Why Do Unhappy Couples Stay Together?

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Two of my friends have admitted that they plan to leave their husbands in the future. And several others have said enough to make me think they’re contemplating it.

My friends aren’t alone. According to a study of 2000 married parents in the UK, 18 per cent of couples have a date in mind for when they will leave their partner.

The research, commissioned by Family Law firm Irwin Mitchell, who presumably consider a spike in the divorce rate to be good for business, found that one in 20 couples have picked a date 10 or more years into the future to change the locks.

Of those who have already divorced a partner, almost eight in ten regretted staying as long as they did.

Why do unhappy couples stay together — some resigning themselves to unhappiness for over a decade before cutting their losses?

The romantic view is that couples want to work at things and see if they can learn to fall in love again.

But the research suggests that the optimists view is, well, optimistic.


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