5 Painfully Honest Reasons He Refuses To Divorce You, Even Though You're Miserable

The real reason he won't let you go.

Frustrated couple arguing Photoroyalty | Shutterstock

When you're miserable in a marriage that feels unsalvageable, you may believe that it's time for you and your husband to go your separate ways. So, why won't he file for divorce?! It seems counterintuitive, because why would your husband want to remain married and stay in an unhappy relationship? It's driving you crazy! Believe it or not, there are many reasons why your husband won’t file divorce papers, even if things are really bad. Knowing what they are will help you process them and, maybe, give you a new perspective when you talk to him about a potential divorce.


Here are 5 painfully honest reasons he refuses to divorce you, even though you're miserable:

1. He worries about finances

For many men, the most important part of their marriage is taking care of their family. And a big part of taking care of their family revolves around the finances. Many men possess the attitude that drives them to work very hard to give their families the best life they can, and getting divorced might very well make that more difficult. If you and your partner get divorced, your finances might be severely damaged. Getting a divorce is expensive. Having two households is expensive. Paying alimony and child support is expensive.




I have a client who worked hard to get his family to a good place. They had a nice house, and two new cars, and they could travel. When his wife asked for a divorce, he froze. All the hard work that he had done would be undone. He wasn’t sure if he could bear it. The prospect of damaging his finances and his family‘s finances might be a big reason why your husband won’t divorce you, no matter how unhappy you are.

RELATED: 19 Truths About Divorce That Will Make You Feel Better

2. He's thinking about the kids

Many men know that going through the divorce process means less time with their children, and that's scary for them. They're used to coming home every night and seeing their children. If there's a custody agreement, that could mean that they won’t see their children every day. Or perhaps not on holidays or birthdays. You're probably thinking about that too but men know that women usually get primary custody.


They also may be concerned that a divorce would create acrimony between the two of you, which might turn the children against them. That could mean issues with the kids that didn’t exist before. They might also be concerned that the kids will struggle without them around. Or that you might get into a new relationship that could jeopardize their relationship with them. Thinking about all of those things can make you pause before moving forward with a divorce.

3. They feel ashamed

For many people, divorce is still not okay. Couples make vows to each other on their wedding day to love and cherish each other forever. Divorce is breaking that vow, bringing shame to your husband. For many men, committing is very important. Committing in front of all their friends and family is very important. For them, the idea of giving up on their marriage and getting divorced is incredibly shameful, especially after making such a promise.

Furthermore, giving up on his marriage might mean dividing your social group. That social group might even judge him or look at him differently forever. The idea of those things can be very daunting and make men not want to take action. The very idea of divorce can be very embarrassing for a lot of men. They see it as a failure and they don’t want to be a failure in the eyes of the world. So, if your husband won’t divorce you, even though you were miserable, it very well could be because of the shame associated with it.



RELATED: Top 10 Reasons Why Divorce Is So Common These Days


4. He's in denial

For many men, facing emotions can be very difficult. While it’s very easy for women to process emotions, it can be far more difficult for a man to do so. As a result, they might not see just how bad the marriage has become. Are you and your husband able to talk about your relationship? Does he seem to understand that there are issues? When you bring up the prospect of a separation or divorce, does he just shake his head and say, "I don’t know what you’re talking about, we're fine?"

If this is your husband, you should try to understand that he is, most likely, in denial about the state of your relationship and that this could be a reason why he won’t divorce you. Additionally, many men say that they don’t believe in divorce and therefore they won’t get one. I always tell them that if they don’t believe in divorce, they need to start believing in marriage. And believing in marriage means working on it. Working on a marriage can be scary but they might consider it more carefully if the threat of divorce is looming.

RELATED: The 4 Behaviors That Cause 90% Of All Divorces

5. His extended family is very important to him

His extended family are the people who he spent his childhood with, who taught him everything they know. And who created his issues and his habits. As a result, many men are very concerned about what their families would think of them if they got a divorce. Perhaps, their parents were never divorced and they want to be like them. Perhaps, they're worried about the judgment of their siblings. Perhaps, his parents never liked you and he doesn’t want to prove them right.


Also, know that your family could be a part of why he won’t divorce you. I know when my ex-husband asked for a divorce, my mother made it all about her. He had asked her for permission to marry me and he had promised he would love me forever. When he left me, my mother was furious. She spent the next few months complaining about how much he had let her down. That wasn’t helpful for me!

So, don’t underestimate the effect that your extended family might be having on his decision about whether or not to get a divorce. Because it could be a significant piece of the puzzle. Now that you have an understanding of why your husband won’t divorce you, no matter how miserable you are, you can approach the situation differently. For many women, marriage is about love. Relationships are about love.

But, for many men, relationships are about responsibility. They’re about finances, the kids, their place in society, and their family. The prospect of losing love might not be as daunting to them as it is to you. That being said, many men do believe in love and want love. Those men might be holding on to the marriage because they don’t want to let go of love — or, at least, the hope of love. So, know that, while many of these things are relevant, in reality, he might not want to divorce you because he holds out hope for the future. I encourage you to think about these things and talk to him about them so that you can make a decision together about moving forward.


RELATED: 10 Harsh Things I Wish I Had Known Before Getting Divorced

Mitzi Bockmann is an NYC-based Certified Life Coach and mental health advocate who works exclusively with women to help them be all they want to be. Mitzi's bylines have appeared in The Good Men Project, MSN, PopSugar, Prevention, Huffington Post, and Psych Central, among many others.