Why men stay in bad relationships

BY: Dr John Boakye

Many men are in bad relationships. First their greatest emotional needs - respect, sex, attractive wife and domestic care (taking care of the home and cooking) are not met by their women.

In addition their women are selfish and focus only on their personal needs. Their women may be critical, controlling and abusive. Some are dishonest and keep lying to cover up their indecent acts. Some show intolerance and are too busy to make time for their relationships.

When a man’s emotional needs are not met, he loses self-esteem and others become “living dead”. Some leave the relationship, some work hard to restore his relationship and some cope with the bad relationship. They choose to stay in bad relationships even when there are tell-tale signs that the relationship has gone stale.

About four years ago, in a story captioned ‘Our women also beat us” published in The Mirror, some men openly confessed to being constantly battered by their women. They keep quiet because if they speak out they will be ridiculed. Abuse can be sexual, emotional, mental, social and physical. It becomes obvious that many men face abuse from their women.

Why they stay
History: The kind of family environment you grow in has profound effect on your marriage. If you grow in a good marriage chances are you will also have a good marriage. Unfortunately some men grew up in their parent’s bad marriages in which they were abused in many ways; their parents lived in constant hostility, criticism and poor communication. They therefore grew up in pain and when they grow up, they select partners who help to make up for their past hurts by creating the same difficult situation they grew in. By loving such women they attempt to heal their past emotional pains.

Such men are therefore comfortable with women who create problems for them. When these bad men leave they go for women with such bad behaviours. Some call it repetitive repulsive order. These men move from one bad relationship to another and to another.

Sadly, these men believe it is their destiny to be in bad relationships because all their relationships are equally bad. In Akan it is common for people to say ‘me ti nye aware mu’ to wit ‘I am unlucky in marriage’. And they get into bad relationships and stay in it.

Ego: Women are other-focused and have great attachment to friends and relationships because they get great emotional fulfilment sharing their problems. As they talk about their problems they boost their energy and feel nurtured with their problems lightened. They share their problems in marriage because they are sure their friends and colleagues will listen with empathy and give support.

On the other hand men see talking about their problems in marriage as a sign of weakness. For example if a man tells friends that his wife abuses him emotionally and socially, he will get no sympathy. In fact, his friends will laugh at him and label him as weak. Many men are therefore too embarrassed to talk about their problems because nobody will believe him or show support. Shame therefore makes some men to stay in bad relationships. It becomes easier when their women give them occasional good times like sex to make up for their bad behaviour.

Some men stay because they simply pity their women and children. They therefore deny they are in bad relationships even when there are tell-tale signs that the relationship is bad. Again men have great emotional fulfilment as they solve their problems and help their women. They see a bad relationship as a challenge to prove their efficiency, competence and power. They will do all it takes to hold on to it because giving up is a sign of failure. A man fears failure because it threatens his self-esteem. He is reluctant to give up and has hopes to get over his personal problems someday.

Personal benefits: Some men will stay in bad relationship if their women will take care of their personal needs. They have comfortable homes, good cars and go to trips abroad courtesy of their ‘loaded’ women.
Some have joint investment with their partners and leaving could mean losing everything they have worked for in their lives. They feel powerless and trapped in bad relationships. Again for some men, a bad relationship is a good excuse to pursue their personal goals. They have all the time to focus on their life goals and the more they succeed, the more they focus on their goals at the cost of their bad relationships.

This happens because for men, relationship is really not very important but success in business is. Being in good or bad relationship does not really count to some men as it does for women. For some men, what really counts is what you have and can do.

Social status: Some men stay in bad relationships to enhance their social status. In Ghana every adult is expected to marry. An adult who is single is assumed to be irresponsible and unworthy of respect. Many men therefore stay in bad relationship to meet family honour, social and religious expectations. Today we see ‘big’ men in lifeless marriages holding on to their marriage to boost their social or political image.

Are you in a bad relationship?
Take a close look at your relationship. If it is bad you know it. Put your ego aside and do all it takes to restore it. Happily, studies show that in bad relationships, it takes one committed partner to turn it around because your woman will merely respond to what you do. Another good thing is that it is easy to please your lover because for a woman the little things are the big things. Her greatest emotional needs are affection and companionship.

Show affection; send gifts often, no matter how small, because your woman will mark you equally for small and big gifts. Therefore let your giving be regular without waiting for anything special because gifts are signs of love and goodwill and dispel hurts.

Speak words of love and appreciation. Do acts of kindness and support. Make time for your lover and share simple activities. Make her feel honoured treasured and special. Show appreciation for everything she does, no matter how big or small. If there is anything your woman wants, as far as possible just do it because what may seem trivial to you may be a big deal to your woman.

Your relationship is your greatest asset and human investment. But it is hard work; If you work at it, it will work. Therefore be your own magic formula and accept nothing less so that you can enjoy the amazing benefits of relationships.

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