Why women choose to stay with men they regard as Mr Wrong?
Nowadays many women are unwilling to accept divorce as an option. They are unhappy, they are aware they are married to the wrong person and yet they choose to remain in what they describe as a safe shell, compared to the difficult life of a divorcee.
It might be easy, from the outside, to say "Why don't you just leave him?".
However, when these women think of divorce, they usually experience a long list of fears and their unhappy marriage seems to be the lesser of two evils.
Divorce, in fact, means to be alone again. Many women fear they will not find a new partner again, especially if they have been married for a long time and they have a lack of self-esteem. This is quite common in women stuck in dysfunctional relationships.
They would also be exposed to the judgment of other people. Although society sees women as much more independent than before, there is still a significant stigma around the status of "married woman" and lack or loss thereof. Some women are just not ready to lose this social status; their social circles might not be in support of the choice to divorce and women might be scared to be judged as well as to loose their friends.
Another common fear is related to children. Many women don't want their children to suffer for the consequences of the divorce and decide to stay with the partner for this reason. Those who haven't any children yet see their biological clock as ticking, are likely to stay in a marriage as they may feel it gives them an increased chance of becoming a mother.
Another common reason for persisting into a dysfunctional relationship could be lack of money or fear of losing a certain lifestyle.
There is no exact science to this, but the choice to divorce, or not, is generally related to the level of autonomy and independence; and fear of change is generally a strong driver in the maintenance of a dysfunctional status quo.
There is no right or wrong either. If you are experiencing doubts about your marriage - or relationship - therapy can help. It will help raise awareness about what you really want and will empower you to make a conscious choice. Whether you choose to stay or not, therapy can give you the support you need through such a challenging moment of your life.
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About Francesca Moresi
Psychologist and psychotherapist qualified in England and in Italy, with over 10 years of study, research and practice with clients from around the world. I am expert in relationship counselling and I believe you are more powerful than you think: my method aims at guiding you towards reaching a unique perspective on life and relationships.