Lessons Taken from “How Not to Marry the Wrong Guy”

A new book “How Not to Marry the Wrong Guy” is making waves on the press circuit (click here to view article) Its authors, Anne Milford and Jennifer Gauvain, explore the reasons behind an increasing number of women saying “I do” despite knowing deep in their hearts they should not be making a commitment to that particular person. Their research indicates the following reasons, among others:

– Fear of being alone

– Needing financial security

– Fear of hurting his feelings

– Fear of disappointing others (family members, etc.)

– Fear of the ticking of the proverbial biological clock

– Hoping that he will change

– Getting caught up in the fairytale of a wedding and marriage

These same reasons are often cited by men and women alike for staying in the same marriages they realize they should not have entered in the first place. Even today, where the divorce rate is infamously quoted as approaching 50%, there is a social stigma attached to it that leads people to feel the need to use these excuses to stay in a situation that makes them unhappy.

That is not to say divorce is without negative consequences—the authors also recognize that women reason that if it doesn’t work out “we can just get divorced,” to justify getting married to someone they know they shouldn’t. In doing so, they are underestimating the emotional impact of divorce, which is inevitable, even if they are the ones serving the papers.

The uniting thread in the factors mentioned above is that they are driven by FEAR. Admittedly, the decision to end a marriage can result in the disappointment of family and friends, and certainly hurt feelings and diminished financial security. The question we must ask ourselves is if giving into these fears is worth the price of giving up the opportunity for a clean start and a chance at finding true happiness.

If you have children, your decision to end your marriage gets even more complicated.  Many feel pressure to stay together for the sake of the children.  However, children sense the energy and know the climate in which they live.  If Mom and Dad are not happy together—nobody is fooled to think otherwise.  A divorced Mom and Dad, effectively co-parenting and finding their new happiness, is a healthier environment for children than an unhappy long-term trauma filled household with parents trying to convince themselves and their children that their reality is better than it feels.   

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