After 12 years of marriage, my husband and I are divorcing. I haven’t been happy and tried for several years to communicate my needs and try to understand his. Nothing changed. We just don’t make each other happy. He doesn’t make me feel loved and hasn’t for some time. My family doesn’t understand why we are divorcing. They make comments like “he isn’t a bad person” or my favorite “did he beat you; did he cheat on you, he’s a good person.” Why is the bar so low? It makes me feel like they are taking his side.
– Confused and hurt – They are MY family!
Dear Confused and hurt:
Ouch! I can feel your pain. I’m sorry your family is unable to support you in a way that validates your feelings and enables you to feel their love. I am glad you care for yourself enough to believe that you deserve to be happy and are willing to make changes in your life. Even tough, hard choices to leave behind someone who didn’t love you the way you needed to be loved.
Unfortunately, many people stay in bad relationships. Human beings resist change. We like to have the answers and the comfort of routine. This can lead us to staying in situations and circumstances in which we are not happy. A recent study – the COVID Response Tracking Study, conducted by NORC at the University of Chicago, finds that just 14% (1 of 7) of American adults say they’re very happy, down from 31% (1 of 3) who said the same in 2018. This reflects people in various relationships statuses – not just married. Bottom line, we all know people in unhappy relationships. Some stay together due to a fear of change, and sometimes specific reasons, such as religious beliefs, financial concerns, impact on the kids, etc. This may apply to some of your family members. For those who are unhappily married, take their input for what’s it worth – they may be envious that you are brave enough to seek happiness. Set boundaries with those who hurt you with their comments. Let them know you don’t want to discuss it. If they persist, give yourself the support you need and start to create more distance in those relationships.
You deserve to be happy. You deserve to surround yourself with people who make you feel loved and support your decisions. I wish you all the happiness you can hold and more. Keep exploring and keep looking – happiness is yours for the taking.