How to Survive a Loveless Marriage

Living without love feels hopeless, lonely, and desolate. To learn how to survive a loveless marriage, you first need to figure out why you’re still married.

If you’re stuck in a loveless marriage, read Contemplating Divorce: A Step-by-Step Guide to Deciding Whether to Stay or Go by Susan Pease Gadua. The solution to your loneliness and other relationship problems is either surviving your marriage or leaving your husband. Sometimes it helps to have an objective perspective to help you decide if you should think about leaving your husband.

In this article, I describe five reasons women stay in loveless marriages. This may help you survive a loveless marriage because identifying the problem or reason you stay married can help you survive the relationship. You might also think about ways to get your husband to love you.

5 Reasons Women Stay in Loveless Marriages

Here are a few reasons why women live without love, staying with men they should have left years ago. If you know why you’re staying in a loveless marriage, then you’re more likely to survive it. Some of these reasons are directly from my readers, and others are what I know from my own experience in unhealthy, controlling “love” relationships.

Fear of what people will say

“I want to leave my marriage but the thought of that is too terrifying,” writes a reader on Controlling Relationships and Addictive Love. “I would be all alone and what would people say?” Let’s face it – we care about what people think of us. The opinions of our friends, neighbors, family members, coworkers, and even our hairdressers and manicurists matter. We’ve pitied couples whose relationships ended in divorce or separation…and we don’t want to be the objects of that pity.

Desire to be the “good girl” – don’t make waves

Girls are often taught not to make waves – to be demure, kind, polite, and avoid confrontation at all costs. Maybe this is the number one reason women stay in and learn how to survive loveless marriages: they don’t want to be seen as a troublemaker or a disrupter of the family. “I have gone back and forth so many times, I’ve finally realized it’s never going to work and I need to just stay away,” says another reader. “I always thought of myself as the “good”, “polite” and “cooperative” girl. That was the role I played in my family of origin.”

Hope that the relationship will go from bad or loveless to good

That’s one reason I stayed with a jerk: I kept hoping he’d get nicer, want to work on our relationship, and start acting like a normal human being. When I think back on the crap I took from that guy, I cringe! I’m embarrassed to admit how long I stayed in a relationship with someone I didn’t respect and didn’t like introducing to my friends. What kept me with that guy? He had a few good qualities…but mostly, it was my hope that our relationship would get better.

Women stay because they invested too much time in the marriage

I was reluctant to leave my boyfriend because I’d “invested” nine months with him, and thought that was a long time! I can’t imagine how it feels to be thinking about leaving a loveless marriage after 10 years, or even 40 years. Sometimes women stay in unhealthy relationships or loveless marriages because they think all the time they spent on the relationship will be wasted. But it won’t be! For proof, read  Was My Marriage a Waste of Time? The Silver Lining of Break Ups.

loveless marriage

“How to Survive a Loveless Marriage” image by Laurie

Staying is easier than trying to survive a loveless marriage

Who wants to be alone? Not many women – or men, for that matter. It’s easier to stay in a bad relationship because you don’t have to deal with telling people it’s over, facing your own fears, feeling like the “bad person”, and being the one to rip the family apart. It’s easier to stay in a bad relationship than leave, just like it’s easier to stay in a bad job than uproot your life to find a new one.

If you’re thinking about leaving a loveless marriage, read Is It Better to Give Up on Your Relationship or Try to Make It Work?

What are your reasons for staying in and trying to survive a loveless marriage? What are your reasons for trying to survive without love, rather than leaving and starting over?

Fix Your Marriage

I welcome your comments on these reasons women stay in loveless marriages, but I can’t offer relationship advice. Sometimes it helps just to share your story.

Article Name
How to Survive a Loveless Marriage
Living without love feels hopeless, lonely, and desolate. To learn how to survive a loveless marriage, you first need to figure out why you're still married.

Before You Go...

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Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen
I'm a full-time freelance writer and blogger in Vancouver, BC. I created the "Quips and Tips" blog series; my degrees are in Education, Psychology, and Social Work. I welcome your comments below, but I don't give advice. I can offer you a prayer and a blessing, though! You'd be surprised how helpful a prayer can be....

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110 Responses

  1. Laurie says:

    Thank you for sharing your experience with staying in a loveless marriage. It takes alot of courage to share how you feel, and be honest about your experience. I know other husbands and wives are reading your comments and feeling like they’re not suffering alone.

    My prayer for all couples in loveless marriages is for wisdom, clarity, and peace. May you have faith that this relationship was meant to be for some reason, and may you have wisdom to know what decision to make about your marriage. May you connect with people who understand what you’re going through. I pray you find comfort and peace in the people you met, including the Father God above who created you and loves you deeply. Amen.

    • Ross says:

      Maybe there is someone her who can answer my question , it is only in my case and I’m not judging anyone else . ” How can it be when 2 partners love one another , then one starts to form an emotional friendship with a third person that eventually turns into an emotional affair and they fine they no longer love their partner but love the affair partner . Then the affair evolves into a sexual affair and everything they experience within the affair , the excitement and passion is so much greater than they ever experienced in their marriage . Then when their affair ends they decide that they love their partner again ” I cannot understand how someone can chop and change their love for someone so easily , In case the only reason my wife stayed was her affair partner stopped loving/needing her and dumped her for his wife

  2. Ross says:

    How things can change , for the first 18 years of our marriage I felt that we were both really happy , at that stage we had 5 children from 3 to 15 then out of the blue I found out that my wife was having an affair with a co-worker . I’m not sure how long it lasted but my guess is about 6 months , when i confronted her with the evidence she refused to talk about it . Sadly for her within a week of me finding out the wife of her OP also found out as they were going back to his house after work .

    His wife forced him to immediately leave their work place and end the affair and he refused to talk to her again , not even a kiss goodbye . My wife accused me of telling her which I didn’t do , she immediately moved out of our bedroom to a spare room where she has slept for the last 12 years and we have lived a pretense of a marriage which would surprise so many of our friends because we both play the game in front of other people . Every time we have an argument about anything her immediate comment is ” You destroyed the only real love I have ever had and I will never forgive you for it ” , I’m sure she is still in love with him . For the last 12 years we have lived in a loveless household so we can both focus on the children , as the years have gone by the children have grown and moved on with their lives and now we have only one at home with us . I certainly would never push her out but I can’t wait for the next few years to pass and I will sell up our home , split the money and get on with my life , what ever that might be

    I find it quite sad that we have both wasted so much of our live’s living the way we have , but I am also so glad that we stayed together for the children at least they have had the chance to grow up in a 2 parent household and all seem really well adjusted young adults

    • Karen says:

      Ross, you did the right thing for the children – I am sure it was not an easy choice. Sounds like you watched Shaw Shank Redemption! Good Luck!

  3. Anonymous says:

    I’ve been married for 15 1/2 years. 12 years ago I confessed to an affair. Instead of facing it, he kept it bottled up, and was angry for 10 years after. I fought hard to prove I was a good wife and loved him. really fought hard. I begged and pleaded many times for us to get help that something had to be done. 1 1/2 yrs ago I said I was done. Couldn’t do it anymore at all. He finally got help, I stayed out of guilt but constantly had a foot out the door. Because of all my resentments I can’t get back into it. So here we are after many ups and downs in the last 1 1/2 I asked for a separation to figure myself out. Also to protect him because I now have a wondering mind/heart. I don’t want to be that type of wife but know that’s where I’m headed. We have two wonderful, HAPPY, kids and he is an amazing, wonderful man and provider. He wants to do everything and anything for me, however, I don’t have the desire or fight in me anymore……….. I am scared of the unknown, if I’m making a huge mistake……

  4. Sarah says:

    Everyone says if your unhappy and there is no love just leave! But how ? How do you put your happiness over your kids and family’s happiness ! I have to young boys who are happy! They wake up each day with mommy and daddy in their home! They are happy! And I am happy to see them happy! Isn’t that the choice we make when we pick our partner and decide to bring innocent children into this world? How can I wxpect them to understand I’m turning their happy lives upside down because I deserve more ? I just go back and forth and can’t get an answer! My husband has cheated, talks down to me and pretty much shows me lil to no love! I feel completely alone even when he is laying right next to me in bed ! Tears roll down my face each and every day because I ache for the love and attention that I show him! I gave up everything to make him and my kids my world! And no matter what I do he sees me as nothing! But I have lived like this for years! And I make it! I still smile ! And I still have fun. So how can I just one day tell my boys that my life and my feelings are more important than theirs! How can tell them tent will be nights they mommy can’t tuck them in! How can I miss holidays w them? Would we be more miserable wout him I think?? I Just can’t ruin their lives for what may be my own benefit!!

    • Amanda J says:

      WOW as I read your statement I wondered if you knew me. I feel exactly the same as you! I cry nearly every morning while showering and pray God will show me what to do! I’m so unhappy and miserable and long for someone to love me and care about my dreams or even to listen to me talk. I’ve asked friends for advice I always ask the same thing, what do I do, if I choose to be happy I destroy everything around me my two boys, my family my in laws how people will think of me my husband who obviously isn’t happy but claims to be all for what? ? So I can be happy?? I take pictures at the zoo and various of our happy family but really I’m screaming on the inside! I so want it to be over and start my life and be responsible for my own happiness instead of feeling like it’s constantly stolen from him. I feel he hates me yet loves to see me miserable! But he’s an a great father my boys couldn’t be happier with him but he’s no help when it comes to parenting I feel like I have 3 kids! But the smile on their face how do I make the choice to take that from them?

