Why you can’t always end an unhappy relationship

Around Valentine’s Day, love seems to be omnipresent. Yet not everyone is happy in their relationship. As Paul Simon already sang, there are certainly “50 ways to leave your lover”, but what if breaking up your relationship is not as easy as it seems?

Relationship problems

It happens in every relationship that there are periods when things don’t go so well. Arguments happen every now and then and that in itself is even healthy for a relationship. Sometimes everything seems to be going well, but you are still unhappy. You may feel trapped in your relationship. If you have been together or married for a while, breaking off your relationship is not that easy. In most circumstances you can then talk to your partner and come to a solution that may involve going to therapy or deciding to separate. Unfortunately, there are also circumstances that do not allow a relationship to end so easily. This may be the case when one partner is financially dependent on the other, when violence is involved, when a partner has serious psychological problems or when you yourself are anxious.

Financial dependence

When you are completely (or largely) financially dependent on your partner, you do not simply decide to leave a relationship. Because where do you go without an income? Not everyone can rely on parents or friends to take care of them. There are of course shelters or you can get help through social work. But even then you cannot continue in that situation for life. You will have to try to stand on your own two feet and earn an income. That is not easy if you do not have a diploma or are a bit older and have no work experience. A possible solution in this case may be that you continue your education and try to obtain a diploma. Seek help and ask yourself carefully about the different options.

Mental health problems

When your partner has a serious psychological problem, it is not easy or sometimes almost impossible to take the step to end your relationship. Only a very limited number of psychological disorders are described below to obtain a global picture of the problem. With psychological problems, feeling guilty is often the reason why people do not dare to leave their partner.


When your partner is severely depressed, you don’t just end your relationship. You will feel guilty towards your partner because he/she is already having a hard time and because you don’t want to push them deeper into the pit. However, letting everything take its course is not a solution for yourself either. You can try to talk about it with your partner and possibly go to therapy together. If that is not possible, it is best to seek professional help for yourself to see what the options are.

Sickly jealous

Some partners are pathologically jealous. It is not easy to live with them because you are not allowed to look at anyone else or things will go wrong. Your mobile phone is being searched, your emails are being read, in short: your private life is being invaded. That’s not pleasant, even if you have nothing to hide. Living together like this is almost unbearable. If your partner realizes this and wants to do something about it, he/she can go to therapy to solve the problem. If your partner does not want this, seek professional help for yourself to get out of this situation.


Living with a borderline is quite a challenge. One moment you can’t handle it and the next moment he/she is in the pit and you are dragged along with their negative ideas. If you are well informed about the disease you can learn to deal with it, but it will never become obvious. Leaving your partner is not easy because you are tormented by feelings of guilt. Talking about it and going to therapy can offer a way out, but there is a good chance that the partner does not want to go to therapy because he/she denies the problem. Try to talk about it with fellow sufferers or seek professional help for yourself.

Threatening suicide

When you do take the step to talk to your partner about ending the relationship, some people react very strongly. They threaten suicide if you leave them. In many cases it remains just that threat, but it will often have the desired effect: fear of leaving the partner. Such blackmail is of course not healthy and certainly not a solution for yourself. However, if you think the threat is real, don’t take it lightly and get help immediately. In any case, try to get in touch with a professional counselor yourself: they can give you advice.

Partner violence

Violence within a relationship is unfortunately still a taboo. Everyone knows that it is unacceptable and much is being done to raise awareness. A large number of women are reached, but taking the step to provide assistance is another matter. When we think of violence, we often immediately think of physical action. Violence can also be psychological, verbal or sexual in nature. If you are the victim of any form of violence, try to find a counselor and then contact a specialized service. For Belgium you will find information under guide for families. For the Netherlands you can go to domestic violence or Nooitgroep.nl. They can help you further and, if necessary, find you a refuge or transitional home. Once you are safe, legal action may be taken.


Children are often cited as a reason not to leave the partner. People think it is better for the children if you stay together. That is different in every situation. If there is constant arguing, the question is whether the children are better off growing up in a hostile atmosphere. Ask yourself whether it wouldn’t be better for them if you divorce and can find a fair solution.

Practical obstacles

Even if you are not completely financially dependent on your partner, there is still a real chance that your income will decrease in the event of a divorce. Everything has to be divided, you may lose the house and there is a good chance that you will have to live smaller. Ask yourself a number of questions and weigh the pros and cons: where are you going to live? If there are children, where do they go to school? Can they continue their extracurricular activities? Are you able to build a new social life? Can you handle it alone? There are often several reasons why women decide not to leave their partner. Check this out for yourself. How serious is your situation, what can you accept or no longer accept? If it becomes too much for you, seek help.

Fear within yourself

Sometimes the reason why you cannot or do not want to leave your partner lies not with your partner, but with yourself. Some have separation anxiety or are afraid of the unknown. Others have low self-esteem or suffer from helplessness. A final group has learned to accept its unhappiness and is resigned to the further course of the situation.
If you are afraid of breaking off your relationship, but you cannot continue living like this, take the first step yourself and seek help. You will find various agencies on the internet that can help you, depending on your problem. Furthermore , in Belgium you can contact the telephone reception on number 106 . In the Netherlands you can contact De Luisterlijn on 0900/0767.
Everyone, including you, has the right to be happy, with or without a partner.