Stay With Someone You Don’t Love?


The question is, should you stay with someone you don’t love for other reasons besides love? How about money? You get together with someone who has more money than you do. Maybe you marry.

You get used to the lifestyle, you like the extras, the wealth. But deep down inside, after the glamour has worn off, you realize that you don’t really love him or her. What kind of sacrifice are you making to stay with him or her basically for the money?

How about for the children? This is a common one. It goes like this, I don’t want my kids to grow up without a father or mother. You might add, the disruption in their lives won’t be good for them.

What does it take to live with someone, the co-parent of your children, knowing that you don’t love him or her? Will the kids notice that you don’t love him or her? Will the household be loving or filled with tension, distance, or worse? Are we teaching our children in this kind of family context how to live without love?

How about, staying with someone because you feel sorry for him or her? If I leave you, you won’t know what to do with yourself, maybe you’ll get sick, maybe you’ll be hurt and in pain, perhaps never recover. The extreme form of this one is worrying about the ‘survival’ of the partner you are leaving. In some extreme cases suicidal behavior could be the response. So what am I supposed to do? Am i responsible? Should I stay in the relationship because you might kill yourself if I leave? What kind of resentment will grow in this kind of relationship with that kind of personal compromise?

How about, I stay with you because I don’t believe I could do better? In this case better means find someone to genuinely love? Now I’m feeling sorry for myself more than sorry for you. What kind of compromise is being made in a relationship by staying with someone because you have no faith that you could find real love? If I felt better about myself would I ever entertain such a self-sacrifice?

Bottom line, if you stay in a love relationship because of any other reason besides love, chances are you’ll feel the loss. How you are going to cope with that loss is a personal matter. Some people are self-destructive about it (drugs, alcohol, bad habits, etc), others get chronically depressed, and some people construct triangular love lives. A triangular love life, for those of you who are new to my blog, is a love life where you go looking for what you are not getting at home somewhere else and keep both persons in a triangle.

If you ask me, I would rather be set free to find real love in the time I’ve got left than to be locked up in a cage (like my lion friend) for the rest of my life. Since we human beings ‘need’ love like any other basic human need, forcing yourself to live without it is bound to get a bit psychologically dicey.

Comments? Welcome. Dr. T. Jordan

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Dr. Jordan

Dr. Thomas Jordan is a clinical psychologist, certified interpersonal psychoanalyst, author, professor, and love life researcher.


  1. Olivia on April 14, 2016 at 4:05 pm

    Goof article, thank you , I needed it

  2. Mike on October 26, 2016 at 3:45 pm

    What if you keep on ending relationships because you keep on searching for “real love” and life just keeps getting shorter? Is there contentment in staying with someone who says they love you, you don’t love them, but it’s better than having anyone?

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