Have you ever wondered what the chances are that you’d stay in a bad relationship? Probably not. I never gave it much thought myself until I read an interesting article about how we as humans are likely to view investments. I can’t remember where I read the article or who the author was but I remember something stuck out to me about the way that he/she explained a person’s disposition to investments using the following scenario:
Let’s assume you go to the cinema to watch a movie. After scanning through available options, you settle on the one you think would be interesting. You pay for your ticket, grab your popcorn and head to the hall excitedly. A few minutes into the movie, you realize that it’s not along the lines of anything you like or it’s just really boring. What would you do?
There are two possibilities that may immediately come to mind:
- To sit through the movie and bear the boredom; afterall, you already paid for it. OR
- To leave the cinema hall the moment you realize the movie is not what you hoped it would be, and either pay for another movie that would give you what you need, or go elsewhere to have a good time.
According to the author of that article, most people are likely to choose option 1, i.e sit through a movie they do not like or are not likely to enjoy rather than leave the hall to choose a different movie or go do something else.
This got me thinking about why people stay in bad relationships. Why do people resort to sticking with unhappy relationships, abusive relationships, stuck-and-heading-nowhere relationships? Think about it: there are many people who say “we’ve been together for xx years so we just have to make it work” even though they know that their relationships are filled with bitterness, anger and resentment. There are people who prioritize the duration of their relationships over the quality of it and tend to focus on prolonging the duration rather than improving the quality.
This is because people worry about how much they have invested in a bad decision (in terms of time and money) and become obsessed with making it work. This kind of thinking continuously looks backwards and regurgitates the investments that have been made into the relationship rather than the returns on those investments. It’s a way of life that prevents many people from taking risks and daring to seek new possibilities. It’s a way of life many people have adapted to.
So here’s a challenge for you: Look back on your relationship and ask yourself if you have received returns on your investments? Please bear in mind that these returns should not include children. You do not need to invest your heart in a relationship to get a child so focus on other things like: are you respected? are you treated with love? Do you feel, in spite of the bumpy days that your partner will consistently support and care for you like you do for him/her? Are you confident, in spite of the turbulence you might face that your relationship is headed for a happy ending? That your relationship is filled with substance and not just symbols?
For once, forget about the investments you have made and ask yourself if you are happy in your partnership.
Because the truth is it does not matter how long you have been investng if you have been investing wrongly. It is equivalent to pouring water into a basket but refusing to stop because you have been at it for a very long time. The basket will never fill up and you will never stop pouring. So do what’s good for you.