While a healthy and happy marriage makes every day a fulfilling one irrespective of the challenges that come along in the course of daily life, a toxic or unhappy marriage can do the opposite – it can steal your peace of mind and force you to lead a life which you seem to have no control over. While a bad marriage can leave you scarred and have a serious detrimental impact on your mental health, people hesitate in calling it quits and moving towards a more positive life. There are many reasons why people choose to stay in an unhappy marriage and it can range from fear of change, comfort zone, money or even fear of ‘log kya kahenge’ (what people may think). (Also read: 4 reasons fighting is actually good for a relationship)
“When people think of marriage, happy endings are usually the goal. However, not all marriages are filled with laughter and joy. When couples find themselves in unhappy marriages, it can be challenging to know what to do next. After all, marriage is a lifelong commitment,” says Dr Chandni Tugnait, MD (Alternative Medicine), Psychotherapist, Life Coach, Business Coach, NLP Expert, Healer and Founder & Director – Gateway of Healing.
So, why would anyone stay in an unhappy one?
Dr Tugnait in a conversation with HT Digital talks about five of the most common reasons why people stay in unhappy marriages:
1. Fear of Change
It may seem counterintuitive, but many people in unhappy marriages fear the unknown more than they fear staying put. Think about it this way: leaving an unhappy marriage means facing a life without someone you have been with for years — a life of change and uncertainty that may be even more difficult to endure than the unhappiness that comes with staying married.
When we stick with something that we know — even if it’s bad for us—it can comfort us because it’s familiar and secure. Staying in an unhappy marriage often falls into this category. However, it may not be ideal; couples can become comfortable in their routine and habits over time, no matter how unpleasant the relationship might be.
Money matters can play a huge role when deciding whether or not to stay or go in an unhappy marriage. For some couples, divorce or separation would mean splitting their financial assets into two households instead of one. Sometimes, this isn’t feasible for those living pay check to pay check or dealing with debt already.
4. Hope for reconciliation
Sometimes, hope is enough to keep couples together despite their unhappiness. If one partner still has faith that things will get better eventually, they will hang on even when times are tough because they hope they will eventually work out their differences and find happiness again as a couple.
5. Social or religious obligations
Getting divorced or separating is viewed differently depending on one’s family background or religious affiliation (or lack thereof). In some cases, ending a marriage is seen as a sign of failure or shame — and it takes tremendous strength and courage to break away from these expectations to pursue individual happiness once again.
“Marriage is meant to bring joy …….