The fact that marriage is unhappy, let alone toxic or dangerous, doesn’t mean it is easy to leave. Quite the contrary, actually.
Such a marriage tends to be more complicated to leave, not less. Relationship patterns become ingrained, and money and children take time and conscientious handling when dividing a home and family.
If your marriage is in any way toxic or abusive, and you know you need to leave, your preparation will be especially important.
First and foremost is safety. Always. Secure in advance safe housing and protection (if necessary). Tell one to several people whom you trust exactly what you are intending to do, and keep them informed as you go through the process.
Begin the process of creating financial independence. Understand your finances, and, if possible, find a financial planner to help you create a plan and a way to manage it.
Seek professional help. When you are in an unhappy marriage but are afraid to leave, it is especially important to have knowledge, wisdom, and objectivity on your side.
By having a divorce coach, therapist and trusted family attorney onboard early in the process, you will add to your circle of those who know your intentions and can support you.
If you are married to someone who is manipulative, threatening or dangerous in any way, stop any direct communication after separating. Communicate through your attorneys, or directly only as is necessary for children involved. You will need clarity and only those influences with your highest good at heart.
Finally, begin doing those things that bring you joy. Come back to the feeling of doing things you love.
Marriage in and of itself will ask the best of you. But an unhappy marriage can rob you if it, then demand it as you try to find your way out. It sounds unfair, if not impossible.
If you are in an unhappy marriage but are afraid to leave, know that you do have choices, and you can rise to happiness. Take a deep breath and calmly weigh the value of your life against the price you are paying by not living it.
I’m Dr. Karen Finn, a life and divorce coach helping people just like you who are looking for advice and support in deciding what to do about their unhappy marriage. You can join my newsletter list for free weekly advice. And, if you’re ready, you can take the first step toward working with me as your personal coach by scheduling a private consultation.