Here are several things to consider when you’re confused about your marriage – you’re not happy married, but not sure if divorce is the right decision.
The Four Factors: Should You Stay, Go or Improve Your Relationship? by Ron Gentile is one of several good books on Amazon about whether or not you should stay married. When you’re not happy married, you need to get in touch with what you want and need from your marriage, then find ways to get it.
Here’s what one reader says: “My husband and I have been married for almost six years, together for eight,” says A. on How to Decide if You Should Stay or Go. “We’ve been through a lot over the past year and almost divorced, he then changed his mind and wanted to stay. It was all a sudden surprise, and since then it has been a struggle. He loved me and doesn’t want to leave me but he wants to be with other women and can’t decide. I can’t trust him any more. Our sex life doesn’t exist. I can’t take the going back and forth about what he wants. It’s crushing me. What should I do?”
If you’re unhappy in your marriage, you need to figure out what YOU want, not what HE wants. You need to put yourself first – and you need to find a way past your fears, doubts, insecurities, and isolation. If your marriage can’t provide what you want (and need!), then you need to think about taking the next step.
You’re Not Happy Married, But Not Sure About Divorce
Here’s what another reader said, on the same article:
“I have been married for almost 6 years now and we have 2 beautiful children,” says H. “He has a 17 year old daughter from a previous marriage who hates my guts. I am not too fond of her, either. My husband and I have lost all sexual intimacy. I am a law student and a stay at home mom. He wants me to quit school and not work and he also doesn’t like ANY of my friends or relatives. I have no social life and have lost my sense of self…I feel very alone and like he is trying to trap me. He hangs out with his friends secretively or comes home reeking of alcohol, he breaks every promise he makes to our kids and me. I don’t want to give up any more of myself and I shouldn’t have to. I want to stay together for our kids and because I think I still love him. I am very lonely, and this makes me scared to leave him because I don’t know if I can do this by myself. I also don’t want to take away the only father figure my kids have just because I’m lonely – I don’t want to punish them for my feelings…help!”
These women are alike in so many ways, and seem to be wrestling with confusion, uncertainty, and unhappiness. I can’t tell them if divorce is the answer, but I can give them (and you!) a few things to think about. And be sure to read 8 Reasons Why You Are So Unhappy. It’s possible that your marriage is not the source of your unhappiness.
Remember that feelings of love and intimacy come and go
Happy marriages take work. Sometimes you love your husband with all your heart; other times you want to wring his big fat neck. This is normal – and so is not feeling loving and gushy all the time. Real marriage isn’t like the movies, my friends.
One of the pastors of my church is also a part-time marriage therapist; he often talks about how unhappy he and his wife were before they went to counseling. Even therapists need help creating happy marriages! Why? Not because they’re hard to be married to, or they’re high maintenance people…but because being happily married is hard work.
Just because you’re not happy married doesn’t mean divorce is the answer. It means you have to figure out if you can be happy in your marriage, or if you need to set yourself free. Also – make sure you haven’t bought into the most common myths about happy marriages.
Ask yourself: is your husband willing to work on your marriage?
It’s one thing for him to want to stay married, but it’s a whole different ballgame to actually work at being happily married.
Is he willing to meet you halfway by reading relationship books, going to marriage counseling, connecting with you physically and emotionally, and being there for your kids? If not, then you need to decide if that’s the type of marriage you want to live in.
I always hesitate to suggest marriage counseling because it’s such a pat answer, but it can be so effective! An objective professional therapist can help you. He or she can point out what you may be missing, help you get on track, and give you tools to rebuild a happy marriage. A counselor can also help you see if divorce is the answer to your current unhappiness.
Learning how to survive an unhappy marriage may be your best option, if you are sure that divorce is not an option.
Consider a trial separation
Sometimes we need to take a step away from our relationships in order to see them more clearly. When we’re in the midst of the hustle and bustle of daily life and marriage, we barely have time to take a breath – much less figure out if divorce is the answer!
If you feel confused and trapped, consider asking your husband to move out for three months. The time apart may give you both time to think, and may help you figure out if you can be happy married to each other. You might also want to read How to Know if Your Marriage is Over.
Are you unhappy being married, but don’t know if divorce is the answer? Your comments are welcome below…I can’t offer advice, but you may find it helpful to share your experience and express your feelings.
Is your relationship in trouble? Get 7 Steps to Fixing Your Marriage from relationship coach Mort Fertel. It's free and helpful, no strings attached.
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