The Pain of Staying

June 4, 2014

There are so many reasons why people stay in marriages much longer than they should. Of course, the leading one is that no matter how unhappy they are, they stay because of the children. If they took a closer look at their children, they would see how the unhappy marriage of their parents was causing their children to become dysfunctional in their own lives.

Fear of going it alone causes many people to stay in unhappy marriages and it usually takes something earth-shattering for one of them to file for divorce. When you’re young, you have many options. If you haven’t worked, you can go back to school and train for a career. You can get back into the dating game and make new friends.

Older people who have never worked, have fewer options. By the time one of them files for divorce, it might be too late to train for a career. With no job skills and no assets, the one who has never worked will be in the untenable position of facing homelessness and bankruptcy if there is no support system in place.

Then there is denial. No matter how many clues are there, if the partner doesn’t want to see them, they will remain invisible. That is, until one of them wants a divorce, at which point, all the problems that have been wallpapered over, suddenly become glaringly obvious.

While you are enduring your unhappiness, it feels easier not to talk about it, not to confront your partner, and not to make waves. The flaw in that approach is that you aren’t the only one in that marriage who is unhappy. Even when you suffer silently, your partner is feeling your unhappiness and it spills over into the relationship.

If you have done everything you know how to do to salvage your marriage and, it still isn’t working, it’s best to know when to leave it. The longer you stay in a marriage that has no hope of getting better, the more toxic it becomes and the harder it is to make a new life for yourself.

Knowing when to leave a marriage is just as important as knowing when to stay and fight for it. When you have done everything you can to make it better and you have run out of coping skills, it’s time to say goodbye.

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