Many people stay in unhealthy romantic situations due to some form of “love.” But more often than not, they’re captives of emotions other than love (fear, comfort or complacency, for example) than the one thing they claim to be their reason for remaining committed to a less-than-deserving partner. This four-part series will explore the many ways one can be “held hostage by love” and offer examples of  telltale signs that you may need to muster up courage and plan your exit before it is too late. Remember, committing to someone is and should always be a welcoming, willing and desired choice.

Here’s part three:

“I can’t afford to leave. I paid for this house, so I’m staying in it.”

Now, I’m not going to sit here and minimize the effects of the almighty dollar on everyone’s life. But having a roof over your head—especially when you are sharing it with someone you are no longer in love with—is no excuse to be unhappy.

I recently had a conversation with a woman who is miserable in her relationship. She admitted to staying in her marriage out of convenience, but mostly because she’d just spent thousands of dollars updating the home she and her husband shared. She used to analogy of them being like two ships passing in the night, and she did not want to give up all she had worked for. In other words, she was staying for an upgraded home, comfort and familiarity.

“Do you think there’s someone else out there better suited to you?” I asked.

“Absolutely,” she replied. “I’ve already met him. It’s just bad timing.”

“So you’d sacrifice being with the love of your life for an updated condo?”

“I know it sounds crazy, but it’s the principle. I’m not gonna have no other b**** in here utilizing what I built.”

Let me be the first to admit that I wholeheartedly believe in people living life on their terms, but I could not understand her logic for the life of me. What I do understand is that many people think like this woman, and in turn, they continue to block their blessings.

There’s a popular meme depicting a little girl holding a small teddy bear as she talks to a man  I assume to be Jesus. The caption of the little girl talking says, “But I love it,” and the caption for Jesus says, “But I have something greater.” What the little girl cannot see is that Jesus has an even bigger teddy bear hiding behind his back that he’s just waiting to give to her. But the little girl lacks faith because all she can see is what’s in her hands now.

In other words, she’s willing to accept that this small bear is all there is to life, versus taking a leap of faith that something or someone greater awaits.

No one’s saying you should be homeless, but when you refuse to leave a relationship  should’ve been over due to a remodeled living room for fear (or spite, if we’re being real) of someone else enjoying what you’ve worked for, you’re telling the universe that your current state of affairs is all you deserve. If you know  you’re not meant to be with the person you’re with, why does who they have in the home that you leave even matter? You’re moving on the bigger and better things, like true, authentic love.

It’s time for each of us to claim what we deserve fearlessly and abundantly. In doing so, you are allowing yourself the opportunity to experience the type of love, trust and companionship  you deserve, and you won’t need an excuse like a material home to stay.

Shantell E. Jamison is EBONY’s senior editor of love and relationships. Her book, Drive Yourself in the Right Direction is available on Amazon. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter @Shantell_em and Instagram @Shantell_em.