What's In This Article
Trust, respect, and communication are the foundation of a happy marriage. But what happens when that foundation starts to crack? Can you be happy in an unhappy marriage?
It's a tricky question to answer because it depends on the situation. If you're in an unhappy marriage but still love your spouse and want to make things work, then it's possible to find happiness again.
However, if you're constantly arguing and your relationship is full of conflict, it may be time to consider other options.
Here are 9 points to consider if you're wondering if you can be happy in an unhappy marriage.
Signs of an Unhappy Marriage
Before we dive into whether you can be happy in an unhappy marriage, let's first look at some common signs that your relationship may be heading south.
1. You're Constantly Arguing
You and your spouse are constantly bickering, and you can't even remember the last time you had a civilized conversation.
2. You're Both Always Exhausted
You're both working long hours, taking care of the kids, and running the household, and by the end of the day, you're both just too tired to even think about spending quality time together.
3. You've Grown Apart
It seems you have nothing in common, and your conversations consist mostly of small talk. You don't feel close to your spouse like you used to.
Read More: What Is Emotional Abandonment In Marriage?
4. You're Not Physically Attracted to Each Other Anymore
This one is tough to admit, but it can be a major roadblock to finding happiness in your marriage if you're no longer attracted to your spouse.
5. Sex Is Non-Existent (or Just Really Bad)
A healthy sex life is integral to any relationship, so if yours has gone by the wayside, it may be a sign that something bigger is wrong.
Of course, these are just some common signs of an unhappy marriage – every relationship is different, so only you will know if your relationship is in trouble.
Reasons to Stay in an Unhappy Marriage
So, let's say you've identified that your marriage is indeed unhappy. Why would you want to stay in such a situation? Here are a few possible reasons:
You're Still in Love With Your Spouse
Even though things may not be perfect, you still love your spouse and want to make things work. You believe you can return to a happy place with some effort.
You Have Kids
If you have kids, it's essential to consider their well-being before deciding about your marriage.
You're Hoping Things Will Get Better
Things may be just going through a rough patch, and with some time and effort, you can work through the issues and become a stronger, happier couple on the other side.
You Don't Want To Start Over
Getting divorced and starting over can be daunting, especially if you've been married for a long time. Staying in your current situation may be easier if you're not ready for such a change.
Read More: How To Practice Detachment In Marriage
Reasons to Leave an Unhappy Marriage
There are also some valid reasons for leaving an unhappy marriage. If any of the following sounds familiar, it may be time to think about life outside your current relationship.
You're Not in Love With Your Spouse Anymore
Moving on may be your best option if you've fallen out of love with your spouse. Even if you still care for them, it's not the same as being in love, and leaving may be the healthiest thing you can do.
You're Not Happy
This one seems like a no-brainer, but if you're genuinely unhappy in your marriage, that's a good reason to leave. It may be time for a change if your marriage makes you miserable.
Your Health Is Suffering
If the stress of being in an unhappy marriage affects your physical or mental health, it's time to make a change.
You're Being Abused
If you are a victim of physical, emotional, or verbal abuse, get out of the situation as soon as possible. There is no excuse for this kind of behavior, and no amount of happiness is worth sacrificing your safety.
Making the Decision to Stay or Go
So, how do you decide whether to stay or go? Unfortunately, there is no simple answer, and only you can make the right decision for you.
Here are a 9 things to consider before deciding to stay or go:
1. You're Not Alone
First and foremost, remember that you're not alone. Many marriages go through periods of happiness and unhappiness. It may be easier to weather the storm if your unhappiness is because of a temporary problem, such as job loss or financial stress.
2. Communicate with Your Partner
Discuss your concerns openly and honestly. Try to be understanding and avoid placing blame. It's also important to listen to your partner's perspective and see things from their point of view. If you can resolve your differences, it may help improve your overall satisfaction with the relationship.
3. Seek Professional Help
A therapist can provide an objective perspective on your relationship and offer helpful advice on how to improve things. Couples counseling can be a great way to reconnect with your spouse and work through unresolved issues.
4. Consider Your Options
If you're still undecided about whether to stay or go, it may be helpful to sit down and consider both options. Make a list of the pros and cons of staying in the marriage.
Consider how a divorce would affect your finances, kids, career, and social life. It's also important to consider how staying in the marriage would affect you. If you're unhappy, staying in the relationship may do more harm than good.
5. Get Support
Relationship challenges can be difficult to deal with on your own. If you're considering divorce, have a support system in place. Talk to close friends or family members who can offer emotional guidance.
You may also want to consider joining a support group for people in unhappy marriages or considering divorce. Therapy, either solo or with your spouse, can also be beneficial.
6. Take Your Time
Take your time and think things through carefully before you make a final decision. If you're on the fence, it may be helpful to wait a few months to see if things improve.
It may resolve itself over time if your unhappiness is due to a specific problem, such as job loss or financial stress. Or you may find that your feelings change as you get used to the idea of divorce. Either way, it's important to make sure you're making the right decision.
7. The Impact of an Unhappy Marriage on Children
It is also imperative to consider the impact an unhappy marriage will have on your children, if you have any.
If you constantly fight with your spouse, your children will undoubtedly witness this and could be negatively impacted. While it's normal for couples to argue occasionally, constant fighting can be harmful. Children who witness their parents arguing may feel scared, confused, or helpless.
Divorce can also be tough on kids. They may worry about being separated from one or both parents and feel like they have to choose sides. They may also experience feelings of sadness, anger, and guilt.
Whether you're considering divorce or just unhappy in your marriage, it's critical to consider how your children will be affected. If you're unsure about what to do, seek professional help. A therapist can guide you on how to best support your children through this difficult time.
8. Your Happiness Matters
If you're unhappy in your marriage, it's okay to seek help or to walk away. There is no shame in admitting that your marriage isn't working and that you need to make a change. Your happiness is worth fighting for, so don't be afraid to do what's best for you.
9. The Decision is Yours
Ultimately, whether to stay in an unhappy marriage is yours and yours alone.
If you decide to stay in the relationship, commit yourself fully and work hard to make things work. If you leave, try to do so with courtesy, respect, and understanding. No matter what you decide, remember that the decision is yours and yours alone.
Whether you are considering staying or leaving an unhappy marriage, seek professional help to ensure that you make the best decision for yourself and your family. A therapist can provide guidance and support as you navigate this difficult situation.
The Bottom Line
Unhappy marriages are hard to resolve, and there is no simple answer to this question. Every situation is unique, and everyone must decide what is right for them.
If you're considering leaving an unhappy marriage, weigh the pros and cons carefully before deciding, and be sure to seek professional help. If you stay in the relationship, make a sincere effort to do the work necessary to improve things.
You can be happy in an unhappy marriage if you choose to. Ultimately, the decision is yours. The most important thing is to find a way to be happy, whether that means staying in your current relationship or moving on.
Lauren Cook-McKay is the Vice President of Marketing at DivorceAnswers.com. She holds a Master’s Degree in Marriage and Family Therapy (MFT) from the University of San Diego and applies her training in private practice to helping couples struggling in their marriage. She believes there is hope in all marriages and strives to provide therapy to couples that will lead them back towards a loving marriage, or an amicable divorce that brings peace and closure.