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When we are on the outside looking in, it can feel so obvious that a relationship is doomed.

When we offer advice to friends, family, or people oversharing at a party, the correct next move often seems wildly obvious: get out of that relationship.


But it's much different when you are the one in the relationship. Time already invested, love once shared, and logistical factors all contribute to a kind of cloud that sways our judgment of the situation.

And yet, if and when the relationship does end, we look back and feel the same clarity that all of our friends once advised from. We can see that we stayed far longer than we should have.

Ideally, witnessing the dynamics helps us practice more clarity in the future. But to be honest, we always hope no more of our relationships will wither again.

Some Redditors offered their own experiences.

mrwednesday33 asked, "People who have stayed with someone they no longer love, what's your story?"

A handful of Redditors had nothing to regret. A dangerous or concerning situation forced their hand. The safety of themselves and others was the driving force behind the decision to stay.

Although it was upsetting to stick around, it would be difficult to imagine handling the situation any other way.

Enough Was Enough 

"He was mentally ill, possibly with Paranoid Personality Disorder, definitely delusional, maybe schizophrenic. I was accused of all types of things, affairs, being part of plots to 'get' him, even urinating on his toothbrush."

"I stayed for 3 years after I knew I no longer loved him because I knew he would spiral without someone to look after him. He had destroyed every relationship with his friends and family because they were all also out to 'get' him."

"I finally told him I would only stay if he got help, which he refused. So I left."

"I was right about him spiralling. He went from sharehouse to sharehouse as all the other tenants were 'out to get him'. He eventually ended up homeless for a while is now facing 18 different charges so will probably end up in jail."

-- damekl

An Unfortunately Common Response to Fading Love 

"She threatened to kill herself and even though I wanted out of the relationship, i didnt want her to be hurt or die. I remember us arguing about something very trivial but she was getting very upset. She walked out mid conversation and came back with cuts all over her legs and thighs."

"I tried getting help from parents, school counselors, doctors. None helped. So i just tried to manage as much as I can. Eventually she joined the military & moved away and that was the moment I was finally free."

"Years wasted though."

-- corazon_im_hurt

A Bare Bones Story 

"Short version: domestic violence."

"Long version: I was afraid to leave because I believed he would find me and kill me."

"Conclusion: He pushed me too far and I ran."

-- AliceMorgon

Tipping Over the Edge 

"He was a violent drug addict and I was scared of what he may do if I left. I never truly loved him but our relationship became very codependent very quickly."

"He cheated on me, took advantage of the fact that I had a car and money, but I still stayed because he was always threatening to kill himself or to kill my cats."

"Then one night he literally backed me into a corner and tried to punch me in the head so that finally made me open my eyes and realize I had to get out."

-- Theging96666

For others, the pull to stay in the relationship felt just as intense, but not nearly as physical.

In these cases, a social dynamic or deep emotional complication was at the heart of the choice to remain in a relationship that was doomed to fail.

Optics 

"She's terminally ill, and dying of Cancer, even though she is abusive now, and was before, I can't really leave, the social pressure to be a *good man* plus the cost of divorce and everything else is just too much, at this point it's just easier to wait it out."

"Plus I really like her family, and if I left her when she was sick...it would pretty much kill that relationship."

-- Boise_State_2020

"Pretty recent..."

"I proposed to my ex in august 2020. A month later everything started to become pretty awful. A lot of mental abuse and fights, that would make everything chaotic, if we stayed together."

"She and her family think they're something special, while everyone knew they're nothing. She tried to convince me to stay together, but I told her, that it was either now or in 1-5-10 years, where kids etc. Are involved. Big no go."

"Here almost three months later I feel way better and don't have as many headaches as earlier."

-- OkCiao5eiko

Playing Doctor 

"This isn't mine but my friends mom stayed with her husband because he has MS and no one else to care for him."

"He got diagnosed right before she was going to leave him but after finding out she stayed."

-- giaaaaaaaaaa

Avoiding Something Worse 

"Bad situation at home. Stayed with a BF I wasn't in love with for 2.5 years just so I had a safe place to live. Stopped having sex many times, the last time it was 6 months."

"He let me stay with him because he didn't want to sent me back to my home life. I finally left him last month and just dealing with my home life anyway."

