You think that love should be simple—you find someone, you love them, they love you, and you make each other happy.
But life isn’t always like that.
Love comes in all shapes and sizes, and sometimes we fall in love with people who aren’t right for us.
Sometimes we end up hurting the people we think we love, or being hurt by them.
The reasons why we hurt those we love can be complicated, but in the wrong relationship they can’t always be helped.
So what happens if you’re in a relationship where you’re the one being hurt?
What should you do if you’re in love with someone who you know is no good for you but you can’t seem to get past those feelings?
If they are the wrong person for you, you’d think it would be easy to let them go and find someone else. Alas, love doesn’t work that way.
Understanding what is keeping you in the relationship is the first step toward getting out of it.
Keep reading for some of the most common reasons you may be unable to stop loving someone who is hurting you—and what you should do about it.
1. You’re scared you won’t find anyone else.
Being in an unhappy relationship is not better than being in no relationship at all.
If you keep going back to someone who you know is bad for you because you don’t want to be single, then you need to really think about why letting go is so hard and what it is about single life that scares you so much.
You might be scared of being lonely, but in an unhappy relationship, you can feel just as lonely if your partner ignores you or gaslights you.
You might be worried about not having anyone to do things with like going on vacations.
But your partner could very well let you down anyway, meaning you’re left disappointed and not doing the things you hoped you would be.
Just remember: being single can be a gift.
If you embrace it, it’s an opportunity to get to know yourself better and understand who you are as a person without the influence of anyone else.
It’s a chance to build your own confidence and put all the energy you would be using worrying about an unhappy relationship back into yourself in a positive way. You can spend time with friends and family, and you’re not limited by what anyone else wants to do.
Being single isn’t the end of everything, and you always have the chance to meet someone better for you. But staying in an unhappy relationship could last a lifetime.
Even if it feels scary at first, it’s better to find happiness on your own than to be stuck with someone you love but who hurts you.
2. You can’t seem to move on.
Heartbreak can be all-consuming and feel impossible to get over. Trying to move on from someone, even if you know they aren’t good for you, can feel way too hard.
This can cause you to go back to your ex again and again.
Every time you try to move on, you can’t seem to get your ex out of your head. Even though they hurt you, you’re constantly thinking about the few good times you had together.
You miss them too much to be able to let them go forever. But time, as cliche as it sounds, really does make things better.
Given enough time and determination, the feelings you have now will grow to become a memory and you will be able to make space in your heart for someone else.
You can’t seem to move on because you are so used to having them in your life, but if you give your new reality time, you’ll begin to realize just how much better life can be.
If you can’t seem to fall out of love with your ex, but you know you need to move on, you must be strict about limiting any sort of contact with them.
Stop following them on social media, don’t text or call them, and avoid seeing them as much as possible for a few months.
Concentrate on putting energy back into your self-healing and you’ll gradually be able to see that they weren’t the right person for you after all.
3. You lack self-confidence.
One of the issues with being with a partner who isn’t healthy for you is that whenever they hurt or disappoint you, they destroy the confidence you have in yourself and make you more reliant on them.
It’s a tactic used in toxic relationships for the dominant partner to gain even more control, bringing you down so much that you start to believe that no one else could ever love you.
Finding your self-confidence again will help you see that you are worthy of so much more. You deserve someone who lifts you up, encourages you, and brings out the best in you, not someone who’s trying to mold you into someone you’re not.
To help yourself, you can start by putting more time and energy into surrounding yourself with people who build you up, like family and friends. Join groups of likeminded people so you can enjoy activities while making new positive connections.
Finally, try going to therapy. After being in a toxic relationship, you might need a helping hand to remind yourself of what you have to offer the world.
A therapist can help you talk through all the struggles you are experiencing so you can learn to embrace and let out your true self while keeping your inner spark alive.
4. You keep hoping they’ll change.
Do you find yourself constantly making excuses for your partner? Imagining that if they just acted differently, it would be a perfect relationship?
You keep going back to your ex because you’re convinced that this time it will be different.
Maybe they even tell you that they will change, that they’ll listen to what you need and not hurt you like they did last time.
