The Top 10 Rationalizations Women Make in Dead-End Relationships

Have you ever had a friend that was so obsessively focused on the good elements of her unhealthy relationship that she was unable to notice all of the red flags? No matter how much you tried to warn her, she always had a rationalization for why she stayed. Or, have you been that girl?

Women have an innate ability to see the good in others. I believe this is part of their feminine genius. They can perceive the sufferings of others with extraordinary intuitiveness and empathy, and can see the potential in people that others might not see in themselves. However, one’s greatest strength is often one’s greatest weakness.

How do you know if you’re making excuses and dating a guy who only exists in your imagination? Here’s my top-ten list of the rationalizations women make when they’re in dead-end relationships:

1. “He’s really sweet.”

Being sweet is not difficult. Most house pets can do the same. The real question is: Why is he sweet? Is he sweet because you deserve it, or is he sweet because of what he wants to get in return?

2. “We’ve been together so long.”

The length of a relationship does not determine its value. To cling to a bad relationship would be like saying, “I know I’m driving in the wrong direction, but we’ve already gone ten miles. Let’s just keep going until we circle the globe.” Turn around. Just because a relationship is hard to leave, this does not mean that you should stay. After all, the longer you drag on a bad relationship, the longer it will take to heal.

3. “I already gave myself to him.”

Having slept with someone is not evidence that you should stay in the relationship. It’s just a reason why you find it difficult to leave. When you sleep with someone, you create a bond that is not easily broken. Part of this is due to a neuro-chemical called oxytocin, which is released in your brain during sex. It causes a massive emotional bond, impairs your critical thinking abilities, helps you to forget bad memories of the guy, and causes you to trust him more. All of this is great in marriage, but it’s a recipe for disaster outside of marriage. That’s because you lose your ability to clearly see the value of a relationship. It binds you and blinds you. You downplay the negative, until it’s too late to ignore.

4. “We’re not always doing it. There’s more to our relationship than sex.”

My wife once wrote, “One clue that you’re doing something wrong is when you start spending a lot of time trying to convince yourself that what you’re doing is right.” If a woman is sleeping with a man she’s not married to, she may justify it by comparing herself favorably to those who are having meaningless hookups. Since she’s not always in bed with her boyfriend, and they have other common interests, she assumes that the relationship is a balanced one. The idea that they’re “not always doing it” distracts her from the fact that they should not be doing it at all.

5. “My family really likes him.”

To test how much your parents like your boyfriend, imagine the look on their faces if you disclosed the full truth about your relationship. If the image of your dad running to find his shotgun comes to mind, odds are you’re parents like only who they think he is.

6. “But we really love each other.”

In the words of Saint John Paul II, “Love is not merely a feeling. It is an act of the will that prefers, in a constant manner, the good of others to the good of one’s self.” Simply put, if you love one another, you do what is best for each other. Lead each other to heaven.

7. “He doesn’t pressure me to have sex.”

He may not be pressuring you to have sex, but he’s probably not pressuring you to be pure, either. More than likely, he’ll take everything you’ll give him. I remember one high school guy asking me, “Do you ever tell the girls that we sometimes tell them we’re okay not having sex so that they’ll give it to us?” Players know that women are more likely to sleep with them if the woman perceives that she’s freely choosing it. She feels honored that he’s not pressuring her, and this lowers her inhibitions. But even if the girl is the one who urges him, or the decision is mutual, this does not make the sexual activity moral, or the relationship healthy.

8. “We both agree with it.”

If mutual consent made any sexual act moral, then even prostitution could be acceptable. What couples often refuse to see is that sexual activity involves more than the two of them. Their children could be created, their parents could be devastated, and their future spouses could be affected. But most importantly, they are ignoring God, who is the author of love. This is why St. Augustine defined lust as “that affection of the mind that aims at the enjoyment of one’s self and one’s neighbor without reference to God.”

9.  “He’d be devastated if we broke up.”

If your relationship is unhealthy, then you’ll end up devastated if you stay. A man who cannot stand on his own two feet without you is not the man who you want to marry. Such a dependent man will not make a good husband and father. Therefore, his dependency is not a reason to remain, but evidence that you should leave.

10. “He’ll change.”

My wife and I once met a woman who dated a man who had some personal problems, but she always hoped he would change. Now, after a decade of marriage, they’re divorced because things only grew worse with time. All too often, women romanticize about the future so that they won’t have to focus on today. If you want to think about the future, ask yourself, “Am I content with this kind of man raising my children?” Give your kids the best, and don’t ever date a guy hoping he’ll change. It’s unfair to him and to you. Besides, it’s not your job to be his messiah.

