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Are You Caught In The Relationship Trap?

Do you know the feeling of being trapped, just like the walls surrounding you are getting closer and closer? Not too long and they will crush you. Just like being caught in quicksand – every effort to free yourself results in you sinking deeper into it. Somehow you don’t know where this is coming from, you only feel that you are helpless to break free.

Does this sound familiar?

You might be a victim of the relationship trap.

The Relationship Trap

Are you discontent with your relationship? Do you want to break out of it, but don’t know how – and maybe you are even afraid of it?

The survey that I conducted brought to light that many of you have exactly this problem: How do I break out of a relationship that I don’t want, that doesn’t make me happy?

As you know, this site is about surviving break ups and having healthy relationships. But my main concern is your wellbeing!

My most important goal is to lead you down a path towards happiness, towards your real self – if this means that you have to break free from your current relationship, so be it.

So, this article is about how to free yourself from a relationship that is not good for you. I will help you to decide and accomplish a change.

Who Wants to Get Out?

There are 2 common situations for relationship traps.

Case # 1:

Kevin wants to live a life of a playboy. He is young, wants to live and enjoy lots of new experiences. He is life-hungry.

Unfortunately, it somehow doesn’t work out as he planned. Every time he meets a nice new girl, he ends up being sucked into a long-term relationship, apparently against his will.

After some time the girl breaks up with him, and the whole process starts again from the beginning.

Welcome to the vicious cycle.

Case # 2:

Susan feels as though she has no air to breathe. Her relationship of three years leaves her with no room to develop. There is nothing happening anymore, everything is always the same.

She wanted to do so many things, she has so many unfulfilled needs – but her partner doesn’t understand her, there is no more communication and no emotional bond.

She thinks that she wants to escape, yet she doesn’t want to miss the comfort and safety of this relationship. And she would never find another partner again, or so she thinks.

The Way Out Of An Unhealthy Relationship

These are the two common situations: you didn’t really want a relationship and now you’re caught in it, or you are discontent with the one you have.

Maybe you recognize yourself in one of them, or maybe you’re a combination or variation of them.

Either way, the solution to this is the same: know what you want, realize your current situation, evaluate how you can change it and just do it – despite all the unpleasant consequences.

Sounds pretty easy, huh?

I think that we all know that it actually isn’t, right?

It will get easier, if we cut the problem into smaller pieces. Ask yourself the following questions:

  1. What are my needs?
  2. Are my needs fulfilled in my current relationship?
  3. Do I want to work on the relationship or break up?
  4. How do I break up?

Number 3 seems to be the toughest.

Are You Really Trapped?

In order to find out whether you’re really trapped and discontent with your relationship, let’s go through all the questions together.

1. What are my Needs?

Take a moment of quiet, sit down and relax. Then write down all the needs and wants you have in general, and especially in the relationship you’re in.

So, Kevin would write down:

I have the need…

  • to have new sexual experiences
  • to meet lots of new girls
  • to be independent
  • to be successful

The most important task for Kevin would be to figure out what he really wants, (despite the fact that everyone can be a “Ladies Man”, not everybody honestly wants to be one).

Susan would most probably write down:

  • to be free
  • to evolve
  • to communicate with my partner
  • to have an emotional bond with my partner

Now it’s your turn, write them down! Remember to be honest with yourself.

This is an important step, so take your time.

After the list is ready, let it age for a week.

2. Are my Needs fulfilled in my current Relationship?

This should not be so difficult if you honestly wrote down your needs. Just go down the list and make it clear to yourself as to how many needs you are sacrificing for your relationship or not.

This is very often an eye-opener.

What happens now is that many realize how unhappy they really are. Their relationship is preventing them from evolving or fulfilling their elementary emotional needs.

Or, they realize that the reason for their unhappiness is not actually caused by their relationship, but some other personal issues they’re suffering from.

Here again: take your time and be honest with yourself.

3. Do I want to work on the Relationship or Break Up?

Now you have to decide: should I stay or should I go?

Base your decision on the insights you gained from going through the above list of needs.

I would always advise you to decide to first try and work on your relationships.

Read my article about how to avoid and resolve conflicts. This is something every couple should know. It’s a good start.

Second, you have to talk about your problems, dismissing them will only result in getting them insolvable. Make your mutual needs a priority and work out a compromise. If this works out, then you have made an important step towards a fulfilling relationship.

If not, proceed to step four.

4. How do I break up?

Please read my article on how to break up gracefully for making this decision – this will help you a lot. I describe the whole process step-by-step.

Conclusion

A wrong and unhealthy relationship can heavily diminish your life-quality. You then have only two options: to make it better or to free yourself from it.

This article has given you the tools to evaluate the quality of your relationship, so you can decide what further course of action you need to take.

If you don’t want to be in a relationship, then don’t let anybody force you into staying in one. Be honest here – to your partner and to yourself.