You can give someone a second chance to learn from their mistakes, but if they keep repeating the same hurtful behavior, then you have to face up to the fact that they’re never going to be the person you want them to be.
If this sounds like you, it’s time to face up to the reality of the situation. Try to think about the last time your partner actually stuck to their promise and tried to be better for you.
Think about the amount of time you spend unhappy compared to the little time you actually enjoy your relationship day to day.
Remember that you deserve more than to wait and hope for your partner to change. You can go out there and find your dream partner if you can just find the strength to let go of the one that always lets you down.
5. They’ve manipulated you.
The reason you might find it so hard to let go of someone who still hurts you in a relationship is simply because they’ve been manipulating you.
Whether it’s that they’ve been gaslighting you, telling you that you’re crazy for thinking the way you do, or playing with your emotions by being hot and cold with you one minute to the next, their treatment of you has left you confused and unsure of yourself.
This continued abuse and manipulation of your emotions has put you at the mercy of their mood, not knowing how they’re going to react and feeling exhausted.
If this continues, you’ll start to believe them when they say that you’re not worth anything better and that you couldn’t find anyone else to love you even if you tried.
Whatever has happened in your relationship, if you’re continuously being hurt and let down by someone, it’s not healthy.
You shouldn’t be holding out for a few good moments in between so many bad ones, and whatever they’ve made you believe, know that you are worth so much more than this.
You might think you love them, but if someone loves you back, they don’t treat you like this. They have respect for you and don’t try to play with your emotions.
In this situation the best thing to do to try to get over them is to create as much distance from them as possible. You need time away to clear your head. This will help you to stop falling for their manipulative and hurtful tricks.
You think you can’t get better, but you just need to be in a calm, stable environment and soon enough you’ll see for yourself that whatever they’ve been making you believe is far from the truth.
6. You won’t admit how much they’ve hurt you.
You can’t get out of an unhealthy relationship if you aren’t ready to admit to yourself just how bad it is.
If you aren’t honest with yourself about how unhappy you really are, then you’re going to keep going back to this person who hurts you because you’re kidding yourself that it isn’t that bad.
Any situation where you feel hurt by the person you love is bad. They are supposed to be the person who wants the best for you, wants to protect you, and puts your happiness above anything else.
If they really do love you, then you shouldn’t be repeatedly feeling hurt and disappointed by them.
Because you think it’s love, and you want to make it work so badly, you’re not facing up to just how terrible they’re really making you feel.
You try to justify why love can hurt so much because you aren’t ready to be honest with yourself and admit that you shouldn’t be together.
But you won’t give yourself the chance to find something better if you don’t admit that there’s a problem that can’t be fixed.
Remember the last time they hurt you and be honest with yourself about how it really felt. Try to identify each time you’ve felt that way in this relationship, and don’t make excuses for them.
This validation of your emotions brings clarity to your experiences and shows you the true reality of your relationship with this person.
Think about how the bad outweighs the good and why you aren’t demanding more from your relationship for your own happiness.
7. The good times feel special.
The reason that the good times in your relationship feel so good is because the rest of the time you’re feeling so unhappy.
Even though they keep hurting you, when your relationship is going well, it feels amazing. But that’s only because the rest of the time you’re feeling hurt and sad.
Anything would feel amazing if it was compared to feeling terrible.
The smallest gesture from your partner when they’re finally being nice to you could make you irrationally happy, but that’s only because you’ve had to wait through so much pain to get there.
You shouldn’t be living for the few good moments in a relationship. Feeling happy should be an everyday reality, not an occasional treat because the rest of the time you feel so bad.
Don’t use the good times to justify the bad or kid yourself that it shows there is potential for your partner to change. If there are more ups than downs, this pattern is likely to continue if you were to stay with them.
If you want to try to move on, you need to expect more for yourself. You need to accept that this isn’t a normal or healthy way to live and that however great the highs might feel, it’s only that way because the lows are so low.
8. You’re addicted to the drama of your relationship.
When you’re in a tumultuous relationship, you get used to the idea that your love life needs to be fuelled by drama.
