These behaviors may include emotional put-downs, constant criticism, emotionally destructive communication, short-temperedness, misplaced anger, lying, or manipulation. Your Relationship is Stagnant. However, staying in an unhealthy or dissatisfying relationship sets you up for a wide range of problems over time. Knowing when to stay in a relationship and when to leave can be an exhausting mind game involving second-guessing and doubt. Defense mechanisms, such as denial, rationalization, or acting out, may be utilized to protect yourself against unwanted uncomfortable feelings associated with confronting your dilemma head on and making the decision to stay or go. Information may come in the form of a dream or nightmare or vivid thoughts and fantasies about breaking up and leaving.