The emotional struggle of staying in a loveless marriage for convenience

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Facing a sudden end to a long-term marriage or relationship can feel daunting and impossible. Source: Getty

Would you stay in an unhappy marriage for the convenience? Facing a sudden end to a long-term marriage or relationship can feel daunting and impossible. For many, getting divorced in later life can be scary – especially for those who find it difficult to be alone or rely financially on their spouses.

According to statistics from Australian Institute of Family Studies, fewer older people push for divorce. In 2016, for both men and women, the divorce rate was highest for those aged 25 to 29 years. After 55, however, couples become increasingly less likely to divorce.

Sadly, one woman has now revealed she’s been left contemplating whether to leave her own marriage after her husband of 11 years, who she’s also lived with for over 20 years, has rekindled a relationship with an old flame. Writing to The Telegraph‘s advice column Dear Richard Madeley, the woman – who is in her mid-70s – said she was vaguely aware her husband had a distant liaison with a lady before they met, but thought it had stopped.

She wrote: “Since even before we met, he has had a distant liaison with a lady, of which I was vaguely aware – though I thought it had stopped when her husband became ill and she ceased communication with mine some 18 or so years ago.”

The concerned wife revealed however that last November the woman’s husband died and she is now back in contact. She revealed they email and talk on the phone, and they have met up several times now.

“He says he has no wish to leave me, but cannot give up this lady and intends to keep up the situation as it is,” the woman continued. “He says she doesn’t want a full-time relationship – but I feel that may change, particularly now she is free.”

The woman worried if she made a stand and gave her husband an ultimatum, she would lose, adding: “Perhaps sharing is better than nothing? We have a nice home together. What do I do and how do I keep myself calm when I feel thoroughly miserable and bitter?”

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, there were 49,032 divorces granted in Australia, an increase of 2,428 from the divorces granted in 2016. The median duration of marriage to divorce was 12 years in 2017 and more than half of females granted a divorce in 2017 were under 45 years.

It comes after it was revealed many women in the United Kingdom are avoiding divorce because they’re not being awarded with court settlements that measure up to their high financial standards. According to a report in The Times last year, as many as 30 of the 380 divorce cases in the past year have been scrapped because women weren’t being awarded income for life and weren’t satisfied with their restricted financial settlements.

James Brown from the law firm Hall Brown, told the publication at the time many women didn’t have a proper insight into their true financial circumstances and back out of divorce when they’re told how much, or little, money they’ll actually receive.

The report comes after UBS Global Wealth Management figures released last year found the majority of married women leave their financial decisions up to their husbands because they think their partners know more about the matter. However, problems arise when these women do leave their husbands or become widowed, with 98 per cent feeling regretful that they weren’t more involved in managing wealth while married.

As a result, these women tend to understand less about their money and don’t know how to properly manage it when left on their own. More than 50 per cent run into financial surprises including outdated debts and wills when their marriages end. This information mirrors findings from a recent Australian Financial Attitudes and Behaviour Tracker that found 46 per cent of women find dealing with money stressful, while 26 per cent of men feel the same way.

What do you think? Would you stay in an unhappy marriage for convenience or if it meant you were better off financially?

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