Marriage requires commitment, dedication, and plenty of communication, but sadly, sometimes even the most well-meaning and hard-working couple can discover that their marriage isn’t salvageable and that it is time to end the relationship. When it comes to that point and a couple has exhausted every avenue to repair the relationship, the best option is to smoothly and amicably end the marriage — but of course, real life isn’t always so neat and straightforward.
Couples are often afraid to let go, and instead they stay with the sinking ship, complicating matters for themselves and for their children. Here are the top five reasons why couples are afraid to leave a failing marriage, and what to do about it:
1. “I don’t want to hurt my children.”
Couples often avoid divorce because they want to stay together “for the kids.” While it is noble to put your children’s happiness above your own, it can actually backfire. No matter how much you try to contain your anger or resentment, kids can pick up on the tension and hurt between you and your partner, and it can serve to confuse and frighten them. Arguments are often inevitable between angry partners, and this is never a good environment for children. Not to mention, when you aren’t happy, you can’t be the best version of yourself and you can’t give your children everything they need. In situations such as these, divorce is often a better option.
2. “We can’t afford a divorce.”
Divorce and financial constraint often go hand-in-hand. It is very difficult to maintain two households, especially in today’s troubled economy. However, as difficult as it will be, starting over and committing to a happy future is a much better investment than staying in an unhappy and hopeless marriage. You might not have as much money for extras and life’s luxuries, but your happiness is worth more than all the luxuries in the world.
3. “I don’t want to be viewed as a failure.”
People often consider divorce to be a symbol of failure, and terms like “two-time loser” or “three-time loser” are used to describe people who have had unsuccessful marriages in the past. Words like this hurt, and only serve to shame and humiliate people who are already enduring a lot of pain and suffering. But divorce is a reality of life: Sometimes marriages don’t work no matter how hard people try and no matter how much love exists in the home. Anyone who judges you for your marital discord does not have your best interests at heart, and at the end of the day, you have to make decisions that are best for you and your family — no matter what others say.
4. “I have already put so many years into this.”
Sometimes people resist letting go because they don’t want to feel like they wasted years or even decades on a marriage. But just because a marriage ends doesn’t meant that your years with your partner were a waste of time. You shared happy memories, grew as a person, and maybe even had children and created a family. Walking away doesn’t nullify those happy memories — it just gives you more opportunity to create new ones.
5. “I don’t want to be alone.”
This is perhaps the biggest fear that people have when considering walking away from a marriage. After being out of the game for so long, it can be hard to imagine being single and dating again. Or worse, not dating! Many people are insecure about their dating prospects after divorce and they worry that they will spend their Saturday nights — and the rest of their lives — alone. Even though the period right after divorce is likely to be quite difficult, I firmly believe that people who are ready for love and who are active in their search for happiness will never be disappointed.
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