"The only investors staying the course are those with a broken compass."

-- from an ad for BNY Mellon

When I saw this ad it immediately made me think about people who enter and/or stay in unhealthy, unhappy relationships. Some people seem to have a broken Relationship Compass. They enter relationships with people they shouldn't be with or they stay in relationships they shouldn't stay in. Let's look at some of the reasons this happens.

The family that you grew up in might have set a model for relationships that isn't a good model. It could be a family where there was violence, hostility, intimidation, alcoholism, etc. If this is what you grew up with, then this is what you might consider "normal" or inevitable. If that's the case, then you could tolerate, accept, or expect such unhealthy things to exist in your own relationships.
The culture that you grew up in could have taught you to expect or tolerate things that shouldn't exist in a healthy relationship -- like sexism, alcoholism, violence, etc. In this case, even if you recognize what's wrong, you may consider those things the "natural" or inevitable components of relationships.
The family or culture that you grew up in might have told you that leaving relationships is unacceptable, intolerable, unforgivable, or immoral. In this case, even if you figure out that the relationship is a bad place to be, you may believe that you must not or cannot leave it.
Cultures in which obedience or submission are values, particularly in women, give the intentional message that the vows are unconditional, and that there is no justification ever for terminating them, since decision-making isn't within your power.

Cultures or religions in which the vows are considered unconditional compacts make it clear that terminating a relationship is unacceptable without exception. This can be a moral or religious issue where there is never a justification for "breaking a solemn promise".

Families sometimes say, explicitly, things like, "You made your bed; now lie in it." In this case the belief is that choices are irrevocable and that mistakes are uncorrectable. There is even a message, explicit or implicit, that you should be punished for having made a mistake.

There could be compelling reasons to stay even if you feel it's an unhealthy place to be.
If you believe (accurately or erroneously) that you can't support yourself or your children if you leave a bad relationship, you may feel you must stay. This consideration sometimes trumps any consideration for the toxic quality for you or your children of remaining permanently in an unhealthy situation.

If you fear retribution if you even attempt to leave, then staying may feel safer than leaving. Even with the increasing availability of sanctuaries for people who leave abusive situations, not everyone is convinced that safety can be ensured if they leave.

If you fear that you will be rejected by extended family, friends, or society if you leave, you may stay because you fear ostracism from your support system. It can feel safer, and even more comfortable, to remain in an unhealthy situation and retain your social network than it would be to leave and be isolated socially.

Sometimes people believe that the natural course of relationships involves phases during which the relationship is not good or positive and that this is just the way it is, either temporarily or as a permanent evolution of the relationship.
If this is a temporary situation AND it is addressed by one or both partners, that's not necessarily troublesome or a reason to consider exiting the relationship.

If it's been an increasingly negative trajectory, this should not be assumed to be the natural course of relationships. Healthy relationships get BETTER over time, not worse. As partners mature and as they increasingly learn how to be better partners, healthy relationships grow stronger, more positive, and more loving. (Sometimes that's because there was in fact a rough patch that they navigated in healthy and growthful ways.)

Serious relationships deserve serious consideration and substantial effort before they're terminated. I am not advocating precipitous action to terminate a relationship because there's a rocky moment or even problematic behavior or interaction.

I am suggesting that for some people, because of history, training, or personality, or because of fear, loyalty, or unreasoning hope, sometimes the Relationship Compass points IN when it should, more self-respectfully, point OUT.

Author's Bio: 

Smith Barlay has a wild passion of IT, especially IT Certifications, IT Exams, Internet, Searchengine Optimization techniques and Social Media.