      • Allison says:

        I’m in the same boat as both of you. Two boys who love their dad, but I am miserable. I have been a stay at home mom for 13 years. We live paycheck to paycheck. We would have to sell our house, get two little apartments, split custody and have no money. I will have to get a full time job. So, I stay and live in a bad marriage. I have no answers. It’s sad.

  5. Lane Smith says:

    Sometime people stay in a loveless marriage because love is not something that was ever there. Sometimes people give up on love and just go with the person that works out the best. Love fades and hurts. If you marry a friend. Doesn’t hurt when things get stupid, and things usually don’t get stupid because you aren’t as passionate about it. Easier to maintain.

  6. Laurie says:

    Dear Rose,

    Thank you for being here, and sharing your experience. I, too, trust that God has great plans for you! You were meant to be in this marriage for some reason, and you have learned so much about life and yourself through it.

    You are smart, strong, and independent. Your future looks so promising and you will move forward into a life of happiness, health, and love. One step at a time, you are becoming the woman you were meant to be. May God grant you peace, security, and joy no matter what you face.


  7. Rose says:

    I’ve been with my husband 7 years, with 2 young children under 5. I was the ripe age of 17 when we met, he was 28. I was infatuated with him, so I didn’t listen to my gut or family when they told me he was controlling and not looking out for my best interests. He pushed me away from my family, cheated on me after we made a commitment to each other then i got pregnant twice while he had several drug addictions over the first few years. I wanted to leave 2 years ago but stayed because finances and fear of raising my children alone.

    Finally, he started making improvements this year but little too late as I have fallen out of desire for him even though I care about his well being. He has never been the guy I wanted to introduce to anyone because his behavior is intolerant or cruel because he feels the world is against him. I played my role with nagging and becoming bitter over the years. But God has worked through me and I have been forgiving everyone in my life, but I have trouble applying that to him still. He was indifferent to my goals and passions in life and certainly doesn’t encourage or support me. I dont want to be afraid anymore or feel guilty about living the life I deserve. I want to face my fears and I trust God has great plans for me. I no longer feel connected to him except through our children and finances and we both deserve a healthy relationship with someone who enjoys us. I was naive at 17 and thought I knew what love was but now realize I married because I was scared. Just feeling like the relationship is almost over, I feel relief even though scared, it feels like freedom to be who i want to be. Thank you for letting me share.

    • Jo says:

      Wow, your story is MY story too. I’ve been married since 2003. (3rd Marriage). Six months after we were married things began to fall apart for me. I found him having online conversations with other women and even went so far as to invite a woman to come see him at his work. I don’t know if that ever happened but what difference does that make. We argued about it, he left but ultimately wanted to come home and I stupidly let him. I suppose I didn’t want the world to know I had made a bad choice for a 3rd time. I haven’t trusted him since and that put a strain on our sex life although I always managed to smooth that over enough to keep him from leaving. I’m terrified of being financially ruined. I owned my home free and clear when we met. I didn’t take me long to realize that was probably the reason he wanted to marry me. He is an emotionally bankrupt man who had a hard life as a child so I suppose I felt sorry for him and made excuses for his shortcomings. After 10 yrs. I’d rather be alone doing what I want to do than trying to make him happy. Nothing I ever do seems to make him happy. He does things for his family and his kids (adults now) yet I can’t even get him to take me out once a month. I know a divorce would get very ugly. Part of me wishes he would just….well, you know. :-( I am a Christian and I hate that I even have those thoughts but sometimes I wish I would just…well, you know. WOW…just rereading what I wrote is really hitting home. All he wants is sex and all I want is to feel love. I don’t think we’ll ever get what we need from each other. How sad is that! Not sure if I feel better or worse for sharing but Thank You none the less.

  8. Laurie says:

    Dear Uber Genius,

    It sounds like you’ve tried for a long time to make your marriage work…and you’ve learned that you can’t make someone love you. Your experience with your marriage has changed you forever, for better or worse. And, it sounds like you’re not ready to leave your wife even though you don’t feel loved by her.

    What keeps you in this marriage?

  9. Über Genius says:

    Seems like very few men post here. I have been in a bad marriage for years but stayed in it for my kid’s sake (2 girls and a boy) and the fact that I loved my wife. She however doesn’t seem to love anyone. The kids (now 20, 22 & 26) and I seem to work constantly to please my wife. Constant to-lists rule the day. When I bring home a $50,000 bonus from work for being the best sales rep in the country she simply says “oh I will put that in the bank.” No thanks or encouragement whatsoever. When I ask her why she can’t compliment the kids she say “it would make them needy”. She demands to get her way on the smallest of issues stating “if momma’s not happy then nobody’s happy” as her motto. She was great the two years we dated before we got married. But changed into the sociopath she now is on the first day of our marriage. I have tried to make it work for 27 years given the encouragement of my church and parents to toy it out. However unlike the movie Fireproof, it appears that a baseline of emotional devlopment is needed for any marriage to succeed. In the last few years parents, church friends, two counselors and my pastor all say I should give up and divorce her. I guess 27 years in a relationship wih unrequited love is enough. Many of my friends tell me that the grass is greener but after the enormous change that took place in my wife’s personality the day after our marriage I am forever jaded. I will not again get married due to the potential change that would occur. I have been taken for granted enough to fill a lifetime.

    • Bruce says:

      Your story is close to mine. As you know men don’t prefer to write. I laboured and toiled for this woman for over 8 years and the day her parents provided support to her, I became ,ess of a man. The good thing is that I am doing excellent I’m my career and would love to leave the marriage after 12 years. The thoughts of having children grow up without a father figure and sacrifice for my children is the thread hanging me on. Maybe someday….

  10. Laurie says:

    If you feel stuck in a loveless marriage and there doesn’t seem like there’s anything you can do about it, have you considered leaving? Divorce isn’t my first choice when it comes to unhappy marriages, but sometimes there is no other choice.

    A marriage without love isn’t much of a relationship.

  11. peggy coffey says:

    My husband and I have been married for 23 years and have been out of love for at least the last 10 years. He had originally planned to leave when our son graduated from high school but my mother died and my father moved in with us. He loves my father and my father loves him so he won’t leave while he is alive. So we live like roommates, and since I quit my job to take care of my 87 year old father, I do everything at home. He does nothing. He tells me he works and that’s all he needs to do. I have learned how to fix plumbing, paint, I cook and clean. Our dishwasher broke 2 years ago and he refuses to get it fixed because I don’t do anything, I can wash dishes. We don’t talk about anything unless it has to do with our grown children or the house and of course we haven’t had sex in years. I thought I didn’t care but every day it gets harder and harder. I don’t know what to do any more.

    • Barbara Norman says:

      Dear Peggy,you are not alone,my situation is very much like yours.I’m raising my grandaughter now 3 and she is the reason I stay.It is very hard!Thinking of you!

  12. Laurie says:

    Dear Renee,

    I don’t think you should stay in a loveless marriage, and I don’t think you’re wrong for wanting to leave. I wonder if it’s not just a loveless marriage, but an abusive marriage. Men who abuse tend to want to isolate their wives, and not let them interact with others. It’s very unhealthy.

    Please, if you are not happy, start working towards freedom. Life is too short to be spend crying and in despair.

    And, what example are you setting for your children? What are they learning from you? Sometimes divorce isn’t as “evil” as an unhappy marriage.

    I encourage you to find someone to talk these things through with. Not necessarily a counsellor, but someone who understands marriage and life. Someone wise and compassionate, who can help you discover what you’re meant to do with your life.

    Are you doing what you’re meant to do with your life?

  13. Renee says:

    I have been with my husband since I was 19 we have 2 children 10 and 2. I am not in love with him and have wanted to break free for a long time. I am so scared.. He makes really good money and we live a comfortable life. If I was to leave I would take that away from my kids. He is very controlling has to know where I am 24/7, don’t like me to have friends, and don’t want me to work. I do anyways but it is a battle. He thinks I need to be home with the kids. We have nothing in common anymore. He never smiles and never has so I don’t know why it bothers me now. I do everything! housework, garbage, change oil on vehicles, you name it and I do it. He thinks all he has to do is work. We don’t even have a sex life. I have told him all these things and he just begs me no to leave and says Im selfish and I am breaking up the family. I just want to enjoy someone with the same interests and someone to LAUGH with. that is very important to me. Am I wrong for wanting to leave? Should I stay because that is what will make him happy? I can handle staying even though I think I don’t love him anymore. But… do I want to? And if I leave will I lose him forever could I handle him being with someone else or getting married again? I am so confused! He loves me more than life he says.. But I don’t feel the same way. All I do is cry.. I am NOT happy.. But I don’t want to be the evil one and hurt my kids with a divorce.. Wish someone would help me understand these feelings I am having..

  14. Laurie says:

    Dear Alex,

    I’m sorry that you’re going through this. Leaving a marriage is so difficult, even if you know it’s better in the long run.

    It sounds like you’re grieving a huge loss in your life — and the fact that you couldn’t stop crying after asking him for a divorce doesn’t mean the divorce is a bad idea! It just means that you are grieving the loss of a man and a marriage that meant something to you.

