Many women over forty find themselves stuck (their often blind choice, of course) in unhappy marriages. They feel unskilled and unable to join the workforce to support themselves so even though they live in the emotional pain of a dead marriage, they do not leave. In fact they do not do anything to rock the boat.
Not all women get themselves in such stuck situations even though they too find themselves in unhappy marriages. Why?
You always have the opportunity to view your world through different eyes. Change your perspective and talk with other people to get clarity on how you yourself feel and what action is appropriate for you.
I know some people who do things together but their marriage exists in name only. Basically they live in the same house and maybe go out to a movie or dinner but that is the extent of their relationship—even though they hold fast to their marriage certificate.
When people stay together long after the feelings of love apparently dissipated you know they both benefit somehow. So long as neither one takes advantage of the other or hurts them in any way, that system seems to work for many women.
It seems to work. But does it really? OR is there an unrecognized under-current of stress?
Stress operating out of awareness does so much damage – especially to women’s health. That fact goes largely unnoticed because most research is done on men. So it becomes paramount for women living in less than happy circumstances, to take an inventory of their true feelings regarding their current life style.
In particular, pay attention to your degree of happiness, how fulfilled you feel as a person as well as how complete you feel as someone who contributes to society. Really, take an honest look at yourself and how you feel about every aspect of it.
Once you complete your self-survey ask yourself if you can look at any problem areas from a different perspective. You see, you can change your life and your world in two ways: first you can make a physical move out of the house to a new place OR you can change how you look at the current situation.
Look without a need to blame anyone for anything, In fact, remember that forgiving is all about for giving love to those you used to think hurt you.
No matter what situation you find yourself in right now, you can choose to see the painful parts of it. You can also choose to see all the pieces that work well and support you. With the latter your stress levels will plummet moving you away from stress before it makes you ill or injured.
As a forty-something woman, divorced or in an unhappy marriage, you likely feel stress in many areas of your life. You can choose to break free from that stress.
Yes. I am talking about choices here. You may not think you have a choice about how your life goes. If that is how you think then realize you see yourself as and live your life as a victim.
The Universe never makes victims. It makes people who choose to think others hold power over them. Impossible. Your power lies within you.
Nothing outside of you can steal your power. You may fool yourself into thinking they took your power. Again, that would be how you perpetuate your victimhood.
If you find yourself in an unhappy marriage ask yourself why you stay there. You must be getting some benefits to live in unhappiness. But seriously, do the benefits outweigh the price you pay – the deficits in your emotional and physical health and well being?
In every moment you either grow or you deteriorate. If you feel stress you speed up the deterioration process. I suspect you already know that truth or you would not be reading this article right now.
So what can you do to make the life changes you know you want to make?
First step into your new decision to be free. Of the many middle-aged women I know who went through a divorce, even those who suffered tremendous loss, every single one of them agrees it was the best decision they ever made. Taking that step eventually led to releasing tons of weight off their shoulders.
That freed up energy contributed to their physical and emotional recovery pretty quickly. I am not saying there is no pain in divorce or separation. However I suggest that the pain of ending something that no longer works is far less than the fear of the unhappy marriage ending or the fear and anger of closing the door on what was supposed to be forever love.
I speak from personal and professional experience here. After 31 years of marriage one day I woke up and told myself I could not stand the pain any more. Both my husband and I had been unhappy for at least ten years. We tried counseling. I did many self improvement courses knowing as I changed he would have to change in relation to me.
That morning I told him we needed to get a divorce. We had not really stopped loving each other but we had gone our separate ways and trying to make something work that had ended years ago caused stress for both of us.
We agreed that a divorce would best serve us – both of us. Yes, it did hurt and yes both of us are so much happier for having gone through the pain because we went through it and finished it.
Decide what you want and follow through. It is the lingering and not knowing that builds stress inside you. Stop being emotionally lazy and go through the steps you need to take so you can come out the other end of the path to happiness instead of limbo.
Many women today find themselves in unhappy marriages. Surprisingly they do not know what to do about it.
Many of these women grew up in a time when the man provided the income and they stayed home to run the house. While running a home requires infinitely many managerial and other specialized skills, most of those women think they have no marketable skills to offer an employer. After all baking cookies or cleaning the bathroom would not be much of a job in a corporate office!
Given that limited self-image they see no way to take care of themselves if they leave the marriage. So they stay in very unhappy situations, feeling stuck with no alternative.
The stress of living with what they see as no hope for a different future takes its toll. Many of them suffer from depression as well as physical maladies.
Yet there is something they can do. Commiserating with other women in the same situation is not the optimal solution.
People with too much time on their hands tend to fall into and stay stuck paying all their attention to themselves. They focus on all that is wrong and missing from their lives.
