Being stuck in an unhappy marriage is probably one of the most painful places to be as they endlessly try to find a solution to what looks like an impossible problem.
I see so many people in this situation and some of these people have suffered for years because whatever solution they create in their own mind it creates yet another equally painful problem.
Many of these people have tried for years to get through to their partner to fix the problems but the problems just got worse.
Some internalise their issues and withdraw and some keep banging on their partners’ door hoping they will wake up.
The obvious reason for feeling stuck in an unhappy marriage is the thought that leaving could harm their children.
Some are concerned that leaving will attach them to pain such as fear of being alone or running the same problem all over again with someone new.
Some won’t leave because they are convinced they are still in love, yet there has been no proof of love for years.
Changing their thinking is the key
The reason all these people are stuck is they keep approaching their problem in the same way and this keeps leading them into a dead-end, so they feel there is no sensible choice and they remain paralysed.
The correct approach will give the person choice and freedom to live the life they deserve to live.
If someone wants to free themselves from their problem then they have to change their approach.
Understand the real problem
Most people are stuck endlessly searching for the solution to the problem and not enough time really understanding the problem they face.
Many do this because they are convinced they know their problem so they don’t explore it properly.
With one recent client I stopped him searching for a solution and spent a few weeks helping him understand the real problem.
This changed his thinking and enabled him to find the right solution now the problem was properly understood.
Not understanding the real problem means they will not be asking the right questions.
It’s only by really understanding their problem will they ask the questions which will lead them to answers that create true freedom.
So if someone is going round in circles it’s because the real problem is not yet clear enough.
I usually find most people are either overly complicating their problem or they are oversimplifying them and they are looking for solutions from these distorted perspectives.
Other people have lived in survival states for far too long and this means their thinking is limited to fight or run.
Problem-solving is a creative process and this is not easy from a position of survival, fear and loss of trust in others and in some cases of themselves.
What’s interesting is when taking someone through this process of really understanding their problem is usually helps them to feel much calmer.
A new calmer emotional state helps them to explore their problem properly before they decide on the right choices.
Applying this to the real world
One man was convinced his affair partner was the solution to his happiness, but he was worried about leaving the kids so for two years he battled with this problem.
He discovered he was the source of his own unhappiness in his own marriage and this enabled him to explore and form a strong confident relationship with himself as a man, husband and father.
That enabled him to be able to connect to important emotions within when he was with his wife and now he doesn’t have to leave his family to feel good.
He didn’t care
One lady was stuck because she thought her partner didn’t love or care for her. She discovered she had protected herself for years from a husband that was never trying to hurt her.
He was lost because she wasn’t clear on what she really needed, she thought he would just know.
To compound her problem she didn’t know what she needed either and this woke her up to her real problem.
She thought he was ill
Another lady was stuck for years in a marriage with a husband who had no interest in her or her happiness.
She was convinced he was ill and so she wouldn’t abandon him.
She discovered her truth that the relationship had alway been this way and her feelings of love over the years were attached to her and what she did for him.
She loved looking after him and he loved being looked after like a child.
This one-way street would be exhausting for her as she emotionally emptied.
By discovering he genuinely had no interest in contributing to her or the marriage she was able to confidently leave him.
Expanding the problem
Getting a clear picture of the real problem is critical for people in an unhappy marriage.
Second marriage divorce rates are much higher than first marriage divorce rates and affair partners that marry have a less than 5% chance of making it, all because they are not understanding the real problem.
- Affairs are not solutions to marital problems.
- Divorce is not a solution to marital problems – divorce does not teach us how to choose the right person and how to become great partners.
Understanding is the correct foundation for any solution because it empowers the person to ask the right great question that uncovers the right great answer(s).
Great questions lead to great answers, but the wrong question or no question at all could lead a person to a decision they might not be happy with in years to come.
Divorce regret is high because of this very problem.
If someone has to leave a marriage then they must do so because they understand the problem not just because they feel bad or there seem to be a better deal on the table.