    He will find a way to take care of himself, and his family will deal with the divorce in their own way. It may be painful and sad for everyone, but it is what it is.

    Take a deep breath, and walk one step at a time toward the life that is waiting for you. It doesn’t matter that nobody is waiting to sweep you away right now — that person will show up when the time is right.

    In the meantime, you need to heal and take care of yourself.

    I wish you all the best, and welcome you back anytime to let me know how you are.

    Stay true to you,

  15. Alex says:

    Reading this articles, I cant help but feel ridiculous. I married my BFF, he is 15 years older than me. He gave me support, friendship, love and anything else I emotionally needed. Time has passed and I thought I would love him more but instead I see an old man. I try to be affectionate and do all the good things that make him happy but when I look at him…I know I am going through the motions.

    I had broken off with him prior to our marriage because being an older man he had tons of baggage an ex wife, 4 children, 5 grandchildren. I also wasnt attracted to him so I made a clean break after a year.

    My mom came to live with me and since she had met him before she would ask him to stop by my place without my knowledge. Next thing I know, all three of us are taking trips. My mom kept telling me how much he loved me and like an idiot I became wrapped up again. Looking back I should have realized what she was up to since she is always looking for the next payday.

    I was 34 with no one knocking down my door and now, I have this remorse of leaving him because he has been good man and he has always been my friend first. Last night I asked him for a divorce and since then, I cant stop crying.

    I have walked away from relationships before but I have never felt this way. I am concerned about how he will take care of himself, how his family will feel and will I be able to stand the quiet.

  16. Laurie says:

    Dear Kirsten,

    Thank you for being here, and sharing your life with me. It sounds like you’re at a huge turning point, and you feel anxious and scared about what to do with next.

    I wrote an article for you, because I have so many thoughts!

    I don’t know if it’ll help, but I hope it does. I think the key is to remember that you are NOT the only woman who has faced something like this. Gain strength and comfort from the fact that humans have been struggling with the same experiences and issues since the dawn of mankind.

    You are not alone — the trick is connecting with other women in your situation, or who you feel a kindred spirit with.

    Would you like me to write an article that describes how I started life over in Canada, after living in Kenya for three years? I have lots of practical knowledge to share :-) Let me know.

    Stay true to you,

  17. Kirsten says:

    I have been married almost 25 years and am seriously considering leaving my husband, although I have thought about this possibility for many years. We have been bumbling along in a pretty peaceful relationship but not a very exciting one. I am quite a passionate and emotional person and he is very placid and introverted. I have tried to work through our problems; mostly to do with bad communication and differences in character and background; which have come to a head on a number of occasions. Usually my husband reacts badly; but we agree to try harder. At the end of the day, nothing changes. My husband’s job has taken us around many countries for all of our married life and I eventually had to give up my own career. When I was bringing up children it didnt matter, I was delighted to have the chance to spend so much time with the children, but now they have left home I am left with negligable self esteem and feeling constantly frustrated and angry . I put this down to the lack of a satisfying job and a less than satisfactory marriage . My husband cant fix my career obviously and thats a frustration for him. He has his own challenging job and little time and skill to make me feel important and loved. His trump card for getting me to stay was that he couldnt get through his job without me; this doesnt seem like a good enough reason for me to stay, or he is very bad at expressing how he feels and is unable to understand what effect that statement would have on me.
    If we had been living in one place I might have been able to develop my own interests and a group of friends more easily or followed a career; I would certainly have found it easier to leave. As it is, I feel completely without options. I am 55 and living in overseas in a country I cant contemplate staying in. The possibility for finding work would seem very slim indeed, even if I returned to my home country. I dont have anywhere to stay and cant think where to start. I have looked at a lot of blogs and information hoping for something that would help me deal with my situation, but my life is so mixed up and unusual I havent found anything yet. The fear of making things worse is very real.

  18. Laurie says:

    Dear V1986,

    Thank you for being here, and sharing your story, I wish you all the best in your relationship, and hope you and your partner are able to split amicably. You sound like a strong, smart woman – and a great role model for your baby!

    Stay true to you,

  19. V1986 says:

    I’m 26 and I met my partner 4 years ago. I moved in with him and his son just over a year after meeting. Shortly after, his other son came to live with us.
    Over the last 3 years we have had all sorts of problems with health, money, housing but we got through it and now have a 5 month old.
    I haven’t been 100% happy for the last 2 years really but I just look at other couples and think everyone’s the same really.
    I thought after our baby arrived things would improve, but they haven’t. Now I’m a Mother. I see just how bad a Father and Partner he is. :-(
    Things have been slowly getting worse and worse and today I started to pack mine and my baby’s bags.
    However, I stopped and thought why the hell should I leave! Everything is as much mine as it is his. I have no savings so I would have to stay with my Parents whom I love dearly but I haven’t lived with for over 6 years.
    I’ve told him that our relationship is over but I am not moving out. If he isn’t happy with that then he can go. I’ve also said that I think I can live together without being together. The way I feel now, I have no feelings towards him and there is no love. I suspect his feelings are of a similar nature.

    • j louisa says:

      I have been married over 35 years. The first 25, I tried. Then an event showed me that no matter how hard I tried, he really didn’t think that much of me. I had failed to be “worthy”. So I quit trying.

      Last fall I had some good fortune with voluntary retirement and pensions. I now have enough money, for once in my life. He keeps “control” of the big money, but I know that legally, half is mine. So his “accounts” are ridiculous and pathetic. But I do keep my eye on them. I do insist everything is in both our names.

      I have come to “self actualization” slowly. This is what I have learned:

      you are responsible for your own happiness and no one else’s ( except children, till they’re grown). No one else is responsible for my happiness. To “expect” someone else to make you happy is unfair. You make your own happiness.

      If you tell yourself something long enough, you
      begin to believe it. If you tell yourself you don’t care long enough, you stop caring. You have to stop caring if caring hurts.

      I have come to the point where I will do what I want, when I want, for as long as I want. I do not have any interest in “love” or “sex”, and I do not confuse the two. I do not want another man. Have enough problems with the one I’ve got. I want to go places and have fun with my girlfriends, my women friends, and no, I’m not gay. I have always put effort into having my own friends. I will not violate the marriage, but I will do what I want and if he doesn’t like it, oh well. He can leave.

      Men don’t do well without a woman providing all the “momma” crap…….cooking, house, laundry, etc. They need women more than women need them, for sure.

      I thought many, many times about leaving him, but came to the conclusion that I will just do whatever I want, as long as I do not violate the marriage. And he can do what he wants. We can each do what we want. He likes to stay home and garden. Never wants to go much of anywhere. I like the shore, and a social life. and it’s ok. We both have a right to do what we want, as long as neither violates the marriage.

      it is only natural to seek what gives joy, and avoid what causes angst. I have learned to “detatch” from situations, keep my mouth shut, and step back to evaluate objectively and fairly. But I don’t get emotions involved, I don’t let him, or any situation with him, to take control of me. I control me.

      Basically, do what you want. if the hubby doesn’t like it, he can leave. I know where I stand legally, and I now realize I have more power then I ever realized. We are companionable enough on an everyday basis.

      Let go of the past. Do not waste one more minute wallowing in it. It’s a total waste of time, and can consume the future if you let it.
      I will not allow past hurt to make me angry or bitter. I do not want to be angry or bitter, so I just let it go. Screw it/. Not wasting anymore of my time or energy on “the relationship”.

      This is my life and I will make the best of it. I will do what I want. If he doesn’t like it, he can leave. I’m not trying to please, or displease, him. I’m trying to be true to myself, for whatever is left of my life.

      Physically, I am married. Spiritually, mentally, and especially emotionally, I am free.

      • lynn says:

        Good advise. I will try, try not to be bitter, how can I? I want to be free

      • aj gonzales says:

        I dont necessarily believe men need woman more… In my case i find myself stuck in a relationship for 8 years with two children that i take care of because found with first child she was incapable of responsibility. Not only do I take care of a 6 year old Daughter and home school her ,i also take care of our 9 month old son as well.. Including cleaning,cooking, laundry. Groceries, emotional support, financial support,as well as working full time on my career. Its extremely draining to practically hold your lover’s hand the entire way and get nothing in return. Wanted marriage but she doesn’t, want a simple i love you and a kiss every now and then..but they are few. Not sure how it came to this, but i st i have been,sticking it out for my kids.. I believe i had children with a woman who is only with me because its convenient and stable… I know she does love me but is practically incapable of showing it all and what sex life we do have i feel pressured almost to keep… Or we wouldjust be co parents as roomates… Without me the kids wouldn’t have been raised by her as she lost custody of her first three… I actually found out shehad other kids after we were in a relationship… Sothe relationship has never exactly been straightforward.

        • T.S. says:

          aj gonzales.
          I am in the same boat. We are a forgotten minority. Men that take responsibility for family while married to irresponsible women. I haven’t found any support in this position. Stay strong and don’t loose hope.

      • Karen says:

        Wow! I learned everything you said through therapy. After spending several years in therapy, I learned that I gave my husband my power. I finally got it back 25 years later without a divorce! I am living my life in the moment with power! I am also physically married, spiritually, mentally and emotionally free!

  20. Laurie says:

    Dear Soniya,

    It sounds like your love is the only thing keeping your marriage alive!

