Five Things That Keep Moms in Unhappy Marriages

Are you a woman who is discerning divorce? If so, you’ve likely been contemplating the pros and cons for months — or even years — while you research all the what-ifs. You are not alone! Many people languish in unsatisfying marriages because they have not gathered enough information to leave confidently. It can be intimidating to overcome the fears keeping you mired in an unhappy relationship. If any of the following sound like you, let us help!

1: Financial Fears

Many people contemplating divorce worry about how it will impact their finances. They wonder if they can afford to get divorced: Will they have to find a different job? Will they have enough money to support a second household? Will they have to relinquish control over their own spending, or change their lifestyle?

Having enough money is a concern for most people — regardless of whether they are going through a divorce. If you are fortunate to not have money concerns, it is possible divorce will not change that, if there’s enough money to go around. However, if you are one of the millions who adhere to a tight budget and worry about finances… divorce will not change that either.

The fact is, divorce will be a financial upheaval. But when the dust settles, generally both parties will still have the same lifestyle and spending/saving abilities as beforehand. Courts work hard to ensure that both parties leave a marriage on equal footing — and will ensure that both parties make similar efforts or sacrifices to accomplish that goal.

2: Fear of Change

Sometimes people languish in an unhappy marriage because “it isn’t that bad” compared to the alternatives they imagine. It is easy to remain in a convenient situation even if it isn’t ideal. Some also fear making a mistake — that once they divorce, they will realize the grass isn’t always greener, and maybe the situation they left wasn’t worth all the upheaval.

When your fears become fantasies, you will know you are gaining confidence in your decision to divorce. When worries over where you will live give way to excitement over having a place that is exclusively yours, you are overcoming your fear of change. When thoughts about “what might have been” shift to thoughts of “what could be”, you begin to move away from fear. Making a mental shift from fear of change to embracing challenge can be one of your biggest assets in decision-making about your divorce.

3: Fear of the Unknown

When you are in a constant state of anxiety, it is easy to let all the “what-ifs” control your thinking. Fear of the unknown can anchor many people to an unhappy home life. People contemplating divorce wonder, “What if it’s harder than I thought?” “What if things don’t go as planned?”

The best way to overcome this fear is to test your assumptions. Answer all your “what-ifs”. What if it IS harder than you expected? Is that worse for you than it is now? What if things don’t go as planned? Does that have to mean things will be worse? What if things get better?

Ask yourself other “what-ifs” as well: “What if I don’t get divorced?” “What if I don’t meet my own needs?” “What regrets will I have in the future?”

Sometimes, fear of the unknown is simply fear of thinking about the future and contingency-planning. If you realize that you actually have all the answers to your own questions, those fears become easier to conquer.

4: Fear for the Children

Many people stay in an unhappy marriage because they believe it benefits their children. They say, “If it were just me, I would leave. But I stay for the kids.” People worry that divorce will change their relationship with their children — that they will see them less, have less control or influence over them, or that the children may even resent them.

Children need healthy, well-adjusted parents. Children are also resilient and receptive to their parents’ needs and feelings. If you enter a divorce with trepidation, fear, and uncertainty, your children are likely to feel the same. On the other hand, entering a divorce with confidence, resolve, and commitment to your children will allow them to feel that as well.

Divorce courts also share parents’ concerns about their children. This is why all laws relating to children in divorce require the court to consider the children’s best interests first and foremost. Allowing yourself to trust in the court’s capacity to care for your children can be immensely comforting in this process.

5: Fear of Judgement

Let’s face it — getting divorced is a bummer. Running into old friends and having to explain that you’re divorced is awkward. Feeling the icy stare of your former mother-in-law at your children’s events is cringeworthy. Going through divorce can leave you feeling alone and exposed. You may feel embarrassment, shame, or uncertainty. You may wonder where you fit in among your married friends and family, or how to readjust yourself in social situations.

Fear of others’ judgement can cause people to stay in unhappy relationships longer than they should. While the stigma of divorce is no longer a cornerstone of our culture, people who get divorced often wonder if friends and family view them as a failure. When people offer their support, a newly divorced person wonders if it’s coming from a place of care or of pity. When people don’t offer their support, they wonder if they are being rejected or judged harshly.

Unless someone is outwardly hostile about your divorce, most worries about what others think are arguments you’ve created in your own mind based upon your own insecurities. Don’t assume that people think the worst of you. Don’t assume that they are judging you, or thinking less of you simply because you got divorced. Would you ever think less of someone for that?

If you are someone who is contemplating divorce and would like to talk through some of the questions or concerns that are holding you back, we’re here for you. Call our experienced divorce attorneys for a no-hassle consultation, and get the clarity you deserve.