Good sex doesn't cancel out all the bad stuff.
A lot of women find themselves constantly weighing being in a sh*tty marriage with being alone post-divorce.
Sometimes, being in that marriage makes it hard to look at that marriage and judge it accurately. It's also hard to look ahead to a theoretical singlehood and make a comparison.
However, once you're out and all the emotions and stress have faded, it's pretty easy to look back and find things in your crappy marriage that you can learn from and apply to your future relationships.
Here are a few things being in a sh*tty marriage taught me, even when I wasn't aware I was learning:
1. Good sex doesn't cancel out all the bad stuff.
How many times have you heard a friend complain about her boyfriend/lover/husband, and then shrug and smile and say, "But the sex is great"?
You know what? It doesn't matter if he's good in bed; if he makes you unhappy or treats you disrespectfully, eventually the idea of sleeping with him will turn your stomach.
Then, you're left with a bad relationship and a guy who used to be a great sex partner, back when you could stand to see him naked.
2. Looks don't mean much.
It's a safe bet that you were attracted to your husband at one time. How attracted are you now? How good-looking is he when he's yelling, demeaning you, ignoring you, or blaming you?
Your Mom was right: ugly is as ugly does.
The best-looking man becomes pretty unattractive when he make you miserable. But that plain-looking, slightly overweight co-worker who's always so supportive and funny? He starts looking pretty hot.
3. Money really doesn't buy happiness.
Too many women stay in horrible marriages because they worry about leaving their comfortable financial existence behind. Don't. It's much, much better to go to sleep peacefully in a small apartment than it is to dread coming home to a huge house where you're miserable.
4. The value of staying together for the kids is a myth.
Your kids might love their Dad, but kids are incredibly sensitive to their environments. The fighting, the silences, the tension ... all of these things hurt your children.
While divorce might make them feel insecure or shaken up for a short time, the peace in your household and having a happy Mom will heal.
5. You can only change so much.
Sure, you should try to change the things about you that aren't that great for your marriage. But you can't change you, and you can't completely make yourself over to be something that you're not, or something you shouldn't even be.
Unless he's changing, too, even your good changes aren't going to create a happy marriage.
6. Alone isn't scary; the status quo is scary.
Fear of the unknown, wondering how you'll pay the bills, imagining you'll be terribly lonely, or even wondering who you'll have dinner with can be daunting. But it's not as daunting as the idea that the life you're living now is the only one you'll ever get to live.
7. Peace is healthy, but strife is not.
Being alone or alone with your kids after years of marriage might seem strange at first, but the stress of adjusting is nothing compared to the stress of trying to live in an unhappy marriage. You'll find that your headaches, upset stomachs, ulcers, anxiety, weight loss/weight gain have a lot less to feed on when you are at peace. Alone.
Yes, being single again includes having problems, being stressed out, and having bad days. But along with those things are the happy times, the confidence that comes from creating a new you and a new life, and the simple peace of being in a home where there are no wars being fought.
This article was originally published at www.unomum.com. Reprinted with permission from the author.