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Why Trying Hard to Stay in an Unhappy Relationship Is Not Love, but Fear

Why Trying Hard to Stay in an Unhappy Relationship Is Not Love, but Fear
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Dating in today’s society is difficult. It’s like navigating a mine field. Once people finally find someone they can settle down with, they want that relationship to last. Even if it means settling when they feel unhappy in the relationship, have to tolerate discomfort in the relationship, and convincing themselves that the relationship will be better some day.

No one wants to be sad for sure. But why so many people choose to stay in an unhappy relationship even though they find it unfulfilling?

Think about life before anyone entering a relationship. They were going along, relatively happy, free and doing their own thing.

    Then they met and possibly fell in love with their partner. And things changed.

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      It was great at first. They started to build their own box, forming a close bonding.

        But then things began to shift because of different reasons. People will endure sadness, depression and live a life that is unfulfilled because it’s convenient and they are afraid to leave their comfy and cozy little box.

          They will rationalize staying for a variety of reasons. Maybe they have kids together or have lots of shared memories. Maybe they have been together for many years and have invested a lot in building the box. They just don’t want to waste everything they’ve built.

            They may think that they can still make the relationship better. They look at everything in the box and though they see the massive room for improvement, they want to fix those issues. They believe that love is tough and it needs to be hard in order to work. Or, they feel that they just haven’t tried hard enough.

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              Humans are creatures of habit. Once you find something that works and that makes you feel comfortable, you fight to keep it. For most people it’s just easier to stay. That’s the default. The box is safe and familiar.

                The Problem with the Box

                The problem with the box is that it blocks people from being aware of what happens inside and outside their relationship.

                  While some of the reasons such as having kids together are legitimate to stay in a relationship, people need to do a deeper assessment to determine the true reasons for wanting to stay.

                  If people only think about the effort spent on building this box, all the memories, emotions and things shared throughout the time and hate to let all of that go; they are sacrificing their opportunities to be happier. This is actually a sunk cost bias. It means when people have spent a lot of effort on something, they won’t stop investing in it even if it’s going wrong. They don’t want to waste the previous investment but this has blocked them from exploring and investing in better opportunities.

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                  Many have also misunderstood the term “hard work”. No one should work like a slave to make a relationship work. Engaging in the constant struggle only brings the worst out of both people. These struggles won’t make a relationship healthy and loving.

                  People might ask “but how’d you know if you never tried? Maybe when I try harder, things will be different.” No one would ever know the future. As humans, we’re hard-wired to want to know the unknowns. Anything that has not yet been completed will leave us wonder how it will become. It’s our nature to wonder, but everyone has the power not to be led by their curiosity when deciding what’s best for themselves. Besides, you would never know you wouldn’t be happier if you never got out of the unhappy relationship.

                  How to Get Out of the Box

                  The first and most important thing to do when contemplating ending the relationship is talk with your partner. Regardless how they feel and what you ultimately choose to do, your partner deserves to know upfront that you are happy and are contemplating ending the relationship. Having this type of crucial conversation is not fun or easy. But it is the right thing to do for both yourself and your partner. Honesty is always the best option in the end.

                  Press Pause

                  Sometimes, easing out of a relationship is easier than just ripping the band-aid off. So after initiating that difficult conversation, both of you may need to take a break from each other. It could be the best way to give you both space to breathe and really evaluate the relationship.

                  Taking a break is not a license to cheat. Nor is it an opportunity for you to see if there is someone out there better than what you have. The break is about self-reflection and self-evaluation. It’s a trip you have to take alone. If, per chance, you do find someone else during your time apart, break things off with your partner immediately. You always want to act with integrity.

                  Set a time limit for how long the break will last. Once the predetermined amount of time has passed, be sure to come together and discuss next steps. You never want to leave the relationship or your partner in limbo. You, the relationship and your partner need closure.

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                  Talk the Difficult Talk

                  When the break is over, gather again to talk about your thoughts about the relationship. If you have decided to end the relationship, don’t establish false expectations in any way. Be clear about your intentions and your desire to end the relationship amicably. Don’t make your partner think that if he or she changes something that the relationship will continue.

                  Don’t blame them for the relationship ending. Just let them know that you are unhappy in this relationship but not because of anything he or she has done. It isn’t a good fit. Be lovingly firm in your explanation.

                  Stay Because of Love, Not Fear

                  Deciding to end a relationship is never really easy— especially if you care for the other person.

                  If you want a genuinely happy, healthy and fulfilling relationship, you have to be willing to take some risks. Staying in a relationship out of fear, guilt or for any other reason except genuine and true affection for the other person is damaging to you, your partner and the relationship.

                  If you truly love your partner, have the courage to stay. If not, have the courage to leave.

                  More by this author

                  Anna Chui

                  Anna is the Chief Editor and Content Strategist of Lifehack. She's also a communication expert who shares tips on motivation and relationships.

                  The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You The Purpose Of Friendship: The Only 4 Types Of Friends You Need In Life How Self-Doubt Keeps You Stuck (And How to Overcome It) How to Live Life to the Fullest and Enjoy Each Day 30 Books Everyone Should Read At Least Once In Their Lives

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                  Last Updated on February 11, 2021

                  20 Amazing Facts About Dreams that You Might Not Know About

                  20 Amazing Facts About Dreams that You Might Not Know About
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                  Dreams — Mysterious, bewildering, eye-opening and sometimes a nightmarish living hell. Dreams are all that and much more.

                  Here are 20 amazing facts about dreams that you might have never heard about:

                  Fact #1: You can’t read while dreaming, or tell the time

                    If you are unsure whether you are dreaming or not, try reading something. The vast majority of people are incapable of reading in their dreams.

