Logic of a woman staying in a bad marriage?

I'm trying to understand the logic of a woman willing to stay in a bad marriage and I don't mean abusive. This couple is in their late 30s, no kids, been together for 10+ years and have been married for 5-6 years.

She currently describes her relationship as not hating the guy but she doesn't feel she loves him anymore. She says she's not miserable, but she's not happy either. He rarely wants to spend time with her, he'd rather be hunting/fishing/camping. She often asks him to take part in activities she enjoys but he's not interested. They fight regularly. There is no intimacy, they go months to years without any (his choice). He doesn't like to cuddle or be touched.

In the past, I encouraged her to try harder, find ways of making it work but they keep ending up in the same rut. They don't need each other to support themselves, they could both make it on their own without a costly bitter divorce.

In the last 10 years, they've separated once and were on the verge at least 6 other times. I know that for the last few months, she's wanted out again. They've had multiple blow-outs over the last month. However, this week when we spoke about it, she said that she's confused and doesn't know what to do anymore. That her feelings are all over the place.

I'm not sure how to advise her anymore. I'm at the point where I want to tell her to leave but I know a woman has to decide this on her own. Trying to convince her will typically be off-putting. I want to be a good friend but at some point, she needs to realize it's never going to work. It's obvious her needs aren't being met and never will be by him.

So, why would she go from wanting out to thinking, let's try this again?
Why does she keep expecting different results, when he's never changed? Only does for a few weeks when he's about to lose her.
Is there anything that can be said to help her make the decision or do I just keep being there for her?
Why does she doubt things can be better than this?


Most Helpful Girl

  • I was there myself until this year. The honest, easy choice? It is cowardice and laziness, and traditionalism.

    It is so much easier to stay in a loveless marriage than to have to start all over again. It is easier to avoid the topic than to confront it head on. It is also easier to remain in a loveless marriage than to have to admit that now you are a statistic for divorce, especially if you took your vows seriously.

    Eventually she will figure it out; there will be nothing you can do to help her see it, though. SHe needs to figure it out on her own.

    • This seems to coincide with things she's told me over the years and pretty much in line with what I expected that there's nothing I can really say or do to convince her that he'll never change and that she can find better elsewhere. She did mention last year that she wasn't looking forward to starting all over again, that she had been there before with a previous bf and it sucked to move out and find a new place and start over. I was really hoping though that this year, after the recent blow-outs that she'd leave. She's ended up at my place a few times over the past few months looking for comfort. Yet, out of the blue, she's thinking they still have a chance. Looks like he sensed her getting ready to leave and he's becoming mister nice guy again. It's just too bad. We only live once and to be willing to put up with this over and over again. Breaks my heart.

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What Girls Said 1

  • i think most of it is fear of starting new with someone else, 10 years is a lot of time to get to know another person inside and out, experience the stages of love and getting married, getting a place together etc so even though she doesn't love him and he obviously can't stand her theyre settled and feel comfortable together. its frightening having to start all over again in your 30s thinking you'll be outmatched by all the younger girls and the thought of not having a kid until she's around 35 at least (you have to date a number of years after managing to find the right one before kids). plus when she does find someone she likes she has the fear of possible break ups for the next 2-5 years whereas she doesn't have that with her husband anymore.

    i think the best thing to do is scare her the other way, tell her about being stuck childless with this man who practically ignores her existence for the next 50 years always thinking of what could of been and how she could have had a happy marriage with someone else. tell her to focus on having fun and not trying hard to find a new life partner asap when she splits and the right guy will come along when she's least expecting it.

    • ok misread late 30s as early 30s, this indicates even more strongly that she's afraid of starting new - she feels like the games already over for her as she's getting older now and no one will want her and she will be be in her 40s before having her first child with this new guy

What Guys Said 1

  • "Why does she keep expecting different results, when he's never changed?"

    Way too many women think they can change their man. It's a noble effort but it rarely happens. But that's probably why she's sticking with him.


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