Before I get into the thick of things, I must explain that title, eh? After all, divorce is not better than marriage, assuming the marriage is healthy. However, if the marriage is unhealthy, has been unhealthy for a long time, and is running on fumes, divorce is in fact better than marriage.
Here are 5 simple reasons why.
Reason 1: Authenticity or nothing. You got married because you believed that you found someone that would love you for who you were; someone that would complement you. When you stay in an unhealthy marriage, you are unhappy. When you are unhappy and you stay put, you begin to develop coping skills and techniques in an effort to maintain a semblance of sanity and calm. Eventually, you are saying and doing things that are completely out of character. In love and marriage, it is authenticity or nothing.
Reason 2: Prolonged misery. When you are not yourself, you are unhappy and you deserve to be happy. For that matter, we all deserve to be happy. The longer you are in an unhappy marriage, the longer you and your spouse will stay unhappy. What’s more, the unhappiness extends to your family and friends – those people that care for you. There are also repercussions to your health. In other words, the misery is prolonged and extensive.
Reason 3: Missed opportunities. Prolonged misery eventually turns into assured misery. You undoubtedly will expect misery. An inarguable fact is that when you compare assured misery to potential happiness, potential wins out every time. There are 7,400,000,000 people in this world. There are people out there that can be a partner to you in a happy relationship. And yet, every day that you stay in your unhappy marriage, you are missing opportunities to meet these people and be in a happy relationship!
Reason 4: Impact on your children. Much has been made about the negative impacts that divorce has on children. For instance, statistics point out that a boys’ chances for being arrested increase significantly when they are raised in a single-parent situation. But while statistics cannot be wholly discounted, they are still statistics. There is no guarantee that your children will become a statistic.
But when you stay in an unhealthy marriage, the strain will be noticed by your children. They will hear the fights. They will struggle to understand the reasons, even if you explain it to them. But more than all of this, they will be confused about what a healthy relationship is and isn’t. This is especially true as they get older and they become more aware of people and emotions.
Reason 5: Minimal personal growth. Negative experiences in your life can be great learning opportunities. You go through the pain, lick your wounds, and somewhere along the way you think back about what happened and why it happened. This is a part of personal growth. You learn from past mistakes and move forward.
Alternatively, when you stay in an unhealthy marriage, the pain is constant, even if it is numbing. And while you may be licking your wounds, there is no true healing process. This is because there is no room for reflection when you are continuously in a negative cycle–a negative cycle that is certain when you stay in an unhealthy marriage. There is a reason why people who stay in unhealthy marriages longer require more therapy. Their opportunity for personal growth is stunted until they leave and by then they have lost so much of themselves.
There are articles and studies and statistics that talk about the importance of working on your marriage. I fully support working on your marriage as long as you are not losing your authentic self in the process. When you have done everything that you can do to make it work and you see no light at the end of the tunnel, staying married just doesn’t make sense.
Your happiness and the happiness of those you care about matters! Do not squander it.