There is this really annoying thing my Pilates instructor always says to us in class. She always says it, of course, when she has me and my fellow grimacing Pilates enthusiasts locked into some kind of painful repetitive move, like deep leg lunges with weights. As we near the tenth repetition, she'll say, a little too enthusiastically, “Embrace the pain! Own it. Get comfortable with feeling uncomfortable!” I cringe. It really irritates me. Also, her voice is a bit high-pitched. But really, why would I want to embrace pain? It's human instinct, quite justly, to avoid pain in all of its many forms. Physical pain ranks very high on the avoidance list for all creatures, so it's kind of silly to ask someone to take it on willingly. In fact, it's kind of odd that humans go to gyms at all, where we strain to lift heavy objects over our heads or huff and puff on a moving machine that's going nowhere. I've never seen a squirrel or even a chimpanzee attempting to get buff biceps. No, embracing pain to look fit is definitely a human invention. But there is another kind of torture humans readily take on. Why do we embrace the pain of our doomed relationships? Why do we fight for them instead of walking away?