I'm staying in an unhappy marriage, but don't judge me just yet
Don't be too quick to sign the papers if your marriage isn't working out the way you expected. Read on to find out why.
When people hear of someone staying in an unhappy marriage, they are quick to label it as a terrible mistake. You hear things like, ‘time is ticking, the relationship you are holding on to is another one you are missing’, or, ‘kids aren’t everything, you have to put yourself first’. The less tactful ones might even label you as dumb, a coward or someone who just refuses change.
But is walking out of an unhappy marriage always the best way to go?
What if I walk out of an unhappy marriage and right into a rebound relationship that ends up destroying me in more ways than I can imagine? What if I am not as strong as I thought and I end up an emotional wreck with an alcohol addiction so bad that I can’t wake up to send my kids to school? What if I end up with someone who makes me feel like the happiest woman on the planet but abuses my kids in my absence?
What if I could provide my kids with everything but all that they want is their father?
Some might refute these points and say that life is a gamble and nothing comes with a guarantee card. You don’t get anywhere if you aren’t willing to take risks and yes, I agree. That’s why I took that risk and got married, knowing very well that there is a 50% chance of it failing. And the reason I took that gamble is because I didn’t have kids then!
Whether or not you admit it, life changes, drastically, profoundly, and entirely, after kids. Before having kids I wouldn’t think twice before throwing in my resignation letter if my boss did so much as to scowl at me. In a heartbeat, I’d pack up and backpack around the streets of Europe, all by myself. I’d go to a bar in Bali, have one too many shots and fall asleep on a remote beach just so I can wake up to a beautiful sunset. I’d walk through the crazy streets of Vegas and gamble my last dollar in a casino and yes, I’d get married and I would have kids.
But once the kids come, living life on the edge, one day at a time and taking insane risks becomes a thing of a past. I can no longer afford to play Russian roulette with my life. No. I have to keep both my feet firmly planted on the ground.
If I don’t like my job, I can’t just change my career in the blink of an eye because I have to put food on the table. If I don’t like living where I do, I can’t just apply for a job halfway across the globe and uproot my kids from their home. Marriage is no different.
Let me put it this way, what if I suddenly felt that becoming a mother wasn’t what I thought it would be. What if my mind became plagued with thoughts like, I’m unhappy as a parent. Do I have the option of walking away from being a parent? I view marriage as no different.
The only time someone walks away from being a parent, or when children are taken away from their parents is when it’s neither safe nor healthy for both parties to remain in the relationship. Again, I view marriage as no different.
If my marriage hasn’t reached a point where it’s toxic and my children are scarred by the venomous toxic that oozes out of our eyes when we glare at each other, then I’m staying.
Because I believe that happiness in itself is elusive. How do you specifically define the state of being happy anyway? I believe that happiness is a journey, never a destination. I believe that happiness is transient, for what makes you happy today might make you cringe tomorrow.
Happiness is defined by who you are and what you stand for. But who you are and what you stand for is a work in progress and you are by no means obliged to be the same person you were an hour, a day, a month or a year ago. You grow as a person and so do your beliefs and value systems.
But you know what never changes? The fact that an all-consuming love made you decide to get married. The fact that you sat down by the beach and saw your entire future together. The fact that you walked down that aisle in a beautiful white dress and he waited for you at the other end. The fact that you saw those two lines on a pregnancy kit together and the fact that you both marvelled at your creation of love, together.
Nothing and nobody is ever going to replace that. Yes, there can be a second time but somewhere in the depths of your soul, you will remember the first time and when you do, it’s going to hurt in a way that will crush your soul and tear you apart.
All too often, I think that people remove themselves from what they consider to be an unhappy situation because they know that they have the freedom to do so. But if you’re unhappy with your parents, or your child, for example, you don’t give up on them. You stay and you fight for it or your distance yourself, but it’s never goodbye. Staying in an unhappy marriage isn’t all that different.
Remember that it’s hard to always see the good in someone when you live together and see that person in their ugliest of moments, when you smell their morning breath and when you see their flaws and shortcomings every single day. And it’s all too easy to see greener pastures in someone whom you don’t live with.
Staying in an unhappy marriage might not be the best solution, but it might be the second best. But for all you know, when you get past the rough road, better times may await you. There’s always a rainbow after the storm.
At the end of the day it’s your choice and there’s no way someone can tell you that your choice is wrong. But for me, I don’t want to be that person who walks along the beach, looking for the most beautiful seashell, only to find out that even after hours of walking, and all the other seashells that I saw along the way, the first seashell that caught my eye was indeed the most beautiful of them all.
I can go back to look for it but the waves might have swept it away or someone else might have picked it up. I don’t want to spend a lifetime walking along beaches looking for seashells to replace the most precious one that I lost.