Time invested isn’t a reason to stay in a bad relationship

Years spent in a relationship aren’t a reason to ignore the red flags when they’re plain to see

5 min readAug 15, 2021


Many of my peers are now married or in long term relationships. Some are also now divorced; arguably sooner than they may have in relationships of yesteryear.

On the latter, I commend anyone willing to admit to themselves and each other that their relationship isn’t working and to consequently walk away from it. Of course, I concede that isn’t easy. Even with an amicable break up, it’s still likely to involve a separation of now mutual friends, in-laws, living arrangements, considerations around any children, possessions and anything else that was a feature of a life once shared.

Conservely, of those relationships that appear to still be intact, years after they commenced, the toxicity and red flags that should signal walking away can often actually often be seen (of course, this assessment doesn’t include abusive relationships where the ability, freedom and wherewithal to leave is sapped and eroded by an abusive partner). For the couples themselves, and anyone who’s willing to remove the rose-tinted glasses that portray all relationships as a blissful union, it’s a fact that remains the elephant in the room for so many couples.

Photo by Andrik Langfield on Unsplash

Many of those relationships are over a decade deep. Respective partners are a feature of each other’s families and if married, huge and expensive weddings have marked their nuptials. I know many couples in unhealthy relationships who have been together since their formative adult years in their early 20s but it’s all they know insofar as an adult relationship.

Yet it’s because of this that many couples in bad relationships aren’t willing to go their separate ways — they’ve simply invested what they see as too much time in the relationship to feel they can walk away.

I consider my wife and I to have a good relationship. That doesn’t mean I don’t find other women attractive or that we don’t argue. In fact, it’s fair to say that we can both royally piss each other off at times. Although it’s with that candidness and transparency that makes our relationship work. That’s rather than the façade of a utopia that punctuates an…