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Why do you stay in an unhappy marriage?


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Old 23rd August 2011, 5:54 AM   #1
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Why do you stay in an unhappy marriage?

Not moaning this time... I'm just curious to know why people stay in an unhappy marriage. Personally, it's the children, and I suppose my marriage is not unhappy enough for me to leave. I said in another thread that my marriage has been the biggest disappointment of my life, but I'm still here. The thing is, we don't argue, we get along, the atmosphere in the household is pretty relaxed, we share many ideals and beliefs and I'm pretty sure I would have a hard time finding another woman like my wife. Also, after 25 years together, well, I'm quite scared to have a relationship with another woman! I suppose the financial aspect of it also plays a fairly big role. So, what are your main reasons?
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Old 23rd August 2011, 12:54 PM   #2
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I am in a marriage where I am content to a point but unhappy mostly. We also get along well for the most part but there is no true and complete happiness on my side. I'm sure he cannot be extremely happy either. We both know that the intimacy has died long ago. We are like brother and sister. There is also resentment on both sides (although he won't admit it) that can eat away at a relationship.
Why do I stay? Not sure if we are staying together but right now, it's so hard to leave when I know we care about each other still and yes, the guilt. As far as the kids, they can see and feel the disconnect and distance. I would rather them see a completely healthy relationship.
Also the pain is intense on both sides when we are apart and memories get triggered and there are SO many memories when you've been with someone for 23 years.
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Old 24th August 2011, 3:06 AM   #3
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well, that's pretty bad... but I'm glad you managed to get out...

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I'm in my second marriage now. This response pertains to my first marriage.

I stayed way past the point of unhappiness. I stayed years longer than I should have. The reasons were many, but it boiled down to a lack of courage.

I was afraid of what people would think. That I was a failure. That I couldn't make it work and was weak and hadn't given it my all. I was afraid of losing what was familiar and the changes that would come with that. I was afraid, deep down, that the problem was ME and that I could be throwing away a "good thing" because of my own lack of insight.

I was in an abusive marriage, so some (a lot) of that fear came as a result of the emotional turmoil I was in. I also had counseling over the last couple of years that led me to figuring some of that out. Even during that process, when I realized a lot of the problem was him, I was afraid I hadn't done enough to try to help HIM get the help he needed. It took a long time to see things clearly.

When we had our daughter, and he hit me in front of her, all the fear went out the window and I left...for good. My priority was HER and I knew that I wouldn't let her live in a family like that. I didn't want her to be influenced by my bad decisions and fears.

I wasn't strong enough to do it for me, but my love for her gave me the strength to do what I needed to do. On the flip side, I can see why people might stay in a marriage because they think it's what's best for the kids. I don't always agree with that belief, but it all depends on the situation within each particular family as to what the right call is.
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Old 24th August 2011, 3:09 AM   #4
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very similar feelings... leaving is almost impossible, especially if you still care very much about your other half and there is so much at stake! Personally, I would hate not being able to see my children every day or the thought of them being raised by another man...

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I am in a marriage where I am content to a point but unhappy mostly. We also get along well for the most part but there is no true and complete happiness on my side. I'm sure he cannot be extremely happy either. We both know that the intimacy has died long ago. We are like brother and sister. There is also resentment on both sides (although he won't admit it) that can eat away at a relationship.
Why do I stay? Not sure if we are staying together but right now, it's so hard to leave when I know we care about each other still and yes, the guilt. As far as the kids, they can see and feel the disconnect and distance. I would rather them see a completely healthy relationship.
Also the pain is intense on both sides when we are apart and memories get triggered and there are SO many memories when you've been with someone for 23 years.
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Old 24th August 2011, 3:48 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Lexygirl View Post
I am in a marriage where I am content to a point but unhappy mostly. We also get along well for the most part but there is no true and complete happiness on my side. I'm sure he cannot be extremely happy either. We both know that the intimacy has died long ago. We are like brother and sister. There is also resentment on both sides (although he won't admit it) that can eat away at a relationship.
Why do I stay? Not sure if we are staying together but right now, it's so hard to leave when I know we care about each other still and yes, the guilt. As far as the kids, they can see and feel the disconnect and distance. I would rather them see a completely healthy relationship.
Also the pain is intense on both sides when we are apart and memories get triggered and there are SO many memories when you've been with someone for 23 years.
OK - I don't know you or your relationship and trust me when I say that this question is not meant to be disrespectful but when you took vows did you really mean for better or for worse? Is being "unhappy" enough to break it - isn't content just enough?

