Marriage is a fulfilling and an enriching experience for most people. However, many couples are totally dissatisfied with their marriages, but the still stay together. Some don’t even consider a split. There could be various reasons why these couples aren’t willing to go their own ways and end the relationship. Psychologists who have been studying these cases have not been able to understand why some unhappy couples are willing to give it up.
Over five decades ago psychologists decided that the signs of relationships were guided by the theory of interdependence where each partner evaluates their satisfaction by assessing the costs and the benefits. When the perceived benefits are higher than the costs, they are happy with their relationship. It is just when the costs outweigh the benefits that the attitude towards the relationship begins to suffer.
Why Are Couples Committed To the Relationship?
Many couples often feel committed to their relationship because of the following reasons:
- The investment they have made in the relationship is heavy, and it gives them the perception that the marriage must be valuable.
- Lack of other alternatives.
- They believe that the marriage provides them with the satisfaction they need.
Satisfaction in a relationship depends on the perception of net benefit. However, researchers have presently begun to emphasize the role of individual standards. The modern Western culture demands that our spouses be our soulmates and that they understand our needs. We desire partners to be both our best friend and our lover.
Some societies view marriage differently. Some wives in the Indian sub-continent can often be heard saying that they want their husbands out of the house to bring in a paycheck every month. These women are not worried about what their husbands do. They are only in living their lives their way without their husbands getting in the way. The sub-continent is also a place where most marriages are arranged by the parents. These are viewed as economic relationships that have nothing to do with the heart.
Splitting up Is Considered Taboo In Many Societies’
There are a number of cases where couples are totally dissatisfied with their relationship and yet remain committed to it. This is simply because there is a stigma which is attached to the splitting up between couples.
This is especially the case in the subcontinent where an ancient mindset still exists among the population. The laws governing the marriage are archaic and are governed by personal laws of different religions. Under the circumstances, it becomes difficult to split up for both partners; they are left with no other option than to continue with the relationship.
Couples in a dysfunctional relationship may decide to continue for other reasons as well. Individuals growing up in a family where neglect and abuse are common could begin assuming that marriages are meant to be this way. Individuals suffering from low self-esteem may begin to believe they deserve the ill-treatment heaped upon them by their partner.
Various other reasons
Psychologists have the opinion that the best of marriages can have bad batches because of career changes or an illness of a family member. The birth of a child can also significantly reduce the relationship between the partners. However, the couple continues to remain committed to the relationship simply because they believe it is a temporary phenomenon.
[su_quote class=”cust-pagination”]“Marriage is like a series of opposing reflections, inverse images getting ever smaller like nesting dolls, each one of your trying to squeeze yourself smaller to fit inside the hopes of the other until one of you cracks or stops existing.” ― Jacob M. Appel[/su_quote]
One can come across a number of relationships where the partners are totally dissatisfied with their relationship but are staying together with a commitment for some reason. These couples could be relying on the theory of interdependence. Perhaps they believe that no alternatives exist for them.