Always keep in mind: your needs and wishes are very important. It’s your life and it’s short.

Make the best out of it.

Your friend,

Eddie Corbano

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23 Responses to Are You Caught In The Relationship Trap?

  1. lizzy January 16, 2008 at 7:29 am #

    For all the over-analyzing women who drive themselves crazy worrying about their relationships, these articles are nice to keep a perspective on things

    • jordan January 21, 2015 at 11:59 am #

      Also nice to find what your wants and needs are. Hope your partner works with you to fulfill them

  2. Liz October 17, 2008 at 3:23 am #

    I wish that was the only problem my boyfiend loves everything else about me except all the sudden he stopped having sex with me. I’m not the muscular sexy type he befriends on the net! Were better friends than anything else he refuses to let me go. unfortunately I’ve been raising his two kids with him and they call me mom. How do I get out now? I am truely trapped
    There birth mother left them and if I leave they will be two messed up kids! All sound lovely

    • Eddie Corbano October 22, 2008 at 11:09 am #

      @Liz

      Dear Liz,

      What is the alternative? To be unhappy and sad for the rest of your life?

      If you think that your relationship has come to an end, then unfortunately you don’t have any choice, IF you want to live a fulfilling life.

      Eddie

  3. Ray January 9, 2009 at 4:06 am #

    Interstingly I have thought of the many reasons, why I should not be in my relationship. I married young(20yrs old), we had son, I did not have that full-fledge love in me for her. We have since had 2 more children and my need to not fail has kept me here secondary to the children. I’ve been thinking about moving on for 5+ years. MY recent frequent business trips have really opened my eyes, since I do not miss her. I am not in an affair, nor would I want to start another relationship,but I’m am truly stuck and also know I just can’t keep on doing this – living a lie!!

  4. Tony January 12, 2009 at 10:55 pm #

    I have been in a relationship for 1.5 years and it has degraded. I think i will never meet another girl and that scares me. She wants me to commit and i am hesitant and depressed about the whole situation. it is hard to get out bed in the mornings. I thought i would give it a go even though i was hesitant going in to the relationship and have been fighting my gut feeling ever since

    • Eddie Corbano January 13, 2009 at 8:34 am #

      @Tony

      Tony, ask yourself a question: Would you leave the relationship immediately if there was the perfect woman waiting for you?

      If your answer is yes, then your problem is low self-esteem. You do not think that you can make it alone. That’s why you stay in a broken relationship.

      If you are that depressed, then it’s really time to leave.

      It will be hard at the beginning, you will feel lonely, but it will get better. There is a whole new life waiting for you, exciting and adventurous.

      Eddie

  5. Tony January 14, 2009 at 10:57 pm #

    @Eddie Corbano

    Thanks for that. I have not seen her for over a week now but we are in touch via phone. She will not meet up with me unless i propose to her fullstop. I’m not sure what to do as she won’t give me more time. I have been waking up confused most mornings. When i with her we have good times though. I think i am afraid of commitment.

  6. Jesse April 28, 2009 at 9:24 pm #

    Hi Tony. I just did Question 1 and am going to let it sit for a week like you said. I think I know the answer to Question 2 but Question 3 is the hardest as you said.

    I have been in a relationship for about 2.5 years. We have been living together for almost 2 years. She is a beautiful woman who takes care of me and is always willing to help, yet I am still utterly discontent. The fire is gone in the relationship, since I am the energetic and conversational one in the relationship and she is the exact opposite. I am always wanting to do new things and she likes to stay with whats comfortable.

    I know relationships can’t be in the honeymoon stage forever, but I didn’t think it would get stale like this. Short, brief conversations and no energy. I don’t like being a quitter, but I feel like I need to move on. Hard since we live together.

  7. Tim June 23, 2009 at 7:36 pm #

    @Jesse

    I was in virtually the same relationship. Things got really stale but then I made the mistake of trying to make things work. Thinking if there’s a will there’s a way. It seemed like anytime I tried to work on intimacy I was in fact making her uncomfortable and irritated. She claimed “I was trying to change her.” However, I knew the only way to progress the relationship was by developing intimacy and by communicating better. Both items she failed miserably at. Unfortunately, she was good at bringing down my self-esteem so I hung in the relationship until she’s the one who called it off. And boy, I was sort of blindsided because I reapplied myself near the end for one last hurrah when she pulled the rug out from underneath me. I would get out while you can.

