People Are Opening Up About Why They Couldn't Leave Their "Lifeless" Relationship, Even Though They Desperately Wanted To
Just because someone's in a relationship doesn't mean it's going to be perfect all the time — in fact, some people will even feel stagnant. And since this happens a lot more than we think, we asked the BuzzFeed Community to share: "If you have ever felt stuck or stagnant in a romantic relationship — either your current one or a past one — tell us about it." And the answers were incredibly honest and vulnerable. Here's what they had to say.
1."My husband loves me to the best of his ability. I adore him, and I appreciate everything he does for our family. He just can't seem to adapt to changes in the relationship. Whether it was getting engaged, getting married, or having our baby, he always falls back on what he is used to and where he is comfortable. I have stood by him through many hardships, but I end up feeling like I'm growing and he's not. It's not to say he is doing something wrong, but people change over time, and he hasn't. He continues to work long hours, fails to maintain communication with people he cares about, and gets angry when anyone suggests a different way of approaching something. I fell in love with who he was when we met, but I need him to grow with me. I feel sad and scared to be alone."
2."I have been with my partner for almost three years, and I'm pretty sure I'm falling out of love with him. He is my best friend, adores me, and is really kind. Our life together is full of laughter and love — but he doesn't inspire me at all. I look at him and see a future of watching TV, living in shitty apartments, and just making ends meet. I want to travel and build things and grow! He, on the other hand, is totally happy with things being exactly how they are forever. I'm too scared to lose the friendship and too broke to afford to live alone... so, I'm stuck for now."
3."We have become stagnant, mainly because of ME. I will take a good 90% of the blame. Why? Because I was too dependent on him for my happiness. I work from home. I have become a very boring person with no hobbies or interests to call my own. Outside of reading and wine drinking, I don't DO anything, and it's created a lot of resentment and animosity. Like I said, I was depending on him to fulfill my needs and be my friend, partner, lover, source of pushing me, anything, and everything. Don't do this with your partners, people. I've been with him for 15 years, and I can't believe it got to this point with us."
4."I was in a four-and-a-half-year relationship, but because I have a disability (autism), I thought that he was the only one who could/would be interested in me. The last couple of years were completely sexless. I was doing all the cooking, cleaning, and basically being his therapist and caretaker while also trying to complete my engineering degree. We never went out, he never wanted to do anything, and didn't like my friends. One day, I went on a hike with a friend (the first time in ages without having to take care of my ex), and I realized I wasn't happy. I went home, packed my things, called my mom to pick me up, and left the next day. Now, I am happily single for two years, with a cat who needs less care and gives more affection, and I know now that guys will be interested regardless of disability."
—Danielle, 26, Canada
5."I (36F) [have been] married to my husband (44M) for eight years now. Our lives and finances are so intertwined that the idea of starting over feels more complicated than just continuing down this path. He is a kind person and would never do anything to purposely hurt me, but I feel that he’s too complacent in the relationship and has shifted from being a supportive partner to putting himself first in all situations. If I want to attend an after-work get-together and ask him to join, he won’t because he doesn’t like hearing me and my coworkers talk about work that he’s not involved with. I’ve asked him to do certain things around the house a particular way, like fold the towels a certain way or put the blankets in a certain location, and he claims I have too many rules and I should just do the chores myself if I don’t like the way he does them."
6."I’m currently feeling stuck in my marriage. We’ve been together for almost 16 years and married for 12. I love him, but it isn’t how you’re 'supposed' to love a romantic partner. It’s more like the love I feel for friends. I grew to resent him around five years ago when I was doing the bulk of the housework and caring for our children. I wasn’t even a stay-at-home parent, though that shouldn’t matter. He has stepped up over the last year, but resentment is hard to let go of, even if the issue is somewhat resolved. I also feel like sometimes people drift, but society has stigmatized divorce in such a big way. I would love to explore an open relationship as I think we would both benefit, but I know he won’t be open to that. I don’t want a divorce for many reasons, but a big one is financial security."
—Anonymous, 39, Oregon
7."I'm engaged to my boyfriend of four years. We met online, and it's been great. I'm glad I met someone who I'm not in constant arguments with. The thing that makes me feel stuck, however, is he's not a touchy-feely person, and he gets upset when I even touch his shoulder in public. I love feeling close to people in that way and even friends I'll touch because I just feel like it's a way for me to show that I care and love them. My boyfriend doesn't even like to cuddle me at home, and it's like pulling teeth trying to get him to. I just want him to be more intimate with me, and I don't know how to make it happen. It really sucks. He's a great guy, and I don't intend on leaving him anytime soon, but I do consider it at times because I just feel like I'm not being loved at times."
