Was it because he loved you
When his fingers rand over your skin
And you thought there was some sort of frisson
Some sort of wild electricity
Pouring through veins in pulses
Or perhaps out of mere desperation
Couldn’t you do better, babe?
Well now look where you’ve got yourself,
And look where that idiot is too
Those fingers on new women
Another one each night, and you’re just left here
Wondering where it all went so wrong.
I just finished listening to the audiobook of Why did you stay? by Rebecca Humphries, and it opened up a lot of questions in my own mind – something that any good memoir should absolutely do.
Answering the question ‘why did I stay?’ can show you so much about yourself. In her case she was examing a relationship, but it could be about a job, a university course or your childhood home.
Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with staying when things are going badly, otherwise we would all be throwing in the towel before we had achieved anything. But there are times when you have to analyse what was your tipping point, and why it was exactly then and there that you decided to jump.
Because leaving is nearly always scary. If you are leaving a partner you have to think about emotions and where you’re going to live, and finances. If you are leaving a job, you also need to think about money and where you might find alternative employment. All terrifying things that we don’t want to think about too hard.
I’m sure that most of us have stayed too long before now. I think of a particular job that nearly killed, but I was so desperate to show I wasn’t a quitter that I hung on until the bitter end. And then there was the relationship where he was stealing from me, but I couldn’t let go.
It’s a tricky question to answer and Rebecca Humphries addresses it in a really sweet and funny way. But she also made it feel a bit like a therapy session and proved that it’s a pivotal question that we should all be asking of ourselves a little bit more.
One thought on “why exactly did you stay?”
Staying and leaving both have consequences, and sometimes the consequences of leaving seem scarier than the consequences of staying. Or, leaving can be extremely difficult – even dangerous – if one’s being abused. But, as you say, Rachel, there is a tipping point for most of us. And at that point, we say that it costs more to stay than to leave.