Why Do People Stay in Unhappy Marriages?

Why Do People Stay in Unhappy Marriages?

The divorce rate is currently hovering around 50%. That may seem like a lot, but if everyone who wanted a divorce actually got one, that number would likely be much higher.

You may not understand this. Divorce is legal in all 50 states, so why doesn’t someone just go get one? Well, it is not that simple. Divorce is not an easy thing to do. There are a lot of elements involved. Divorce is a highly emotional experience. There are pros and cons, especially if there are children involved. There is a lot to lose, especially if a person has amassed many assets over time and is financially comfortable. Why would they want to give up that lifestyle?

There is a lot of fear involved. Is the grass greener on the other side? Will you have regrets? Many people go back and forth about it. Do I or do I not divorce? They cannot live with their partner, but they cannot live without them either. They are not sure what to do.

The coronavirus pandemic has led to couples quarantining together. This has led to arguments about parenting styles and financial concerns, with many couples seeking therapy for their problems. Domestic violence has also been on the rise, prompting concerns from doctors and other professionals.

With so much drama going on in marriages nowadays, why are couples staying together when they are clearly unhappy? Here are some main reasons why.


Fear is a huge factor in determining whether or not a couple will divorce. A divorce is a huge change. Going from married to single is not an easy task. You’ll have to split assets and possibly relocate. You’ll have to share custody of the children. You might have to go back to work and even get a second job to make ends meet. 

There is fear of insufficient money. There is fear of violence if your spouse is abusive. There is fear of what others will think about you divorcing. Generally speaking, there is fear of the unknown. Fear is a valid emotion that makes people feel trapped. 


Many people think their marriage is not that bad. They strongly believe things will get better with time. After all, every marriage has its problems. Yours is not any different, right?

Maybe. It is hard to describe what marriage should be like. It is true that your marriage may not be as bad as others, but you need to listen to your gut. If something does not feel right, it may be time to move on. If you are still not sure, discuss your problems with other married couples. You might find that your marriage is normal, or maybe it is not. In that case, you need to do what is right for you.


Unsurprisingly, money is another huge factor. With the average cost of a divorce around $15,000, people are carefully weighing the pros and cons of ending their marriage. Will it be worth it in the long run?

Also, $15,000 may be a conservative number. In a contested divorce with children, that number may double or even triple. And while women are the ones who end almost 70% of marriages, they are also the ones to suffer financially in a divorce. It is not uncommon for them to lose as much as 50% of their pre-divorce income, and those with a significant amount of money and assets to lose are more likely to stay married, since more and more women are being forced to pay alimony to their lower-earning husbands. 


Staying together for the children is a common excuse for couples to stay married. Nobody wants to see their children suffer through a divorce. Studies show that children of divorce are more likely to drop out of school, use drugs and alcohol, and suffer from anxiety and depression. As a parent, you want to protect your children and keep them happy and healthy, so it is easy to see why someone would choose to stay unhappily married. Who wants to put their child through all that?

But when you and your spouse are constantly yelling at each other, this creates more stress for your children. In this case, wouldn’t it be better to just split up and parent separately? While divorcing with children can be challenging, you need to do what’s right for your sanity.


Getting a divorce is not something that most couples are happy about. They feel ashamed and embarrassed that they couldn;t work things out. They may even feel like a failure. 

Some people worry about the stigma attached to divorce, especially if they are religious or live in a family-oriented community. Maybe they have no family members who are divorced. What will they think?

The good news is that the stigma of divorce is not present like it once was. Nowadays, half of all marriages end in divorce, so it’s not a rare event anymore. If you are truly in a toxic relationship, then your true friends will understand why you chose divorce. 

In any case, you need to do what is best for you and your family. Think positively about divorce. Think about it as a new direction in your life. A bright future awaits.

Seek Legal Help

While divorce is legal in Florida and other parts of the country, many people feel stuck in their marriages. They fear change, and getting a divorce can be scary, especially as you get older.

Get peace in your life and move on from an unhappy marriage. Broward County divorce attorney Scott J. Stadler can help. We will serve as your lawyer and advocate to guide you through the divorce process. Fill out the online form or call (954) 398-5712 to schedule a consultation.