8."We have an 8-month-old daughter together. He refuses to marry me or even make me a key to the house that 'we' live in. When I ask him if he even loves me, he rolls his eyes and says 'Oh my god, this again?' But the reality is, I'm stuck with him. The cost of living here is outrageous, and if you're not making a yearly salary of at least $50,000 here, you're not going to be able to afford a two-bedroom apartment in a decent area. I'm also hesitant to live with a roommate because my daughter is so young."
—Nicole, 32, California
9."I’ve been with my boyfriend for five years; he’s in his late 40s (I’m in my early 30s). When we got together, he was separated pending divorce, and living with his ex (co-parenting situation). He told me he’d move by the end of that first year, and then, it just continued on and on until now. It’s been five years with no change. I love him, and no one has ever known me as deeply or understood me nearly as well as he does. I just wonder if things will ever change or if my life will be in a holding pattern indefinitely. I want to get married and buy a home together, but I am starting to think he doesn’t want to 'start again' by building a life with someone, or maybe just not with me. I feel foolish to my family and friends, but I just keep thinking 'what if…' It’s been so long, I know we could have an amazing life together, and I don’t want to miss it because I gave up too soon."
10."I stayed in a dead-end relationship for five years, from age 24-29. There was nothing blatantly wrong, but nothing was right either. I questioned myself for years and felt horrible at the prospect of breaking up something 'comfortable' even though year by year, I felt like I was dying inside. I started waking up in the middle of the night with cold sweats because I knew I was waking up next to the wrong person and just letting time waste away. Eventually, my health completely tanked, and it opened my eyes to what matters most: happiness. We broke up not long after, and I have never felt more happy, free, and justified with my decision — but holy shit, was it a hard decision to make. I truly felt evil breaking up with something that was 'not that bad.' Never settle. EVER."
11."I met my current partner a few months after leaving an abusive 13-year relationship. I felt like I was ready to love again, and he was the complete opposite of my ex, which I thought was what I wanted. He was super calm, and it was soothing to be around. COVID forced us to move in together way faster than I was ready for, and it didn't take me long to discover that he was just a really dull person with not much of a personality. I have a loud, energetic personality, and it is draining to be in the same space as him. We have nothing in common, and I really can't stand spending time with him."
12."My husband is incredibly loving and selfless in our marriage — sometimes almost too much so, which sounds counterintuitive but nevertheless. We're both in our 30s. For 12 years of our 13 so far, he's been an alcoholic and then made dramatic changes after a second DUI. For all of those years prior, I was codependent and did anything I could to keep him and us safe and keep our lives running smoothly in between the bad nights, episodes, and binges. It was always a rollercoaster."
"Since he's stopped drinking and I've worked to heal codependency, it's like we don't know or understand each other anymore, and we don't have that toxic connection to hold us close to one another. We're in therapy trying to keep things going, but we don't seem to agree on what issues are present because, again, we're on different wavelengths. I don't know if it's something that can be fixed or if we're just different people now who aren't meant to be. Every day is a battle."
13."When I was 17, I started dating someone a couple of years older than me who I had met at work — and about six months of working there, we started dating. It felt very sweet and gentle at first, but over time, things very quickly changed. I felt like I was dragging my partner through life; I had to motivate them to do anything. I had worked for and gotten a promotion and moved to another location while they called in a lot and did nothing productive toward growing their lives. After going on vacation with a bunch of friends, I completely got the ick and realized I was becoming attracted to just other people that wasn’t them. I remember crying so many times because I felt stuck in the relationship because we had talked and loosely made plans about the future even though they put no work toward it."
14."I’ve been in a relationship for 15 years, not married, but we have three kids together. For most of the relationship, I’ve always felt stuck because I have always been working on career goals and needed help. I feel stuck because he’s helped me reach my goals, and now, I feel like I owe him. Growing up, he never had a family, and I feel bad about breaking our family apart because he’s proud to have his own family now. He puts us first and takes good care of us, but for most of the relationship, I’ve felt like we’re just not meant to be, yet I’m still here because I don’t know how to end things or start over."
—Anonymous, 30, Texas