21 Changes That Happen In The Bodies Of People In Unhappy Marriages

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woman drained from unhappy marriage

You got married because you fell in love and had a dream of living happily ever after. But somewhere along the way, marital bliss turned to marital blah... or worse.

You might occasionally toy with the idea of calling it quits or half-heartedly attempt to work on your marriage. Instead of making any significant changes, what you end up doing is staying. You stick it out because the thought of doing anything different is too big to deal with.

It might seem like this is the path of least resistance, but did you know the consequences of staying in an unhappy marriage are greater, a lot greater than feeling meh about your spouse? The stress of an unhappy marriage affects you physically, mentally, and emotionally.

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Here are 21 ways staying in an unhappy marriage affects your body, mind, and emotions.

11 purely-physical consequences of staying where you're miserable:

1. Weakens your immune system

2. Wounds are slower to heal

3. Increases your blood pressure

4. Increases your cholesterol

5. Makes you gain weight

6. Puts you at an increased risk for heart disease, cancer, arthritis, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, and arterial calcification

7. Causes digestive disorders

8. Causes hormone imbalance

9. Causes poor sleep

10. Shrinks your brain

11. Kills brain cells and halts new brain cell growth

Although these risks apply to both men and women, they don’t apply equally. Around the age of 40, the impact of marital stress on a woman’s body is much greater than on a man’s.

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5 ways unhappy marriage affects you mentally:

1. Decreases your attention span

2. Causes memory problems

3. Puts you at greater risk for mental illnesses of all kinds

4. Makes it hard for you to think and make decisions

5. Increases your risk for dementia and Alzheimer’s

5 ways unhappy marriage affects you emotionally.

1. Greater risk for depression

2. More feelings of anger

3. General feelings of anxiety

4. Mood swings

5. Impatience with yourself and others

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Sublimation & escapism wreak havoc on the body

One of the biggest challenges everyone in an unhappy marriage faces is dealing with the problem.

People often choose self-soothing activities like smoking, drinking alcohol, drug use, gambling, impulse buying, obsessive technology use and over (or under) eating to help them cope. The problem is these behaviors exacerbate the risk factors the stress of your unhappy marriage created in the first place.

The impact of an unhappy marriage on an individual can be pretty scary, and it can be easy to say you'll stay in it for everyone else. But, your unhappiness impacts more than just you. It affects your spouse and your kids.

Hopefully, all this information is impactful enough for you to want to change the situation. But don’t jump to the conclusion that the only way to fix things is to divorce. Divorce is much more stressful than an unhappy marriage.

The place to start changing things is to get honest with yourself about what is and what isn’t working in your marriage.

Once you’re clear about this, you’ll also want to consider what you’re willing to do to change things.

After you know what you want (or at least have a better idea than you do now) and what you’re willing to do, it’s time to have an open, compassionate conversation with your spouse.

The goal of the discussion is to develop a plan so your family can stop suffering from the mental, physical, and emotional pain of an unhappy marriage.

RELATED: 8 Revealing Questions To Ask Yourself If You're Considering Divorce

Dr. Karen Finn is a divorce and life coach. Her writing on marriage and divorce has appeared on MSN, Yahoo!, and eHarmony, among others.

This article was originally published at Dr. Karen Finn's blog. Reprinted with permission from the author.