The Number One Reason People Stay In Unhappy Relationships & Marriages

I was thinking about why people stay in unhappy relationships the other day.

A guy friend of mine kept complaining about how unhappy he was in his current scenario. I offered advice and feedback but at the end of the day, the complaints kept coming.

I finally said look: You either make it better, or you leave.

Sure, you can stay in this unhappy limbo but what good is it?

I remember being in that limbo.

It was so hard to let go of what I had known for so long.

It’s one thing if you’re in a situation in which you haven’t done everything in your power to make it better, and quite another to be in a situation that you’ve done all you can, and yet still…nothing is improving.

I remember asking one of my close friends how she knew it was time to walk away from her marriage.

Her response was: You will just know.

I was infuriated in some respects at this easy answer. And by easy I mean– not definitive.

But she was 100% right.

When I knew, I knew.

But why do people waste time in dead-end situations?

There are so many reasons. For women the reason can be largely economic.

People stay for kids. For sentiment. Because they don’t believe they can do better.

Because they believe if they just say the right thing, a person will change. Because it is convenient.

Because they like the lifestyle.

But most importantly, people stay out of fear.

It is terrifying to alter your life, especially in the case of divorce. And yes, I just said the words terrifying.

People fear what life will be like, after the relationship is over.

Will they be alone? What if no one ever loves them again?

Will they have sex again?

What if this is as good as it gets, and the person is simply “wanting too much?”

I remember telling myself– maybe this is as good as it gets.

I feared I was going through a midlife crisis.

I feared my life would be over if I got a divorce.

I as afraid of well, everything.

If you are considering leaving a relationship or marriage and your finances or head is a total shit show, I will have advice in future articles to advise on next steps.

But– first things first:

You need to realize that fear is keeping you back. And yes, maybe you will end up alone in the end but isn’t that better than unhappy? Why does alone have to equal misery?

What if walking away could lead you to something much greater than you had ever allowed yourself to imagine?

If you can tell yourself that you have tried everything in your power to make your relationship work and it’s not…. or if you are so miserable you don’t even want to bother trying…

Why are you letting fear of the unknown grip you and hold you back?

Life is too short to be miserable and sometimes no matter how hard two people try to make it work, it just doesn’t.

Take a chance– your life can only get better.

3 thoughts on “The Number One Reason People Stay In Unhappy Relationships & Marriages

  1. TransparentApparent says:

    Excellent points, Laura. Having heard many of those reasons to stay from friends, family and co-workers, you summarized perfectly what that fear feels like and how it affects every aspect of your life. I’m currently living this existence; hopefully not for much longer but I appreciate the figurative slap in the face – the much-needed one that has helped quell a bit of that fear. I would, however, like to hear from men like the one to whom I’m still married but who clearly hates my very existence, why they stay when the lack of feelings is mutual, toxically so at that. Everyone we know recognizes that we are not in love, can barely be in the same room together without one of us feeling ill, NO sex (I can’t even remember what year it was when we were last intimate), but he doesn’t want a divorce. I get that this is a form of punishment but at what point does a nearly 50 year old man accept what is, lean on his support system, not use our child as a reason to stay together nor play emotional games with him to try to hurt me, move on and let go of decades-old grudges so HE can find peace of mind…and happiness? The refusal to let go is another terrifying reason some (i.e., ME) stay when it’s completely over.

    • frommtvtomommy says:

      I am SO sorry you are going through this…I wish you the courage to go…and the peace of mind to know that it will get better. The hell you know ISN”T better than the hell you don’t because if you leave, your life can get better. I truly believe that– and believe me, I know it is hard to go…He sounds mentally ill– not stable…so he would rather be unhappy and hurt you than go…don’t count on him to change on 50– count you to want more for yourself. Big hugs to you!!

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