  8. Ann October 23, 2009 at 10:01 pm #

    I have been involved with a man for 4 years. It has been a roller-coaster, constantly breaking up and making up. I don’t feel fulfilled in the relationship; sexual or emotionally. Even though we are together I still feel alone. He’s not there for me, I barely see him. We hardly go out. Majority of the times that we see each other, he comes to my house and he spends a few hours and then leaves. I am usually the one does the breaking up because I feel so un-satisfied. After a couple of days he’ll start calling or messaging me wanting to why am I doing this, and telling me how much he misses me whenever I am not around. I have told him about how I feel and what I want, but he usually just does enough to get me back in his life and then after he feels like has me, so to speak, it back to the same thing. He has hurt me alot, and whenever I feel like he is not giving me what I need, I tend to pull away, or get defensive. He doesn’t really talk to me about his life, I feel like I have my life and he has his. I constantly ask myself, why am I still involved with him.

  9. Autumn April 22, 2010 at 5:47 am #

    Well, here is the problem I face. I’ve been with *him* for nearly three years. Things were great at the beginning. I was happy. We have talked about marriage, and he proposed, but things have been getting steadily worse. We live together and I’m not sure what to do. I can’t go back to school like I want because he’s afraid I might meet someone else. I’m young (23) and he is (28). He is jealous of any guy friend I have, and I’m not sure how to get out of it. Yes, I love him, but I also know that I won’t go any where. I have dreams, and I want to accomplish them, but can’t with him at my side. I’ve tried leaving before, and it resulted in holes in the ceiling, and my things thrown across the house. He has an anger issue. How do I get out?

  10. Netta April 28, 2010 at 6:37 pm #

    I am in a trap but about to break loose. Been with this guy for over 10 years. Things were good for a long time. Lately just been putting up with him. I tried to break up at Christmas. He asked me if I wanted out of this relationship, I chickened out and said no. Even today I still don’t know I am afraid of being without him. I plan to step out on faith and do this for me. How do people who have been married or in a relationship for so long get out without regret? How do they move forward? There is no one else in the wings but I look forward to the possibilities of wanting a equally yoked relationship.

  11. KA March 19, 2011 at 7:52 pm #

    Hi everyone,
    Thanks, Eddie, for this article, it is really eye-opening. I wonder how these needs and wishes are re-negotiated once they change. I started a relationship, in fact a friendship grew into a relationship a few months after my ex broke up with me (very ungracefully in fact). Because my recently ended relationship had been suffocating me with my ex-partner’s plans for “our” future, and with daily doses of tension, lack of trust and arguing over the phone (relationship was long-distance), I was only happy to get into a relationship in which we enjoyed each other’s company every day, had known each other as friends for 3 months earlier, and had had the chance to interact enough as to know we are on the same page on many issues. The most important part for me was that we lived in the present and did not think about the future. It was heaven on earth. Now that we’ve been together for 2 months already, I feel that my needs in the relationship have changed. While I was not ready for a more serious commitment 2 months ago, now it seems impossible to me to not at least talk about it. However, I fear that my partner would not understand and this would drive him away – after all, what sense does it make to make any long-term plans after 2 months of being together? A few days ago he asked me how far I see this [relationship] going. I could only say that I didn’t know – if I said I didn’t see it going far, he would feel used; if I said I saw it going far, he would feel trapped and run away. We talked about it a bit more the day after and I expressed the wish to enjoy the present moment and not make plans for the future yet, only because all my relationships so far had fallen apart under talks about the distant future. It was at this point that when I asked him about his view on it, he said that “our lifestyles will eventually collide” down the road. Although our plans somewhat diverge, I find it unfair to have a relationship without it being open-ended. Suddenly, this makes me feel used – if we are not going to give us a chance then why are we together? Just enjoying each other’s company no longer seems enough to sustain the relationship. How do I express those newly developed needs in a way that does not make my partner feel that our initially set mutual expectations have been betrayed?
    Thanks

  12. Kathryn Braithwaite August 21, 2011 at 7:42 pm #

    Very good

  13. Kathryn Braithwaite August 21, 2011 at 7:43 pm #

    I think your stuff is very good

  14. Teresa May 9, 2013 at 5:12 pm #

    Hello Eddie. My name is Teresa. I’m 37 years old and have been in the same relationship for 11 years. I feel trapped! He is a wonderful provider to my 17 year old son and I. But I want a marriage. A commitment! After dating for six months, he proposed, I said yes. The past three years he said he’s ready for marriage. We had our marriage license twice, and both times he postponed the wedding because he wants a prenupt. I’m fine with that. But then he says that he doesn’t have time to meet with an attorney to do a prenupt. I was planning to move out, so he decided to buy me a car and talk about marriage. Then last night I asked him about helping with wedding plans, he said he doesn’t want to talk about it. Then he made the comment how I’ll never afford to live alone, cause I’ll never have the money to pay for the new car and bills. How do I get out?

