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Reasons Why People Stay in an Unhappy Marriage

Updated on December 3, 2015

There are other reasons besides the children that people remain in unhappy marriages

Marriage is a commitment for a lifetime. Though, it does not always work out in this manner.
Marriage is a commitment for a lifetime. Though, it does not always work out in this manner. | Source
For some couples even after the marriage is dead they remain in an unhappy relationship with each other for different reasons.
For some couples even after the marriage is dead they remain in an unhappy relationship with each other for different reasons. | Source
The old saying life is to short to be unhappy has a touch of truth in it. Why remain miserable if you have a choice to be something else?
The old saying life is to short to be unhappy has a touch of truth in it. Why remain miserable if you have a choice to be something else?
Lots of people meet at an early age and fall in love. After life takes place, things change. They change and realize they need something other than an unhappy marriage.
Lots of people meet at an early age and fall in love. After life takes place, things change. They change and realize they need something other than an unhappy marriage.

Amazon has some great advice on staying married. Check it out

There are numerous reasons why a couple will remain in an unhappy marriage

Couples marry and make the vow to remain with each other for life.No one wants to go against the grain and the promise is always sincere when it is made. Under no circumstances does one or the other part of the couple expect to break this vow. Through thick or then or better or worse helping one another when they need it is all part of the package. Conditions are not always coming up roses.

There are things later in life no one ever sees coming while walking down the isle hand in hand. These are events, happenings, dealings, incidents and occurrences which change everything when it comes to marriage.

Couples don’t say “I do” with the expectation to say “I do not” later on. Divorce happens for couples. Though, there are couples who make a choice to stay in unhappy marriages. What are the reasons people stay in unhappy marriages.


Why not simply call it quits and divorce one another. Divorce is a negative word. However, how the world views those getting divorced has changed over the years. There are people who married and divorced and remarried. The second time around they found a true soul mate and stay with the second go around or the rest of their life. Contentment is sustained.

Studies show the longer two individuals stay married the less likely they are to divorce. Are better decisions made with age? The jury is still out on this one. When a couple rejects calling it quits and remain with one another, what are their reasons?

For the children

Some couples stay married for the sake of the children. Simply waiting until they leave home or are old enough to understand mom and dad divorcing is an option. Nearly all children admit understanding something is fishy or up with the parents.

At a certain point in time during the life of the children they seek out a divorce and new life. Their new way of life is staying single or connecting with someone else.

Faithful during this time

Generally they remain faithful to one another during this time. Affairs and ugly confrontations are avoided. This is the norm, but there are exceptions. Going through life without the emotion of love for one another is how they exist. The ultimate emotion a spouse feels for the other is missing and they know it, but simply choose to ignore it for now.

Miss out on life

Couples waiting for divorce are looking toward the future and miss out on the now. This is a terrible tragedy for the entire family. There is typically drugs, alcohol and other remedies to make it through the time. Depression and anxiety run rampant. Life is passing the entire family by.


Money makes the world go around and countless times it is the glue holding together the marriage when the love is gone. Money makes people remain in an unhappy marriage more times than imaginable. Sometimes it is cheaper to remain with one another than get a divorce, depending upon certain conditions.

It is an expensive process

Getting a divorce costs money people don’t always have in some circumstances. The process isn’t free no matter where a person lives. Some are certainly cheaper than others. Yet, a couple of thousand dollars is possibly the difference in someone finding themselves in a home or homeless. The rich have issues with money and divorce for different reasons.

Marrying for financial gain

Married for financial reasons occurs with rich as well as poor husbands and wives. The wealthy refuse to share millions (or billions) as a consequence of freedom from matrimony. The poor simply are unable to get the extra dollars needed to separate from an undesirable bride or bridegroom.


Tradition isn’t a long standing anti-divorce tactic in America as much as it was years ago. However, in some countries it is not an option because of tradition or tradition dictates no matter what remain married.


For some religions and beliefs it is never discussed or considered. Divorce is a word as foreign as killing the spouse to get out. The belief a husband is to always the provider keeps a wife from working even though she desires it. Others have a wife beaten or degraded by a husband because of the belief he is able to do anything.


For instance, a bride or bridegroom was chosen by family members and a contract ensued before the ceremony. Money and/or property is sometimes exchanged which cannot be replaced or reimbursed.

Health insurance

Believe it or not some endure an unhappy marriage for health insurance benefits. This is a situation that possibly measures up against money and decide which one comes out on top. Families and individuals have filed bankruptcy and lost in the world because of unpaid medical bills for a chronic or catastrophic illness.

Bankrupt a family

Without health insurance getting sick is a scary situation. If a spouse has health care coverage for an expensive, chronic condition the unhealthy spouse stays. Some sicknesses costs millions to treat over a number of years or possibly bankrupt a family before the patient is even cured or well enough to go home.

The frightening truth of bankruptcy and losing a life savings, retirement or a home is enough to remain in an unhappy marriage for numerous folks.


A lot of religions in no way permit divorce. Divorce is accepted as a great sin and jeopardizes the immortal soul. Accepting a situation for what it is and the fact nothing is possible to change it makes the ride a little smoother.

There are some exceptions

Married for religious beliefs is a very large reason why countless couples find themselves still together staying in an unhappy marriage that would otherwise be divorced. Under no circumstance is this action possible for lots of religions. Though, some make an exception depending on a set of specific circumstances. Typically both couples have to agree to the decision a church makes about the request. In the end they have the power of yes or no.

The conviction coming with religion as the angle is widespread throughout different followings. No one religion has a stronghold on the anti-divorce option.