    I don’t know why your husband isn’t showing you love or affecting, but I wrote this article for you:

    If you want to write more, I’m here to listen!


  21. soniya says:

    Hey hi,
    I need some help and suggestion from you actualy i m very unhappy with my husband coz I don’t have any relationship with my husband last 2yrs n v got married in Feb 2011 even he don’t care about me and I think he dont love me then what to do ? I fail to understand …I really love him that’s y still staying with him..

  22. Laurie says:

    Here’s my newest article on why women stay in bad relationships – it may help you figure out why you’re still struggling the same relationship problems you had last year….

    The #1 Reason Women Stay in Bad Relationships

    What do think the main reason is?

  23. Krishna says:

    I am married since 5 1/2 years now with a 3 year old daughter. My husband made me live in a 2 bedroom apartment for 5years of y married life with his parents, seperated sister and his sisters daughter. I was treated like the door mat of the house. Everyone told me to have a kid and situations will improve. My husband also has a drinking problem and refuses to get help. He was sloshed drunk on the day i went into labor also. There have been times when i have been hit but innumerable times when i have been verbally abused by him and his family. I now live in an extended stay motel room with my husband and daughter. He hasnt changed a little. The drinking and abusing is constant. It affects my kid also and in order to avoid a fight i often just take all the crap he gives me without a word. I dont remember the last time he has shown any kind of love, understanding or respect towards me. I want to leave him but i fear the fact of living alone. I have suggested counselling but he refuse

  24. Laurie says:

    Dear Donna,

    I’m glad you’re going to a counselor to get your head straight! I was in counseling for a year, and it was the best thing I ever did for myself. A counselor can help you see your relationship more clearly – and help you figure out what to do with the rest of your life.

    I’m not going through the same thing in my marriage, but I just wanted to say thank you for commenting.

    Also, I’m curious…what do you want to see happen with your marriage? Do you want to stay with your husband, or leave?

  25. Donna says:

    I am checked out of my marriage emotionally due to husband of 4 1/2 years not backing me and letting his adult children treat me and my daughter like crap. We moved here to be with some one who promised my daughters he would take care of me. However he has let his children hurt me and my daughter mentally. After over a year of taking that he was diagnosed with leukemia, had a steam cell and is cured. However he has changed so drastically that he is now rude and hateful to my daughter and me all the time. Sarcastic comments get old She just turned 18 and is getting ready to moved back to where we came from in Oklahoma to be near her sisters because of everything here and I feel like I want to go with her to be near my children and grand children. I feel bad about wanting to leave because I know people (his family) will talk, however when I try to tell him how I feel he either throws everything back on me or makes hateful comments. I can’t express my feelings at all to him, I have tried. I work full time then come home and do all the housework. He says if I ask him to help you know I am still sick you want me to get sick again. So he sits on couch watches tv lays in bed or hangs out with his dog in lap. Does very little if anything. Going to go to counselor to get my head straight. I can start over have done it and to me life is too short to live unhappy, and if he is not willing to do some changing here why should I stay. This is his house he made that clear. I sold mine to come here for what. I am so confused, hurt, angry, and resentful right now. Just looking for answers. I feel like I know what to do, I just don’t want to make a mistake in case he is acting like this due to the chemo he had over a year ago. When I think I see the light the door closes and all I see is darkness. Any one going through this kind of thing. Would be helpful to hear your comments. Thank you

  26. Laurie says:

    Dear Carol,

    Thank you for sharing your story with us. It’ll give other women living in loveless marriages hope, and maybe even the strength and courage it takes to think about leaving.

    Having friends and family who support you is huge – I’m glad you can lean on them.

    I wish you all the best as you move forward with your life.


  27. Carol says:

    I’ve been married for 28 years. My husband has developed rage since our son was about two years old (21 now). My husband says mean comments in stores and public places to me. It’s degrading. My son has watched us through all the fighting, and told me he will never get married. He won’t even date. He is so afraid that he would end up with a terrible relationship. About five years ago I left my husband and took my son to live with me. I let my husband visit whenever he wanted, because I didn’t want any legal problems. Within four months his mother past away. I felt horrible since we were all the family he had left, so we moved back with him. Things were ok the first year or so, but slowly he went back to his old self. I have a full time job, and pay most of our bills. He is on social security and is collecting unemployment. He doesn’t even really try to find a job, he just expects me to go on supporting him. I realize now that he is nothing but a bully. There is no love between us, and respect is gone too. My son and I are moving out soon, and plan to leave the state. I know we can have a better life, and I can feel like a person again somewhere else. It’s true that you need money/job, a car, support/friends or family. I would not have been able to plan my departure without the help I received from my son and the encouragement from my friends.

  28. Laurie says:

    Dear Erika,

    It sounds like you’ve been doing all the work in your relationship, and your boyfriend takes you and your love for granted. He isn’t as invested in your love as you are – which is actually normal. In most or even all relationships, one person is more invested in the other.

    But in healthy relationships, both partners work at it. It can never be just one person who is responsible for a loving, healthy marriage.

    Why don’t you want to leave him?

  29. erika says:

    I ‘m so broken inside.Me and my boyfriend really love each other but i don’t know for some reason we quarrel like hell.We ‘re together for more than 3 years.I do my best to make our relationship work out in all aspects and i feel i ‘m so stupid for being like that.I don’t want to leave him but all he cares is his stuff his own family,friends etc.what am i suppose to do?HElP…….

  30. happysurvivor says:

    I’d like to reply to Rose, she sounded so sad and yet she said she had an outgoing personality. Rose, it’s too awful to think of you subduing all the wonderful things you are to stay ‘safe’ in a loveless marriage. You sound as though you’re distant from your husband, but maybe you should be brave enough to start a conversation about a separation? He’s probably sad too, and looking for a solution. Parting doesn’t have to be a disaster scenario! It’s tricky, and sometimes you shed a few tears, but so many of us have managed to work things out and gone on to make our lives into something spectacular. For a woman, friends are the key. You sound like someone who already has, or who should have, a bundle of lovely supportive female friends to see you through – and they don’t have to hate your husband, as you don’t. Love is always the answer, but it manifests in many different, and sometimes surprising forms.

    Much love to you and him – go on and live the rest of your life the way you want to!

  31. Laurie says:

    Thank you for sharing why you’re staying in a loveless marriage! I know that your stories and comments help other women – the majority of whom don’t comment. By sharing your experience, you’re helping other women not feel so alone in their relationships and homes.

  32. Misty says:

    I am in a loveless marriage of 14yrs I’ve had a long term affair because he neglects me.sexually other then that I stay. For finical reasons IM scared to leave my house my job to start all over it stresses me out that’s why I’ve stayed this long he’s also been abusive to Me I work but not where I can .support myself and that’s why I don’t leave

  33. Amy says:

    I’ve been married 45 years and I stay in this sexless, loveless marriage for the money and medical benefits. Also I’m not educated enough to survive in the real world. So I stay and our paths rarely cross he lives in the basement and I upstaires.

  34. Sarah says:

    I stay because of guilt;

    Who will love him if I leave?
    Who will pay my share of the bills?

    I imagine him being alone.
    I imagine me breaking his heart.

    All these thoughts tell me I still love him, but the longer I stay, the more I hate him.

    I resent him for all the pain he’s caused me. I forgave him for cheating, but looking back, my ‘forgiveness’ has turned to bitterness. I hate him for hurting me. I hate him for looking into my eyes and lying to me. I hate him for all the names he’s called me, and for every time he’s looked at my tears with apathy.

    I in turn, hate myself for staying. How did I let my life become so consumed by him? I have an open door, but refuse to walk through it. I have created my own prison. I hold the key to my chains, but refuse to unlock them.

  35. alison says:

    Love is a verb….. What is a verb its a doing word…Usually people full in lust which is the mushy feeling we all feel,once that is gone we think there is no love left. People only treat you the way you let them so if you love yourself your always have love and your always be willing to give it too. You wouldnt stay in a marriage or relationship without it because you would love yourself enough to know you deserve it. Sending love to everyone who needs it cos I love myself enough to have it……..

  36. irritatedsue says:

    “And I think that’s the main reason women stay in bad relationships or loveless marriages: they don’t see the actual problem. The problem isn’t the relationship or the guy…it’s the woman.”

    You are absolutely right! Being in a marriage where the woman gives it their all and sacrifices so much for someone who’s biggest complaint about no loving the woman is because of her being fat , is absolutely our fault. It’s not the mans fault for not accepting and appreciated a woman hat has stood by him through all the thick and thins even though he was never, ever there for her in times of need. It’s her fault.

    It’s totally our fault when we as women get tired of picking up after these jerks, too busy being their mommy because of their irresponsibility

    This article is completely flawed.

