It takes a while for some relationships to go south. While some bad relationships can crash and burn spectacularly and end in a moment, others spiral out of control in slow motion. And sometimes, especially from the inside, it’s difficult to admit that there’s nothing to salvage and it’s time to move on. Here, nine guys open up about why they stayed in relationships past their expiration dates.
1. “The sex was amazing and we both had incredibly high sex drives. We were both young enough to put that first and ignore the fact that we had nothing in common whatsoever. It felt like any time I thought about breaking up with her, we’d have sex, or we’d get into a fight and have incredible make-up sex. So I would push it out of my head.” — Jake, 27
2. “It was my first serious relationship and I didn’t know how to go about breaking up with someone, honestly. Things felt pretty rote for a while, and then I felt like maybe we should break up, and then I knew we should break up, and then I was hoping it would happen organically. It was like when someone in your house doesn’t take out the trash and it just keeps piling up. I kept putting it off or waiting for the right moment. In reality, it’s breaking up, there is no right moment and I just needed to grow up and do it.” — Michael, 29
3. “I was cheating and she turned a blind eye to it. At the time, I felt like it was the best of both worlds. In hindsight, none of it was healthy and it was a toxic relationship and she was cheating on me, too. Somehow I had convinced myself that we had a normal, stable relationship and it was open, but it wasn’t. It was so f*cked up and just such a mess.” – Evan, 27
4. “Everyone loved her. She was great. I’m sure she still is, but we don’t keep in touch. She was always the ‘cool’ one. My parents loved her. My friends wanted to hang out with her. The problem was that she was so focused on everything else going on and not really focused on me. I got to date this really great girl, but I also never really ever felt like I was in a relationship, if that makes sense. I kept thinking she’d slow down some and settle down, but it never worked.” — Ryan, 29
5. “I just thought things would get better. It was a relationship that started strong and fizzled out. I kept thinking we’d get back on track. I’d make excuses for it. It’s not to say that in some relationships, if you both work hard at it, you can’t get out of a rut, but we had both checked out, and just didn’t want to admit it.” — Greg, 28
6. “We were long distance for a while, and I thought that was the contributing factor. She was doing a grad program hundreds of miles away and it got tough. We started calling each other less and less. It didn’t even feel that different once we broke up. But I felt like it was so easy to be in a relationship even though it was barely a relationship by the end.” – Will, 30
7. “Her family was very well off, and we started dating in college, and they really helped us out after we moved in together and got our first jobs and everything. It wasn’t that I was being a gold digger or just sticking around because the apartment was paid for. But it did make me second-guess a lot of things. I’m sure I dragged my feet on it though, because it wasn’t the kind of relationship where I could just pick up and leave. I’d have to leave, find a place to stay, crash with people, and put my stuff into storage in the meantime. I had to be really sure I wanted to break up before I did it.” – Bruce, 29
8. “I’m a creature of habit. I really dig in and I need to push myself to change. I’d stay in the same apartment or the same company for years even if I outgrew it. I think I’m the same way with relationships. It’s just easier not to change things. I’m not trying to justify it, just that it’s tough for me to admit I need to change things.” — Anthony, 29
9. “I think what’s so painful about breaking up is that idea that you love the person, but you’re not in love. I know that’s a really stereotypical thing, but I think it’s true. I’ve been in relationships where the breakup was easy. And I’ve been in ones where we’re going in two different directions and we’re both miserable, but I also can’t bring yourself to hurt them. I’ve definitely had to psych myself up for breakups like that.” – Chris, 27.