When to throw the towel in……..

Over the past few years since joining chat sites I have spoken to many people who are in marriages that are long past there sell by date...........and it has to be said they have all been men.........the reasons they give are family, financial or their wife has become ill and now rely on them for support.......family, as in children even now they are adults, but don't want to upset them by splitting the family, grandchildren to consider....financial because they couldn't afford to leave and set up another home elsewhere.......even losing the friends circle was a reason..........one close friend of mine said some men will stay in a rocky marriage because the sex is good, I cannot quite get my head around that one because speaking as a women I know that would be the last thing on my agenda in a bad or stale marriage .........but I do appreciate men are wired up differently from  the fairer sex.........so what's the solution........do they stay put and look elsewhere......... a friend of mine once met a man who still lived with his wife but they communicated by passing notes to each other........he remained in the family home because he had an adult son with learning difficulties who he was devoted to, what a dilemma...........do you go for broke and try and build a new life, maybe find some peace and contentment........or do you put your life on hold..........hard call.......

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Published in Home & Family


  1. Faye

    I say get out!! Kids, no matter what age they are, aren’t totally stupid and they sense when things aren’t right. Some kids will ignore what they see while others will develop behavioural problems and play one parent off against the other because their parents are not working together on their upbringing….neither is good for the child or for the marriage for that matter. Many will work at saving a marriage but, unless they are both working at it, it won’t happen. Getting out is scary and having to begin again is tough but it is better than just existing with someone who you could eventually come to hate. If it gets to the stage of deciding whether to leave or not you have to remember YOU are the important person here…regardless of if you have a family or not.

    1. starlette Post author

      In full agreement with you there Faye……..I speak with people who endured an unhappy childhood and without question they say it has left them with many hang-ups as adults……..lack of confidence, mistrust towards others, low self esteem,unable to talk things through with their spouses in a sensible coherent manner, always resorting to shouting and slanging matches, even physical blows……….. some parents have a lot to answer for………hopefully the cycle is broken somewhere along the line….

  2. Sansoar

    I look at this question from a couple of personal experiences. My mom and dad are very religious and stayed in an unhappy marriage until just before their 50th wedding anniversary. My siblings and I sure wish they would have divorced earlier. They had a very unfulfilling marriage for so many years. Perhaps, one or both of them would have had happier senior years if they would have made the decision earlier.

    As for me, my children were understanding and in support of my divorce from their dad about 26 years ago. They knew that we had grown far apart and wanted very different things in life. Two of my three kids have a good relationship with their day which I have always encouraged.
    My belief is that if we are honest with children, according to their developmental level, and strive to support a rich relationship with both parents, children’s understanding of the importance of strong relationships is strengthened.

    Life is so short… I believe we owe it to ourselves and our families to strive to promote loving, supportive and fulfilling relationships. Hopefully the next generation will do a better job of ending unhappy relationships with mutual respect and kindness.

  3. starlette Post author

    Hello Sansoar, religion and divorce doesn’t always go hand in hand I am led to believe, many have stayed in unhappy marriages because of the teachings of the Church………..although divorce is a very sad time it can be prevented from becoming bitter, again that is all dependent on how it is handled by the parents………you obviously handled it well by being open and honest with your children and encouraging relationships with their father, how often the opposite is done, the father is painted as being something spawned by the devil ( in some cases that may be true )………life is indeed far to short, the other day I read a line someone had written and it sticks with me……………I never thought I would grow old so fast……..

  4. roseinbloom

    Marriages usually end too easily, yet some marriages are grossly abusive and some dysfunctional and not much of a marriage at all, so what can we say about which marriages should continue and which ones should end?

