Too Invested: Why We Stay in Unhealthy Relationships



You may know a friend or a family member who is in an unhealthy relationship. You’ve spent countless hours listening to the drama of their love life. You constantly question them and ask why they are with that person, and they usually reply with, “I love them. I don’t want to lose them.” And sometimes they are willing to admit another truth: “I don’t want to be alone.”

These are all very understandable points. When you’ve invested time and energy into a relationship, starting over is such an overwhelming feeling.

I like to compare these tumultuous relationships to the television series “Lost”. I remember watching the pilot of the series. I was immediately hooked, almost infatuated. I couldn’t wait to see the next episode. I couldn’t wait a whole week. I couldn’t stop talking about it. This world they had created was so brand new and exciting. I was getting attached to the characters. How could this show go wrong? I was invested.

Then the excitement turned into “hmm’s” and questions. Why did Jack try so hard? What was John Locke’s deal? Was he evil? Oh. There were supernatural occurrences now? The show wasn’t really going in a direction I thought it would, but I was already into season 3. I thought, maybe it would get better…I was invested. I wanted to see how it played out.

And then came season 5, which was so disappointing. They were trying anything and everything to keep me on my toes and keep me watching. And then, the 6th and final season. I thought, this better end well because I’ve been stuck watching for so long. And then the series ended, and they were all dead. Lame.

I had this very interesting but unfulfilling relationship with “Lost.” In the same way, I believe many people stay in unhealthy or unhappy relationships to see if anything will change. After my own experience with one of these relationships, I’m much wiser with the investments I make, starting with investments in myself.

I’ve been taking the “me first” approach, doing productive things to help me become a better human. Instead of sitting on social media for an hour, I go for a run. I’ve trimmed down my drinking with bar friend acquaintances. I’m singing more. I’m playing guitar more. I’m creating and writing more. I’ve been spending time with people that actually give a shit about me.

So if your reason for staying is that you feel too invested, remind yourself that it’s okay to walk away from the table sometimes. You don’t have to keep watching the show just because you’ve seen all the other seasons. Maybe it’s time to change the channel. Maybe it’s time to start investing in yourself again.

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