I'm just wondering because I understand people change between the time they take vows and 25 years down the road but isn't that what you're signing up with when it comes to marriage? That no matter what - unless your life is being put in danger that you stick around?
Don't marriage vows pretty much mean that even if you're not very happy you're supposed to stick thru it?
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Old 24th August 2011, 4:39 PM   #6
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Currently I am unhappy, but hopefully it's something that we can work on.

Beyond that, I take my vows seriously, and it would take something very serious to make me leave. I don't think being unhappy is a valid reason to leave someone, particularly if you have children. Even then it would be complicated, due to $$, socially, etc. Lately I've been wondering if I need to rethink this attitude, because my spouse really wants children, while I currently have many reservations about having them. Am wondering if that's fair to him.
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Old 24th August 2011, 5:02 PM   #7
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OK - I don't know you or your relationship and trust me when I say that this question is not meant to be disrespectful but when you took vows did you really mean for better or for worse? Is being "unhappy" enough to break it - isn't content just enough?

I'm just wondering because I understand people change between the time they take vows and 25 years down the road but isn't that what you're signing up with when it comes to marriage? That no matter what - unless your life is being put in danger that you stick around?
Don't marriage vows pretty much mean that even if you're not very happy you're supposed to stick thru it?
I think when the "worse" lasts many years you start considering your options... marriage is a two-way street and definitely doesn't advocate masochism...
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Old 24th August 2011, 9:31 PM   #8
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OK - I don't know you or your relationship and trust me when I say that this question is not meant to be disrespectful but when you took vows did you really mean for better or for worse? Is being "unhappy" enough to break it - isn't content just enough?

I'm just wondering because I understand people change between the time they take vows and 25 years down the road but isn't that what you're signing up with when it comes to marriage? That no matter what - unless your life is being put in danger that you stick around?
Don't marriage vows pretty much mean that even if you're not very happy you're supposed to stick thru it?
The vows mean what each wants them to mean. You are the master of your own destiny, not a slave to your own word. And everybody still has a right to the pursuit of happiness.

Unless you are religious. Then, you are screwed (in this life) - sorry.
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Old 24th August 2011, 9:42 PM   #9
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So many of my female friends are unhappy in their M's. Mostly they claim to stay because of the kids. There is also that element that it's easier to stay where you are comfortable than it is to take a chance on embarking on something new.

Girls nights are always depressing for me. The H's are cheating, addicted to internet porn, rarely home.... The list goes on. Of the 5 girls I went to HS with- only one is happy in her marriage... The rest usually end up in tears lamenting over how unhappy they are.

It's ver sad to consent to that kind of unhappiness because you're afraid to do anything about it.
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Old 24th August 2011, 10:46 PM   #10
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So to figure out why, try and think about how they and their relationships are similar to one another. It's a cohort--there must be lots of similarities. What things in common do they have, in addition to all being unhappy in their M's?

This requires them to take a hard look in the mirror which no one ever wants to do.

Why are you even hanging out with a bunch of Negative Nancy's who are openly gossiping and kevetching about how much they hate their husbands and would leave them in a heartbeat if not for the kids?

It sounds like they're a group of self-negative-reinforcing fishwives. Do they just sit around dissing their husbands to one another every time you go out with them?

Maybe instead of hanging out at the bars with the other unhappy girls complaining about their marriages they should be at home catering to their husbands' and childrens' needs and being good moms and wives.

Yeah no surprise there. SO STOP GOING OUT WITH THESE PEOPLE!!!

There is no rule that says you have to keep hanging out with a bunch of negative people who just bring you down and depress you with all their neurotic, spoiled complaining (which is likely why they have unhappy marriages).

Tell them they are depressing people and you have better things to do than listen to them b*tch about their husbands and dream of cheating on them or actually cheat.

