save a relationship and throwing in the towel doesn’t mean failure. It means that you're strong enough to let go of something that is making everyone miserable and move forward toward happiness and love.



3. You miss your habits and traditions

It seems basic, but one of the reasons that you can’t stay away from each other is because of your habits and traditions. When I was considering leaving my husband because we were both miserable, it was the small things that kept me from doing so. The thoughts of no more Friday night videos, Caribbean Christmases, summer visits to my mom, and sharing carpool duties were enough to paralyze me into staying.

I couldn’t imagine there being any change in the things that we had been doing for decades. Are there things that you and your partner have always done together that seem impossible to let go of? Whether they are big or small, they are often enough to keep you from leaving. I can tell you this: 10 years after my divorce, I have someone else to watch Friday night movies with. Also, my kids and I have kept up the tradition of Caribbean Christmases and summer visits to my mom’s. And somehow, everyone seems to get where they need to be, even though we are no longer married. So, don’t let habits keep you in something that is making you miserable. Life is too short!

RELATED: Why Optimistic Women Stay Trapped In Toxic Relationships

4. Fear of pain

Many people don’t realize that one of the reasons that they don’t make changes — whether it's leaving a relationship, moving to another town, or changing jobs — is because they are afraid of the feeling of pain that might result. Our bodies are hardwired to avoid and fear pain — it’s a matter of survival to do so. So, when you're faced with something potentially painful, like the loss of a relationship, you shut down.

Our brains do whatever they can to stop the pain from coming. Think about where you are right now. Is your head full of all sorts of competing thoughts? "Do I stay or do I go? What happens if I do? Will I ever be loved again? What about the kids?" The thoughts go round and round and round, and you are exhausted and left searching the internet for answers.

That's your brain, sabotaging you from taking a step that might cause you pain. And it’s a very effective tool because the confusion shuts you down from taking action unless you can push through it. So, recognize that your fear of pain is probably a big reason why you just can’t leave.



RELATED: 12 Tiny Signs The Guy You're Dating Is A Toxic Jerk

5. You miss the physical attraction

Many of my clients who are in unhappy relationships still have really good love lives. Perhaps it’s the drama of their situation or perhaps it’s a chemistry that has never faded since the beginning. Whatever it is, that attraction is real and important and hard to walk away from. And when the intimacy is that good, it’s like those little moments — it makes it hard to rationalize walking away. If the intimacy is amazing, the relationship must be salvageable, right?

Unfortunately, chemistry and healthy relationships don’t always go hand-in-hand. Some people have good intimacy and just can’t agree on anything else. Conversely, some people are madly in love but their intimate life is a struggle. It’s very frustrating. Like pain, intimacy is a primal thing — something that helps keep you alive and propagates the species. The prospect of giving it up can be terrifying and the fear that you will never feel so good, intimately, again is enough to stop us from walking away from someone who makes you miserable. Knowing why you can’t stay away from each other, even though you are miserable, is the key to doing so.

If you know that when those little moments or the chemistry pops up and makes you question everything, it’s important to consider if they are enough to change things, to make you happy. If you worry about having to do things differently or are scared of letting go, ask yourself if you could adapt, if you could ride through any pain, if it means finding love. Don’t stay with the wrong person even a moment more. Your love is out there waiting — don’t make them wait much longer!

RELATED: 5 Signs You And Your Partner Are Incompatible (And Will Never Work Out)

Mitzi Bockmann is an NYC-based Certified Life Coach and mental health advocate who works exclusively with women to help them be all they want to be. Mitzi's bylines have appeared in The Good Men Project, MSN, PopSugar, Prevention, Huffington Post, and Psych Central, among many others.

This article was originally published at Let Your Dreams Begin. Reprinted with permission from the author.