I’m not sure how many of these points you recognized, but I hope that you’ll be brave enough to consider if they’re at work in your relationship. If you recognized some of these warning signs in your life, don’t be afraid that you’ll never find a better guy. God knows well the plans he has in mind for you, but sometimes we need to let go of what we think we want in order to receive what we really deserve.


j-evertJason Evert founded has spoken on six continents to more than one million people about the virtue of chastity. He is the author of more than ten books, including How to Find Your Soulmate without Losing Your Soul and Theology of the Body for Teens.


  1. Hi, I need to make a question to you…how can I do it? I didn’t find an email contact here in the site… 🙁

    By Gabriela | 6 years ago Reply
    • Dear Gabriela,
      It is possible when you realise you’re worth much much more. I can relate to this article because I was in that exact relationship that Jason mentioned in his article. It took me 3 years to gain courage and realise my self worth through Jesus, support from family and close friends.
      I can’t describe how much a free person I am to love and to find someone whom I will love and he will love me the right way.
      Will keep you in my prayers my dear 🙂


      By Catherine J | 6 years ago Reply
  2. “A man who cannot stand on his own two feet without you is not the man who you want to marry. Such a dependent man will not make a good husband and father.”

    Really Jason? Really? Well then, let me tell you a story. Last summer, I proposed to who I thought was the love of my life. She was perfect for me. And God, she had a fiery, intimate passion for God. Watching her pray was awe-inspiring. Grace and Jesus’ love oozed from her every pore. She’s the first woman I EVER fell in love with that, I was in love first and foremost with Christ in her, not her looks, not her style or status or personality. But with the presence of the Lord within her. It was the reason I thought we were destined to be together.

    However, my ex fiancee lied to me every single second of our relationship. She said she loved me deeply and wanted to marry me. Every text, every face time, every letter was a lie. She openly lied to me for affection, for satisfaction, for control, and basically for the hell of it. (She’s a Theology Masters student btw.) And two days after I proposed, she told me she never loved me and that she dated me cause she “felt sorry for me and wanted to pretend she liked me so I’d feel happy.”

    And guess what, Jason! I STOPPED US FROM HAVING SEX! NUMEROUS TIMES! Because I wanted to love her authentically and purely, through the sacrifice and Grace of Christ! Despite my own selfish desires, I denied myself for her.

    And yes, the last 4 months I’ve been completely devestated and helpless. And now I hear that because I’m completely hurt and devastated, I’d make a terrible Husband and Father. Wow, how lucky I am to know that I’m unfit for love in this mortal life. Thank you…..

    By Broken Hearted | 6 years ago Reply
    • Oh, BrokenHearted, you are looking at this wrong! By your own admission, you are not yet healed enough to enter another relationship fairly! Let God heal you for a season! I do not understand why she would lead you on in such a fashion. But that is on her, not you. Evaluate if there were signs that you missed. But do not give up on love! And the point of this article is to help young people refrain from having a sexual relationship muddy the waters of the total relationship. Would there have been an improvement in your relationship if you had been sexually intimate? Not really, by your recounting of it. God must have something different destined for you.

      By Deb | 6 years ago Reply
    • @brokenhearted No one said “unfit”. But there is always a time to mourn. After that time passes, you should move on. It is said about overly sensitive guys, not necessarily you…some guys give up on searching for a spouse after such a thing and I think that was what Jason was referring too. Besides, that girl never deserved you anyway and I understand your bitterness, but God has a wife for you in mind. She won’t be perfect, but she’ll be honest and loving. You saw your ex almost as perfect just because she managed to fake her true sprituality. Of course, spirituality is a beautiful quality but even living with a spiritual person doesn’t necessarily bring a person to God. It took my mum 15 years of patience and prayer for my dad.
      Stay strong and God bless you.

      By V. | 6 years ago Reply
    • Hi,this article doesn’t say that because you are devastated now,then you will make a terrible husband or father. It says if sb cannot stand on their own feet in general,if he or she is a very dependant person,then maybe they won’t make a good future spouse,it’s another red flag if there are already more of them.
      You and everyone are perfectly fit for love in this mortal life 🙂 So good luck,look around and find a really good girl for you. There are so many of them surely looking for the qualities that you have described in yourself, I’m telling you.This article ,well,I actually find it consoling,it says you deserve true love,you deserve better and you will find better!!! God bless you!

