Why Stay With A Partner You’re Not In Love With? 5 People Share Why They Did

My 21-year-old New Zealand icon Lorde has a lyric about relationships ending that keeps me up at night, "When you’ve outgrown a lover, the whole world knows but you." Of course, in a relationship, the "whole world" doesn’t really know sh*t. Only you and your partner know what’s really between the two of you, and any onlookers’ opinions operate externally to your relationship. From the outside, your friends and family may question why you would stay with a partner you’re not in love with, but the truth is, for most people in this situation, there is not an easy answer.

From comfort to stability, to just enjoying your time together, the "reason" people get in or stay in relationships is never easy to pin down. It’s hard to navigate your own feelings with your own boo, and can be even harder to give support to a friend that’s dating someone they’re clearly not that into. Yet, when trying to understand other’s experiences, it’s important to listen first, and hold off on making judgements (which is way easier said than done!).

In an effort to widen the conversation around the complexities of staying in a relationships, I spoke with five people who knew that their special someone was no longer their "one," but chose to stay anyway.

1Guilt is real.

— Emma, 21

2Some want comfort.

— Kyle, 26*

3Sometimes it’s just for fun.

— Prya, 21

4You don’t need to know right away.

— Joni, 28

5It’s hard to know.

— Mo, 23*

Just as there are many reasons why relationships end, there are many why they don’t. If you’re dating someone you know you’re not in love with, for whatever rhyme or reason, it may be helpful to check in with your partner about their perception of your relationship and their intentions for the future. Relationships can be hard, and though friends and loved ones can provide great support systems, the only one who knows what’s right for you, is you. So, be kind and patient with yourself. Feel out what’s right. And know that when it comes to love, it’s OK not to know. It’s okay to take the time to figure it out, on your own terms.

*Names have been changed

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