How can I end a secret habit

Why do so many people stay in relationships out of habit?

We're sitting outside and the sun is shining. The three of us squeezed onto the last empty bench. I ignore the fact that my bum is half hanging in the open and that I actually wanted to meet Sonja alone. A waiter comes to take our order.

Sonja * takes the floor: “We would like two soy milk coffees and two pieces of water. Oh, and could you please leave out the biscuits? ”At the same time, she pokes Ben *, who tolerates cow's milk perfectly, in the stomach. He smiles sheepishly and mumbles something in agreement. A feeling arises in me that I usually only feel when looking at rotting street dogs and Boris Becker. “And for you?” A space shuttle, immediately. "A black coffee, please."

Long relationships radiate persistence

While I try not to fall off the bench, I think about Benja - that is her secret nickname. When Sonja was still single, her world consisted of sheer question marks, which she tried to compensate with many parties. I knew that one of the reasons her anger was that she couldn't be alone so well. I was all the more happy for her when she met Ben at some point. With his calm and reserved manner, he seemed to be her perfect match. The two exuded a pleasant calm without appearing boring.

In my circle of friends, Sonja's relationship became more and more a collective ideal. Even in the furnishings of their shared apartment, we found evidence that their interests and views had merged into a harmonious whole without being irritating. His surfboard was enthroned above Sonja's vintage chair, and there was space for her hockey stick next to his guitar. Outwardly, Benja was a prime example of a way of life that is still anchored in people as the ultimate.

I was absolutely convinced that Sonja was happy when she arrived. Her search was over and she could rest on her laurels of having met all social expectations. The facade only got cracks when, on one of our rare evenings for two, she confided to me how things really stood for her salvation.

Habit creates another love

With one wine too much, Sonja reveals to me that she has been bored in their relationship for a long time. She and Ben don't really have much more to tell each other, but she still hopes he'll propose to her soon. She ignores the amazed expression on my face. When I pointed out a latent disharmony in her statements, she acknowledged this with: "Will not be better with someone else."

Her serenity shocks me and I ask her why she doesn't just leave Ben when she is so unhappy in their relationship. A few seconds pass while she looks at me like I'm an alien. Almost bitchily, she then makes it clear that a separation is of course out of the question. After all, she and Ben have been a couple for what feels like an eternity.

I want to disagree because I don't want to accept that as the sole reason, but she interrupts me. Yes it's right. At some point, the infatuation subsided and she also played in her head with the idea of ​​daring a new beginning. However, each time the realization prevailed that Ben had become an integral part of her life over the years. He knows all their flaws and vice versa. They would have played too much on each other for her to imagine being who she is now without him.

Better to keep old structures than dare to start over

I could understand this argument. I realized that Sonja's life was on a different level than mine. In my universe of casual acquaintances, it made sense to immediately finish things that were going bad. For Sonja, however, Ben had become a cornerstone of her life. She had focused her entire life on her relationship and in fact could no longer go back.

To hold onto a stuck concept anyway made sense from Sonja's perspective, because what would follow a breakup would simply be more uncomfortable than the status quo. She knows that if she left Ben it would mean a fresh start. Sonja would have to reprogram all social constructs and revise decisions that she had made on the basis of their relationship. The abrupt loss of all familiar structures would mean free fall into nowhere. When Sonja finishes her wine and says goodbye to me, she whispers in my ear: "By the way, Ben and I are currently trying to have a child."

On the way home I sum up: Even if I find it difficult to understand her decision, Sonja is very trendy with her traditional attitude. Although the birth rate in Germany is still below the EU average, the value is currently at its highest level in almost 30 years.

* Name changed