Should You Stay In An Unhappy Marriage For The Sake Of The Kids?

by Maria MagleoJune 24, 2022

Kids are usually the culmination and embodiment of a marriage’s love, and sometimes they’re what holds the marriage together. But should you stay in an unhappy marriage for the sake of the kids?

Do you still remember the words “for better, for worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health, till death do us part?”

These are the words that are very easy to say but are extremely difficult to do, especially when your marriage has already reached the point of no retreat.

Because the thing is, how can you continue with a marriage that no longer fulfills you?

If you are only thinking about yourself, it may be simple to say that leaving is the best thing to do. But, what if you are a parent? What if you have kids who are looking up to you?

As much as you want to leave this unhappy marriage, you cannot just walk out the door and start anew.

You have kids to consider, and you feel like leaving the marriage would be a selfish thing to do. And yet, you feel like staying wouldn’t be ideal, either.

Being a parent whose marriage is already failing, it is normal to feel stuck and have no idea what is best to do next that wouldn’t affect your kids negatively.

But, bear in mind that whatever decision you make, there will always be a consequence, and it will inevitably impact your kids.

So, to give you an idea, I provided a short list of the pros and cons of staying in an unhappy marriage because of the kids.

Pros And Cons Of Staying For Your Kids 

Before we dive in, always remember that the outcome of your decision still relies on your behavior and attitude.

Whether you decide to leave or stay, you must show a positive attitude towards your spouse and healthily deal with them in front of your kids.

This is because you are your kids’ role model. Hence, showing a positive attitude and healthy ways of dealing with conflicts will make your kids follow your positive example.


1. Your kids have a lesser chance of developing behavioral issues.

As you may have already known, the family structure has a significant effect on children, which is probably why you have second thoughts about leaving.

Children who grow up with both their parents are more likely to be emotionally stable and less likely to be delinquents. 

There are several reasons for this: the kids can focus on their studies, interests, and hobbies without having to worry about their family life.

They won’t worry about changing houses during the weekend or dealing with emotional stress brought about by their parent’s separation.

And, even if the parents have unresolved conflicts, as long as they are in harmony when it comes to the kids, like showing love and affection, it will still be beneficial for the children.

2. You are teaching your kids the value of commitment.

Even if it doesn’t fulfill anymore, staying in the marriage can teach your kids some important values.

You show them that even if your marriage is not perfect and that you and your spouse are having conflicts, you are still united in building the family that your kids deserve.

You are teaching them that if you are truly committed to something, you will do anything to preserve it. 

And, best of all, you teach them that any family conflicts can be resolved if there is communication and you are both willing to compromise to achieve your goals.

Because of this, there is a high chance that your kids will not end up divorcing when they become adults and get married.

3. Time might heal your wounds.

This may sound off the table now, but you will never really know what can happen in the future.

Maybe staying in an unhappy marriage for the sake of your kids will give you ample time to see things from a different perspective, and maybe you will find it in your heart to give your marriage another chance.


1. It can negatively impact your kids on an emotional level.

Staying in the marriage can be quite problematic, especially if your kids are already aware of what’s happening.

Even if they don’t have any idea that your marriage is on the rocks, they might start to question why you and your spouse are no longer intimate with one another.

It might confuse them and make them feel like there is something wrong, and yet, they are being kept in a blind spot on what is really happening within the family.

On the other hand, this can cause even more trouble if you and your spouse couldn’t control your emotions and openly show your contempt toward each other.

Yelling, blaming, cursing, and physical violence can cause negative effects on your kids in multiple areas like their academic performance, behavior, and mental well-being.

2. Your kids might see marriage in a negative way.

If your kids start to witness your and your spouse’s contempt toward each other, you give them the impression that marriage is just a waste of time.

You show them that commitment is not real and that there is no such thing as a healthy and stable relationship.

And, worse, instead of teaching them to foster positive emotions such as love and respect, you are teaching them the opposite, which is hatred and contempt.

3. You are putting your life on hold.

Staying in an unhappy marriage is not only affecting your kids, but it can also affect you as an individual.

Perhaps you have decided to stay for now and leave the marriage once your kids have grown enough to understand the situation.

But, no matter how hard you try to pretend, your kids will eventually feel that you are not happy and fulfilled, and they may start blaming themselves for it.

And as for you, knowing that you’re unhappy with your current situation may cause frustrations, anxieties, and even depression for not being able to move forward with your life.


Staying in an unhappy marriage for the sake of the kids is a difficult decision to make, as both staying and leaving can affect your children in the long run.

But bear in mind that every decision affects not only your kids but also you.

The choice is entirely up to you, but whatever you decide to do, always keep a positive attitude so you can serve as a positive role model to your children.

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