Why do people stay in toxic relationships

Industry Observer with Justine Mfulama

In this post, I shared the common signs of a toxic boyfriend. A lot of women read the article and thought “Duh! Why would any woman ever go for this guy?!”.

Well, sometimes women miss the early warning signs of a toxic relationship and don’t realize it until it’s too late. 

That’s when they start to rationalize the relationship and stay in it, even though it’s unhealthy.

Here are some of the reasons why people stay in toxic relationships.

  • You got used to it

It’s important to understand that toxic love relationships start harmlessly.

Occasional sarcastic jokes, silent treatment when he’s mad or manipulating you to feel bad about your ‘high’ standards. The problem is, it doesn’t stop there. One thing leads to another and after a while, it becomes the norm in your relationship.

Both of you develop a routine that includes playing specific roles. One is the abuser and the other one is the peacemaker. You get used to continuously having to make it up to him and apologize for a minor argument.

That makes you develop a fear of abandonment and increases insecurity.

  • You mistake abuse for love

1 Corinthians 13:4 tells you that love is patient, love is kind… Let me just stop right here.

Love is patient, love is kind! Point blank, exclamation mark.

I’ve mentioned it before, but it’s worth repeating. Just because relationships and even marriages can be “hard” doesn’t’ mean that they are not loving.

Healthy relationships are a lot of work because both partners have to put in the commitment, sacrifice, and effort that it takes to make it work. However, they do it because they love each other.

Someone that displays toxic relationship patterns does not know what love means in its purest and godliest form. He might need to be taught, reminded, or coached to change his thinking.

But don’t make the mistake to confuse abuse with love, because he says so.

  • You think you can change him

The beautiful thing about being a Christian is that we know God can change people. We have seen it happen to others and experienced it ourselves.

So, it’s easy to get caught up in the hope that your partner will eventually change. And yes, I agree with you, by God’s grace he will.

But you are not God.

Don’t stay in a toxic relationship hoping that you can change him. Trust God, remove yourself from the situation and let God do what he does best. Save!


  • You think it’s God’s will

Honestly, I don’t even know how to say that. And while I’m aware of the criticism this could attract, I know how important it is to voice this.

Toxic relationships exist even in the Christian community.

Which, I believe, is not even the problem. Because at the end of the day NOBODY is perfect. Christian or not. As Christians, we are very aware of it and that’s why we seek to become more like Christ every day.

But what is a major problem is that a lot of us think we need to stay in the relationship no matter what, because God called us to it and wants us to persevere.


So yes, God calls you to persevere, practice endurance, and be patient in different areas of your life. But if your boyfriend is emotionally or physically abusive and endangers your health and well-being then I doubt that it’s God’s will.

And if you are not sure, then seek wise counsel or marriage counseling. Connect with a pastor at your church who can give you Christian relationship advice.

Don’t misinterpret scripture but ask someone that can teach you.


  • You don’t know real love

This is probably the most heartbreaking (besides the ‘you could die’ point of course).

I love love love LOVE. Real, unconditional love like I feel it for my little nephews. And I desire to experience that in the future with a husband and children of my own.

The danger about remaining in a toxic relationship is that you could end up never knowing what real love is. And forever confuse it with heartbreak. How sad would that be?

God created us out of love, to love and be loved.

Don’t rob yourself of the one experience that will change your life forever by remaining in a situation that is blinding you.


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