One of the things I notice with people who come into therapy is that many people often stay in an unhappy marriage out of fear of judgment. They fear the label of divorce, and what the people in their lives will think of them if their relationship ends. They view divorce as failure.
If you’re unhappy in your marriage, what makes you stay? There are a few common reasons I’ve observed in my practice.
I often hear that people would rather wait for their partner to leave than be the one to officially end the relationship, usually because they worry they will feel guilty if they go first. They don’t want to deal with the burden of feeling like they gave up and walked away first, so they stay unhappy and wait for the other person to make a move. Some people don’t leave because they worry they won’t find better. Some stay because they are older and want kids, and they feel like they don’t have a lot of time to waste looking for something more.
Are you unhappy in your marriage? If so, do any of these reasons to stay sound like things you’ve told yourself?
If you are choosing to stay in an unhappy relationship out of fear, trust that things will work out for you if you decide to leave. Leaving a marriage isn’t easy, and you will likely have to deal with some adversity as you transition from being married to divorce. But if you have trust that you will be okay, you will get through the transition with much more ease and peace of mind.
Remember that difficulties that come up for you in relationships throughout your life are opportunities for you to follow your heart, be loyal to what’s best for you, and choose self-love rather than fear.