10 Consequences of Staying in an Unhappy Marriage
In This Article
At some point, you may experience some challenges in your marriage – regardless of how sweet it has always been. You may disagree with your partner on some issues or experience occasional fights. However, it is expected that things should even out after a short while.
Being unhappy in marriage is no one’s idea of fun. This is because the consequences of staying in an unhappy marriage are too many to count. Your partner is supposed to bring you joy, peace, and happiness and not discomfort and disappointment.
Constantly feeling miserable in marriage is a sign that something is wrong somewhere. Hence, the feeling must not be treated with a wave of the hands. You must discover the cause of your feelings and find a permanent fix immediately.
In this article, we will examine what being in an unhappy marriage means and how to stay in an unhappy marriage (or call things off, as the case may be).
What is an unhappy marriage?
Before defining an unhappy marriage, let’s look at what it’s not.
The fact that you got into a little brawl with your spouse today over breakfast and they took their keys and stormed out of the house doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re in a toxic relationship. It could just be their way of dealing with a stressful situation.
An unhappy marriage is one in which you constantly fight with a feeling of despair. Unhappy marriages are characterized mainly by passive aggression from one or both partners, constant fights, resentment, anger, and excessive toxicity from both spouses.
It is not uncommon to experience declining happiness in your marriage at some point. This can be caused by multiple reasons including external pressure, different parenting styles, and different emotional/sexual needs.
However, the major difference between these scenarios and a downright unhappy marriage is the feelings that reside deep within every individual. When you’re just feeling pissed at your partner for something, there’s every chance that you’re willing to work things out with them.
Unhappy marriages, on the other hand, are characterized by a deep resentment, bitterness, and mostly negative feelings toward the other. In an unhappy marriage, you do your best to stay away from your partner, reducing your communication to the barest minimum.
10 signs you’re in an unhappy marriage
How exactly do you tell if you’re in a loveless marriage? Do not just base your decisions on what others think of your marriage. Instead, take a look at the top signs of an unhappy marriage to be sure. Some of the unhappy marriage signs are listed below.
- Less or no time spent together
- Lack of emotional interdependence
- Lack of physical intimacy
- A lot of criticism from both partners
- Avoiding any kind of confrontation
- No celebration on special occasions
- Not sharing with each other
- No proper plans for future
- No vacations together
- Not supporting each other in tough times
10 consequences of staying in an unhappy marriage
As we already mentioned, the consequences of staying in an unhappy marriage can be dire. Sometimes, you may look back and even ask yourself why you didn’t step out of the marriage all those years ago.
Here are 10 not-so-good things that can happen when you keep on staying in an unhappy marriage.
1. Low self-esteem
Research has proven that long-term unhappy marriages are detrimental to self-esteem and a person’s overall well-being. You may begin to second-guess yourself and what you’re worth when you’re in a relationship where all you seem to do with your spouse is fight and quarrel every day.
This low sense of self-esteem is also one of the reasons why people in unhappy marriages seem quite reluctant to let go of such toxic relationships. Since they may now have a warped sense of self-identity, they may be left with the idea that they’re no longer worthy of love.
The longer you spend in a loveless marriage, the more your self-esteem depreciates.
2. Mental health challenges
In addition to low self-esteem, your overall mental health will take a beating when you’re in an unhappy marriage. Studies show that people in toxic marriages are more prone to mental health issues like depression, anxiety, and have suicidal tendencies.
Think about it for a second. If you have ever worked with a toxic boss, you know how stressful keeping up with them was. Imagine having to deal with that amount of stress every day – for all the long hours you spend at home. The thought alone can be demoralizing.
To reduce your chances of dealing with these adverse mental health challenges, you may want to consider leaving an unhappy marriage as soon as possible.
3. Your physical health takes a beating as well
One of the main consequences of staying in an unhappy marriage is that your physical health will be affected as well. In many cases, the deterioration of your physical health is the result of what’s going on inside – your mental and emotional health.
When you’re with someone who denies you care and affection, your body tends to break down more often in response to the lack of love you’re experiencing. Then again, anxiety and depression affect your immune system, causing frequent illnesses.
Related Reading: Mental Health & Marriage: 20 Significant Effects
4. Social isolation
If your marriage has gotten physically abusive (where your partner hits and leaves marks on your body), you may begin to withdraw from your social circles.
In many cases, you’d do this to prevent raised eyebrows and because you may not be willing to reveal the extent of the damage done to your marriage.
Social isolation usually begins slowly until you suddenly realize that you are left to deal with an unhappy marriage all by yourself – with no support system that could have helped you scale through.
Then again, the constant pain and rejection you receive from your partner can cause you to become prickly, thereby forcing people to avoid you in general.
5. Trauma to the children
One of the biggest consequences of staying in an unhappy marriage is the negative impact it has on your children.
One of the most significant determinants of how well a child will turn out when they grow up is the type of family they had when they were younger. Research has proven that the quality of interparental relationships is an important influence on adolescent psychopathology.
This means that children who grew up in toxic homes are more likely to experience mental and physical health challenges, deal with sleep challenges, and be socially stunted.
Children are avid learners and one of the most effective ways to teach your child is to model a particular behavior to them. When your child sees you constantly fighting with your spouse or giving them the cold shoulder, they may store these in their subconscious as acceptable behavior.
When they get into romantic relationships in the future, they may begin to replicate these tendencies they picked from you. Hence, they may experience relationship challenges as well. This soon becomes a vicious cycle that continues.
6. Less productivity at work
One of the biggest consequences of being in an unhappy marriage is that it impacts the quality of your work. Time spent with loved ones should be filled with happiness and love. When this is the case, we are inspired to give our best when we return to work.
