Bright Side

An Expert Explains Why People Go Back to Partners Who Hurt Them

Sometimes we decide to give a toxic relationship a second chance, hoping things will be different this time. Whether it’s because we feel lonely, it’s easy, we’re repressing negative memories, or simply because we’re blinded by love, we let our guard down and decide to get back together, even when it logically makes no sense.

We at Bright Side were intrigued by the perspective taken by Shelby Sells, an expert in human psychology who focuses on modern relationships, proving that there are many reasons that subconsciously influence our decision to get back together with an ex.

Getting back together is easy and familiar.

Getting back with your ex is the easiest thing you can do. You and your partner know each other’s desires, your favorite foods and drinks, and your habits and faults — plus, it’s simple to go back to something that you’re already familiar with.

And according to Sells, we get used to the pain caused by our partner, so there are no unexpected surprises there waiting for us. We knowingly settle with probably getting hurt again and we’re okay with it.

You can’t cope with loneliness.

Breakups are not easy. Out of nowhere, you find yourself alone and that special person that comforted you the most is no longer by your side. The whole time you will question your decision about breaking up with the person you love, thinking about all the happy moments and the good things your partner did for you, neglecting the bad stuff and why you broke up with your partner in the first place.

Shelby also says that people are afraid of ending up alone and starting a new relationship with someone else. And they think that they’d be better off with the person who hurt them than be all alone.

You’re going through an emotional rough patch.

Breakups tend to be dramatic and often leave us feeling broken inside. And what’s worse is that the effects of the breakup can keep daunting us until we get over our hurtful partner or until we decide that we should end our suffering and get back with them — if they’ll have us, of course.

Sells continues to explain that when we’ve had some distance and time away from our partner, it’s easy to idealize the good memories and neglect the bad ones. She says that we often unconsciously repress negative memories to protect ourselves from re-experiencing trauma.

We hope that they’ll change.

The idea of “being blinded by love” is oftentimes true. Even though we can’t see that our actions are very much unlike us, sometimes we forget about our pride and principles and just surrender to that unrealistic hope that our partner will change for the better.

We may give our exes another chance and trust them when they say they’ll change their behavior, and even though deep inside we know that is very unlikely, the thought of that happening is stronger than our logical mind. But in reality, people rarely do change their innate nature.

Have you ever been in a toxic relationship? Do you think people who’ve hurt you deserve a second chance and are capable of changing? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Preview photo credit Blue Valentine / Palacefilms