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Why people stay in unhappy marriages, and why they shouldn't

Many people look at divorced people and make the misjudgment, sometimes with little or no information, that they "gave up" on their marriage. However, family law attorneys see a lot of people who actually stayed in unhappy or even abusive marriages for longer than was good for anyone, including the children.

There are a lot of common justifications used for staying in a bad marriage. We're going to discuss some of them and why you may want to give those justifications a second thought.

This doesn't necessarily mean that you should head toward divorce or even separation. However, you may want to enlist some professional help so that you and your spouse can try to work on your problems. Even if your spouse doesn't go for this, getting some guidance on your own from a psychological professional or trusted advisor in your place of worship can help you look at your marriage more clearly.

Being alone, possibly for the first time, is a common fear. However, people often find inner strength that they didn't realize they had after a break-up. Besides, which is worse -- being alone or in an unhappy marriage? Many people think that they're too old to find love again, but there are plenty of folks of all ages looking for relationships.

Financial security is a related fear. Many people are used to a comfortable lifestyle that two incomes brings or that one spouse with a large income can provide. The thought of giving that up can be frightening. The prospect of getting a job if you haven't worked in years can be particularly daunting. That's why sound legal guidance is essential to help you seek the financial support you need and that your spouse can afford to provide.

Of course, many people stay together "for the kids." However, having parents who are constantly fighting isn't healthy for them. Even if you think you're hiding your problems from them, you likely aren't.

Too many people worry about what others will think. This is particularly true if you've been divorced before. Remember that it's your life and marriage, and the opinions of those outside the marriage (even parents and siblings) aren't what's important.

If divorce is your ultimate decision, it's essential to discuss all of your concerns with your family law attorney. He or she can work to help you negotiate a settlement that will ease the transition.

Source: Huffington Post, "Ways People Justify Staying in a Bad Marriage," Jackie Pilossoph, Nov. 12, 2015

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Commandments of Family Law

  1. The only truth your children need to know is that you both love them unconditionally, and that this isn't their fault.
  2. Take the high road — everyone wins when you do what's best for your kids.
  3. Negotiate but don't capitulate — if you are being pushed toward something detrimental for your children, stand your ground.
  4. You can only control yourself and how you respond. Don't engage.
  5. Do set up rules and responsibilities. Kids feel better when routine is continued.
  6. You are still their parent — don't be afraid to be one.
  7. Disneyland is in California, not in your home. Don't set up unreasonable expectations.
  8. It is not their job to take care of you. Repeat that to them. Often.
  9. Yelling is for sports — not court. Good lawyers strongly advocate without being disrespectful to opposing parties.
  10. Fair is a place you go to get cheese curds. Aside from that, nothing in life is fair.

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