If, however, all the time you spend with your partner is marked by unhappiness and resentment, these negative emotions can spill over and negatively impact your work.
Hence, you may start experiencing short attention spans, wandering thoughts, inability to stick to deadlines, and the quality of your work may drop over time. In adverse cases, this can cost you your job or lead to loss of clients/customers in your business.
7. Life loses its spark
Can it remember how it was when you first met your partner? Do you remember how every little thing excited you and the burst of colors you experienced every time you wet out into the morning sun?
Think about the childlike joy with which you approached life and the positive energy you always felt every time your partner was within eyesight. The opposite soon becomes the case when you’re in an unhappy marriage.
Remaining with someone who cannot meet your emotional needs and doesn’t want to make an effort to understand you may cause you to lose your spark. At some point, you resign yourself to whatever fate has for you.
Even the thought of stepping away from your relationship (no matter how toxic it is) soon loses any allure. You may give up on your personal ambitions as well, especially those ones your partner doesn’t seem on board with.
Related Reading: 5 Ways to Bring the Spark Back into Your Friendship
8. You lose the ability to take care of yourself
Self-love and care are necessary for us to function at our best. However, staying too long in an unhappy marriage may soon strip this power from you. At some point, you may stop putting your needs first and give more room for your partner to act the way they want.
This loss of ability to take care of yourself can manifest in many ways including making excuses for your partner’s bad attributes, feeling out of touch with your body, constant lack of inspiration, and the decision to stay with them no matter how bad they get.
Whenever you decide to settle for less by staying with someone who is clearly a terrible choice for you, it is a sign that you may have started losing the ability to prioritize your needs and give yourself the love and grace you deserve.
Looking for a self-care action plan, watch this video:
9. You tend to believe the worst of everyone
Another disadvantage of staying in this type of marriage is that you soon begin to see every other person from the same lens through which you view your partner. The idea of falling in love sounds alien to you, and you see everyone as having an ulterior motive.
You see every good gesture as transactional. Hence, you may soon be caught in a loop of trying to always one-up people when they do something nice for you. While this may look good at face value, it could be a sign that you’ve accepted that you aren’t worthy of goodness.
At extreme levels, you may become prickly toward people. This is the result of transferring aggression from your relationship to the outside world, and this can scare people away from you.
10. Unhealthy independence
This is also one of the major consequences of staying in an unhappy marriage.
Your ability to function as an independent entity is necessary for maximum achievement. However, when you shut yourself away from the world because you’re scared of getting hurt, you may lose out on all the amazing things that could have been.
One of the final consequences of staying in an unhappy marriage is that you soon learn to face everything by yourself. Life soon becomes a case of you against the world. You will struggle to accept help, even when you should.
5 ways to survive in an unhealthy marriage
After identifying the signs of a bad marriage and determining if you’re in one, your next assignment is to clearly define your next steps. Here are 5 ways to survive in an unhealthy marriage.
1. Effective communication
Effective communication can be the difference between an amicable resolution and having your marriage splinter into a billion tiny shards. Try not to take any steps until you have spoken to your partner first.
Wondering how to fix an unhappy marriage in a subtle way? Find the best time to talk to them about the things they do that you don’t like and the effects of their actions on you -mentally, physically, and emotionally.
Don’t just tell them what they’re doing wrong. Tell them how they can fix it.
2. Take some time off
Maybe, what you need to get back to how you used to be at first is a little time off this doesn’t have to be a separation or divorce. It could just be that you need a solo vacation.
Consider taking some time off to visit some of your dream destinations. Explore your solo interests and rekindle your passion for living.
3. Explore new things with your partner
Maybe, the key to getting out of this painful fix in your marriage is to creatively explore new things together. Instead of trying to jump into a new relationship, how about you consider jumping into new activities together?
How to survive in an unhappy marriage? Sit together and make a bucket list of things you’d love to experience together. Do you want to go see the Eiffel Tower? Do you want to share a passionate kiss under a mistletoe tree?
Feel free to add some spicy bedroom activities to this list. It doesn’t hurt to work on your sex life while you’re at it.
4. Go for marriage therapy
The role of marriage therapy cannot be overemphasized in this context. You may need the help of a professional to better understand what went wrong and devise an actionable plan to get back on track in your relationship.
Related Reading: Marriage Counseling vs. Couples Therapy: What’s the Difference?
5. Know when to step away
At some point, you may have to come to terms with the fact that your marriage may have deteriorated beyond repair. At this time, your best bet would be to call it quits and focus on getting your life back on track.
Leaving a marriage can be difficult, especially if you have children to think about. However, working with a marriage therapist can help you define the best way to get out of this marriage without causing extreme damage to anyone.
Commonly asked questions
So far, we have outlined the major consequences of staying in an unhappy marriage. We also have pieced together some of the most commonly asked questions on this subject and provided simple answers to them.
Is it selfish to leave an unhealthy marriage?
Considering the adverse effects of staying in an unhealthy marriage (as we have already examined in this article), it is not selfish to step away from one.
However, ensure you’re not throwing in the towel without giving it a fight. When you’re sure you’ve given it your all, feel free to walk away.
Is it better to be alone than be in a loveless marriage?
In simple terms, yes it is. It is better to be alone than remain with someone with whom you shouldn’t be because you’re afraid of going back to being single. Think about your mental, physical, and emotional health as you make this decision.
An unhappy marriage can lead to an unhappy life!
It is not just enough to know the signs of an unhappy marriage, you must know what to do if you’re in one and how to get out if it can’t be fixed again.
In this article, we have covered the top 10 consequences of staying in an unhappy marriage to help you see the effects of such relationships on your mental, emotional, and physical health.
Marriage therapy will help you decide the next best steps to take for yourself. Ensure you get the help of a therapist as you navigate these trying times.
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