Just wait it out!
Dr. Janet Taylor: With over half of the married population in the U.S. throwing in the towel and heading towards divorce court, what is on the minds of the other half? You know, those who stick it out, survive infidelity, financial crisis, have conflicts over raising children, meddling in-laws, or are just plain sick of each other. I have certainly had moments, days, and even weeks when I wondered if I could survive being married to my current (and only) husband.
Laura A. Munson has written a thought-provoking article, Those Aren't Fighting Words, Dear, in the Sunday Styles section of the New York Times. Her honest appraisal and depiction of surviving feeling like the "other" in a dysfunctional marriage and actually making it work is food for thought. Read it and let me know what you think.
Experts know that being in an unhappy marriage can be worse for you than the process of obtaining a divorce. Marriage can improve mental health and happiness by creating meaning, and providing consistent emotional and social support. That is assuming that you are blissfully happy -- maybe not blissfully, how about just okay? But what if you are unhappy and stick it out, like Laura did? Maybe too many of us have a tendency to give up too quickly on a difficult relationship or marriage. Obviously there are issues which are exempted from making an exit. No one should be subjected to physical or sexual abuse or emotional violence within a marriage.
A study of unhappily married individuals found that getting divorced was not an automatic promise of increased happiness or well-being. In fact, two-thirds of unhappily married people who remained married reported happy marriages five years later. Are you really confused now?
Here's the point. The quality of most marriages fluctuates. If you have periods of feeling satisfied and fulfilled, enjoy them, because there may also be down, difficult times. Those waves of good and bad are normal within relationships. However, if you are in a long-term, low-quality, miserable marriage that results in you consistently having episodes of low happiness and self-esteem, you have to ask yourself: exactly what am I waiting for?
|Dr. Janet Taylor is a clinical instructor of psychiatry at Columbia University at Harlem Hospital, and is a consumer health strategist and certified life coach. Her company, Mind Projects, Inc., specializes in corporate stress management and consumer health strategies. She practices in Chelsea and lives with her husband and four daughters in New York.|