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The Biggest Reasons Men Stay in Bad Relationships


Dec. 9, 2014 eHarmony

It is the uncomfortable question that your close friends and family usually will have no problem answering: “Why does he stay with her when it’s obvious they aren’t happy?”

That’s because they know you better than you know yourself — and your psyche is a master of disguise and camouflage, deflecting the kind of self-scrutiny you need to break free of the gravitational pull of a dead-end relationship. To help you uncover your own excuses and blind spots, here are six common reasons men stay stuck when they want to (and need to) move on:

1. Inertia. When stripped of its scientific veneer, this fancy word simply means: laziness. Or apathy, if you prefer. Technically, inertia is the state of motion — or lack thereof — that Newton described in his first law: all other influences being equal, an object (man) is either at rest (on the couch after a long day) or moves with a constant velocity (goes through the motions) unless acted on by an external force.

The problem is, the force required to start over isn’t external at all — it comes from within. This involves deciding what you can and can’t live with, setting boundaries and defending them. It means breaking habits that have kept you frozen in place too long. All of that adds up to work, compared to the relative ease of just making do. If you’ve been settling for second best, accept that it will cost you some effort to change that fact.

2. Fear of conflict. Few things in life are more conflict-filled — and painful and tumultuous — than breaking up with someone you’ve been dating for a while. Usually, the longer you’ve been with someone, the more conflicted the process is. It is a sad reality that many men (and women) stay in unfulfilling relationships month after month, year after year, because they fear the pain involved in breaking up and moving on. There are lots of reasons to stay in a relationship, but fear of conflict is not one of them.

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