  37. Angie says:

    I stay because it’s easier!! Financially mostly but the key to a sucessful ‘third life’ meaning after the children have grown up etc.. Is to grow yourself as a person ie do a collage course, get involved in the things you enjoy, make connections with new people. That way you stay because it’s easier but are preparing yourself for the inevitable and when you finally get to the stage whereby you have the confidence to leave you will have a life rich in the things that do make you happy. Leaving is the hardest part but a life of misery must be hardy!!! I realised two years ago that he will never change but can’t leave so have spent all the lonely hours I have ( he ignores me mostly and sleeps in another room, we barely spk) studying which has helped me in so many ways, I’m becoming educated whilst sitting out this miserable relationship, my bedroom has become a mini libery and I sat an accees course and achieved a distinction. This has empowered me, giving me confidence and the best thing is something positive has come out of my life with this horrible man! He is violent and aggressive and emotionally controls me, but actually something positive will prevail because I’ve kept focussed on me. He is a pIg and I am preparing myself nicely for my exit! You can do same, whether its cookery or flower prapartion doing positive things for yourself can help restore the self esteem lost and making new friends who respect you can make a difference. I’ve been punched, slapped, spat at, verbally abused in front of waiting staff etc… It’s been a secret hell, my very close sisters would be stunned if they knew the truth. How I could be so weak, I couldn’t see the wood for the tree but since I started studying ( opening up career opportunities) i now envisage the day I walk with my head high. I can’t wait for that day but when it comes I’ll be ready. The moral is don’t allow that person to hinder your self growth. This is my story and how I’m dealing with it I’m not saying picking up a text book is an answer but self development is a start for getting confidence which can empower you o make decision which are right for you.

  38. Jill says:

    I’ve been married for 14 years. I should have lived with him first because we ended up being highly incompatible after the first 6 months. I had a daughter who was 10 at the time and didn’t want to back out for her. I stayed for years hoping it would change. NOTHING has changed. I don’t love him and I simply stayed for our 11 year old son. I feel trapped and have resigned to be in a loveless marriage. I recently went on anti-depressants and got a new puppy. Both have helped immensely. Its hard to see other couples so happy after so many years and know I will never have that unless I divorce him, but it will crush my son and I will have no money to live.
    K…there’s my miserable situation..just needed to vent today. thanks for reading.

  39. Rose says:

    If I could do it alone I would. I married young, Have no special skills, just retail. Im very outgoing, If you looked at me you would never know the pain I’m feeling…My husband knows this and uses this to his advantage. We live in seperate bedrooms and he doesn’t care as long as I’m in that home and not any where else.

  40. Laurie says:

    Dear Jody,

    Yes, I understand the “I love him, but am not in love with him” feeling! But even in the happiest, healthiest marriages, feelings of being in love come and go. It’s impossible to ALWAYS feel in love with our partners.

    Here are a few thoughts for you:

    Why Do I Stay With a Husband Who Makes Me Feel So Bad About Myself?

    I think the most important thing is for you to ask yourself why you’re staying in a loveless marriage. What is the payoff? What are you getting out of this marriage?

    Write down your reasons for staying, in a private journal or here if you’d like. That may help you decide what you should do.

    Let me know what you think!


  41. jody says:

    i have been married for 11 years. My husband has cheated on me twice in that time. The most recent was 2 years ago. After the other woman ended it with him, we decided to stay together. to be honest, he has never really treated me very well. He comes from a bad marriage, as his first wife cheated on him. He is verbally abusive towards myself on a regular basis. I have now met someone who makes me feel totally alive and special. I know that this is just a fleeting thing, but his treatment of me has actually brought a change in my whole attitude and the way i feel about myself. I feel beautiful and sexy again thanks to him. And, no, we have not had any physical contact with each other. We flirt on the internet. I know this is still considered cheating. But what i want to know, is how do i know if i should leave this marriage. I know my husband will never consent to councilling and always brushes me off if i try and talk about our problems. I have read all your article, but am still unsure. We have 2 children together, and i suppose i do love him, but i am no longer in love with him. Can you give me some advise?

  42. Jessy says:

    Reasons I stay in Loveless Marriage life is I am being selfish..

    1. Money, he has chronic illness, dont work, do not support me in any way, no sex, no love… still i stay because all our properties and the money i invested all stick together.

    2. My Son, One other reason is my son for me to stay, i dont want the poor boy which we bring in to this world to suffer in any way bcoz of me. Though I know after some point of time he will be selfish also.

    3. Fear, i have a fear facing the society,explaination to them.

    4. Protection, This society dont care whether you are happy in your marriage. But they want to see the so called husband around you. sometimes people look down on not just being with your husband.

    5. Peace, Iam a person when i want to enter the home must be peaceful. I dont want to ruin my peace by divorcing my husband. Divorce ruins everything you have. Some are lucky, they are happy after divorce also. May be they are rich or independent woman.

  43. Shirley Kemple says:

    I stay in my loveless marriage because its cheaper. Smaller bills and bigger account. I don’t trust my husband and would cheat on him if the opportunity presented itself. We have 3 kids together and he is a great dad. However, he is lacking in the commitment department. I’m just riding on this train till my transfer arrives which will take me to my destination

  44. mel says:

    hi Daryl, the only thing I can think of is Co-dependants Anonymous, look them up and see if they hold meetings in your area

  45. Rebecca Jones says:

    I stay in a loveless marriage for several reasons.

    1. Money – I am lucky to have a hard working husband who pays half the rent and half the bills. without him I would have to pay the whole household expenses as he works off the books and would give that money to another woman.

    2. Dating Nightmare – I see single people struggling to find a partner and getting used, hit or having their things stolen and being terribly alone. I prefer to be polite and stay with him.

    3. Don’t want to break up the family I have a six year old daughter and she needs her Father. I don’t want strange men coming in to the house.

    4. Safety – i watch the cable shows and see that 90% of the victims are single women in different scenarios. Home break in with brutal rapes, when my husband is home, I can sleep peacefully knowing that if there were a home invasion my husband would protect me and the kids.

  46. Darryl says:

    I like everything said. However, I have a question. I’m a male and I lost my identity in my marriage years ago and I’m struggling to find a way to get it back. Does anyone know of some kind of support group for men I can contact?

  47. Laurie says:

    Not all men are the cause or reason for loveless marriages. Sometimes, it’s the wives who are preoccupied, distant, or not interested in their husbands the way they were in the first few years of marriage.

  48. LivingItUp says:

    I also like the rest of you women are in a bad relationship but wondering why we aren’t more like the men.?… I’m done trying to work things out and I’m Going to play him like a toy. I’m done being a good gf and I’m living my life however I want. I suggest you women do the same bc ur husbands are..

  49. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen says:

    Nicole, you are not wrong for wanting to leave your marriage! I wrote this article for you, and for all women who feel stuck in loveless marriages and bad relationships:

    Are You Wrong or Selfish for Wanting a Divorce? It Depends

    I’ve always thought the “for better or worse” marriage vows excluded things like addiction, abuse, and lack of love.

  50. Ammine says:

    RE: brigitte says:
    April 8, 2012 at 6:39 am
    You hit the nail square on the head!!! Every thought I’ve had and concept i’ve discovered in this 30 year roller coaster of a life with this man. Birgitte, we must be twins from another life. Recognizing your own thoughts and seeing them in black and white is something beyond description.

  51. nicole says:

    I have a hard time leaving because I feel like I am abandoning my husband through the hard times and I vowed for better or worse. He is addicted to drugs. He started very shortly after we got married. I want to leave because I am so unhappy in this marriage. My husband doesn’t provide anything for me financially, emotionally, or any other way. I have always been the bread winner which wasn’t a big deal but I would have to hide my keys, money, bank cards, and checks because he would take money out of the account for drugs. I would come home from work and not know if I would see my husband that day. Sometimes he would be gone all day and then call me 3am to pick him up from wherever he was. He sometimes would leave in the middle of the night and I would cry and worry not knowing if he was ok. Eventually I began doing drugs as well and began to do it with him just so I would know where he was and so that he would no longer steal from me. I have lost my job, car, and house because of drugs. I decided this wasn’t me and quit drugs. He went to rehab after I told him I couldn’t take his addiction any more. We have been separated for over a year, trying to make things work but but recently he has gone back to drugs. I haven’t heard from him in 4 days. He sold his cell phone and some one else answered it. I am fed up and miserable and too afraid to live with someone like that because I don’t want to start doing drugs again. When high he gets out of control and has place his hands around my neck. I’m seriously thinking about divorce because I want better but feel as a wife that I am giving up on my husband when he needs help. Am I wrong or selfish for wanting a divorce?

  52. Viv says:

    I have been with my man for 26 years. I married right out of high school to a boy that I didn’t really love because I wanted to get away from home. This man, Sam, I will call him, was in our group of friends and was the best man in our wedding. My first husband was abusive and very jealous and I left him within a year. Sam stepped in acting like Prince Charming and swept me off my feet. We dated for quite awhile and then moved in together. I really wasn’t ready but he pushed and pushed until I relented. After 5 years together, we had a baby son. I gained almost 100 pounds – I had toxemia and almost died. I had lost most of that weight except for about 20 pounds and got pregnant with our other son. After he was born, my man changed. I gained alot of weight with the last one too but was working on losing it. He started staying out late after work and I found out that he was having an affair. He came home one night drunk. I had my baby in my arms and my toddler was in the bed. He slammed my head against the door frame of the bathroom and told me he didn’t believe that either of the babies was his. I told him to go ahead and get a DNA test. He wouldn’t. I then found out about his affair and my baby wasn’t even a year old. I made him get an AIDS test. I thought things would be ok after that but it wasn’t. I forgave him but he fished for an excuse to justify what he did. Because he was the best man in my wedding to my first husband, he knew that before I got with him, that I went out dancing with friends and he concocted an idea that I had slept around with men from our hometown that we went dancing with as a group, which was absurd. I didn’t leave him because I felt I had to stay with him because of the kids. We lived together 15 years and then he had some medical issues and we legally got married (bad mistake). He now threatens to take my inherited property that we live on. I am STUCK!!! He barely has a kind word for me – he never touches me -if his arm brushes mine, he jerks away. We have not had sex for 10 years and we are 46 years old. I know that he don’t run around on me anymore because he never leaves the house – he is disabled now. He has become nonsexual and detests me so much that he don’t want me. I am a professional woman that is admired greatly in my community and I know that if people knew the truth, they would be shocked. I am so sad, depressed and mortified about my situation. We live on my dad’s farm on a lot that he deeded to me. I can never leave until he passes but once he does, I will get an apt. in town and leave him and the kids to have their fun. He has turned them mostly against me because of his manipulative ways. They have never seen a normal relationship – they are 21 and 19 and don’t even try to date – they have seen so much from us that I guess they dont want anything to do with love. Very sad.

