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Oftentimes, when we are on the outside looking in, when we see someone we know in a bad relationship, we have opinions. “Why do they stay with them?” We ask. But, the answer to this question is far more complex than we might imagine.

Until you’ve been in a toxic relationship and felt stuck in it (for whatever reason) you will never understand why people stay in bad relationships. Life is not always cut and dry. Things are not always black and white. The truth is, we each have our path to go down and our own life to live. If you are someone who has ever wondered why people stay in relationships that aren’t good for them, here are 8 reasons why.

1. They are financially tied to that person.

After you have been with someone for a while, in a lot of relationships, you will begin to mesh your lives together. People buy houses together, start businesses together and build a financial life together. It might sound strange to someone who either isn’t worried about this or who has never experienced this, but in a lot of cases, it would be so destructive to tear the relationship apart, that people opt to stay together.

2. They have kids together.

This is one of the most common reasons that people stay in bad relationships. At first, the relationship is great and things are going well. The two people have kids together and as those kids get older, the relationship gets worse. Instead of leaving, they choose to stay together for their kids.

3. They are afraid of being alone.

Fear is a great motivator. A lot of people are afraid of being alone. Either they have never been alone, or they have always had someone in their life. The very thought of being alone terrifies them so much, that they choose to stay with someone who isn’t right for them.

4. They believe the person will change.

Another major reason why people stay with the wrong person or with someone who causes them harm or pain is because they want to see the best in that person. They believe that person will change and do better by them, and they are okay with waiting on that day to come.

5. They grew up in a toxic family dynamic.

When you grow up in a toxic environment, you become accustomed to that dynamic. Then, when you end up with someone abusive or just not good to you, you accept the behavior, because it is what is normal to you.

6. They don’t believe they deserve better.

There is an old saying that goes something like, “We accept the love we believe we deserve.” Unfortunately, this is true for many people who don’t believe they deserve to be treated with love and respect. So, they accept abuse, manipulation, and infidelity.

7. They are afraid of what others will think.

A lot of people stay in bad marriages because they don’t want people to think anything bad about them. To them, breaking things off means they failed, so they stay in the bad dynamic.

8. They are dependent on this person.

While it isn’t as typical as it once was, there are still people who enter into a relationship and become stay-at-home moms or wives. Their husbands go to work, and in many regards, the woman (and in some cases the man) stays at home and is financially dependent on their partner. Others may say, “Why doesn’t she leave?” but in her mind, she cannot. There are other ways to be dependent on someone, of course.