You’re not sure if you can press on for even another day. Squabbling over bills, kids, and sex is driving you crazy. Besides everyone knows that the toilet paper should roll from the top, not the bottom. And why is it such a big deal to keep the house neat and the car washed?
No one every promised you that living with any other human would be easy. Certainly it wasn’t that easy living with your parents, siblings, room mates, and now your own kids. Now you have that one person in your life that adds about 20 other dimensions to any other relationship such as lifetime, commitment, trust, intimacy, mind reading, unmet expectations, appearance, decision making, co-parenting, long term planning, and yep, sex.
But the fact remains. You’re at the end of your rope. Or you just don’t feel the love. Or there’s some grass in your life that looks greener. Or you are not feeling personally fulfilled, and you believe you’d find “it” if only you were free to do so.
What should you do? You don’t take the prospect of divorce lightly, but it seems unfair and unreasonable to stay in an unhappy relationship or resentful place due to unmet aspirations. Will you be happier five years from now if you end your marriage?
One very large study found this:
✓ Spouses in a really bad marriage tend to separate. But among those bad marriages in which the spouses stayed together, two out of three reported that their marriages were “happy” five years later.
✓ Among those who rated their marriages as “very unhappy,” 80% of those who stuck it out reported themselves as happily married five years later.
✓ Those spouses who separated were, on average, no happier than those who stayed married.
✓ Those spouses who separated and remarried were also no happier than those who stayed married.
One important truth not covered in those results. Your happiness never depends on the acts of another. You are personally in charge of your happiness no matter your circumstances.
As a therapist it is my job to remain as an somewhat detached neutral party who is primarily interested in helping you reach your goals and able to deal with the pressures of life in a way that is healthy. Studies like this one suggest that there is benefits to staying in long term relationships compared to leaving them. But in working with you individually or as a couple, it will be up to you to determine your ultimate course.