It's unsettling to know how many people I have met lately who are in unhappy relationships but don't seem to have the strength to leave. This is because they are either justifying their partner's mistreatment or believing different lies that they tell themselves.
Relationships take a lot of hard work, but they aren't meant to be a constant battle. We can start to forget what's normal and acceptable after having months or years of abuse; we lose perspective and even hope as we begin to settle for second best.
If you have found yourself in this situation, know you do deserve better and that real happiness is achievable. However, it's up to you to decide to make the break and take the risk of the unknown rather than staying in the unhealthy relationship.
Let's look at a few lies we tell ourselves:
1. "I've invested so much already, so I have to stay with them."
Big lie number one! If you have been dating someone for years and you are in a constant battle, it's time to reassess. A big indication of whether a relationship is healthy and right is when there is peace and progress. Being constantly drained and going around in circles because you are consistently trying to change them is never going to be fulfilling.
Yes, you have given a lot, including years of your life, blood, sweat, and tears (and it has probably been exhausting), but don't feel that your effort is the sole reason you have to stay. It's time to start investing in your own happiness and making the decision to make your life easier by giving your time to relationships that have equal give and take.
It's not meant to be that hard and if it has been difficult from the beginning then chances are it won't become easier. You are no less of a person because you decide to walk away after so many years of trying.
2. "I'm too old to start all over again with someone else."
Since when does dating have an age limit? I've heard of 70 and 80-year-olds finding love all over again, so stop limiting your happiness to an age bracket. You are entitled to a lifetime of it.
Women can start to freak out if we haven't ticked all the boxes by a certain age -- we feel like people will judge us or, worse, that we will end up alone. Men often think they will be labelled a player or called unreliable because they haven't managed to settle down by a certain age.
You always have a choice and your happiness should be a priority no matter what age you are.
3. "I won't fall in love again" or "no one will fall in love with me".
How many times did we think we'd never get over that ex? Yet we do and we fall in love again (and again and again). Our happiness shouldn't be based on someone else's love for us, but rather the love we have for ourselves. Don't stay with someone who mistreats you just so you can feel loved, because someone who truly loves you wouldn't be making you feel miserable.
If you decide to end a toxic relationship do it because you have an understanding of your value and worth -- don't even think about the ifs and buts of the unknown. Yes, we always take the risk of not feeling the same for another or perhaps even being single for longer than we'd like, but staying in an unhappy relationship is a guarantee of a lifetime of unhappiness.
4. "Maybe I'm not meant to be really in love like other people. Maybe this is it."
No it's not! There is a whole lot more waiting for you. Stop believing you aren't worthy of more because you definitely are and that desire in you to have more is there to remind you of it.
You are the one responsible for your happiness and the direction your life takes, so stop being complacent with a mediocre relationship and get up and make some better choices today. You were never meant to settle and you don't have to.
5. "This is normal..."
Since when is being unfulfilled, miserable or joyless normal? Everyone has different circumstances that can impact their relationship and no couple is alike, but do not fool yourself into thinking that what you have is the norm. Change is hard and breakups are awful because it means heartache, risk of the unknown and everything else that goes with it, but stop letting your present situation warp your perspective. You do deserve more and it does exist, you just have to be brave enough to chase after it.
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