-- princeranae

Always a Reason to Stay 

"We were living together at 16, she cheated on me and I told her I wanted her to leave, she begged me not to send her back to her moms house because they have like 8 people in a 2 bedroom house and because she would've had nowhere else to go."

"I was 16 I didn't know how to handle a girl literally begging me so I let her stay against my better judgement and it created a hurtful cycle of falling in and out of love."

"Feeling like things could get better and then having my world come crashing down every time I look at her because I think of reading the message of the guy saying he loved watching her get on top of him."

"A couple of years go by and we're not in love, just tolerating each other at this point and then we got pregnant, stayed together through the pregnancy but the stress was too much for both of us and caused fighting, sleeping apart, more cheating."

"When the baby was born she had finally turned 18 and we moved away our relationship got much better with each other, we're best friends now and are just trying our best to raise our daughter to be healthy and happy and know she's loved."

"Neither of us had good childhoods."

-- Lapidot-Wav

For the In-Laws 

"I lived with a man I never loved. His mum was also living with us and I loved her more than my own biological mum."

"She was the nicest, kindest and the most caring soul I have ever met in my life. I left that man when he told me that he knew I was only with him because of his mum. That was 20 years ago but I still miss her every single day."

-- Mayfl21

And some people stayed because it was the simplest thing to do. They swallowed a lack of passionate love in exchange for the daily comforts of a well-kept home with a familiar person.

That is, until playing house became unsustainable.

A Sudden Shift 

"I was with my wife for 14 years. For at least half of that, I wasn't happy with the relationship. But I had decided I was ok with it because everything about our life together was acceptable, for lack of a better word."

"We owned a house, made good money, got along well, shared hobbies, etc. We were basically roommates/best friends who just didn't love each other the way you would normally expect from a married couple."

"When the pandemic hit, and we were forced to stay home more and spend time with each other EVERY DAY, we started to get a better sense of how well we actually tolerated each other. It didn't go well."

"She ended up getting really into online gaming and met some other guys and basically cheated on me. In retrospect, it was obvious it would reach that point."

"But I was content to stay there as long as I could because it was a comfortable life with very little stress and obligation."

-- knucklehead923

Slow Fade 

"I was no longer as 'in love' with her. But I still loved her. After years together it could become tricky to figure out exactly what It's just a lull and what is it really going away."

"I was still living with my best friend. But ended it because once we really realized that I wasn't feeling the same way anymore. I was just hurting her for me to stay since she was still in love."

-- collin3000

"Dated an ex for ~3.5 years, the last couple of months I stayed with her because I was comfortable and the sex was great. I think a big reason why people stay with ex's is because of comfort as starting new relationships isn't exactly easy. I found her to be very dishonest, unreliable, and extremely selfish."

"I caught her texting another guy and I caught her lying to me while hanging out with another guy. I would have left her right then and there but we had a non refundable cruise booked so I stuck around."

"Knowing that I was leaving her was a big weight off of my shoulders and I met someone else that I started talking to."

-- stickytack

Just Humming Along 

"Kid, career, looking up one day and realizing that there are parts to your life you recognize, but most of it doesn't. Then you begin to realize what you've accepted in place of facing the truth."

"One compromise becomes always compromising, and you realize your the doormat. Double standards you 'overlooked' to keep the peace are now the foundation of your relationship. All the small foibles you forgave because 'it's not worth getting into it over' now crowd you out."

"It's the stark realization that all the times you bit your tongue has led to a situation where you're just not happy, and you know the next step is just going to suck."

"Or as I call it, Monday."

-- defectiveintellect

Wise, But a Little Sad 

"We have good chemistry and built a life together. After a lot of years, love comes and goes. It is like the seasons."

"As cold as it can be in the winter, if you put the effort in, the spring will always come back."

-- Aizpunr

Irish Goodbye 

"Fear. I realised three months into my first real relationship that not only was this a bad idea, I was probably asexual."

"But I was already too afraid to leave, and stayed for four years, until I managed to leave him by moving a long way away where he couldn't find me."

-- EducationalTangelo6


Here's hoping that the relationships of all reading this are full of passionate intensity and presence of mind. But we know that's not true.

Somewhere, love is dying in a relationship. In which case, hopefully, both partners carry the strength to move on as soon as the time is right.

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