For Better or For Worse: Why People Stay in Bad Marriages

In theory, relationships are simple. Marry when you’re ready. Break up when you’ve gone unhappy. But in real life, it’s much more complicated than this — most especially the part of the break-up. All too often, the opposite happens. Rather than leaving a bad, miserable, sometimes abusive marriage, people stay. They would experience brief peaks of joy and love throughout their married life. But for the most part, they’re stuck in pits and dips of loneliness, regret, and frustration. These are the reasons people decide to endure this kind of life:

They want to protect their children from the pain

Divorce is never easy on the kids. It triggers a lot of emotional issues. There’s a sense of guilt. Children feel like they’re the reason for the break-up. They blame and hate themselves for something they did. There’s also insecurity. Suddenly, kids don’t know if they’re loved or have been loved at all. Who else out there can love them, when their very own parents leave? Of course, there’s shame — of the failed relationship, of having to tell friends why their mom and dad couldn’t be at a school event together.

Instead of letting kids experience all these, couples stick to a bad, unhealthy relationship — not knowing that it does more harm than good. The thing is, miserable couples are the worst models for what a relationship should be. If you constantly bicker with one another or on the flip side, give each other the cold shoulder, your child will think that this is what’s normal in a relationship. They’ll carry that in the bonds they’ll try to form. And mind you, they can be in so much pain all the same, when you’re always at each other’s throats.

They’re afraid of the inconveniences of starting over

Conflict between a man and a womanTo some, they see divorce as a passage to a fresh start, a better chance at life. To others, though, they fear it precisely because the ‘do-over’ is too overwhelming. They need to sort their finances yet again. They have to get used to the set-up of visiting or giving away kids. They should go back to the dating game, with years of misery showing off on their faces. Rather than experiencing that scary new life, they decide to settle on their bad relationship.

Here’s the truth, if you really can’t take the marriage anymore, the encouragement for you is, the do-over doesn’t have to be burdensome. The key is to not do it all alone. Can’t get your finances in order? Call up an accountant. Work with a Denver family attorney. Fearing having to deal with the kids moving away? Reconnect with your family and friends. Struggling with the modern rules of the dating game? Talk to your young nieces and nephews. Don’t be afraid of the troubles of the do-over. You can weather it, just as long as you don’t do it as a lone ranger.

They feel like they don’t deserve better

Years and years of bad marriage can put you in this emotional trap. This is common when there’s abuse. Your spouse is probably a master manipulator, gaslighting you, feeding you all sorts of lies and doubts. Or your partner perhaps beats you so frequently, that on the days that they don’t, you feel strangely grateful for them. In all these situations, the result is, the abused feeling that they don’t deserve to be loved or have a shot at life. This is a lie. Nothing justifies abuse. Nothing is a strong reason to stay in that hostile environment. Tell someone about it. Call authorities. Seek legal remedy for your situation.

You vowed to stay together, for better or for worse, but when the ‘worse’ gets irreparable, it’s time to get out — for the kids’ sake, for your sanity, and for your welfare.

Spread the love