Women stay in loveless marriages for many reasons. These tips on how to be happy without love are for wives who yearn for more connection in their lives but can’t leave their husbands.
You’d be surprised at how many women stay married to unhappy husbands, abusive partners, indifferent men. You are not alone – and you are not crazy, sick, weird or stupid for staying in a loveless marriage. You’re stuck, and you’ve felt trapped for a long time.
Walking away from any marriage, no matter how unloving or unhappy, is hard. Staying in a loveless marriage is also difficult…unless you learn ways to be happy despite feeling unloved, unwanted, and neglected. One idea might be to learn how to help your unhappy husband, but I don’t think it’s the best way to survive a relationship.
These tips for being happy in a loveless marriage are based on the reasons you’re still married. If you examine the “why” behind your inability to leave your husband, you’ll be in a better position to find happiness. Understanding why you’re choosing to stay in a loveless marriage will help you find ways to be content and even fulfilled despite your husband’s choices.
It’s important to remember that you – and your husband – are both making choices. You are both choosing to stay married without love. You’re both choosing to remain in the same house, living under the same roof as husband and wife, even though you know your marriage isn’t healthy.
You’re choosing to stay. You can also choose to be happy.
How to Be Happy in a Loveless Marriage
In this article, I describe five reasons women stay in loveless marriages. Do you see yourself in these reasons women stay? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below.
Living with a difficult husband who treats you badly is demoralizing, disheartening, and demeaning. A loveless marriage isn’t just an unhappy place to be, it kills your spirit and deadens your heart. There aren’t any easy tips to be happy in a relationship that is crushing you…but there are ways to look to other parts of your life for happiness, fulfillment, and meaning.
Deal with your fear of what people think
“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?” It’s normal to care what people say and think about you – especially if you’ve been unhappily married for a long time. The opinions of our friends, neighbors, family members, coworkers, and even our hairdressers matter. We’ve felt sorry or even looked down on couples whose marriages ended in divorce or separation. We don’t want to be subject of other people’s gossip, criticism, or judgments.
To cope with your fears – and to be happy – you need to explore what is keeping you in this loveless marriage. Maybe you’re scared of losing your house, retirement savings, or even your children. Maybe you’re worried about living alone, about starting over with nothing. If facing the truth about why you’re staying unhappily married is too hard, consider other ways to find fulfillment. 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 life, which will help you survive a loveless marriage. I’m not sure this is the best tip on how to be happy without a loving husband, but it works for many wives.
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.
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“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 be happy in a loveless marriage, give yourself permission not to be responsible for the happiness of everyone around you. If you can’t give yourself this permission, you’re normal! Seek it from someone else, then. Talk to a counselor or trusted friend. Learn what you are and are not responsible for. 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? This is one of my better tips for finding happiness in a loveless marriage.
Hold on to your hope that your marriage will change
Hoping your marriage will change is a good tip for happiness only if you and your husband are both willing to rebuild your relationship.
There’s good hope and there’s bad hope. I lived in the “bad hope” mode for months, staying with a boyfriend 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 with a man I didn’t respect and didn’t like introducing to my friends. What kept me with him? He had a few good qualities…but mostly it was my hope that our relationship would get better.
To be happy even in a marriage without love, hold on to your hope only if you have a good reason for that hope. People DO change. Marriages go through rough patches – and those rough patches can make the relationship better and stronger. You’re committed to your husband and you want to stay married even though you don’t feel the love. The only way to survive is to stay hopeful that some day things will improve.
Read 5 Signs It’s Time to Give Up Hope for Your Relationship if you’re not sure.
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.
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.
If you’re married and unloved, 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?
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.
The best tip on how to be happy in a loveless marriage is to turn to God. He created you, He loves you, and He wants you to thrive. He brought you here to She Blossoms, and His heart is broken for you.
Take a deep breath, and bow your head and heart in His presence. Learn who Jesus is and what He promises you. Don’t stay stuck in the despair and darkness of a loveless marriage. Seek wisdom and insight, guidance and support. Seek the love and joy of the Holy Spirit, and you will learn how to survive without love in your marriage.
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If you need relationship help, get Mort Fertel's 7 Steps to Fixing Your Marriage - and FREE advice, no strings attached.