As a psychologist, I meet with couples and individuals who often come to me to work more on their relationships.
For many, this is a healthy wish that their partners reciprocate and together they begin the journey to a healthier, happier union.
Others, however, find themselves stuck – unable to improve the union and unable to end the relationship.
Often, these people don’t want to leave because they understandably fear the uncertainty of change.
For couples, it’s a good idea to keep working on your marriage when you and your partner are invested and committed.
Otherwise, if you find yourself stuck in the same old discouraging patterns, you may face your fear of change.
Here Are 5 Reasons Why, In Some Cases, Divorce Can Be The Right Decision:
1. It’s Not Always Best for Children to Remain Married
It is painful for many who are chronically unhappy in a marriage to consider the idea of divorce out of fear that it will forever harm their children.
It’s important to take children’s feelings about divorce seriously, empathize, and help them talk about how it affects them ( not you).
However, the notion that staying in a bad marriage is somehow better for children is dubious.
What is most harmful and even traumatizing for children is spending too much time in a home filled with negative emotions, tension, and chronic conflict.
Children tend to absorb these feelings and even believe that they are responsible for the tension and conflict in some way.
If you are in a chronically unhappy marriage and eventually make a thoughtful decision to end it, you are modeling to your children that they don’t have to be passive participants in their own unhappiness.
2. You will improve your physical health and emotional well-being
Healthy couples are able to resolve disagreements when the two people feel better about the issue at hand and sometimes the couple may even feel closer and more understood as a result of the disagreement.
However, when negative relationship dynamics chronically occur between partners, resentment increases.
Before you know it, skipping milk on the way home turns into a bloody fight.
When there is no solution to chronic marital distress, both partners live in a fight-or-flight state.
They may have trouble sleeping or eating healthily, or problems with short-term memory; they may gain weight and stop going to the doctor or emotionally nourish themselves.
Their glass is so full between work, children, and the chronic negative emotion they experience, that there is no room for self-care.
Negative relationships that affect physical health should not be underestimated.
There’s even some research that suggests that chronically negative or abusive relationships can shorten someone’s lifespan.
Ending a toxic union is the first step in a chain of events that leads to taking better care of yourself.
3. You will open the door to finding a more fulfilling love
Sometimes working through a difficult marriage and developing greater self-awareness about what your role in death may have been can open the door to a path that leads to a happier union.
If, after thoughtful work on yourself and your own weaknesses and consideration for your partner, you do not see progress in your marriage, then the longer you stay, the more you are denied the right to romantic happiness.
Instead of being afraid to face the world alone, be afraid to spend your entire life with someone you are unhappy with.
The fear of being alone is not an adequate reason to stay in a marriage and actually adds to the misery as the person feels trapped and powerless.
4. The Pain Will Pass
For those who know they need and want a divorce, the fear of unbearable pain keeps them trapped in an unhappy or even unhealthy union.
As difficult as it is to break up in a relationship, many feel that they learn something from grief—they discover that they grow up in unexpected and meaningful ways.
For example, they become more connected with family and friends, extract more meaning from the relationships they maintain, and connect with feelings of gratitude.
The problem does not come with those who grieve, which is a natural and necessary stage in the divorce process, but with those who do not allow themselves to take the time to grieve.
Make room to experience the loss and process your feelings to end such a meaningful relationship.
Working with this for many is a way of self-rediscovery.
5. Giving up the fantasy that things will get better is, ultimately, liberating
Many have lived for years with the hope and expectation that things will get better.
Hope is important, but without noticeable action, it is misguided.
If you’ve been in a long-term relationship filled with discontent for a long time, you’ve probably tried to tell yourself, “Things will get better.”
While this thinking maybe relieving at the moment, in the long run, it sets people up for defeat and disappointment when things don’t get better: if you and your partner aren’t taking active steps to improve your marriage; without noticing small improvements, and without both equally committed to making it work, then hoping that things will get better can keep you stuck in a no-win situation.