  53. Amanda says:

    I stay because I am scared I’ll regret leaving, Aldo because I dont want to be 20 and already divorced. He doesn’t show love though. When we first met he did until I moved in and we married right away, I’m scared he’s using me because he’s an immigrant… He is always yelling now and acts like he hates me. I guess I have to face my fears and leave.

  54. Bonita Ortega says:

    I did not realize when I married my husband that he was only looking for a trophy until I became physically ill with cancer. He said he did not want to have a sick wife because he had a sick mother his entire childhood.

    Well he ended up asking me to call a divorce lawyer one day suddenly and wanted everything to end. I called a lawyer and he asked me why so suddenly my husband wanted a divorce. I told him I did not know and immediately he thought my husband was dating. I explained I did not see any signs of another relationship.

    Until one day I discovered he was on a Mail Order Dating Service promising marriage to several different ladies.

    So basically he bullied me into a divorce. Within days of the divorce being finalized he left the country to find his new love. Needless to say he did actually go with one of the girls he had been corresponding with and did not get engaged or married to her. We continue to live together and just recently I found him on another dating service in a different country so he is back at it. I think he plans to leave in September.

    He is trying to get out of paying my settlement. I am very discouraged and depressed about the situation. I
    really loved this man but I know I must move on and I also hate fighting. I am older now and I really wanted this marriage to work. We have been together for over 20 years but he is looking for a beautiful young wife
    and I have to accept this situation for what it is. I need to move on but in order to do this I need my settlement and a lot of emotional support. My energy is drained and I have no self-esteem left.

  55. Angela Church says:

    Yes, guys, it does sometimes happen the other way around but obviously not often enough for it to be written about in men’s magazines … they’re too busy explaining how to get good fellatio maybe? Why don’t you ask a men’s site or mag to do a few features articles on it instead of trying to make these women feel as if they have no right to complain.

  56. Dreama says:

    I don’t stay because he’s abusive, I stay because I fear he could become so if I leave. Married 16 yrs. Sometimes he could be somewhat of an emotional ‘bully’ yelling and flaring his nostrils, doing his ‘man’ thing. I would immediately shut down since I am soo not a fighter. This wasn’t often, maybe once or twice a year in a particularly heated argument – especially if he was CLEARLY in the wrong. Then I asked for a divorce and furniture started flying, walls got holes, doors slammed and broken, things flying at my head. Talk of how I was ruining his life and everything he had to live for, etc. I basically backed off because of my fear that this would progress to the awful stories you hear of in the news, or at the very least, that even if we did divorce his anger would be devastating and damaging to us raising our 6yo.

  57. nikki says:

    I stay because it’s easier than leaving. He doesn’t beat me. He just doesn’t love me. We stayed together for our new baby. I knew from my first day I moved my stuff into the house that he didn’t love me or feel any enthusiasm for our union, because he didn’t empty any cabinets for me or even throw away his ex wife’s douches and lubricants under my side of the bathroom sink. He didn’t even want to go out and celebrate my moving in. He’s only done one family holiday. Instead of buying a ring and marrying me, he put a down payment on a bass boat. I never felt like he loved me. In this relationship, I live with a cold, unceremonious man who expects me to work 7 days a week and raise children on my own while doing all of the housework. I have a good job. I make $60000 a year. I don’t have to stay. But I don’t have to sweat bills like I used to and my kids are in a better school district. Considering that I’ve never been treated well, it’s just par for the course of my life. So I live my life with a cold, selfish, unloving man because he is kind enough to allow two children who aren’t his dwell under his roof with their baby brother and their mother. When he is disrespectful, I deal with it and cry on the way to work. It’s not better than living alone, but it’s better than living alone and paying all the bills. I sacrifice my happiness for my children’s education and their quality of life. I have accepted that I may never know life with a loving man. That only happens in fairy tales. I recently have up on him bring any sort of companion and now look to my friends and family to treat me with life, instead of driving myself to am early grave waiting on a man that just doesn’t care and never really did.

  58. brigitte says:

    Veronica I do sympathise with your situation. When your vunerable like you were from your past it’s easy become entangled with a partner who has abusive potential. The hardest thing is that this type of abuse erodes confidence and the ability to be able to leave. It also leads to having a very limited number of people you get to sustain connections with so somewhat isolating you. The fact that you have managed to have a part time job is great and promising. You ought to see a lawyer to find out if it is to your advantage to go for a settlement and divorce now. If any of your teenage sons are under 18yo and remain with you it can increase your settlement aside from him needing to pay for them anyway. If you look poorer with a part time job your settlement is far more likely to be higher than if you looked self sufficient with a full time job. It looks good you tried , but you don’t yet want a fulltime job untill finishing a settlement in your favour. Try and save if you can some money to start paying a lawyer something to commence on a settlement though don’t let that hold you back from getting initial advice. Many lawyers if they can see assets he’d have to give you will let you deffer paying them. You may get the house or it be sold and be entitled to half or more of the proceeds. It’s hard, but if you’re really close to going, do it as soon as you get legal advice without him knowing for as long as practical.

  59. brigitte says:

    A loveless marriage is a very reasonable proposition under certain circumstances. If it’s been a lengthy marriage, they can be confident that their husband won’t suddenly leave them, would be financially worse off if divorcing and the husband is not abusive or personality disordered. If the alcoholism has been lengthy enough to determine that it doesn’t cause abuse and violence towards her, remains inane, grotesque without major impact on material assets it too can be endured.

    Smart women create friendships and follow interests, becoming self sufficient and behave respectfully and with a degree of consideration towards their stranger aquintance spouse.

    Logically negativity expressed gains nothing and there is power in driving civil behaviours. At the same time clearly indicate significantly disrespectful behaviours or words to you aren’t acceptable. If you can set an irreproachable bench mark you can say whatever is undeserved , unwarrented and expect to be treated with the same curtesy and respectful treatment you deliver and he can write his peeves in a private diary , but not subject you to them. Do add though if he wants to make reasonable request or express a complaint appropriately then do so.

    The alternatives in starting over entail the building up of independance, friendships, finding intersts to persue, are the same without the material means and no security and less fit in society. Add to that becoming later a burden on ones children for extra assistance and complexity over visits at festive times.

    There are few possible pay offs by leaving. One is in not needing to have to be fitting in with anyone, being able to live in less order. Another can be the potential for some episodes of brief exciting sex that ends with hopeless anti commitment, left over men.

    Realistically not that many people have love left in their marriages, but continue. The least unhappy loveless marriages are where spouses don’t dwell on the angst of being in a loveless marriage, but get a life while remaining.

    I went through a most interesting learning episode in social work dealing with elderly persons support services. I dealt with women who truly had been in loveless marriages with demanding husbands who were gruff even when ailing and these wives endlessly complaining about them. Then when the husband died I was so stunned on my follow up visit that the wife wasn’t relieved or jubilating, but deeply distressed about loosing him. The invisible connection and caring over time can be a lot deeper than others or even the wife knew until he was gone.

    Today’s error is in setting too much store on “love”, “meaningful communication”,”sharing enough in common”, “still being attracted to a spouse”. Good reality would be to realise long term marriage means your spouse gets you as your lover and best friend, then becomes a buisness partner, a family member and occasional f-ck buddy.

  60. Veronica says:

    I’ve been in a bad marriage for a long time. I can’t remember the last time we were intimate or, for that matter, the last time he really kissed me. But I can remember the last time he yelled at me – yesterday, the day before, the day before that, the day before that, etc. I was sexually abused as a child and I know that has a lot to do with why I chose him. I’ve been telling myself for 20 years that things would get better but they haven’t. I have two beautiful teenage boys and I’m ashamed that I’ve allowed them to be a part of this. They’ve witnessed his verbal abuse to me and to them as well. But I am terrified. I’m almost paralyzed with fear. You see, I have no support system – no friends I can count on and no family. I have a part-time job and have been trying to get a full-time job because I don’t want to have to rely on my husband when I finally get the courage to leave. I sound pretty pathetic but I know I have to make this happen. If anyone is reading this and hasn’t spent 20 years with someone who is not very nice to them, leave now. The longer you stay, the harder it gets.

