Nobody hopes to end up in a bad marriage. Every individual who yearns to love and be loved wants a marriage that lasts a lifetime – to grow old in love with one another until mortality parts them.
But things change through the course of the relationship. People change. Priorities change. Feelings change. Some marriages which are built with a solid foundation stand the test, while some eventually crumble like a house of cards. Some people part ways and move on upon recognizing it cannot be fixed, while some people decide to stay in an unhappy marriage, still hoping.
Do you find yourself stuck in an unhappy marriage? Don’t get me wrong – the lack of happiness and intimacy isn’t uncommon in romantic relationships. But if the cause of unhappiness is beyond repair and you feel like you’re wasting your time in a relationship that’s no longer working, maybe it’s time to face these four truths.
You can always seek pieces of advice from parents, friends, or even from a radio program (which has nothing to do with your relationship) but it’s always better to seek professional help to solve your marriage turmoils. When in doubt, couples counselling is the best choice. It is a form of talk therapy that seeks to improve communication and resolve issues within a marriage or an intimate relationship.
Some married couples are reluctant to speak with counsellors for they feel invincible and they’d rather solve their problems without seeking the help of a third party. In contrary to misconceptions, the role of a counsellor is not to criticize nor decide whether or not it’s better off to separate. Rather, the role of a counsellor is to help couples communicate more effectively and reach their own resolutions and conclusions under professional guidance.
The goal is to help couples understand how external factors like religion, family values, lifestyle, and culture affect the relationship learn how and why arguments escalate, reflect on the past and see how it influences the present, and basically communicate and discuss conflicts in a more constructive manner.
So don’t treat it as such. Just because you’ve been together for 20 years doesn’t necessarily mean your marriage is solid and healthy. It’s true, the amount of time spent together is beneficial but the boosting number of years doesn’t justify whether or not the relationship is worth fighting for.
Individuals who are stuck in a miserable marriage may justify their decision to stay through the years spent saying, “I have put so much time into this marriage.” They still have high hopes of being able to fix what went wrong, to rekindle the spark, and to bring back what has been long lost. But it’s not about how long, but how well you loved each other. If the good memories are outnumbered by the bad, fun times downplayed by the fights, and you just can’t feel the joys and comforts of partnership anymore unlike before, then it may be time to rethink your marriage.
Let’s talk about our exes, shall we? Most of us had some beautiful memories from our past relationships – like the good and fun times you shared with your ex-partner. The times you truly felt the love was strong. The times you learned from your faults which helped you grow. You acknowledged them but you also recognized the bad, hurting memories which were enough to prove that the relationship wasn’t worth your tears.
Now, let’s talk about the present – your marriage. You had sacrificed. Your spouse had sacrificed. You hurt each other. You both think you are owed something, but you’re not. Everything you experience in your married years, whether it’s good or bad, teach you lessons but they don’t owe you anything. Relatively, the euphoric moments are made to be cherished and be thankful for, not to be seen as bandages to cover the wounds. That being the case, don’t use them as an excuse to remain in a marriage that is no longer working.
We’re not just talking about finding a better lifetime companion. It’s about getting the best things in life – things that are barely possible to have when you’re stuck in a toxic, miserable marriage. Have you been longing to travel? To get your dream job? To open a small business? This may sound cliché but sometimes, the only way for couples to find true happiness is to set each other free and grow apart.
You may be scared, and it’s okay. You may be afraid to end a relationship and start over again – to go back to the beginning. You may think you’re too old, financially unstable, or emotionally distraught to do so. However, it’s the courage to grant yourself another shot at happiness and to recognize you deserve better, that really matters.
Author Bio: Carmina Natividad is one of the writers for The Relationship Room, a couples psychology institution specializing in relationship counseling and therapies for couples and families. When she’s not using her pen in writing self-help articles focused on love, dating, and relationships, she spends her time creating poems and screenplays, painting, and making music.