No marriage is easy. Even the happiest couples have their issues. That said, there are countless men and women who are in marriages they know in their hearts have gotten really bad. Yet, they stay. Why?
I have always believed that people have the ability to talk themselves into or out of anything, and staying in a bad marriage is no exception. Here are 11 ways people justify staying together. Before I list them, however, I want to stress that I am not promoting divorce, but rather suggesting that couples work to improve the relationship rather than keep things status quo.
1. I don't want my kids to grow up with divorced parents. Ask yourself, are the kids better off growing up in a household where there is no love or a lot of friction or possibly cheating or other unhealthy behaviors?
2. No one would ever want to date me at this age, and as a single parent with kids. Not true. You have no idea how many older, single parents are out there and want to be in committed, loving relationships.
3. I'm scared. I don't blame you. But, isn't is scarier to stay in a relationship that is making you miserable?
4. I need his/her financial security. I don't want to have to go back to work. I love my lifestyle. It's understandable. It's a comfort zone. But, this reason leads to lack of self-love and self-respect.
5. I'm sure a lot of couples feel this way and they just stay together. I'm sure too. Does that make it the right thing to do?
6. There's no divorce in my family and I don't want to do that to them. They'll get over it. If they love you, they want you to be happy.
7. I've never been alone. I don't think I could do it. Yes you could. You have inner strength you don't know about.
8. I want to be a real family. You will be much more real if there is love in your family, not just love between your spouse and your kids and you and your kids, with that missing link of love between the two of you.
9. I don't want to have to move out of my house. I don't blame you, but a house is brick and drywall. You could be happy in a shack if there is love in the home.
10. I don't like change. No one does. It creates stress and fear. But sometimes change ends up being the best thing that ever happened.
11. I don't want to be divorced. Again. (for second marriage). Is it really worth staying unhappy because you are worried about what people think?
Here's the thing. Again, the purpose of this article is not to encourage anyone to get divorced. Trust me, I am a huge fan of marriage, IF both people are happy. My point is that instead of accepting the unhappiness, men and women owe it to themselves to say, "I've had enough of staying in an unhappy marriage, and I'm instead going to get out of my comfort zone and make an effort to improve the relationship."
It isn't easy to make changes, confront issues in the open, and do the work needed to get back to a healthy, loving relationship. Counseling could be helpful, but even more so, getting happy with each other requires a commitment to starting over with a clean slate, and with an agreement to erase all resentments. It can be very difficult, but couples have been known to succeed and become stronger and better than ever.
Let's face it. Staying in an unhappy marriage is a choice. What are some other options?
1. Bad behaviors like cheating, drinking, gambling, drugs and other very unhealthy behaviors, but let's be honest, those are temporary fixes that lead to other problems.
4. Or as I stated above, making the effort to be a happier couple.
But leaving things as they are? That could possibly be the worst choice of all. Worse than #1 (cheating, drinking, gambling, drugs and other unhealthy behaviors)? Hard to say. But isn't staying in an unhappy marriage just a different kind of unhealthy behavior?
Jackie Pilossoph is the author of her blog, Divorced Girl Smiling, and the comedic divorce novels, Divorced Girl Smiling and Free Gift With Purchase. She also writes feature stories, along with the weekly dating and relationships column, Love Essentially" for Chicago Tribune Media Group local publications. Pilossoph lives in Chicago. Oh, and she's divorced.