Skip to main content Skip to bottom nav

Why do some parents stay together when they are clearly not happy?

35 Answers
Last Updated: 06/28/2021 at 6:11pm
1 Tip to Feel Better
United States
Moderated by

Alex DS Ellis, MA, LMFT

Marriage & Family Therapist

Feeling depressed or anxious can be so overwhelming. I want to help you feel better and be able to enjoy life. You are not alone and you deserve emotional support.

Top Rated Answers
March 11th, 2015 8:45pm
Some parents think they should stay together for the sake of their children without realizing that their children are observant and can see their unhappiness it's very common
June 17th, 2015 11:56pm
Most parents stay together because of children and financial stability. some people become best friends and are happy with just that. the fear of being alone.
June 5th, 2015 5:50pm
That is a very good question- You are very brave to ask that- Sometimes parents stay together on behalf of their children, They might not want their children growing up without a mother or father present, they want the child growing up, knowing their parents love them, and they don't want the child to be upset if they split up and go in different directions.
November 9th, 2020 10:32am
There are many reasons and answers to this question. I would try to state as many as I possibly can. 1. Societal norms- as we all may know, a divorce is not really seen as a respectable change in a family. The society doesn't accept a divorcee and they are passed looks, called names etc which may stop someone from seeking divorce in fear of meeting the same fate. 2. A divorce can sometimes turn ugly especially with children involved. The fight for the custody of children, alimony and other such issues may result in an ugly turn of events. To avoid such things, people don't opt for a divorce. 3. The family pressure- some parents/families don't accept a divorcee as their children/family members. To protect "family values", "respect" and "name" of the family, a couple may stay together. These are the possibile reasons some parents stay together rather than living apart or opting for a divorce, according to me. There must be numerous other reasons as well.
February 19th, 2015 6:55pm
I feel like parents do that to protect their child , whether or not the child agrees or not about it
June 12th, 2018 4:02am
From what I've seen, sometimes they stay together for the benefit of the child, who they feel would have a better life if the parents were together. They also might be trying to work it out and hope that in the future they'll overcome their problems, but from what I've seen with my own parents and other couples, the main priority is the child's wellbeing, and if staying together is best for the child then they might choose to stick it out.
February 19th, 2015 6:58pm
Change (even if it is for the better) is hard. Leaving your spouse means big change. Some parents also stay together for the sake of their children.
February 20th, 2015 5:41pm
Usually to support the kid, though they don't realize the negative impact and example they are giving their kid by fighting and staying unhappy. It is much worse than splitting up. Another reason might be that they're holding on to whatever love they still have and wanting to believe they still belong together... or just not wanting to go through the divorce process. It can be for so many reasons, but these are particularly common.
March 8th, 2015 8:47pm
I feel as some parents stay together when they are not happy because they married each other for a reason. They want to work out the kinks in the relationship versus throwing it away for a period of being unhappy because they would be more unhappy if they were not together.
April 24th, 2015 8:22am
because of their children, parents love their children and they dont want to ruin their childhood. it really hard to live with single parent...
May 2nd, 2015 9:17pm
Because of their children and because they think staying together would be easier or would make the children happier than if they divorced..
May 20th, 2015 11:34pm
Some parents tend to stay together even if they aren't happy because they are simply trying to keep the family together and to try to do what's best for the kids. If I was a parent and stayed together with my partner even though it was clear that I wasn't happy I would more than likely be doing it for the kids.
June 29th, 2015 8:15pm
As an adult, there are many pragmatic reasons to stay together, as well as many pressures. A few reasons include: child stability (staying together for children's stability), monetary reasons (own a lot together and now they have to divide them, debt, and income security), they try to work it out, they do not believe in divorce, or they may be happy with each other, but other things around them do not make them happy (ie their jobs).
July 7th, 2015 4:42am
It may be for the sake of their child/children. Their growth is more important to them than what they prefer themselves. Children's early age is critical, and it is when they develop the most. Parents who don't want their children to grow up with some sort of resentment in them refrain from divorcing.
July 20th, 2015 11:56am
Sometimes it's for the children's sake, they think divorcing/separating could damage their kids. Or they feel that maybe things can get better with time. Some people find it very hard to give up something they thought was meant to be. Even if it's painfully obvious that it isn't going to work.
September 21st, 2015 5:39pm
Some people are different. There is no one answer fits all.Some stay together for the sake of family or kids. Some may stay together for the sake of not seeing a marriage fail. Some do it for security in knowing that they have a partner and financial responsibilities. There can be so many reasons either one or a combination. If you are having an issue with your parents, perhaps you can speak with them about how you feel.
September 29th, 2015 10:58am
For their children. Children would be devastated if they had a choice to choose between mom and dad. I love both of my parents and I'm not choosing between either of them. I love them both and I want to live with them in the same house, not visiting each other on different days.
November 10th, 2015 7:55pm
There are many reasons why people stay in unhappy relationships. Some are because of their children, some are financial status, some believe in their marriage vows. It's usually a combination of all of these factors, combined with a joint wish to choose to be "status quo" with their relationship. What do you think may be a factor?
March 28th, 2016 12:58am
When parents stay together, from what I've gathered, they stay together because they have a kid or kids. When it comes to their children, parents will do anything and everything they can to make the child happy. They want their family to stay together for the sake of the child.
April 4th, 2016 1:53pm
There are so many things you have to consider when you're married and have kids. Also, some couples might not look happy together but they're just very very accustomed to have each others around and become less and less flirty over the years, but are still in love. The question is: are they keeping their kids safe, and happy? if you need to talk more about this please contact a listener :)
May 3rd, 2016 4:39am
for their kids, for what all theyve been through together, they think that all the time theyve spent together is worth spending some more....
June 13th, 2016 10:51pm
Many parents stay together even if they are not happy because they want to make sure th children have a good "home" life and other due to religion or socail matters.
June 20th, 2016 7:05am
I think some parents stay together for the children. They don't want them to have to deal with them splitting up and some can't imagine a life without each other even if they're not happy with each other.
June 27th, 2016 6:34am
Sometimes they think that they are doing the right thing for their kids and their family rather than for themselves.
July 5th, 2016 8:06am
Lot of reasons: financial stuff, afraid of loneliness/being on your own, gulit, because they invested too much time into the relationship, some investment properties, hope, and maybe they don't believe in divorce.
February 28th, 2017 7:47pm
Simply for the sake of the child(ren) or they could feel that the current issues aren't stronger than love. If they have survived other situations, then they may be able to find happiness once again, they both just have to be willing to put in the work needed.
March 27th, 2017 8:15pm
Many things might be stopping them from having a divorce, but are You sure that they are unhappy? There might be only misunderstanding between them, but there might be still love. As well, they might stay together to keep their family, children mostly, or some kind of financial status.
May 2nd, 2017 3:39pm
Because they think it will make their kids happy or they are so used to being together they think it would be worse to leave or they desperate to fix what cant be fixed
October 31st, 2017 1:49am
From experience, my mom and dad stayed together because they felt they could work things out and also did not want to hurt us. Eventually we caught on and they ended things, but they told us they wanted to keep us happy. To summarize, they felt it would be better to keep others happy and stay together, than to go through the process of divorce and make things difficult. Plus finances are a struggle.
April 9th, 2018 2:18am
some parents stay for the sake of their children. they do not wish to have their children growing up in a broken family and not getting the enough love and care while they're growing up because of their mistakes.