An open letter to the woman in the unhappy marriage
It’s hard isn’t it? Exhausting in fact. The constant stress. The constant strive to improve things. The daily whirring of your brain with what ifs, and buts, and could I? Should I? Will I?
Being unhappy is hard work.
Chances are it’s been this way for a long time, hasn’t it? Perhaps it’s bad, but not so bad that you can justify leaving. Perhaps you can’t bear the impact that making that decision would have on your children. Perhaps you don’t want to hurt anyone. Perhaps you can’t afford it? Perhaps you’re scared.
Perhaps there are a million reasons to stay and only one to leave.
And what sort of justification is that?
Your friends and family probably don’t know. Why would they? You haven’t told them – because that would be admitting it to yourself.
But maybe you should.
Maybe you’ve been strong for too long and now it’s time to collapse into someone else’s arms. Talk it through. Share the load.
Maybe you’ve done as much as you can for as long as you can, and now it’s simply time.
Time to stop pretending and time to face up to the truth, scary as that is. Because being unhappy is only half a life, and how long can you go on living with that as your reality? Five years? ten? thirty? Don’t you deserve more?
Don’t your children deserve to see you happy?
Don’t just carry on. Seek help. Go for counselling. Talk to each other. Listen. Be kind. Do everything in your power to turn things around and then, if you are still unhappy, still lonely, still wondering ‘is this it?’ then make a decision.
If you stay, do it with the full understanding of what you are giving up.
And if you go, do it with the full knowledge that you did everything you possibly could to fix things. Because when life gets hard, as it inevitably will, you will need that knowledge inside you to get you through.
Whatever you do – don’t waste any more time by standing on the river bank and watching your life flow past. You still have so many years of living ahead of you, places to go, sights to see, feelings to feel – so grab them with both hands, hold tight and jump.
The woman on the other side.
Kate is a mother of three living in Co Wicklow. She spent her 20’s travelling, her 30’s getting married and having babies, and is now hitting her 40’s newly single, and back in her old hometown. She has written parenting features for the Irish Independent and the Huffington Post and currently earns her pennies working for Netmums and writing freelance. You can find her most days drinking strong coffee on her blog Kate Takes 5 or sipping gin on Twitter.