Loneliness or being alone is a real threat for more than a few. This is found a lot among those couples in the golden years of the relationship. This is later in life when the kids have gone and the grandchildren even have their own lives now.

Couples stay together rather than the option of being alone by divorcing. They are devoted to one another, even when the feelings of love and commitment are long gone. Being alone is a strong motivator for people to stay in an unhappy marriage.

There are certainly worse things, but for some there really isn't. They know the habits and routines of this other half of the whole and are able to live with it rather than on their own.

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Do you think people should stay in an unhappy marriage if they do not have to?

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Arranged marriages hardly ever end in divorce

Married in name only

Staying married when you no longer want to be does have a work around. Remain with one another in name only. Married in name only is self-explanatory. Each one is free to make decisions as they pertain to each person alone.This circumstance is not actually being a couple together. The tie to one another is by a piece of paper only. There is no commitment to share any parts of an individual's life with this other person.

Freedom to do whatever

Each individuals does whatever they desire without regards for another. Some live alone with their own things, home or lifestyle. With this sort of freedom, what is the point of getting a divorce? Countless couples live on different sides of town, in distinct cities or even on different continents all the while both remain married to each other.

Both agree to the deal

These are folks who make the decision to live separate lives without a divorce. They typically bypass sharing the holidays and family activities as a couple. There are excuses for people unaware of the situation about their spouse. It simply understood each one is single in everything but name.

Social status

Social status and peer pressure exist for a few even well into their adult life. There are some people who feel a need to climb the social ladder. Without it the assumption is falling from an invisible perch by leaving unhappy marriage thru divorce.

Not enough strength

Instead of being strong enough to oppose whatever social climbing status they have achieved with their marriage by getting a divorce, these are a few that remain together instead.

Arranged marriages

There are still couples coming to the alter through arranged marriages. These are husband and wife betrothed to each other even at the age of seven or eight. This happens in countries around the world, even America.

Arranged marriages generally have no divorce option because it is possibly costly not only to the couple, but to extended families and their families livelihood. The ripple effect is tremendous for most of these. They not only have their own lives to consider, but the lives of all involved in the process.

In conclusion

These are reasons couples find themselves in an unhappy marriage and contemplating a divorce, but not taking the next step to make it happen. When you are unhappy in marriage and deliberating about a divorce you generally take into account what your next actions will be.

Tons of emotions come into play. Most reflect on actions and decisions throughout the relationship. They remember, judge and think long and hard weighing all of the consequences and outcomes prior to making a final decision. It is not something decided over a lunch hour.

Marriage is a lifetime commitment for most. Though, there are times when things simply don’t work out. For these folks there are reasons they will stay in an unhappy marriage even when things don’t seem to work out for the best in their personal situation.

Marriage counseling is always a consideration. Find out more about it.

Weird proposals

There are some crazy ways to ask him or her to say yes to marriage. Everyone has heard the one about the Jumbotron at the professional football, baseball or basketball game. Though, there are still some even more unique ones which did not get the same amount of press.

a. How about sitting on Santa's lap at the mall?She is sitting on his knee when he comes up on one knee in front of Santa with the ring. Most people admit they never imagined she asked for a great husband for Christmas this year.

b. The courtesy counter at Walmart. He said he was just standing around and thinking about it and thought what the heck. We have to wait in line for our number to be called so I will go ahead and kill two birds with one stone and ask her. At least we hope this was the thought process and not he imagined this was the most romantic place he was able to think of.

c. How about a back tattoo? This is a little scary. What if she said no. Would the guy cross off the old fiancee and put the new one in over the top for the next try at marriage?

These are all weird and almost preposterous, but all true. Getting married is not what it used to be.

A back tattoo is not the way to go dude. What if the answer is no.
A back tattoo is not the way to go dude. What if the answer is no.
He could not wait for her to come out of the restroom before asking for her hand in marriage. Scarier still is who filmed this in there with the happy couple?
He could not wait for her to come out of the restroom before asking for her hand in marriage. Scarier still is who filmed this in there with the happy couple?

© 2011 smcopywrite


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    • NotSoPerfect profile image

      NotSoPerfect 5 years ago from United States

      Great input. Voting up, useful and interesting!

    • Brian Burton profile image

      Brian Burton 5 years ago

      Great points. It occurred to me during the doubts of my first marriage that when I made the commitment, I was a kid with no idea about what that meant or what I was getting into. Over decades we change and life changes, it's pretty unreasonable to expect a 20 year old to know what partner they want for the rest of their lives. For me, that is just insanity.

    • smcopywrite profile image

      smcopywrite 5 years ago from all over the web

      brian this is so true. it was scary to pick out your major for college. what do you want to do for the rest of your a young adult any question about the rest of your life is a big darn deal.

    • profile image

      4 years ago

      Sometimes the LORD tells to Stay: THERE ARE REASONS FOR BEING THERE--NOT EVERYTHING IS ABOUT US. SOMETIMES THEIR SOUL IS AT STAKE--in a very difficult situation. One can check and double-check WITH THE LORD: Nope--I WANT YOU THERE. He sent--Hagar back to submit to HARSH treatment. Yet he had the power to free Sarah from abduction by the king. THE IMPORTANT THING IS TO DO WITH THE LORD. Everything else is our own WILL--selfish. THE WILL--OF GOD IS LOOKING OUT FOR THE GOOD OF ALL. SOMETIMES IN THIS FALLEN WORLD ARE FALLEN SITUATIONS THAT NEED OUR PRESENCE: THERE IS MORE AT STAKE THAN US--WE WANT THE WHOLE WORLD SAVED!HEART-CROSS

    • profile image

      Angela 3 years ago

      Is it selfish to stay married but live separately and move back to one's own country?

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