Consequences Of Staying In An Unhealthy Marriage

The suggestion is that a marriage or marital status, in general, correlates with mental and physical wellness. It would then stand to reason there would be negative consequences to our well-being if one were to stay in an unhealthy marriage. 

Why anyone would choose to remain with someone who brings them unwellness is an obvious question that immediately comes to mind. There can be any number of reasons, including the fact that it could be a toxic situation of perhaps abuse or a control issue where someone is afraid to leave. 

It might also be that an individual fears being alone and prefers to stay where at least there’s a living, breathing human. The price of the circumstances weighing heavily on joy, serenity, and stress levels plus the potential devastation to general physical and mental health is one these people often pay. 

Let’s look at a few of the repercussions associated with being in an unhappy marriage.

What happens when you stay in a bad marriage?

The goal when entering into a marriage is not to end up divorcing. In fact, many people today are waiting until later in life to get married to avoid what were staggering statistics in this country. These, at one point, indicated that more than half the people who marry for the first time would divorce.

The latest reports show that our rates are decreasing with fewer people heading to divorce court. But it’s curious if people are now staying in unhappy marriages simply to avoid from being one of those awful statistics.

Unfortunately, being unhappily married can damage our individual wellness like joy, peace, and thriving, not to mention physical and mental health. Stress alone can cause adverse health issues. 

Unless you enter into counseling in an effort to work through the problems to come to some sort of resolution or whether you believe there is such a possibility even with counseling, the repercussions you’re experiencing in the partnership will only grow worse with the potential for personal consequences as well. 

Let’s look at the repercussions of what you can likely anticipate within the relationship of an unhappily married couple.

Sex is nonexistent

As humans, we require physical touch. In a romantic partnership, if there is an emotional disconnect, often, sex comes to a complete stop. The loss of that affection is emotionally and mentally stunting. Plus, there’s the additional stress of wondering if someone is stepping outside the relationship for gratification.

At this stage, it becomes necessary to search for the root of the problem bringing discord to the marriage. There’s a reason for the unhappiness, and the underlying issue must be brought to light and either worked through with some proper help or make the decision there is no resolution. 

Instead, allow things to come to an end. No one can survive, nor should they have to endure being committed and exclusive yet denied affection.

Cheating becomes a genuine possibility

In that same vein, it becomes challenging to not act on fantasies that continue to plague those involved in the marriage, especially when there is no affection. If you’re essentially being ignored, the first thing you want to do is grab on to someone who pays the slightest bit of attention. 

If there were ever a consequence for staying in an unhappy marriage, an affair would be at the top of the list. Someone is bound to step outside of the confines of the loneliness and sadness that surrounds the partnership. It would otherwise be daunting to go home each day having to live in silence and coldness. 

That’s not condoning cheating on a spouse by any means. When you see that you have come to the point that you want to cheat, call an attorney and file the papers before you take that step. Either that or reach out to your spouse to go to counseling.

Loss of confidence and self-esteem

One or both of the partners in an unhappy marriage will at some point be impacted to the point confidence and self-esteem diminish. Perhaps you notice that you’re having a conversation with someone who simply continues to nod regardless of the words coming from your mouth. 

Eventually, you recognize there’s little attention or importance given to anything you have to say or the things you accomplish or do throughout your day-to-day life. Over time, each begins to withdraw from the other, discussions wane until they stop altogether, and expectations fade.

The person who at one time was your most incredible support system, the biggest cheerleader, the one who had your back, now looks through you, and you genuinely don’t know what happened. 

The only explanation is time, growing comfortable and familiar, and not taking the time to continue to give the necessary effort. After a while, everything just becomes a jumble of the same old, with conversations feeling empty and meaningless. Eventually, all that’s left when everyone comes home at the end of a long day is an acknowledgment of the arrival and silence through the evening.

No longer showing a commitment

One consequence of an unhappy marriage that might not be as evident is the loss of commitment to the marriage. Perhaps you were excited about the future. The two of you were making plans for a lifestyle that you genuinely were looking forward to when you reached a certain point. 

That could have been after careers were settled, or you found the ideal location to make your home place or even made a decision concerning having children. Unfortunately, those discussions stopped. 

There’s no longer any indication about a future together in any terms. You don’t make plans for anything, including date nights, holidays, or even what’s for dinner. It’s almost as if something were broken or shut off, and now each day is just sort of going through the motions. 

But that can only last so long, and then someone has to break the silence because the tension that goes with this kind of living arrangement can lead to poor health and a trip to the doctor.

Illness becomes a consequence

In many situations where a marriage is unhappy, overall general physical and mental health can both be impacted. An individual can develop severe adverse conditions simply from suffering extreme bouts of stress like heart disease. 

Plus, when dealing with emotional disconnect or even trauma over the fact that you’re with the person who used to love you. But if they’re treating you differently, showing no affection, not talking, and being unapproachable, it can result in anxiety and depressive episodes.

When the unhappiness turns to illness, it’s essential to reach out to a medical practitioner for a checkup. The provider can assess your well-being and refer you to a mental health provider to help you through the emotional distress. 

The relationship needs to be addressed, but the ideal situation would likely be to take time apart from the problem until your health is back in line. 

Is it worth staying in an unhappy marriage?

The consequences that you deal with from staying in an unhappy marriage don’t necessarily mean the relationship is over. These can simply be serving as a red flag to let you know you need to get help if you want the partnership to survive.

You’d be surprised how many people file for divorce but end up back together happily married after going through these motions. That doesn’t mean it’s easy or that it doesn’t take an awful lot of hard work and dedication, but the thing to remember is nothing is impossible. 

Some of the repercussions the unhappily married people are contending with are heartbreaking and harsh for them to go through. But if you don’t go through these rough patches and come out the other side, you won’t have that strong, unbreakable bond that was established because of it. 

Sometimes you have to go through a lot of terrible things to get to the good stuff. Life can be challenging that way. But in the end, most of us look back and would do it the same again if given a choice. Our life circumstances make us who we are, and that’s true of who we become as partners in our relationships as well.


There might be consequences to staying in an unhappy marriage. Some of these can be rough. Still, the only one who can call time-out on these repercussions is you and do so for long enough to look for the root cause of the unhappiness so you can get help to try to fix it. 

If your consequences are that you’ve become ill, let your mate know the state of the marriage has upset your health so either a solution is found to help the two of you move forward healthfully or you separate. It’s so easy to say, and it’s simple to think about it. But you have to actually do it for yourself and your health.

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