The Real Reason Your Relationship Stinks (Hint: It's You)

Your relationship is bad? Well, you can leave, you know.

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I receive hundreds of messages every week from men and women who are unhappy in their current relationships.

They want to understand their issues and their partner's role in things, even if it means they just spin and spin on unproven "facts" and suffer from analysis paralysis, unable to decide what to do, where to start, and whether they should leave or stay.

It's just not enough for them to "know" the truth, it seems — they need proof and a smack in the face.


Well, what follows is that smack. Read on if you aren't afraid of some hard truths.

RELATED: 5 Signs You're A Bad Couple

Look within to understand what caused your bad relationship

Look, I understand — if you're unhappy or frustrated in your relationship, you want things to change. You want to make things better.


You want to understand why they treat you badly, why they cheated, why they left, why they don't make time for you, why they don't value you, why you are miserable in your relationship, and you really want to understand why the hell you put up with it.

Here's the deal. Every time we read an article, watch a romantic comedy or tune in to some recycled sitcom, we seem to be fed the same tired messages:

  • Men are inconsiderate jerks who are lazy, stupid, or both.
  • Women are never satisfied, harping on about the same things every day for the entirety of the relationship.
  • Men don't pay attention to things that matter.
  • Women pay too much attention to things that don't matter.
  • Men don't do enough in bed.
  • Women close their legs the moment they say "I do."

These things lead us to believe three things: Men suck, women suck, and love sucks. And I'm here to tell you that it's not these things that suck; it's you who sucks. You aren't willing to make the hard decision, face the facts, and get on with your life.

RELATED: The #1 Sign Of A Very Bad Relationship


Why your relationship stinks — and it's your fault

I'm going to tell you why your relationship sucks. It's because you're stuck with an absolute jerk. They might not have started out that way, but they are one now. And guess what? You're still with them! Accountability bites hard, doesn't it?

It's tough to look at things and admit that we are responsible for our own misery. And please, don't give me that line about how "you can't choose who you fall in love with." That is completely false. It's a victim's statement, pretending that life is just happening around you and that you are a mere puppet being wrongly manipulated by the Powers That Be. Stop it.

You are choosing to stay and it's a direct reflection of either what you think you're worth, or how desperate you are to feel loved. That's why you ignored all the warning signs you are clearly in love with a jerk:

  • When they wouldn't return your calls or texts for hours or days.
  • When they only called when it was convenient for them or they needed something.
  • When you caught them sending flirty texts to someone else and then played it off like that someone else is "just a friend".
  • When they complained and complained and complained about your friends, your job, your interests, your clothes, your haircut, your attitude, your parents, and your weight.

Why didn't you walk away after all that to keep your self-esteem intact?


RELATED: 10 Things A Good Boyfriend Won't Ask You To Do (Like, Ever)

You gave the jerk too much agency 

I'll tell you why. Either you assigned your self-worth to them to change for you (which will never happen), or they offered something that addressed one of your core needs and provided it to you just often enough to keep you on the hook.

Statistically, many of you reading this are miserable in your relationship, but you stay anyway. You stay and you justify it with bullshit reasons about kids or finances when the truth is that you are just scared to leave.

You are comfortable in what's familiar and you are frozen by the fear of the unknown. And you, yes you, the person reading this shaking your head saying "No, that's not me ... that's not me." Yes! You, too. We can all see who you are, fake smiling through family functions and pretending that things are "okay" or "good enough."


Stop complaining about how you're miserable with this person. It's simple. If you are with someone you are miserable with, why the hell are you with them? If you're truly miserable do yourself a favor: Go home, grab that bag at the top of your closet — you know, the one with all the dust on it — and pack your shit and leave! Life is too damn short.

Maybe you're afraid of being alone. Well, guess what? That's just not true. There are 7.1 billion people in the world and it's nearly a 50/50 split between men and women. So, whether you are looking for a man or a woman, you have about 3.5 billion people to choose from. Those are great odds of finding happiness.

To the men who complain with statements like, "My old lady changed when we got married." Really? You didn't see the warning signs? You didn't get any perspective when your friends told you how she was screwing with your mind? How did she complain about anything and everything you did?

Chances are she didn't change. You just now see her for the person she always was. And by the way, when you call her your "old lady," she might start being a jerk — with good reason.


RELATED: The 8 Personality Types Of Men That (Pretty Much) Guarantee A Bad Relationship

Shift the way you assess your value

To the women who say, "I just don't get it. Why does he treat me like garbage when I'm so good to him?" A better question to ask yourself is, Why are you still with him if he treats you like garbage? Assign your value to something other than a man's opinion of you. Accept and love yourself for a change.

To the men who complain that their girlfriends and wives stopped going down on them a few years into the relationship, try shaving those matted, pubic dreadlocks once in a while. Do you think your girl wants to get a close-up of that Shih Tzu you have on your lap? And while you're down there, do a sit-up or two. Take some pride in your appearance.


To the women who wonder why he stopped putting in the effort, perhaps he's following your lead. He needs the same women he fell in love with — funny, mysterious, smart, legs shaved, make-up, sexy, alluring. Sweats and ponytails are great (and sometimes sexy), but when you cut off access to the woman he desired mentally and physically, why would he chase someone he doesn't feel attracted to?

Want true happiness? Stop making excuses. Don't stay with a jerk. Happiness is an inside job and it's never going to come to you if you don't take a stand. Do something. Do anything. Just stop pretending that life is happening to you. You are, unfortunately, a participant in your own misery — and only you can change it.

RELATED: The Harsh Reason Men Become Bored With Their Partners

Charles J. Orlando is a bestselling author and relationship/interpersonal relations expert who has spent the last 10+ years connecting with thousands of people.