      By Monica | 6 years ago Reply
    • That’s not what he meant at all.

      By Leticia | 6 years ago Reply
    • Dear Mr. Hearted: The article is off-putting; it’s written for women in a manner that would never fly if it were written for men. It’s a bit of mild man-bashing in the interest of chastity–probably counter-productive in the long run because chastity and charity are mutual allies.

      As for your pain–please know from someone who speaks from experience: (1) love is intensified vision that gives us a glimpse of what God sees when He sees us; (2) therefore when you give way to it, it is both very pleasant, but very painful when it’s snatched away–when the same beauty does not reciprocate and even worse when that beauty is a person who tosses you aside, (3) this too shall pass. The world is full of beauty, spend some time focusing on whatever you can and that will accelerate your ability to get up off the ground. Oh yeah, and avoid thinking about the world in terms of men v. women (as this article does). You don’t want to embitter yourself against women in general simply because of your bad experience with one young woman who was frankly, probably acting simply from flighty immaturity (e.g., her repeated efforts to fornicate with you, her accepting and rejecting your proposal within two days, etc.). God is probably calling you to marriage, and bitterness will be a stupid hindrance.

      By A Veteran | 6 years ago Reply
    • Dear Broken Hearted,
      I’m so very sorry for what’s happened to you. It’s truly awful. However, what you learned is that men are not immune to experiencing the same kind of things women can. Some women out there are just as manipulative as some men can be when it comes to relationships and sex. As a woman who held on to a relationship that was described by a lot of the bullet points in this article, I can see how a man who experienced the other side of the same coin would be put off by this piece.
      I want you to know that you are not the man in the quote you chose. It’s very hard to stand on your own two feet when your world gets ripped out from underneath you in a shroud of lies and deception.
      I also want to tell you that even though it’s hard to see through the pain right now, it will get better. Do not turn away from God, He will heal you if you ask Him. Grow your own relationship with Jesus. The right woman will come along when you find joy and happiness within yourself and Christ.
      I will pray for you.
      Someone who’s been there and back.

      By Abbey | 6 years ago Reply
    • You’ve been badly hurt. You took a risk with your heart, and loved deeply. It sounds like you’ve loved deeper than you ever have before, you loved like a man putting the needs of your beloved before your own. Anyone would be devastated to discover that that kind of love was one-sided when you trusted it was mutual. God has a plan for you, please don’t close your heart. A great father feels deeply, and puts the needs of others ahead of his own. That sounds like you, a great future father. This article is directed towards women who feel compelled to stay in a relationship not because they love the person they are with, but because they fear that the man would go through after breaking up… that is lying. And not fair to either party. Your ex-fiance may have saved you both a lot of heart ache if she felt this way and told you before your attachment to her got so deep. Selfishness and a desire to protect another is a bad combo in any relationship. Please realize that the pain you are feeling is justified, and that God will help you back onto your feet and lead you toward his plan for you, and it will be better than anything you can imagine. I’m praying for you in your hurt. We need more men like you in the world.

      By Brianna | 6 years ago Reply
    • I’m really sorry to hear about what happened in your relationship. I’ve been through some really tough breakups as well, and I know how it feels. Just because you’re heartbroken, this does not mean you’re incapable of standing on your own two feet as a man. You’re allowed to feel crushed, and God doesn’t expect you to be an emotional robot. My point in the article is that the man cannot make an idol out of a woman because it will suffocate her. There are guys who do this, and I don’t think you’re one of them because you’re hurt. It will take some time to bounce back, and that’s okay. The problem you had is that this woman failed to be honest with you earlier on in the relationship, and she strung you along and didn’t seem from your description of the events, to exercise much integrity or responsibility with your heart. Maybe she was doing it out of a misdirected compassion, but it wasn’t the right thing to do, and hopefully she has realized this by now. How do you heal and move forward? Here are some tips that may help and put things back in perspective: Whatever you do, don’t permanently lock up your heart.

      If a person does not learn how to trust again, his ability to give and receive love will atrophy. In the words of C. S. Lewis:

      To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly be broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket—safe, dark, motionless, airless—it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. . . . The only place outside Heaven where you can be perfectly safe from all the dangers and perturbations of love is Hell.

      One woman wisely remarked:

      The worst harm you do yourself is if you cease to love, because you might be hurt or you have been hurt. You shrivel up like an old prune. Don’t do that. Be willing to be hurt. The pain of trying to keep yourself from being vulnerable is much greater than the pain of loving and losing. Remember that.

