Have you ever been stuck with someone you no longer wanted to date or be romantically involved with?
If so, you are not alone; many women will also, at some point in their love lives, tolerate unsatisfying relationships.
In some cases, they will not just be unhappy, but also stuck with physically and emotionally abusive partners. Granted, this beats logic.
But a new study by the University of Utah, Wayne State University, and University of Toronto has found out the reason why people stick to relationships that do not benefit them.
This is the first study to present evidence on how one partner’s feelings and commitment can influence a decision to break up or not.
“We found out that the more dependent people believe their partner is on the relationship, the less likely they will be to initiate a break up,” said Samantha Joel, who led the study.
The researchers tested the amount of consideration of a partner’s feelings that people take into account when deciding to stay or leave a relationship. It was a two-part study, and during the first study, a total of 1,348 participants in romantic relationships were followed for 10 weeks.
In the second study, 500 participants who were considering breaking up were followed over a two-month period.
“The two studies showed that people can be motivated to stay in unfulfilling relationships for the sake of their partners,” the study reported. The results of this study were published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.
The researchers were quick to point out that the consideration of how affected a partner will be is sometimes exaggerated.
“These perceptions are not always accurate. For example, it could be that the unsatisfied partner is overestimating how committed the other partner is or how painful the break up will be to them,” said Ms. Joel.
This suggested that some women will remain in unsatisfying or even abusive relationships out of the fear that their partners want them to stay.
It also pointed out that some women will be lured by guilt that they are not as committed as they should be and a little more effort and commitment will make things work.
“We discovered that many unhappy partners make the choice to stay in hope that their relationships will improve,” said Ms. Joel.
This study was in sharp contrast to a related survey which found out that women stay in unhappy and unfulfilling relationships because the pool of eligible partners they can go for is not appealing.