Living without love feels hopeless, lonely, and bleak. These tips on how to survive a loveless marriage are based on the reasons you’re still married. Why? Because your reasons for staying can help you cope with the lack of love in your marriage.
If you’re stuck in a loveless marriage, read Thriving Despite A Difficult Marriage by Michael Misja and Chuck Misja. It’s a hard reality for some: marriage is difficult, disappointing, and painful. Your spouse is unwilling to change. How do you continue, and not just exist but thrive in a loveless marriage?
One blog post can’t tell you everything you need to know about surviving a loveless marriage. Resources such as relationship books and marriage counselors offer more in-depth information, and can give you guidance that an article never could. In this post, I describe five reasons women stay in loveless marriages. Your reasons for staying married may help you figure out how to cope with your spouse. You may also want to learn How the Power of Love Can Save Your Marriage.
Tips for Surviving Loveless Marriages
Here are a few reasons why women live without love, staying with men they should have left years ago. If you know why you’re staying in a loveless marriage, then you’re more likely to survive it. Some of these reasons are directly from my readers, and others are what I know from my own experience in unhealthy, controlling “love” relationships.
Feel the fear of what people say – and pursue your passions anyway
“I want to leave my marriage but the thought of that is too terrifying,” writes a reader on How to Break Free From a Controlling Relationship. “I would be all alone and what would people say?” Let’s face it – we care about what people think of us. The opinions of our friends, neighbors, family members, coworkers, and even our hairdressers and manicurists matter. We’ve pitied couples whose relationships ended in divorce or separation…and we don’t want to be the objects of that pity.
To survive a loveless marriage, start creating your own ways to be happy. Have you always wanted to play the cello or go on safari in Africa? Maybe you want to go back to school, or volunteer at an animal shelter. Pursuing your passions and interests will help you develop joy in your self and your life, which will help you survive a loveless marriage. You may care what people think if you go on vacations by yourself or start a group for women who want to pursue their art…but don’t allow their opinions to snuff out your light.
Stop being the “good girl” and start making waves
Girls are often taught not to make waves – to be demure, kind, polite, and avoid confrontation at all costs. Maybe this is the number one reason women stay in and learn how to survive loveless marriages: they don’t want to be seen as a troublemaker or a disrupter of the family.
“I have gone back and forth so many times, I’ve finally realized it’s never going to work and I need to just stay away,” says another reader. “I always thought of myself as the “good”, “polite” and “cooperative” girl. That was the role I played in my family of origin.”
To survive a loveless marriage, allow yourself the freedom to be bad, uncooperative, or unwilling to please everyone. Maybe this means leaving your loveless marriage; maybe it means asking your husband for what you need. How are you a good girl? What do you need to break free from?
Hold on to your hope that your marriage will change
I’m not sure this is the best tip on how to survive a loveless marriage, but it works for many couples. Never give up hope!
Hope is the reason I stayed with a man who wasn’t good for me: I kept hoping he’d get nicer, want to work on our relationship, and start treating me with love and respect. When I think back on how bad our relationship was, I cringe! I’m embarrassed to admit how long I stayed in a relationship with someone I didn’t respect and didn’t like introducing to my friends. What kept me with that guy? He had a few good qualities…but mostly, it was my hope that our relationship would get better.
To survive a loveless marriage, stay hopeful that something will change. People DO change. Marriages go through rough patches – and those rough patches can make the relationship even better. You’re committed to your marriage and you want to stay married even though you aren’t in love. The only way to survive is to stay hopeful that some day things will improve.
Is your husband unloving, or does he abuse you? If he is physically, mentally, sexually, financially or emotionally abusing you, then you’re not in a loveless marriage. Read How to Leave an Abusive Relationship and start thinking about your options.
Consider the alternative to surviving a loveless marriage
You’re staying for a reason. If it’s a good one, then focus on the benefits and perks of being married.
If you haven’t chosen to stay in this marriage, know that you aren’t alone. It’s easier to stay in a loveless marriage than it is to leave. If you stay, you don’t have to deal with telling people it’s over, facing your own fears, feeling like the “bad person”, and being the one to rip the family apart. It’s easier to stay in a bad relationship than leave, just like it’s easier to stay in a bad job than uproot your life to find a new one.
To survive a loveless marriage, keep reminding yourself why you’ve chosen to stay. For you, the pain of leaving is worse than the pain of staying. Remind yourself why you’ve chosen to live in a loveless marriage. Train yourself to focus on the benefits, to see beyond the lack of love, and to finish the journey you started.
If you’re thinking about leaving a loveless marriage, read When to Give Up on a Relationship.
What are your reasons for staying in and trying to survive a loveless marriage? What are your reasons for trying to survive without love, rather than leaving and starting over? Write down your thoughts. Get to know who you are and what you want out of your life. Take time to think about your relationship with God. See yourself from His perspective. Ask for wisdom, guidance, and grace in your life. Jesus loves you and wants your life to be filled with joy and peace. Let Him in.
I welcome your comments on how to survive a loveless marriage. I can’t offer advice, but it may help you to share your experience.
Your thoughts are welcome below! I don't give advice, but you can get free relationship help from marriage coach Mort Fertel.