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Why do people get into bad relationships over and over?

On Behalf of | Oct 29, 2021 | Abusive Relationships, Divorce |

Being in a relationship has challenges. Finding someone compatible for a relationship can seem impossible.

A potential partner could have anything from incompatible quirks to toxic traits that make the relationship go south. For some, these might be deal-breakers. However, others have hope that enough time and patience could turn negative traits into positive ones.

These are some of the reasons people stay in problematic relationships and why they tend to fall into a second (or third).

Enough vs. Best

With billions of people on the planet, the chances seem higher for finding the wrong person than the right one. Once someone engages in this type of thinking, seeking a compatible relationship becomes more about what is ok instead of what is positive for both people.

Avoiding the alternative

While a bad relationship may seem like a terrible choice, it can seem better than being alone. For many people drawn to negative relationships, it becomes more a question of finding someone to fill the role rather than finding the right person.


For those looking in, it can seem illogical to endure multiple bad relationships. However, it becomes something that feels normal for the person who is in their second or third (or more) bad relationship.

When toxicity becomes normal, it can be challenging to break the cycle because the person in the relationship only has bad relationships for comparison. Additionally, a positive relationship can feel like it is not genuine because it does not fit what they know from their other relationships.

Seeing the signs

Finding a positive relationship means getting several components working together. You need to understand the traits that are healthy, unhealthy and neutral so that you can spot a relationship going in an unhealthy direction, such as:

  • Lack of respect for mental, physical and emotional boundaries
  • Physical, emotional or psychological abuse
  • Lack of communication
  • Gaslighting

In the early stages of a relationship, it can be tempting to overlook or make excuses for these negative behaviors. However, ignoring and making excuses is not sustainable.

Trust those who know you best

Your friends and family can help you get an outside perspective on a potentially unhealthy relationship. While you may want to take one person’s opinion with a grain of salt, when a few loved ones see toxic traits, it might be time to consider ending the relationship.