Here is the catch 22, whatever you focus on expands. So when you constantly remind yourself of how unhappy you are, how lonely and maybe even how useless and unfulfilled you feel, all those sensations become magnified and more intense.
What can you do to stop feeling so awful all the time – other than leave the unhappy situation? Think about it. You spend your time thinking about you and how bad you feel.
Sure, you may be taking care of your spouse and his needs and maybe you are caring for an aging parent. Maybe you help your kids or friend with whatever they need. However, no matter what you do for others, you feel gypped and probably resentful—if you are truthful with yourself.
When is it your time to be the center of your life? When is it your turn to do what you want to do each day?
Doing what you want to for yourself is not selfish. Asking others to do what you want them to do for your benefit alone is selfish.
Taking care of you is paramount. Look at it this way…
What if something happens to you? What if you get seriously hurt or ill and can no longer take care of the world? What happens to everybody else?
What happens is they take care of themselves. So why can’t they take care of themselves now, today?
Many women find their lives turned upside-down, at least internally, when they hit their forties. They enter the zone known as the midlife crisis.
What is a midlife crises and why do so many women find themselves amidst the stress and unhappiness of that situation?
Mainstream psychology offers an explanation that women who never went through a rebellious period during their teens are now ready to release all their frustrations and ask the questions they, until now, buried out of their awareness for fear of rocking the boat in their lives.
Most women, across cultures, are raised to take care of the world, to be there for everybody else. If you are one of them then you know that any time you did something that even remotely alluded to you taking a moment for yourself while others had needs was deemed to be completely selfish and wrong.
Even being sick is not an excuse for shirking your responsibilities.
Your spouse gets sick and stays in bed letting you wait on him, right? But you get the flu with a fever and you are up making everybody’s meals and making sure they get where they need to be with the supplies they need regardless of a raging fever, aches or pains.
You know what I am talking about, don’t you? You’ve been there. The sad part is you’ve been there more than once.
Maybe that is why women with kids get sick less often. Who has the time to work with lower energy or confused thinking? It just is not worth the struggle. So does that mean extra pressure and responsibility is a natural immune booster?
Hardly. All that stress builds up in your system eventually leading to illness or conditions that run the gamut across mental and physical issues.
How many women do you know who dealt with cancer—of feminine organs? Breast cancer happens to women who never took the time or energy to nurture themselves, to feed their own desires?
The ovarian and cervical cancers often reveal a lack of giving birth to one’s own ideas and desires for their own personal lives.
Do you see the connection?
Midlife hits many women hard, marking the passage of time spent without paying attention to one’s own life and needs. It is the time to question what is your life about? What is your purpose here? Is this all there is?
Spiritual questions adds to the physical and emotional exhaustion of running on high for so many years without refueling spent energy.
Unfortunately most women will fail to take notice or step out of their serfdom and take charge of who they are until they create a crisis. Hence the midlife crisis becomes that moment of truth.
How will you live the rest of your life differently? Will you live at all?
Would you experience less stress in life if you knew how to create only relationships that satisfy your needs? For most women in their forties the obvious and immediate response is, “Of course.”
Okay, so here you are, divorced or in an unhappy marriage. You feel like you have to take part in relationships to play the games according to the rules of life.
Did you ever wonder who wrote the rules and why you feel a need to follow them?
The fact is you do not need to do what others tell you to do – implicitly or otherwise. You spent so many years doing what was expected of you. You pretended to enjoy the friends and colleagues of your spouse for his sake.
If you are a mom you may have done the same to assist your kids in growing up – made friends and attended social functions with people you may or may not have liked that grew out of our children’s activities.
That is all okay but now you get to be you. YOU get to decide what you want in a relationship. Most importantly, you get to refuse to participate in any and all relationships that fail to meet your specifications.
I love the feeling of being in charge of who I date after my divorce. During 31 plus years of marriage I was very clear on which male behaviors felt good to me and which I really did not like at all.
I never tell the guy I am with how to behave. I just know, inside, I expect certain behaviors that leave me feeling good and significant. And if he fails to act in those ways then that was our last date.
I had zero desire to tell him what was important to me. I am not interested in asking someone to change or pretend to be any way other than how they naturally are. That would be selfish and unfair.
The stress is pretty much gone on my end. I am me. I do not put on any act (not that I ever did in the past) to please someone else. And I expect the same is true for the guys with whom I choose to spend time.
Unlike the pressures and games most of us played during our teen years I just enjoy being with the guys I like to be with. I am not interested in finding my great love. I learned the value of being friends first and if something more comes of that relationship then it happens.
Relationships do not need to be stressful situations. You get to choose how they run and most importantly, with whom.