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Study: There are many reasons why unhappy couples avoid divorce

According to a recent study out of the UK, there several reasons why couples continue to stay together despite their unhappiness. For instance, after surveying 2,000 married individuals, the study discovered that the number-one excuse that unhappy couples give for staying married is that they simply do not have the courage to seek a divorce.

The second most popular reason, according to the study, is that many couple feel that they will have regrets if they actually go through with the divorce, even if the alternative is that they will continue to be unhappy in marriage. Third, surveyed couples state that the hope in their marriages getting better can keep them from seeking divorce.

The fourth reason offered by couples for remaining in an unhappy marriage is probably one of the least surprising. Specifically, couples avoid divorce if they believe it is better to remain together to protect the family or children.

The fifth most common reason, according to the study, is based on financial stability, in particular the fear that once divorced each spouse will not be able to financially support themselves. In fact, the study also discovered that roughly 20 percent of those surveyed experienced a trapped feeling in their current relationship, but would not even think about divorce unless they could be assured of financial stability.

Rounding out the top 10 reasons for avoiding divorce, according to the recent study, include:

  • Not wanting to leave/sell the family home
  • Too old to leave a marriage
  • Feelings of guilt for leaving the family
  • Fear of being on one’s own
  • Fear of loneliness

Although couples likely came up with several other reasons for avoiding divorce, that does not mean they are any less happy if their marriages are not salvageable. In these instances, these couples need to closely examine their reasons for not seeking divorce, and if they prove to be unconvincing, divorce may simply be the best option.

Source: The Huffington Post, “Divorce Study Shows Couples Are Unhappy, But Too Scared to Split,” July 18, 2013

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