  15. Peter May 19, 2013 at 12:56 am #

    My girlfriend and I have been dating for about 2 and a half years now. We moved in together in a different town so we could go to college together. The relationship started out just great, but it’s starting to feel as though the love is gone. My gf has depression and I have been on many sites looking up all the different ways to deal with someone who has depression. The worst part is how nasty she can get sometimes and the attitude she gives me. Simple questions are sometimes met with hostility for no reason. I know that is the depression talking and I try my best to be there for her and to understand what she going through, but it’s starting to break me down emotionally. Her sex drive is gone, she dosent do any house work, and she dosent do anything for me that even hints at the fact she still cares. I really love the girl and want to be there for her. I would be rather upset at myself if I left her because she has depression, It just seems like a low thing to do. But I feel as though I’m being slowly sucked into depression myself. I am so lost and have NO idea what to do anymore.

  16. eric September 19, 2013 at 8:37 am #

    @peter I have nearly the exact same relationship. Simple questions cause enormous reactions. My partner has MS which causes moodswings. She also has depression and ptsd from childhood abusr I love the girl she even makes me a better man. But its honestly wearing on me emotionaly. As do the memories of her cheating. It breaks my heart seeing her go through this (no insurance so she cant see a doctot:/) but at the same time im starting to really have trouble because if it. Little things are adding up and I dont know what to do

  17. toni September 20, 2013 at 4:34 pm #

    I have been with this guy for 2 years. I am so unhappy. I no longer trust him. I don’t get half of my needs met and even when he tries he falls short. I’ve tried breaking it off with him but he doesn’t want to break it off with me. When I change my number, he comes to my job or my home begging for a second chance. I believe he has or is cheating on me with another woman, it has been proven we cannot live together, and sexually we are not on the same level. I am miserable. Through all of this I am more troubled with why I cannot turn this man away when he comes begging. I cannot pretend that I am OK with it yet, I am tired of hearing myself complain. I want out. I want him to stay away and as painful as this is to me, I need the tools to eventually be ok with the “no, I don’t want to be with you”. I feel like a doormat and I am mentally, emotionally, and physically tired. What’s wrong with me?

  18. Rajon January 16, 2014 at 2:17 am #

    Its been 7 years i am married, i don’t understand if i am happy or sad but i always feel there is something missing, something that all people say about ” LOVE”, something that all people says about a “perfect family”. I was a man with fulfill of hapiness just full of enjoyment, now my wife make me to hate my self, i became a human without breathing, i became garbage canned so she can put anything on me, swearing etc…
    I am trapped cause i have 2 lovely kids cause them i cannot make up my mind, i can’t quit my wife or divorce, i am not that strong to kill my self but i though lots of time to suicide but didn’t cause everytime i try to do stupidy thing like suicide and i see my kids, they are calling me specially my 1 year little angel. I am menally disturbe, emotionally broke down, forget to laugh, i forget to cry cause i cried lot before, every friends & lawyers i talked about that situation they give me one solutation ” DIVORCE ” what i am really scared to do it, i am scared cause i feel i will loose my kids, cause it happens to one of my friend, his kids hates him now he became alchoolic… I understand and do know there is no other solution for me that you can help me with it, i am sharing this cause, i feel little relive. thank you.

  19. DaveD January 8, 2015 at 5:41 pm #

    Hi. I am a 25 year old male and have been in a relationship for over 8 years and for the past year I have been feeling very strange about myself.

    I have this regret that I never got to date other girls, experience the single life in my early 20’s, spend more time with friends and feel like i am just not being myself. Today I find myself as a wierd person because of this situation, for example whenever i speak to a random woman in public, i cant even make eye contact, i start feeling shy, awkwadness and always find a way how to get away from the situation. I’ve been like this for a couple of years and never noticed until a few i knew that things are now getting worse. Like lacking confidence at work, cant speak in public, no eye contact with anyone and just comparing myself with the real society today. I also ended up with no friends and find it hard to make new ones beacuse i dont have the confidence

    My girlfriend was noticing how depressed i was feeling and i always brought different excuses when ever she asked whats the problem. She was getting confused because she had no idea what was going on with me

    Lately i told her how i feel because i just couldnt hold my feelings any longer and it was a very emotional moment. Now we are in a situation where we dont know whats going to happen in our lives. She is a lovely girl, attractive and has a bright and wealthy future ahead of her.

    But i just dont know what i want. I feel like living in a cage but and at the same time i know that i am with the right person. Some times i just say ‘i have found the right person but it was too early’.

  20. Zzaaa August 28, 2015 at 10:56 pm #

    I have been with my partner for almost three years everything seems great. I have security and he tries to make me happy. Our relationship seems perfect but I feel discontent. He clearly loves me and deeply cares for me but I feel trapped. When I brought the topic of separation he broke down and was inconsolable and i chickened out. I’m wasting his time and mine. I want out but I do care about him and wish him no harm. He is 23 and I am 22; I feel like I am not fulfilling my goals and I need space. I know that I fell out of love and it breaks my heart that I cannot reciprocate his love for me.

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