We all know the differences between men and women are like night and day and when it comes to relationships, it’s more of the same. So what’s the main difference between men and women when it comes to deciding to stay in a bad relationship or walk away? I believe that one reason women tend to stay longer than they should is based on a big disconnect between who they really are and what they’ve been brainwashed into expecting.

When men talk to each other, very rarely do they discuss dreams of life with the perfect woman and family. Instead, men’s goals tend to be more about career achievement and personal milestones. Women, on the other hand, often fantasize about a long-lasting relationship and how it ends in marriage.

Although much in our society has changed in recent decades, little girls still, to this today, have a fairy tale ingrained in their psyche. That fairy tale is complete with a knight in shining armor, a little cottage, beautiful children, and the perfect life. This concept is included in much of what they see, from television shows to internet sites to the toys they play with and the female family members in their lives. It’s no wonder they labor under the delusion of a perfect man, marriage, life.

Unfortunately, this scenario sets women up to fail when it comes to relationships. So often they fall in love just for the sake of being in love, then refuse to admit that the relationship is far from perfect. No relationship is ever going to be perfect, but women are much more forgiving when it comes to bad behavior simply because they don’t want to believe that their man isn’t the Prince Charming character in their personal fairy tale. Reality takes a back seat to fiction.

How can you let go of the fairy tale and recognize a bad relationship for what it is?

The first step is becoming well acquainted with who you really are, your core values, and how those affect what you really want. You can’t know what you want until you recognize what is most important to you.

The second step is to relate these core values to the behaviors and personality traits that you simply cannot tolerate. For instance, if one of your top core values is financial stability, dating a man who can’t keep a steady job or continues to live at home so he doesn’t have to earn his own living will end in disaster. He doesn’t share the same beliefs and goals. Sure, you could love a lot of other things about him and end up married but what are the chances the relationship will last? Odds are you will one day wake up, sick and tired of supporting him, and wonder how in the world you could have made such a mistake!

Know yourself; know what you really want. Toss the fairy tale plot you created in your childhood before you get involved with the next man in your life. Quit seeing the men you date as the Prince Charming you must marry and get to know him as he really is, warts and all. And always measure his behavior against your core values. Only then can you truly understand what you want – and need.

Author's Bio: 

Lori Chance is a collaborative writer and editor specializing in how-to, informational, spiritual, and personal development articles and books. Her self-coaching book for women titled Who Am I? is now available through Amazon and her website. Learn more about finding out who you really are and what you really want, and receive the Top 5 Secrets to Successfully Change Your Life for FREE, by visiting her website and blog at http://www.authorshipforexperts.com.