      By Admin | 6 years ago Reply
    • OK “Broken Hearted,” now that I’ve read all the comments, I’m going to give you an unfiltered, non-sugar coated response.

      1st, here is what makes me qualified to tell you this….
      2005, I married the girl of my dreams
      2010, she said she wanted a divorce
      2011, I got my annulment
      2012, I met a girl who used me for my money and as a on-call babysitter
      2013, I had a relationship with a woman who wasn’t even divorced yet
      2014, I moved in with a girl who after 10 days, cheated on me and kicked me out and then I got into a car accident and then I lost my job
      2015, I moved back in with my parents and the only work I could find was at a gas station 20 miles from their house.

      2. Getting back on your feet takes time. I work on it every day. There’s no magic wand to make your life better. That’s something you’ve got to do and you’ve got to figure out. Figuring out The Will of God is the hardest thing in this life. Harder than marriage. Harder than getting a girlfriend.

      3. You will get knocked down. You will get distracted. You will not know what to do. And guess what, all of that is okay. Success isn’t a ladder. It’s a road full of hills, bumps, pot-holes, sharp turns, detours, animal crossings, and slow drivers.

      4. The only one who can determine if you are going to be a terrible Husband and Father is YOU. Single moms make up my immediate circle of friends more than any other type of person. And if there’s two things I’ve learned from the men who have abandoned them its that it doesn’t take a whole lot of brains to make a baby and it doesn’t take a lot of effort to say “I love you.” Anyone can do it but it takes a real man to do it the way God intended for it to be.

      5. So before you buy a girl a ring (heck, before you even buy her a drink) stand up, do something nice for yourself, and after you’ve done, post it all over your Facebook and tell the world, “I did something for me.”

      REMEMBER THIS…People who live in glass houses, can make easy extensions. All you have to do is pick up the sledge hammer and decide which wall you want to take out first.

      By Andy | 6 years ago Reply
    • Thanks to all who replied, I really appreciate it. More than you’ll ever know.

      By Broken Hearted | 6 years ago Reply
  3. Great article Jason! I use both Theology of the body for middle schoolers & ToB for high schoolers at my school!! Excellent excellent! I shared your wife’s testimony (YouTube clip) at girls night with 50 girls and it was very powerful & inspiring!! Keep up the good fight & keep fighting the fight against Chastity!!!!! We can win this war one soul at a time. I have to constantly remind myself of this in society’s messed up version of marriage & dating today. Thanks for all you do for the youth!! God bless you & Crystalina and your marriage!

    By Julie | 6 years ago Reply
  4. Very true. I had a lot to reflect about my past relationships and make new changes. I had to leave a relationship that was not leading to marriage much less holiness. Thank you for your wisdom and service.

    By Flor | 6 years ago Reply
  5. Eh…Broken hearted…Hi! You see I don’t think Jason was actually talking about you. I mean you had a rough time with that…girl. But you see there’s bad guys who manipulate woman that way by telling them they can’t live without her, they’ll die/suicide if they break up…etc. So, it’s not about you. It’s gonna be hard but you must forgive your ex (I would say the same to a woman) cause we’re not always taught about love and if you say she was close to God yes but maybe she wasn’t paying much attention to His words. I would love you if I were lucky enough to meet you but since I live very far away I hope God shows you the way and Our Holy Mother grants you peace of heart and mind.

    By Cari | 6 years ago Reply
  6. How do you know when you’re in the “he’ll change” rationalization or if you’re just trying to trust that a person is being honest when they apologize for their mistakes and confess that they are trying to change themselves with God’s help? How do you determine whether to keep forgiving or to let go?

    By Elizabeth | 6 years ago Reply
    • Elizabeth,

      Here’s the difference from a guy who has done this. If he doesn’t want to change, then you will be able to tell because there will be a lot of “I’m sorry”‘s and/or he will come up with new ways to perform his inexcusable behavior. If he really wants to change, he will show some effort. Yes, he will be prideful and want to do it by himself because it will make him feel “like a man.” Yes, he will not listen to a word you say because he will feel confident that he can do it on his own. Yes, he will run into brick walls and fall down and he will not ask for your help to get back up. He’s going to fail, he’s going to disappoint you, but you will be able to tell that he’s really trying when he is disappointing himself because he is disappointing you. I hope that helps.

      By Andy | 6 years ago Reply
  7. #9 & #10 would have been real helpful in Jan.

    By BK | 6 years ago Reply

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