Marriage is a choice that thousands of people make every day. For many people, this is one of the best times of their lives. 

Unfortunately, however, marriage may not always be the best choice or the one that makes you the happiest and even worse, this is usually not realized until much later.

What can you do if you find yourself "stuck" in an unhappy marriage?

Dear Dan and Jennifer,

Hi, please help! My friend has been in an unhappy marriage for 28 months.  Her son is 23 months old. Before their marriage they broke up because the husband had another woman but she found out later she was pregnant and her husband married her unwillingly. All through out the pregnancy the husband was unsupportive and uncaring. They never share a room and bed since they marry. My friend is 40 y.o. She is desperate for a divorce but is worried that if they divorce, it will affect the child. He says he will never love her again, will never sleep with her and will never suggest a divorce. Please let me know how to help her.  I've always thought it was a mistake that they got married.

-FD, Hongkong

Assess the Situation

Being "stuck" in an unhappy marriage is frustrating, intimidating and upsetting. However, many people fail to realize they're not really "stuck" at all. While one should never marry someone if they're thinking they can just get out of it later, if you're in a marriage and you're not happy, you're not really "stuck."

You have the power to change the status quo at any time! You have the power to end the marriage and move on with your life. It may not be quick and it may not be easy, but it can be done and if it's something you want or feel is necessary, it is certainly something you should do.

Assess the situation. Are you really unhappy in your marriage? Do you feel that counseling might be beneficial? Is counseling something you're willing to do? Sometimes counseling can help, but not always. Give yourself some time to really think about what you want.

It's not an easy decision to make or one that should be rushed. Some people will end up coming to the realization that the marriage is already over and the only thing left to do is make it legal.

Staying Together For The Kids

Many unhappy couples think they should stay together for their children. This is entirely up to you, but be warned that at this point, you're not going to be in an ideal situation no matter what you choose to do. If you get a divorce, yes, your children will be in split homes. If you don't, your children may learn that marriage is an unhappy, miserable place to be.

What you do stand to teach your children if you choose to get a divorce is that marriage doesn't have to be miserable and you have a choice? You can teach them the reality that while marriage is intended to be happy and it can be but if it's not, they have the power to move on and be happy in other ways.

Moving On

It can be difficult to move on from any relationship, but if you're unhappy it is something that needs to be done. Realize that you deserve to be as happy as anyone else and use it to gather the strength and determination you need to move on and be happy! If you can't work things out with your partner, it certainly isn't the end of the world. While there are plenty of fish out in the sea, perhaps you want to swim alone for a little while!

Your life is what you make it and you can choose to stay in an unhappy marriage or you can choose to move on and find something that does make you happy. Realize that you're never "stuck" anywhere you don't want to be and that you have the power to change the status quo. You don't have to stay in an unhappy marriage if you don't want to, plain and simple!

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