The girls aren't home either. Physician heal thyself.

Yup they are a bunch of spoiled self-pitying whiners.

Tell them to get their butts off the barstool and go home and do something useful with themselves rather than gain weight drinking over-expensive cocktails.

You CAN do something about it since you control your own actions. These women are all a pack of sorry losers and if you don't want to be a loser stop hanging with them.
Dude, these are my HS gf's that I see once every couple of months for a couple hours to have dinner with. Most of them don't even drink, let alone hang out on a barstool every night.

We get together rarely- mostly because they can't get away because they are working, at home with the kids- and unable to get out because their H's are always the ones going out. They are allowed some time away for a few hours once every couple of months- how does that make them bad wives or mothers?

For instance, one of my gf's- her husband plays for 3 baseball teams in the summer, and two hockey teams in the winter. He's 44, he's gone 4-6 nights a week 365 days a year- and every Sunday is "boys day"...

Why do I hang out with them? Because I've know them all for over 25 years- one of them I've known since pre-school. You don't stop being friends with people because they are having a hard time of it, when you care about people you stick by them. I'd never abandon a gf because she's despondent over catching her husband in an affair- how is that helpful to anyone?
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Old 25th August 2011, 12:10 AM   #11
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GW, You don't get it and you never will.

You are either a troll or you're an incredibly bitter dude.
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Old 25th August 2011, 3:15 AM   #12
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great example of how to hijack threads and putting everybody off... I just wish the same person stopped re-registering with different user names and being a knob.

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LOL not a troll, not bitter and I get it very much so.

Negative thinking and hanging out with a bunch of negative people just makes your life negative.

So instead of having something fun to come on the internet to chat about, you just have something very depressing to dwell upon and ruminate on endlessly.

I think maybe you and your friends should read some books by Dale Carnegie.

You know what? Just because you went to high school with them doesn't mean you're obligated to live in their small, limited-horizon, depressing, drab, mean little world until you keel over dead.

Just because they haven't learned how to establish happy, functional, loving adult relationships doesn't mean you have any obligation to be their shoulder to cry on.

They are draining you of any and all positive energy and you don't even see it.
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Old 25th August 2011, 4:42 AM   #13
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great example of how to hijack threads and putting everybody off... I just wish the same person stopped re-registering with different user names and being a knob.
Some people just have no life.
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Old 25th August 2011, 12:55 PM   #14
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great example of how to hijack threads and putting everybody off... I just wish the same person stopped re-registering with different user names and being a knob.
LOL The Hydra lives on
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Old 25th August 2011, 10:25 PM   #15
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LOL not a troll, not bitter and I get it very much so.

Negative thinking and hanging out with a bunch of negative people just makes your life negative.

So instead of having something fun to come on the internet to chat about, you just have something very depressing to dwell upon and ruminate on endlessly.

I think maybe you and your friends should read some books by Dale Carnegie.

You know what? Just because you went to high school with them doesn't mean you're obligated to live in their small, limited-horizon, depressing, drab, mean little world until you keel over dead.

Just because they haven't learned how to establish happy, functional, loving adult relationships doesn't mean you have any obligation to be their shoulder to cry on.

They are draining you of any and all positive energy and you don't even see it.
Well, I don't see it that way- and I liked one of your responses in another thread- so you can't be all that bad, so sorry for going off on you.

I only see them once in a while, and I like these girls. When you know people for almost 30 years and have forged a great friendship- you take the good with the bad. When I go through something tough- they listen to me. That's what friendship is- give and take, being there for one another when you need one another.

When I got dumped, they rallied around me and took me out for dinner and allowed me to vent.

Being around them doesn't bring me down, I'm happy to listen and help if I can. I actually find solace in helping others out.

You don't turn your back on people you've known since gradeschool because they are hurting- you listen to them, allow them to vent, and you do what you can to make them feel better. They'd do it for me (and they all have over the years).

That's all I am saying- you don't turn your back on friends in need.
I measure a friendship on the basis of "if the tables were reversed, would they do the same for me?" In the case of all of these girls, my answer would be yes. That's just called friendship.
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