Individual, Family & Group Psychotherapy
Locations in New York & New Jersey

BY: Martine Foreman
It’s unfortunate, but the world is full of people who feign happiness to keep up appearances. When you walk down the aisle and take a vow before your friends and family to stay with someone for the rest of your life, admitting that things are not working out as planned can be tough. Many would rather pretend than admit they are unhappy or that they feel stuck.

Feeling stuck is a horrible feeling. Imagine trying to find a way out of something only to realize that you simply can’t. The feeling is cumbersome to say the least. Sometimes we feel stuck and that feeling is rooted in a genuine fear for our lives. We feel stuck because we fear what may happen if we walk away. We can also feel stuck because our marriage is just not what we signed up for, but because of our vows, we just grin and bear it.

But sometimes when we feel stuck, it’s not that we need a way out. The issue can be that we need some clarity and a better way to navigate where we are. When that doesn’t happen, we feel like we are stuck in a place we don’t want to be, yet we have to be because we said we would stay there. We said “I do.”

The biggest problem with feeling stuck is that it can often lead to inaction, and that’s how we end up being unhappy. If you find yourself in an unhappy marriage and you don’t know what to do, you have to make a decision to act.

Being married should never feel like a sentence—like you are trapped with no way out. Being married, even when faced with challenges, should feel like a partnership that you learn to navigate—together. Feeling stuck is not something you should ignore. It’s no way to live.

What should you do if you feel stuck and unhappy in your marriage? Well you have to start off by asking yourself a few very important questions.

Why is this marriage different than what I expected?
Am I willing to work on this?
Did I have serious doubts about marrying this person?
What specifically makes me feel stuck?
Is my unhappiness truly about my spouse or is something else going on?
What will my life look like in 5 years if I stay in this marriage?
What will my life look like in 5 years if I end this marriage?
Am I in danger?
Do I have a support system in place?
These questions may be difficult to answer, but answering all of them honestly is critical. You have to know what’s at the root of your feelings before you can act. Acting without clarity usually leads to trouble.

If you are a situation where you feel stuck but you are in danger, please seek help from an organization like the National Domestic Violence Hotline. You can call them at 1-800-799-7233.

If you are not in danger, but just feel like your situation is not what you bargained for, don’t settle silently. Take action to determine if you can improve your marriage, or if ending your marriage is the best option for both of you.

Marriages were not designed for anyone to “put up” with them. Marriage should be a partnership that adds value and joy to your life, and the last thing a marriage should make you feel is stuck.

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