Is it Better to Divorce or Stay Unhappily Married? You Decide…

is it better to divorce or stay unhappily married

By Jackie Pilossoph, Founder, Divorced Girl Smiling, the place to find trusted, vetted divorce professionals, a podcast, website and mobile app.

 Here’s a synopsis of a reader who asks, “Is it better to divorce or stay unhappily married?”

She and her husband have been together for about a decade. He’s a student and she has been working and supporting him financially almost the entire time. She said one problem with the marriage is that the only thing they do together is watch TV.


I’m starting to feel less and less respect for him. Like he’s holding me back. This is made worse by my newer need to explore life (I actually went and swam with sharks as part of my bucket list). I love horseback riding, swimming and dancing. He has never been on my horse, he thinks lakes are “yucky” and he doesn’t like to dance. It makes it really hard to have fun with him because the only things he really likes are video games and tv.


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She said they don’t have sex because he never wants to, but she found porn on his computer, and he admitted to watching it several times per week.


I ended up kissing someone else and he was okay with it. I felt awful.  We went to counseling for it and other things and he changed but I am no longer sure we are even right for each other. He recently had to be out of state and it felt very freeing. We don’t have kids but we both want them. My question is, is it better to divorce or stay unhappily married? Right now, my relationship boils down to staying for 3 reasons:


1. I don’t want to hurt him.
2. I’m afraid that I won’t find anyone else to love that will also love me back. To build that level of intimacy again is scary to me.
3. I want kids and I know he’d be a good dad.


Here’s my advice. I don’t want to tell this woman to get divorced, because I can’t guarantee that she is going to meet the man of her dreams, have babies, and live happily after. That said, she might. I CAN guarantee what is going to happen if she stays and they don’t continue to get help: more of the same.

Yes, he is trying to change, and I respect that, but there are some really, really big issues here, including the fact that they have such different interests, he would rather look at porn than have sex with his wife, and that she likes when they are apart.


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Founder, Dear Divorce Coach


Her reasons for staying aren’t the best reasons. Let me explain.


1. I don’t want to hurt him.

In any breakup, both people get hurt. There is no getting around it. But, everyone eventually moves on with their lives. In fact, she might be doing her husband a favor if she leaves. It doesn’t sound like they have much in common, and he might find someone who likes the same things he likes, and who isn’t pushing him so much to horseback ride and dance (not that there’s anything wrong with her wanting that!) but he doesn’t want it.



2. I’m afraid that I won’t find anyone else to love that will also love me back. To build that level of intimacy again is scary to me.

There are no guarantees about what her future holds. But I can say this: I’m not sure if she loves him anymore. That’s not to say the love can’t come back if they go to therapy and work on their relationship. But it sounds like a lot of resentment has built up (about supporting him financially and him watching TV all the time and the porn). Also, she doesn’t respect him. Those are two huge avenues to falling out of love.

3. I want kids and I know he’d be a good dad.

Perhaps the worst reason to stay with someone, the worst idea in the world is to get pregnant in a relationship that needs fixed. A child will not fix it. All a child will do is cause a divorce later, and it will be even harder financially and to meet someone else (in my opinion.) Maybe he will be a good dad, but right now, he’s not really being a good husband, so I don’t think I would take that chance until the relationship is fixed.


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The reality is, this relationship needs to be fixed, or this woman should leave. It cannot stay like this or all it will bring is more of the same problems (intensified if she gets pregnant.)


This woman said she is 27 years old. I didn’t get married until I was 35, and I had kids at 36 and 38! People are having babies into their early 40’s now. I know when you’re young, it seems like time is running out, but it isn’t!


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Also when you’re young, 40 seems old and 50 seems really old, and 60, that just seems ancient! It isn’t. She has so much time to live her life.

It’s not an easy choice, and leaving takes courage. But so does staying and trying to work things out. She is the only person who knows what’s right. I hope she chooses wisely and lives the life she wants and deserves.

Like this article? Check out, 9 Signs of a Healthy Romantic Relationship

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    Jackie Pilossoph

    Editor-in-chief: Jackie Pilossoph

    Jackie Pilossoph is the Founder of Divorced Girl Smiling, the media company that connects people facing with divorce to trusted, vetted divorce professionals. Pilossoph is a former NBC affiliate television journalist and Chicago Tribune/Pioneer Press features reporter. Her syndicated column, Love Essentially was published in the Chicago Tribune/Pioneer Press and Tribune owned publications for 7 1/2 years. Pilossoph holds a Masters degree in journalism from Boston University. Learn more at:

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