Love is the source of all things good and bad. It can be the reason for you to make someone a permanent part of your life, and it can also be the reason you can’t let go of that person. When the relationship becomes toxic, love can the source of your suffering.
It’s like getting addicted to a substance. As bad as it is for you, you had already become dependent on it that letting go isn’t an easy option. A bad marriage can do as much damage to you as synthetic drugs do to abusers. And much like rehabilitation, it can take years before you can rid of it from your system.
A struggle to accept reality
Every person who has been in a long-term relationship, particularly those who got married, knows this struggle: do you stay in a bad relationship, or do you take your chance out there?
It’s a question that’s supposed to be easy to answer because people move on from people all the time. But given that both of you invested years in the relationship, there will be a lot of back-and-forths before you can fully decide.
Hoping for the good times
Assuming that you want to leave, it still won’t be easy. Every time you think you’re ready, you’re reminiscing and hoping that the good times will come back. It’s even harder when you have a family because you want them growing up with the support they need, which can be hard to achieve when both parents are divorced.
There’s also the more practical stuff. The financial consequences won’t be easy, and it will take some time before you fully adjust to your new situation.
All these things instill a fear in a person that makes them afraid of what’s to come after a marriage. Even if the marriage isn’t working anymore, it’s much easier holding on to something than taking your chance at nothing.
Your bad marriage is bad for you
It’s hard to see that your marriage, or your spouse, is bad for you from the inside. After all, you still see the best version of the person you married. But there are telltale signs when your marriage is just plain bad for you.
When you find yourself lying about your relationship, that’s already one major point. When you do other things like thinking solely about their happiness, solve all the problems or feel miserable all the time, that means there’s something wrong with the relationship. More so, when the other person is too controlling, advice you cut ties from people, makes you feel bad about yourself or takes it for granted when they upset you, it’s just not good anymore.
You’re not crazy to consider leaving
When you think of marriage as an investment, something you’ve given years of your life to, other people may think you crazy to consider leaving. But it’s different when you know it from the inside, to know that coming back will only drag you down and make you cynical.
More than that, there are things that happen on the inside that will prove that you’re not out of your mind to leave. When you’re being manipulated, feeling that even considering divorce will put the blame on you, or retaliation is a possibility, you’re better off any time of the day.
Happens to guys, too
All men have heard iterations of “Stay away from the crazies” in their lives. Sometimes, it’s too late and they married one. It’s the same story of manipulation, retaliation, and misery that happens to women in a bad marriage, but many think that men just endure it. They suffer too, as much as women.
There are also cases that are more common to men in bad marriages. They start to think that they’re crazy to avoid putting the blame on the other party, who is the source of instability in the relationship. Some men also have spouses who routinely accuse them of things they haven’t done, it will drain you of your energy, always trying to prove them wrong when you haven’t done anything.
But one thing most guys won’t admit is that they get off feeling superior when they stay in a dysfunctional relationship. Their actions may not be as detrimental as their partners, but by staying and liking the feeling that your partner is not doing well in the relationship while you hold up your own, it’s not good. As much as you think that you’re there to save the marriage, you’re only there because you’re indulging your sense of righteousness. Not only are you not able to confront your flaws, the moral authority you occupy can only lead to bad things.
As a married person, it’s never going to be easy to leave. That’s why making preparations is wise, so that you have everything you need, told people you have to tell, and mentally ready yourself for what’s to come.
Inform your loved ones – At this point, you should let people know what you’ve been going through. Hearing their thoughts and having their support can do your moral good. It’s also much better if you don’t have to go experience separation alone. In most cases, the presence of family and friends is the most important to have in this trying period.
Create a safety net – For the most part, you’re going to learn to be independent. So think long and hard about what you need to have once the two of you decided to part ways. Make sure you know where you’ll live, what you need to bring with you, and so on. When you finally make your revelations, you don’t need to stay in the same place as your spouse.
Seek professional help – Even if you decide to do the leaving because the relationship is toxic, it doesn’t mean that you’re not without faults. You probably have flaws that played a part in the deterioration of the relationship, so don’t go into your next phase thinking you got out unscathed. You have work to do, too.
Your health depends on it
A marriage can be the most fulfilling thing you’ve ever done, but when it goes awry, it has the potential to ruin you. Most times, it tears apart someone’s perception of love and relationship, but a study published in the American Psychologist said that there’s substantial evidence that a bad relationship can worsen ailments like a heart disease. People in bad marriages develop destructive habits like smoking, drinking or gaining weight, which can all be bad when combined with a pre-existing cardiovascular condition.
Staying doesn’t mean healthy
There are sound justifications for staying in a bad marriage. The children, for one, can be a powerful influence in the lives of parents. Them alone can convince a parent to endure a damaging relationship indefinitely, but parents are at risk in this situation.
However healthy it seems, a bad marriage can push you to do things that will ruin your connection with your spouse completely. Staying can be the source of infidelity, contemptuous behavior, violent behavior, use of drugs, and a host of other destructive attitudes. Not only are you destroying yourself, you’ll also be affecting your family.
Once all is said and done, the one factor that will heal things is time. It’s important to recover because as damaging as a bad relationship is, the sadness and blame that come after are also major hurdles. Counseling will help, but make sure to take time for yourself. Process the breakup, gain perspective of things, and know what part you played in the rapture.
You persevered longer than you should, and you’ll go through more before you get to a place where you’re at peace with what happened. People who went through the same thing say that it’s like a shell shock. That’s why a transition period is important, so you can recover and rebuild what was lost when you were trying to save a sinking ship. It takes a lot more from you than you think.
It’s kind of crazy that separation is step one, but like every new start, it has to come from somewhere. It’s a hard road from here, but without the baggage, it will be a lot less like escaping a sinkhole and more like climbing a ladder.
Related Reading: How to Get out of a Bad Marriage