  61. Michelle says:

    Too many of us put ourselves or self respect on the back burner and when I say this to one I say it to myself.We as women put too much emphasis on our so called loved ones. We go through heaven and hell. Many times my mom and my sister told me to just take care of you and those kids. I’m so tired of begging my husband of 2 years to get help.He grew up angry I guess I just brought it out. Now Im learning he’s passive aggressive, next I ask him do he love me.. he didnt really love me. He pulled this crap with his ex.(just to see what she say) I’m going through bad stress. I know I am not alone. Ladies if you have to seperate take the kids and just take a breather.

    I plan on doing it. My husband is 27 acts like a child. We both verbally abuse each other.We dont think enough to stop and say kids are involved.No matter who talks to him he wont listen. my main reason for staying for now is because of my beliefs. God hates divorce and no matter how unfair it sounds. I still want to leave. I would rather leave or seperate to get myself together than to stay with a man who wants to bring horrible morals into a home.

    And if I could I would tell his mother right to her face how horrible she is for bringing kids into the world and never showing them love.All she wants is money and gossip…God forbid our daughter turn out to be like his family.

    I wish I could or even someone else could start an organization for women to get their self esteem back,our confidence to take control over your situation not your boyfriend or your husband. I wish I could lend a hand to broken hearts and depressed women to fight hoplessness. Let us cry together not the tears of sorrow but tears of joy and happiness. To raise our children to be actual children of the future. To show them to be great leaders and not followers. To not be intimated or easily moved, shaken or stirred by a man.To hold our ground and find peace whenever we walk. To breathe the air of dignity and wisdom. Its not a fairy tale its to keep you sane.

  62. Cassie says:

    Helen-Marie – I don’t want to advise you but I would ask you to consider:

    You can live without this man
    You can bring your beautiful boy up without all this arguing and turmoil in his life – imagine how wonderful just the two of you would be.(millions do it very, very happily)
    There are stacks of men who love and take on families so your future needn’t be empty of a different kind of love than that for your son.
    You son’s father can have access and you can be ‘friends’ with work.
    Be brave
    Good luck

  63. Helen-Marie says:


    I just stumbled upon this and have no one else to talk to so I would really appreciate anyone’s opinion on this problem.

    I have been with my boyfriend for less than 2 years, however we have had an (unexpected) amazing baby boy but we hardly knew eachother when I fell pregnant even though we thought we did.

    Now, we have been going through such a bad patch since my son was born, he is 8 months old now. When we get on we are fine, although more like ‘mates’ now when we argue they are severe arguments, I am scared of him when he flips and dread him coming home from work in case he is in a bad mood. He will follow me around arguing with me until I break down, asking why? to everything I say and he makes me say things I don’t mean.

    In an argument yesterday he said to me he will never ever marry me as he believes I am a horrible person (with little evidence to back this up except I chose another man over him at the beginning of our relationship) he doesn’t think he loves me and that in the future, if he meets anyone who is a better person than me he will leave me.

    I am wondering why I am still with him. An hour later he is speaking normally to me asking why am I in a mood, as if he said nothing! I am trying to finish my degree as well as be a mum and he has said he doesn’t give a f*** about my work and he will dump me if I fail

    Please help

  64. Lady not so lucky says:

    Me and my husband got together in ’99. When I got with him I found out he had a girlfriend and was an habitual cheater. I was young and I didn’t care, so after about 1 year we had our daughter and another. He went to prison and I found out he had 2 more kids. I was upset so I decided not to deal with him anymore. He got out of prison 2 years later and I brought my childrento visit him. After 2 weeks w decided to give this another go. Everything has been good for the past 9 years. We just got married Sept. 2010. So in Aug. 2011, he had to get custody of one of his children that he had from one of those one night stands. I feel a certain kind of way. All those negative feelings came right back. It bothers me having to take care of his problem. I’m sorry if I sound mean but I thought I forgave him but I guess I didn’t. Please help me I don’t want to feel like this anymore.

  65. nupur says:

    I have been in this marriage for 5 years now and have one three and a half year old child. My marriage is loveless and all I am doing is just fulfilling my responsibilities of marriage….. Even sexually. Love has been of great importance to me all my life and I had always yearned for a mans love but perhaps it is not in my Fate. I used to love my husband a lot after marriage but few things happened and every dream of love just shattered. Although they were not big issues but it did leave all aspects of my marriage scarred emotional as well as physical. Nothing seems right but I just cant walk away. I Am scared….. very scared , so I seek solace in other things and try to keep myself busy… but the truth exposes itself time n again

  66. Sally says:

    Kim. You sound like you would like to leave but you’re torn by your responsibilities to yourself, your children and even regarding your feelings for your deadbeat husband. Take it from me (45 years married) he won’t change. If you are ready to be on your own again, you need to call a hotline for abused women. They can help you to remove yourself from his clutches without endangering yourself or your children. I don’t envy your position and my heart goes out to you. You really do deserve better than what he is able/willing to give you. And if you are having these problems so early in your marriage, it’s not a good sign for the future. Your children will be damaged by watching how he treats you. Not to mention what it will do to your self-esteem as time goes on. I will project a lot of good thoughts in your direction. You are in my prayers.

  67. Kim says:

    I have been married a little over a year, although we have been together for 4 years. I am the only one who works, full time, goes to school full time and raising 3 sons, from a revious marriage. He does nothing but lay in bed and smoke weed and other drugs Im sure of it. He doesnt work, wont look for work, goes and does as he pleases,spends weeks at his mommas because she needs his HELP. WHile I am at home doing everything I am responsible for and taking care of HIS grandfather. He doesnt clean, cook, work or help withhis grandfather. He thinks my money is his money and should be able to take and spend whatever he wants on whatever he wants, (drugs), and I am suppose to be ok with this because no one else would want me with 3 kids. He allows his friend to be very cruel to me, allows his mother to be very cruel to me, and I am not allowed to defend myself to them because they are his family and long time friend, but he wont defend me to them at all. and he thinks this is ok. I have had enough but I don’t know how to leave because I do truely love him, but I know this will never change and I don’t want to always live my life this way. I feel that if he loved me the way a husband loves a wife, it would come naturally to protect me, want to take care of me, not hurt me, verbally and pyhsically. What do I do? How do I do it? When I tell him I am leaving he swears things are going to change and he is going to get a job and help. But it doesnt happen. We are getting a huge refund back this year mainly because of MY kids and the fact that IM in school and my job, and he thinks he is entitled to half of the refund. He work 5 months out of the year, and 80% of the income was made by me. Tell me what you think. I need all the advice and encouragement I can get.

  68. So Unhappy says:

    We had our oldest at a young age and divorced after six years only to get back together, and have another child who is now 10. He’s a great dad, but a lousy partner. We don’t have anything in common anymore and barely speak to one another. He’s incredibly cold and I can’t even tell you the last time that he gave me a hug (way too many years ago). I feel like I deserve so much more but I feel like I’m trapped until my youngest graduates. Like the other women, I don’t want to disrupt his life. Even though I work, have my own accounts and own a house, I don’t want make my child feel that he has to make a choice. At the times, the loneliness is so difficult to deal with and it can be so depressing. It’s a miserable existence but it’s not forever even if it feels that way!

  69. Phyl says:

    Sally, I know how you feel. I am married 43 yrs this year. I am 62 and he 63. We had two children and now 4 grandchildren. Which he adores and is a wonderful Poppa. He too drinks and hides the fact, I actually don’t care anymore. His worst problem is he says things without thinking of the consequences and I am embarrased to be around him. “Mouth has no filter”..I stay because ????????

  70. Sally says:

    Rich without $

    Rich, you’re right that there are men who experience the flip side of this problem. But the topic is “Why do Women stay in Loveless marriages?” Maybe there is another blog that addresses the same problem for men. I would be interested in reading that as well.

  71. Sally says:

    Caroline, you sound like a wise woman. He doesn’t deserve you.

  72. Caroline says:

    I stay because this is a way for me to fix myself. Weird? Maybe! We dated for 6 months before I became pregnant and moved in. He never officially proposed but we got married, bought a house and had 2 more kids. What I deal with now is partially my fault because I am insecure and I have little confidence. He once said to me that if it wasn’t for the kids, he would have left a long time ago. After 8 years and a lot of mean comments, silent treatments, etc… I’m the one realizing I don’t love him anymore but I now have to focus on me and the kids, live without his love and learn to love myself. If I leave, I am avoiding it all I think. I don’t blame him for my unhappiness, I blame my poor choices motivated by the fear of never being loved. Turns out what you are afraid of, you attract!

  73. unhappy says:

    The love has been gone. No passion, no communication, just strangers living under the same roof. No help around the house, no help with baby, just silence and distance. I have better conversations with strangers than with him. Sad I know. I am officially working on the only reason to leave. The life, love and sanity of my child and myself. That’s all that matters now. Why waste time, energy and potential happiness, on someone who isn’t. Worth it, and that you no longer love. Go find your happiness, even if it consists of being alone!

  74. boni says:

    well the only reason i’m staying is not because of the time investested or because of my child. I woke up one day and all that i felt for him was gone, I nolonger cared or loved him, I never wanted any intimacy with him. All because of the different women he kept on bringing into our lives. Well i also realised that we are just two people raising a child together. But i stay because i want to hurt him so badly, that desire to do so in me engulfs me so much, i am just working on my plan so patience is essential. I have become the perfect woman, i am making him fall inlove with me everyday, i am becoming more involved in his activities and he feels he has to do more to show me he loves me and he does, but i am having an affair that i made sure he found out and he still forgave me and he thinks its over but its not. He does his best to make me happy but i am not there anymore…little does he know that all his effort will be crushed when he least expects it.

