What makes a woman stay?
What makes a woman stay in a relationship she knows–at least on some level–is going nowhere? Or if it is going anywhere, it’s downhill?
We’ve all seen it. In our family, with our girlfriends and acquaintances, even in books and on the big and small screen.
So, what is it? Why do women–myself included–stay in unhealthy relationships?
Is it because we think we can change the guy if he’s an asshole? Is it because we’ve been with him so long we think he’ll finally take that final leap to make the ultimate commitment? Or if we’ve been with him forever, do we stay because we’re so used to it (guilty)? Is it sex (again, guilty)? Or are we just scared to be alone?
I’m afraid I don’t have the answers because I have been–as Union puts it–a woman that stays. Not one of the prouder moments in my life, but there you have it.
I bring these questions up now because I’ve recently read a book where the woman stays with a guy even though everybody knows he’s an asshole, that he doesn’t deserve her and that she can do so much better. I’ve also read a book where the woman goes back to a guy she left.
What bothered me about these women was the fact that it was just so obvious to me that they shouldn’t stay. I just wanted to grab them, shake them and yell, “What the hell are you doing?! Can’t you see this is all wrong for you?” Unfortunately, I couldn’t do that.
But in the end both ladies saw the light and left.
Another “unfortunately” is that even though I didn’t like this characteristic about these women, it’s an honest and accurate one that I have personally witnessed and have even lived through. There have been times–now that I’m older and (somewhat) wiser–when I want to just grab my younger self and yell those same words to her. I’ve also had friends who I wanted to do the same thing to and actually have in some cases (minus the grabbing and shaking).
I think it’s easy to see it and say this kind of stuff when you’re on the outside. It’s extremely different when you’re in it. For the longest time, I didn’t see it in myself and honestly, it makes me worry about next time.
It’s almost been three years since I became single (officially, unofficially and all ways in between). And after an interesting six years of being one half of a couple, I can only hope that when I meet somebody new, I’ll have learned my lesson and not become the woman who stays again.