Millions of people remain in unhappy relationships that range from empty to abusive for many reasons; however, the feeling of suffocation or of having no choices stems from fear that’s often unconscious.

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Less so today, some cultures still stigmatize divorce. Despite the abundance of reasons, many of which are realistic, there are deeper, unconscious ones that keep people trapped – usually fears of separation and loneliness that they want to avoid.

Often in longer relationships, spouses don’t develop individual activities or support networks other than their mate.

The lack of autonomy not only makes separation difficult, it naturally also makes people more dependent upon their partner.

The consequence is that people feel trapped or “on the fence” and racked with ambivalence.

Yet, both men and women often neglect developing individual interests.

Some codependent women give up their friends, hobbies, and activities and adopt those of their male companions.

This is compounded if they suffered from their parents’ divorce.

Denial of problems, including addiction, is another reason why people can get stuck in a relationship.

Guilt about leaving a spouse may be due to the fact that their parents didn’t appropriately encourage emotional separation.

Although the negative impact of divorce upon children is real, their worries may also be projections of fears for themselves.

In the past, an extended family used to serve that function.