No matter who you are, dating is hard. You have to experience weird small talk; potentially rude, unpleasant, or even creepy people; and that one guy who will go out of his way to call you ugly and awkward when you reject. So when you combine the mess of dating and the scariness of being alone, you get a whole ton of fear. And that fear keeps couples together that should have parted long ago.
It’s easy to see a relationship from the outside, but think of it from the other side: In a long-term relationship, a breakup is tough and not just emotionally. There are many everyday reasons for staying—convenience, routine, stability, habit, etc, all of these are real, important and should not be underestimated or downplayed.
There’s a lot of hard work that goes into a breakup. You probably have to move out, separate your things, and become completely financially independent again. Maybe your partner used to always handle the bills. Well, no more. Time to get a handle on that yourself!
It’s even more complicated if you have pets. Who gets the dog? Then there’s friends. Can you still hang out with “their” friends? Will they cut you out of their life because of the breakup? Will it be weird if your old friends still want to keep in contact with him?
Oh, and family. You probably met their family. In fact, they might be just as (maybe more) important to you as your own blood relatives. After a breakup though, that newfound family probably won’t be around to support you.
So you already have to split your life in two and you have the added stress of explaining your choice to everyone around you. “There is the perception that you have to justify your reasons for ending the relationship to others—friends, family—in a way that makes sense to them. The pressure from friends, family, and society to stay together is hard to overcome. And when you add in all the physical and emotional separation that occurs with every breakup, a lot of people don’t want to go through that pain. So they stay together with someone they know isn’t right simply because it’s easier.