                    The same goes for clocks: each time you look at a clock it will tell a different time and the hands on the clock won’t appear to be moving as reported by lucid dreamers.

                    Fact #2: Lucid dreaming

                    There is a whole subculture of people practicing what is called lucid or conscious dreaming. Using various techniques, these people have supposedly learned to assume control of their dreams and do amazing things like flying, passing through walls, and traveling to different dimensions or even back in time.

                    Want to learn how to control your dreams? You can try these tips:

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                    Lucid Dreaming: This Is How You Can Control Your Dreams

                    Fact #3: Inventions inspired by dreams

                    Dreams are responsible for many of the greatest inventions of mankind. A few examples include:

                    • The idea for Google -Larry Page
                    • Alternating current generator -Tesla
                    • DNA’s double helix spiral form -James Watson
                    • The sewing machine -Elias Howe
                    • Periodic table -Dimitri Mendeleyev

                    …and many, many more.

                    Fact #4: Premonition dreams

                    There are some astounding cases where people actually dreamt about things which happened to them later, in the exact same ways they dreamed about.

                    You could say they got a glimpse of the future, or it might have just been coincidence. The fact remains that this is some seriously interesting and bizarre phenomena. Some of the most famous premonition dreams include:

                    • Abraham Lincoln dreamt of His Assassination
                    • Many of the victims of 9/11 had dreams warning them about the catastrophe
                    • Mark Twain’s dream of his brother’s demise
                    • 19 verified precognitive dreams about the Titanic catastrophe

                    Fact #5: Sleep paralysis

                    Hell is real and it is called sleep paralysis. It’s the stuff of true nightmares. I’ve been a sleep paralysis sufferer as a kid and I can attest to how truly horrible it is.

                    Two characteristics of sleep paralysis are the inability to move (hence paralysis) and a sense of an extremely evil presence in the room with you. It doesn’t feel like a dream, but 100% real. Studies show that during an attack, sleep paralysis sufferers show an overwhelming amygdala activity. The amygdala is responsible for the “fight or flight” instinct and the emotions of fear, terror and anxiety. Enough said!

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                    Fact #6: REM sleep disorder

                    In the state of REM (rapid-eye-movement) stage of your sleep your body is normally paralyzed. In rare cases, however, people act out their dreams. These have resulted in broken arms, legs, broken furniture, and in at least one reported case, a house burnt down.

                    Fact #7: Sexual dreams

                    The very scientifically-named “nocturnal penile tumescence” is a very well documented phenomena. In laymen’s term, it simply means that you get a stiffy while you sleep. Actually, studies indicate that men get up to 20 erections per dream.

                    Fact #8: Unbelievable sleepwalkers

                      Sleepwalking is a very rare and potentially dangerous sleep disorder. It is an extreme form of REM sleep disorder, and these people don’t just act out their dreams, but go on real adventures at night.

                      Lee Hadwin is a nurse by profession, but in his dreams he is an artist. Literally. He “sleepdraws” gorgeous portraits, of which he has no recollection afterwards. Strange sleepwalking “adventures” include:

                      • A woman having sex with strangers while sleepwalking
                      • A man who drove 22 miles and killed his cousin while sleepwalking
                      • A sleepwalker who walked out of the window from the third floor, and barely survived

                      Fact #9: Dream drug

                      There are actually people who like dreaming and dreams so much that they never want to wake up. They want to continue on dreaming even during the day, so they take an illegal and extremely potent hallucinogenic drug called Dimethyltryptamine. It is actually only an isolated and synthetic form of the chemical our brains produce naturally during dreaming.

                      Fact #10 Dream-catcher

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                        The dream-catcher is one of the most well-known Native American symbols. It is a loose web or webs woven around a hoop and decorated with sacred objects meant to protect against nightmares.

                        Fact #11: Increased brain activity

                        You would associate sleeping with peace and quiet, but actually our brains are more active during sleep than during the day.

                        Fact #12: Creativity and dreams

                        As we mentioned before, dreams are responsible for inventions, great artworks and are generally just incredibly interesting. They are also “recharging” our creativity.

                        Scientists also say that keeping a dream diary helps with creativity.

                        In rare cases of REM disorder, people actually don’t dream at all. These people suffer from significantly decreased creativity and perform badly at tasks requiring creative problem solving.

                        Fact #13: Pets dream too

                          Our animal companions dream as well. Watch a dog or a cat sleep and you can see that they are moving their paws and making noises like they were chasing something. Go get ’em buddy!

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                          Fact #14: You always dream—you just don’t remember it

                          Many people claim that they don’t dream at all, but that’s not true: we all dream, but up to 60% of people don’t remember their dreams at all.

                          Fact #15: Blind people dream too

                          Blind people who were not born blind see images in their dreams but people who were born blind don’t see anything at all. They still dream, and their dreams are just as intense and interesting, but they involve the other senses beside sight.

                          Fact #16: In your dreams, you only see faces that you already know

                            It is proven that in dreams, we can only see faces that we have seen in real life before. So beware: that scary-looking old lady next to you on the bus might as well be in your next nightmare.

                            Fact #17: Dreams tend to be negative

                            Surprisingly, dreams are more often negative than positive. The three most widely reported emotions felt during dreaming are anger, sadness and fear.

                            Fact #18: Multiple dreams per night

                            You can have up to seven different dreams per night depending on how many REM cycles you have. We only dream during the REM period of sleep, and the average person dreams one to two hours every night.

                            Fact #19: Gender differences

                            Interestingly, 70% of all the characters in a man’s dream are other men, but women’s dream contain an equal amount of women and men. Also men’s dreams contain a lot more aggression. Both women and men dream about sexual themes equally often.

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                            Fact #20: Not everyone dreams in color

                            As much as 12% of people only dream in black and white.

                            Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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