The secret motivations for staying with your partner despite a relationship that no longer works

We all know couples where we don’t understand why they’re together, because you don’t like their attitudes, their relationship sometimes or, from the outside, things just don’t seem to work between them.

For this reason, it’s common to wonder why there are couples who are together even if they don’t work out.

The difficulty of finding the right person

Theory tells us that it’s not so easy to find a person who matches us enough to become our partner. The idyllic thing is that it’s a person who matches us intellectually, sexually and romantically, and somehow doesn’t clash with certain values that everyone considers essential. However, sometimes, even if there are red flags in the other person, excuses are given to justify the evolution of the relationship.

In fact, on many occasions, couples begin to emerge from the need on both sides to be able to spend time with another person and have some sort of plan. In this way, what may at first appear to be a way of having fun and passing the time, can lead to a relationship. After its beginnings, comes coexistence and the acquisition of increasingly strong commitments.

Progression bias

The main reason why there are couples who are together but don’t get along has to do with the so-called progression bias. In Western culture, dating is seen as a testing phase for romantic relationships, in which people test each other to see if they’ll fit in over the long term. However, in most cases, people go through different phases of relationship creation without seriously considering whether their partner is the right one for the long term.

When a person doesn’t feel great physical attraction, passion or sexual satisfaction with their partner, it’s advisable to ignore this concern, in the belief that feelings develop over time. The same thing happens when red flags arrive, which are set aside in favor of the other person’s positive qualities. Over time, both have to choose and invest mutually in the relationship, making important decisions such as introducing the couple to friends and family, spending the night together, being faithful to each other, planning future activities, moving in together and/or getting engaged, thus taking steps in your life.

However, as is normal, setbacks occur that can put the relationship to the test, cases in which it will be advisable to rely on perseverance instead of separation.

The difficulty of breaking an acquired bond

The reason why some people stay together even when they don’t seem to be working is because of the difficulty of breaking the acquired bond. In this sense, it’s important to know that the moment a couple meets is fundamental. If two people become buddies when they’re young, you’ll both fit in if you evolve in the same way, and if that doesn’t happen, that’s when the mismatches occur. However, this doesn’t mean that these mismatches always end in divorce or break-up.

In fact, in relationships, there are other fears that are more present than we think, such as the feeling of abandonment or facing a life in solitude, both of which play a key role in why some people continue in a relationship despite it being obvious that something isn’t working.

However, when two people get to know each other at an older age, it’s common for one to make a mistake, and that’s that they want to have a sense of companionship, without sometimes being really clear about what they’re looking for. It also depends to a large extent on how well the other person can accompany them.

In addition to the fear of loneliness, there are sometimes other reasons why two people come together as a couple despite the fact that things aren’t going well for them or that they’ve reached a point where they don’t fully fit in, such as, for example, economic or family reasons for continuing the relationship. And it’s that on many occasions, these aspects are essential, especially when there are children involved, when both parties in the couple may find it more difficult to make the decision to break up.

All this means that, faced with certain shortcomings or the absence of total happiness, we cling to the other’s good sides, trusting that a change will come without fully accepting the couple. On very few occasions, however, does the other party actually make the expected change in personality or behaviour.

If you find yourself in one of these situations, it’s important to be able to reflect on the sentimental situation you’re suffering from, having to be very clear about the gain that breaking this bond can bring, and not necessarily because you want to get away from them, but rather because life can bring you many other things, always in search of maximum happiness.