  75. Sally says:

    I’ve been married for 45 years to an alcoholic who sneaks to drink. He has taken us through bankruptcy by running up credit card bills while unemployed. We have moved 20 times during our marriage, mostly because he lost his job and we had to move somewhere else. We have two kids who are grown now and one grandchild.

    Today he confessed that he had run up $5,000 in credit card bills. He told me that after I told him I inherited some money from my deceased uncle. He wanted me to use the money to pay off his bills.

    Why do I stay? In the beginning I thought he just needed to grow up and he would become a better husband and father by learning to do things better. He went to a psychologist for 5 years one time but nothing changed. We also visited 4 different marriage therapists over a period of two years. Nothing changed except that we set up separate bank accounts and divided the bills between us. I looked the other way and gave him a chance to grow up and become responsible with money. I allowed him his space. He needs a lot of space.

    I felt very lonely when he went through a depression that lasted 15 years. I had to find my own life and develop my own friends. He is pleasant to me now, but he doesn’t know that I know he drinks every day before coming home.

    I’ve come to realize that divorce won’t solve anything. I’ll be alone, and at the age of 70 who wants to start another relationship. He’ll be alone, too, and he won’t make it. I worry that he can’t make it without me to take care of everything. He is very irresponsible in every sense of the word. And he is 73 years old now with a multitude of physical and mental problems.

    Why do I stay? Because although I don’t love him, I care about him and I would worry what’s happening to him if he were living alone. Our grandchild adores him and he would worry too if Grandpa were alone. He would wonder why Grandma can’t take care of Grandpa and he is too young to be able to take care of him himself.

    It’s been a hard life for me and I sometimes wonder if there would have been someone else who would have treated me better. Now I know there never will be – and there’s this to consider. He is who he is with all of his faults. He is not capable of loving me the way I want to be loved. He is complicated as we all are, and there is a lot of good in him, but his mental problems bring pain to me. No one else feels it. He reserves his worse treatment for me. But I would miss him if he were gone.

    His children have never had to feel the pain of his drinking. As a father, he was a good playmate. Mom handled all the discipline and the necessities. They probably grew up missing having a father figure. But they don’t go through the pain.

    It’s been my job to keep everything looking nice from the outside. People would probably be surprised if they knew the secrets. It doesn’t really matter what they think, though. That has never stopped me from doing things.

    I think our children would be angry with me if I left him, because they feel it is my job to take care of him. And it would be awkward for them to have to handle visits with two parents after all these years.

    And then again, there is the problem – I care about him and would worry about him.

    • Judy says:

      I am in the exact same situation except it is me with the poor health. I tried to leave my husband so many times in the last 42 years but he always controlled the money, health insurance, etcetera. He does not have any friends and does that ” poor me, puppy dog look” when I try to be assertive. I let it make me feel guilty. At 67 years old I don’t have the energy to leave and start over but I find myself resenting him more and more each day. He is very controlling. I am so unhappy I constantly am wishing I would die. I think that is why I got cancer a few years back and had a heart attack a couple years ago. I stay depressed despite excellent medical care and yes, I have been in therapy for years. I feel as if my “Catholic guilt” has play a large part in my staying too. I don’t see a light at the end of the tunnel, just biding my time until I have another heart attack. I spend each day in isolation. I only leave the house for doctor appointments. I sit on the couch all day and do nothing. Once a week I wash clothes and straighten up the house. My life is miserable. I have lost all hope of ever having any semblance of happiness or joy in my life…..but I guess this is my choice. Sad as it is

  76. not happy says:

    my kids, thats about the only reason i’m here. never know maybe one day he will put the bottle down and notice me but i doubt it. For now i have to endure the decision i made to be with him. I have to much to complain and be upset about but i’m still here and until i leave i have no right to speak out about it. worked super hard to loose weight after our third baby but he could never compliment me or encourage me, would just be annoyed if i spoke about myself as that is considered being selfish and big headed. But i did it i got back to before all babies weight and because i had no one being proud of me i fell back into my eating disorder. But i know he likes it. not sure if its because he loves super skinny girls or because he knows how fragile i am when i am like that.

  77. Rich ~ Yes, I agree that bad relationships and loveless marriages are more woman-focused than man-focused. I think that’s because men don’t talk about bad marriages or loveless marriages as much as women do.

    Rabi ~ Thanks for your comments. Sometimes it is worth staying in a marriage that isn’t as loving as you’d like, for the sake of the kids. I hope you and your husband find ways to reconnect and love each other again.

  78. rabi sherif says:

    the reason why i remain in my loveless marriege is because of the children. we have four lovely children which i felt that divoce will obstrcut their well being. moreover i think my husband love me but he doesnt know how to express it and he dont want to take counseling.

  79. Rich-without $ says:

    It’s always about the poor women this, poor women that! Whenever it’s about Men getting used, cheated on, beat on, not-Loved, dumped, etc. All you will hear about it in/from western societies, is the wind blowing and not a peep.

  80. Thanks for your comments. I also think that staying in a loveless marriage is a form of security. The hell you know is better than the hell you don’t know!

    Money is a huge reason women stay with men who don’t love them, or men they don’t love.

  81. Anonim says:

    No way you can compare having no relationship with having no money, with no money you can’t survive, with no relationship yes you can.

    You can’t say those two things are at the same level.

  82. WELL says:

    i have been through relationships where men were non-committal. then i have had friends that have been married and wished they were single because they are married but deal with too many pressures. sadly, even though i once desired to be married, i feel less, and less wanting of marriage. i hope this is not a negative thing. i just feel i do not want to sacrifice more. i am a single parent and the thought of sacrificing emotionally especially to accommodate another person, is not welcoming. with my child i can do it, that’s different. just not sure i can do that for an adult.

  83. Gabriella says:

    I would not leave house, 401k, savings, money, health insurance and a comfortable life behind. I rather would stick it out. I have been married for 35 years , the last 10 years we lived seperate lives. He has a girl friend now.

  84. justme says:

    what about these 5 reasons for me no money, no job, no car, no family to help and no friends. None of the reasons above apply to me. If I just left I would have nothing and be homeless. What about those women???

  85. Thanks for your comments and tips for why women stay in loveless marriages. I think every wife has a different reason for staying in a bad relationship – and even if she understands her reasons, she may still stay stuck!

  86. Stephen Tilford says:

    You missed one: money.

  87. Hans Mortiz says:

    Marriage is hard work. Other than love, it requires commitment, trust, patience, understanding, and all those other positive characteristics that your mom says you should possess. It’s not like your day job that you can just quit and leave once you find something new. So unless you can see yourself doing this kind of work over and over again for the next 100 years, don’t commit and spare the other person her own 100 years.

  88. Stephen says:

    “Never commit to something you’re not 100% sure of. Think and rethink. I know men are sometimes unfairly characterized in these kinds of situations, but you gotta admit that it’s usually the guy who gets to ask the big question. Knowing how emotional and attached women can get, make sure you know what you’re getting yourself into and that you can see through it in the end. Those who “”initiate”” should be the last to quit.

  89. Georgina says:

    That’s why I say never plunge into marriage. Test the waters first and see if he’d be a good partner or not. And never ever invest your full energy in a relationship. Leave some for yourself. When you love and respect yourself, you won’t allow jerks to do jerky things to you.

  90. Justin Davis says:

    How come its all about women taking the beating when it can be the other way around? It does happen that women are at the wrong end of the relationship and it is the men who had to patiently wait and fix the relationship. Write something about that.

  91. Nicole says:

    Being in a boyfriend-girlfriend relationship is one thing. It’s easier to let go as there are not much to think about. Unlike in marriages: you have to think about the properties, the investments and most especially the kids. You can’t blame women for not leaving a relationship. There are just too many things to think about and being emotional creatures, it can cloud reasons and make less than smart decisions that are made for good intentions.

  92. Mariela says:

    I have read somewhere that most women get the “superhero” syndrome when they get into relationships. When they meet a man with shortcomings, they tend to believe that with the power of their love and care, they will be able to change that man into a better person and that they are the only one who can “”save”” him. I guess it comes with the motherly instincts, or from watching too much drama series on TV.

  93. Cristina Borres says:

    You know what they say: bad habits die hard. And when you’ve been hooked on a relationship for a long time, women will find it harder to quit, even if they know in their heart and mind that it’s time to leave. I guess more than will power, a hard slap on the face (literally and figuratively) should make the girl face reality. And that may not even be enough for her to wake up.

  94. Andrew says:

    If I’m the guy and I know that the relationship isn’t working after doing everything to save it – marriage counseling, second honeymoon, I’ll be the first person to tell my wife/girlfriend that it’s time to move on. It will be hard for the kids (if there are any) but it will be harder for them to see their parents fighting night and day or worse, not talking as if the other person doesn’t exist.

  95. Michael Smith says:

    It’s not just the women who stick around the marriage because of the kids. Men do that too. Men are just more of doers than sayers compared to women. Just because we don’t talk it or discuss it doesn’t mean we don’t care about it.

  96. George says:

    It’s common to hear about battered women, but not common to hear about battered men. But there is such a thing. I guess women are just more vocal about these kinds of things than men that’s why they get more sympathy out of it.

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