If you stay in a relationship that keeps causing you hurt, the emotional rollercoaster you’re on will start taking over your life.
Making up with someone only to be hurt by them again can take over your emotions and become your only focus.
The problem with such an intense relationship is that any normal, healthy relationship compared to this would feel almost boring.
Going from such an emotional environment to one of stability might be a hard adjustment. The adrenaline from arguments and the ecstasy of making up after a fight has become addictive and now feels more normal than a calm, balanced relationship.
If you’re struggling to get used to the idea of a “normal” relationship, then you need to start looking inward for what you expect from a partner.
Learn to understand that the intensity of your relationship means that it’s toxic, not that the emotions you feel mean more.
You need to expect more for yourself. A therapist can help you learn to embrace a more nurturing relationship where stability is a good sign, not a boring one.
9. You’ve never seen a healthy relationship.
You might be staying with someone who keeps on hurting you because you’ve never been around a healthy relationship.
For you, the one you’re in may not be perfect, but any relationship you’ve ever been around has had its issues, so why should you expect anything better?
If you grew up without a stable family unit, or have never had a role model who you’ve seen in a happy, healthy, and respectful relationship, then you’re not going to know what the normal boundaries are that you should be expecting in yours.
If you were surrounded by toxic relationships as a child, you may almost expect the type of behavior you now put up with because it seems like everyone else goes through the same thing.
You won’t have the confidence to ask for more from your partner because you don’t know that any other type of relationship really exists for someone like you.
You don’t have to get stuck in the same cycle as the people you’ve grown up around.
Try to find a couple you can use as a role model—a realistic pair that show respect and love to one another—and see how they navigate their issues.
If you can’t get advice from those around you, try educating yourself with practical relationship advice from experts.
Just because it’s what you’ve always known doesn’t mean you have to settle for it. You deserve the fairytale, so don’t be afraid to break the mold to go and get it.
10. You don’t know what real love is.
Love, obsession, or infatuation can feel very similar when you don’t know the difference.
If you keep getting hurt by the person you’re with, you should consider if it’s really love.
It could be that you feel dependent on them because they’re the only partner you’ve known or you’re scared of being alone.
It could even be because they have control over you financially and you always thought that meant they were taking care of you.
Or perhaps you feel trapped by the intensity of their behavior toward you, being too controlling to ever let you leave their life completely.
None of these scenarios describe a loving relationship.
Love is about finding someone you want to encourage to be the best they can be. It’s about choosing to put someone else before your own needs because their happiness is more important than your own.
You do this because you know that they feel the same way, and as a pair and a team, you bring out the best in each other.
Being in love isn’t about dramatic highs and lows of emotion—there should be a sense of contentment and stability because you feel comfortable knowing that your partner is always there for you and has your back. You aren’t waiting for the good times to come around because you love sharing every day with them.
If you haven’t experienced a relationship like this, and it doesn’t sound like the relationship you’re in now, then maybe you haven’t found love yet.
Being in love shouldn’t feel hard or cause you pain. It’s meant to add to your life, not make it more complicated.
Take a hard look at your relationship and think about whether this is dependency or infatuation rather than real love.
The right person can show you what love really is if you just allow yourself to find them. Don’t settle for second best, give yourself the chance to find the real thing.
The only obstacle stopping you from falling out of love with someone who is hurting you is you.
You can’t let go of them because you don’t really want to.
Does your own ego tell you that with enough time and willpower you can make them a better person? Are they the perfect person you imagined for yourself, or are you just scared of not having the security of a partner?
Holding onto something that you know isn’t right for you is just denying yourself the chance of finding true happiness.
That could be finding self-love and confidence again to live life in the way you want to, or it could mean finding real love with someone else.
You think this relationship is worth holding onto because it’s what you know right now, but you can’t know what the future holds if you don’t give yourself the chance to find out.
Deep down, you understand that this relationship isn’t right for you, and you can acknowledge that you’re being hurt.
You have all the skills you need to demand more for yourself and take the first steps toward the true happiness you know you deserve, you just have to be brave enough to go for it.