“I had gotten used to living in the pit. Not only was I used to living there, but I started decorating. I painted the walls. I hung pictures. I made the pit a comfortable place to live.”
Feeling the trap of not knowing what else to do, she allowed herself to stay in the trenches of an unhealthy relationship. We exchanged stories of decisions made amid the emotional ups-and-downs of relationships past. We shared both laughter and sadness as we compared the similarities in our stories, and our conversation left us both asking why people stay in relationships they know are not healthy for them?
Her words helped shed light on just how much work we will put into maintaining a chaotic environment. When things are out of order, we try to create order. When we feel like we are losing our control, we grasp tighter trying to hold on. When our world starts to look disorganized and messy, we try to make it look more appealing. But sometimes, all of our attempts to organize the chaos are only a temporary solution, prolonging the inevitable.
Relationships, when not done right, can leave a wake of destruction. Internally, the aftermath of heartache, pain, tears, sadness, brokenness, insecurity, self-doubt and unanswered questions begin to decorate the walls of our reality.
For some, it’s easier to try to make the uncomfortable situation more comfortable. It’s easier to live in the chaos rather than face the unknown.
Have you found yourself in the messy pit of a relationship-gone-wrong? If so, here are three questions to ask yourself as you prayerfully consider what to do next:
Do I have a fear of being alone?
What if I stay single forever?
Fear is one of the enemy’s most-used tactics. The devil knows he can fool many of us with his strategy of overloading us with anxiety and worry. We long to know what lies ahead. This fear of the unknown sometimes drives us to stay in a situation that makes us unhappy because the alternative is much more daunting.
I once heard the following quote: “We fear when we believe our enemies are greater than our God.” Every time we give in and allow fear to drive our decisions, the enemy does a victory lap. I can imagine him now, doing his ‘I-told-you-so’ dance as he says to God: See, I told You. I told You they would be too scared to do something different.
Every time you find yourself hesitant to take the next step, think back to that first day of school, or the first time you jumped into the pool to learn how to swim, or even the first time you rode a rollercoaster. Each foreign thing fills us with panic at first — but once you dive in, you figure out how it works and it is much easier the next time around.
Do I lack faith in the Lord’s provision over my life?
I’m getting older, what if this is my only chance to have a family?
I am sad to report, I have had countless conversations with singles who believe they will never find love again if the unhappy relationship they are in ends. It breaks my heart every time I hear this.
God is not in the business of intentionally disappointing His children. There are times when He will intervene and change the direction of the course we are headed if it is destructive, but He desires only the best for our lives.
When we are faithful to the Lord’s direction, He WILL bless our faithfulness. There is no doubt about this. You can trust Him with your future. He knows the plans He has for your life. They are His plans. He desires for you to take His hand and follow His lead into this beautiful journey of life He has mapped out for you.
Do I feel broken, inadequate or unworthy of something better?
But they know all my secrets; no one else will understand everything I’ve been through like they do.
Each relationship takes a little piece of us when we part ways. And the more we connect with someone emotionally, the harder it is to break ties. When we emotionally connect, we create a unique bond that leaves us feeling like no one else will understand or accept us.
For some of you, you’ve heard things like:
“No one will ever love you as much as I do.”
“No one will put up with everything you’ve put me through.”
“You’ll never find anyone as good as me.”
If that is the case, I am so sorry those words have been spoken over you. They are not true! You are a child of God who deserves to be loved, cherished and adored.
When we listen to those negative words, we start to believe they are true. Our self-worth minimizes and we feel unworthy of anything better. Can I tell you something? If you are in a relationship where you are hearing those things, you are worthy of so much more!
As you mediate on the words I’ve shared, I want to leave you with the very powerful words of a Marcus Belmore song, “Loved At All.”
I won your heart/And I let you fall/ And I left you there/ Wondering if you’d been loved at all.
God does not desire for you to live your life wondering if you’ve been loved at all. He loves you. Deeply. More than any human is capable of loving you … and He desires to see you happy.
(This article originally posted at www.SingleMatters.com under the title “Why Do People Stay In Unhealthy Relationships?”)