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Tania is currently the Founder & Editor-in-Chief of The Hudsucker, and Senior Editor at the Nashville, Tennessee based PopCulture.com. With past writing and editing credits with Womanista, Quietly, the International Women's Media Foundation (IWMF) and NBC Newsvine, she is currently a member of Indianapolis based, Society of Professional Journalists — one of the oldest organizations in the U.S. that promotes and represents journalists. She is an avid Indianapolis Colts, Elvis Presley and baseball fan as well as a lover of pancakes and fine cheeses, film, and music. Tania is a Hoosier at heart with a passionate wanderlust for always traveling and giving back to those in her community. She is currently studying at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana. Follow Tania on Twitter: @westlifebunny.

5 Reasons People Stay in Bad Relationships, According to Science

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We’ve all seen the situation and it baffles you to the core: a spouse cheats on their partner, yet they remain the happy quintessential couple on your sunny neighborhood block. All looks normal on their relationship horizon, but a month or two later pass, and you hear they are heading on vacation, moving to a new home, or what is subjectively worse — have a baby with the intent to “save” their marriage.

Yikes. What could possibly pressure someone to want to stay in a relationship so deceitful after years of emotional abuse and distrust? Well, for one, you should know that it isn’t easy. While many reach a point of no return and cut ties, that’s not the case for everyone — and if you must know, weakness or strength does not come into play. It should be noted with great veneration that all relationships are hard and none are textbook.

While divorce can empower spouses to create opportunities for your family to do the right thing, staying in a bad marriage is a real adversity that harms mental and emotional health. Though staying in a relationship can be seen as puzzling, psychologists prove that there is real, scientific motive couples stay in bad relationships.

Being single is a real fear

With the media saturating #relationshipgoals in our face and social networks sharing which friends are getting married, being single is a real world fear many of us have. However, that unproven anxiety is likely to affect our love life in ways that break confidence and self-esteem. Research published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology found the fear of being single drives numerous adults to stay in bad relationships or settle for less because they’d rather have someone than no one. And it’s not about being alone as it has been proven that someone who doesn’t need another for their own happiness does fine on their own. But it’s the one who feels lonely and is constantly searching for something that needs the most happiness. According to Psychology Today, loneliness can often shape our relationship status over relationship satisfaction as low self-esteem indicates loneliness could last forever.

Experiencing low self-esteem and confidence

Two of the most important characteristics to have in any relationship is self-worth and respect. Not only do these two help you to figure out who you want to be with your partner, but it gives you the power to stand up for yourself, ultimately leading to a healthy, communicative relationship. But the truth is, there are many with low self-esteem who may not be as likely to do the same in times of dissatisfaction. A study from the University of Waterloo suggests those who exhibited low self-esteem in a relationship usually kept quiet as their fear of rejection trumped every other feeling and often made them unhappier. In conclusion, they stick it out because they don’t think they could possibly do any better.

Fearful of financial insecurity

When you’re in a long-term relationship, breaking up isn’t exactly easy. Financial issues not only become a burden to figure out between the two of you, but they become so naturally blurred over the years that everything appears to be a unit. One major fear of unhappy couples is how a breakup can lead to a long, winding path of financial instability. In a U.K. based study from the law firm, Slater + Gordon, 20 percent of married couples said they would end their marriage immediately if they were sure of a future with financial security. However, with the intent to sacrifice their happiness for the sake of cash flow, many couples continue to tread the path with circumstances only getting worse.

‘Sunk Cost Affect’

It sounds a lot like a word Suze Orman would use about finance, but the “Sunk Cost Affect” is an all too real idea about the truth in settling for bad relationships. Developed by researchers from the University of Minho, the theory of “sunk cost affect” is ideally a reluctance exhibited by both men and women who choose not to throw away all the time, effort and money invested in a committed relationship, despite a very evident lack of happiness and fulfillment. Further results from the groundbreaking study suggest tthe probability of individuals staying in a relationship was higher when money and effort had been invested, more so than time.

Having the tendency to feel ashamed

Shame is a horrible feeling, but one that should never be warranted no matter the circumstances. You might have married your partner too young and hate the idea of your parents saying “I told you so!” or are attached to a history of divorce in your family; or maybe, you just regard divorce as embarrassing. The thing is, is shame is a very real feeling for those who stay in unhappy relationships. Many individuals would rather stay in depressing, yet bearable relationships than have to explain a breakup because that brings about judgment and as social creatures who value ego, we are not prepared for such a lecture. Doctor of social welfare, Richard B. Joelson told Psychology Today that shame associated with “relationship failure” is unacceptable for some, especially if profoundly surrounded by family or friends in successful partnerships. There is just no coming back from something that appears to be that valuable, and as we know, perception is reality.

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