• Emily Pringle

Not satisfied with your marriage?

Updated: Nov 7, 2019

Living in an unhappy marriage is not pleasant and it's not right for either of you. You wonder if this is what life has to offer you from now until the end.

Yet, despite your obvious misery, you choose to stay. You choose to remain in the establishment that your marriage has become.

So why do we do this?

No-one deserves to settle for anything other than the best for themselves.

And I can guarantee, that if you're really unhappy, then your spouse is unlikely to be truly happy either.

So - the top reasons that people choose to stay in their marriage. And it is a choice. So be clear that this is your one elses.

You have too much to lose:

If you are staying married because you have too much to lose, then you need to get busy figuring out how to make your marriage better immediately...otherwise nothing is going to change.

Don’t squander another precious second being unhappily married. First and foremost, you need to know what you want, and what you are missing on that list currently. Why are you unhappy? What would it take? Can you get there in your current marriage? Talk with friends who are happily married. Understand what they do to keep their marriage alive. Find out their secret. Read everything you can get your hands on about making marriage work and then do what the articles suggest. Go to couple’s counselling. And if your spouse won’t go, get counselling or coaching for yourself.

You’re worried about the impact divorce could have on your children:

If your marriage is miserable because you or your children are the victim of abuse, your spouse has untreated addictions or your marriage is so volatile that you’d never want your children to have a similar marriage, then you staying married will have a much more negative impact on your children than divorce ever could.

But, if you’re in an unhappy marriage for other reasons and you’re only staying because of the impact divorce could have on your children, then you need to get reading and talking. Search the internet on how divorce impacts children. Look beyond the headlines, they are there to grab attention. Sometimes the detail is totally different.

Ask other people about their experiences. Talk with all the single parents you know and ask them how divorce has impacted their children.

Talk with experts - more than 1 - schools, doctors, coaches, counsellors. Get opinions from those that have seen it.

Then, after you’ve collected all of your information, revisit your reason for remaining in your unhappy marriage. If you’re convinced that remaining is in the best interest of you and your children, then do everything you can to make your marriage better (see above for tips)

You can’t afford to move out or live on your own:

A common misconception until you fully understand the position you would be in if you were to leave.

The first thing you need to do is figure out what it would take for you to afford to live on your own. Once you understand what it would take from a money standpoint, and the position you may be in if you were to separate, then you can make a more educated decision about what to do.

And if you do decide to stay, again, work at your marriage with everything you've got - you both deserve to be happy,

You can’t afford to go through a divorce:

Do you know how much it would even cost?

There are ways of doing it more cost effectively - chances are that you haven't got visibility of all your options.

You don't need a solicitor for everything.

Your divorce is purely admin - it's the finances and children that can ramp up the costs.

The more amicable, the less it's likely to cost.

Chances are that you have options to explore for gathering the cash you need over time. Then once you have the money you need you can proceed with leaving your unhappy marriage and get a divorce.

You want to give it some more time before making a final decision:

What might happen with more time? What are you expecting? How will it happen? If you're serious about this then you need the advice in the first point...get rescuing your marriage!

You want to avoid the stigma of divorce:

Divorce still has a major stigma surrounding it. It's like mental health issues. For some this can be unbearable.

But, we all need to have a reality check....over 40% of marriages end in divorce, and no one enters a marriage with the intention of it finishing. Would friends and family want you to stay in something that you're not happy in?

Or are you really not decided... should you actually try harder at your marriage (see point 1 above)

You stay only for your partner’s money:

Hmmm - your marriage is not really something that can be complained about if this is the reason that you stay... It is, however, incredibly sad if this is the case. If you’re using your spouse for the lifestyle they can provide for you, then you need to figure out how to get happy and, even better, how to make your spouse happy too.

You’re worried about how you will manage contact with the children:

The biggest worry for a lot of separating parents. And emotions come into play when they shouldn't

Again, the more amicable you can be with each other, the better - for you and your children.

Parenting plans help divorcing couples figure out how to manage contact with their children. If you have children under 18 then a Divorce Consultant or Solicitor can help you with a parenting plan.

To consider - what role does either parent play whilst together? You should try to emulate this as much as possible in any plan,

And remember - every child has the right to love both their parents.

If your children aren’t minors, then you’ve got a few things to do. First, build a personal relationship with each of your children that’s independent of their other parent. Second, realise that there will be special occasions in your children’s lives that they’ll want to have both of their parents attend; so build a workable relationship with your soon-to-be-ex that will allow you each to put your children’s best interest ahead of any issues that you may have with each other.

You’re worried you won’t meet anyone else:

This is a natural worry when you’re contemplating the end of an unhappy marriage. The question you need to ask yourself is if you’re willing to stay with the person you’re miserable with or are you willing to take a chance on finding someone new or even being happy by yourself?

If this is the only reason that you're staying, then you could use a boost to your self-esteem. Make a list of 10 things you like about yourself and remind yourself of these qualities on a daily basis. Update your look with a new haircut and outfit. Lose weight and get fit. New Year, new start.

Do something that makes you feel good about yourself. Then, once you feel better about yourself, see if your worry about whether or not you’d meet anyone else is still your reason for wanting to stay in an unhappy marriage.

As per point 1, you need to be clear on what you want from any relationship - either the marriage that you are currently in, or any future relationship. It's critical to know what you want and need to make you happy. You'd be surprised how many people don't actually know this.

You and your spouse have too many shared financial interests:

If money and finances are so important to you, then you need to figure out either how to make your marriage (and life) better, or what it could look like if you were not together.

Notice that all of the above points require you to do something. This is on purpose. It requires you to take responsibility for your own happiness. No one else makes us happy. Just ourselves. Not our spouses.

You can’t change a situation unless you take action. No one else is going to change it for you. Even if your spouse changes, you’re going to have to adapt to their new behaviours which obviously means you’re changing. Be aware of these changes and consciously make them only if you want to.

So roll up your sleeves and stop being willing to settle for the norm. You don’t have to remain in something that doesn't enable you to be happy. BUT you do have to take responsibility and do something about it yourself.

Your life, your choice