    1. starlette Post author

      People have different things that they will tolerate for whatever reason………we can only give our thoughts and advice on this after having been in that situation, the child of a unhappy relationship or know someone who was or is in this situation……..sure we all know someone who stuck it out or got out………..the thing is in a lot of cases it has on a knock on affect for the children……….so in my reckoning you have to make yourself happier and more content, and this can only be beneficial for the children……

  5. vonMichael

    Hello again desr Star,

    the main reason for a divorce is the marriage itself. Wise words come in this point from your country .
    Every human develops with its time in life. means gains new view, gets new experiences, discovers new sides of the partner a.s.o. During WW2 people have
    learnd to compromise on even substantial things of life. But today there is no
    need to compromise… everything is so easy to get…. and even the answer to the question why not starting a new life under different conditions???

    Let me give you a little example; my car is more than 10 years old, the
    manufacturer informs me about the newest models which come on the market
    and ask me to get one of them. I’ve tried to explain it to him that I’m very satisfied with my type of car and I know what I have, but I don’t know what I will get.

    Sure I can’t compare a car with a human but I have never let any other person step into my comfort zone and I will not do it in the future.

    Sorry if I have disappointed you with my view on this topic but my walk through life seems to be a bit different to many other people.xxxM

    1. starlette Post author

      Hello Michael, I am never disappointed with anyone’s view………..its good to see other peoples perspective on life’s events……..I think what you are saying is………..if its not broke don’t fix it, I quite agree if your happy enough with the model you have no need to change it……… if its well and truly knackered then maybe time to throw the towel in………and in all fairness not all would want to go on to find another model, they could well have had enough of the crotchety dead beat last one…….lol……xxx

    2. Drummer

      Good Morning Michael – As usual you see to have hit the nail on the head (so to speak) I think may starlette summed it up very succinctly with the comment “If it aint broke, don’t fix it”
      Kind regards drummer

  6. starlette Post author

    You write English very well……..you wouldn’t like to see my attempts at writing German, was difficult enough when I was trying to learn the spoken word let alone the written one……..xxx

  7. roseinbloom

    Michael, to use your car analogy, My friend has a 3 year old car and trades it for a brand new one similar model and same color. He has a 14 year old pickup that he still uses and really likes. What possessed him to just up and trade in the car for a new model. I don’t think he knows. Maybe the older car just does excite him anymore. I hope you get the point. Some men or women are satisfied with their cars and then, one day another one catches their fancy and they can afford the upgrade.
    In marriages, some are as satisfied as they make up their mind to be, other marriages just break down or crumble at the first bump and are totaled.

  8. roseinbloom

    I forgot to mention that some people just got lemons, bad cars, from the shop even if the car was all shiny and rich looking, they kept breaking down for no reason and were almost totally unreliable and you felt you were doing something wrong and then you just decided to dump the car and you had a better chance with a different car.
    Get rid of the car if it is no longer dependable or trustworthy or you will be cursing yourself for being a fool a lot and lose most of your self respect because deep down you know that only a fool would put up with that car.

  9. starlette Post author

    Sometimes we are more attracted to the sleek shiny models, but its what’s under the bonnet that counts……..how dependable and enduring……..give me an old banger any day, can keep patching it up with the Gaffer tape….lol…….good for a few more years……..

  10. vonMichael

    Good Morning Star,

    thank you for your view on my comment. What I was going to explain ( describe )
    is the term of planned obsolescence which we meet in every single item we buy
    every day. This term stands behind a washing machine, a dishwasher or even the
    light bulb we need. Getting old or used up in a certain time of use is the idea that stands behind for making the turnover.

    And if we are honest human beings get used up by the time. One more and faster
    than the other and for many people it makes sence to change the partner when
    time gets more difficult instead of solving any problem together.

    I think that procedure explains it in total. They forget the circle we all live in;
    it is impossible to solve a problem cos any solution opens the avenue to a new

    Thank you Star for your indulgence concerning my writing mistakes. XxxM

  11. vonMichael

    The point, the point is different Rose at least with us here in Germany.

    A groomed car has the chance of becoming an oldtimer with more value than a
    new one.

    I drive a Mercedes built in 2014 with less electronics on board than the latest models
    have. That means at the end, my car will be more reliable than the new ones. And on
    top of this, a repair it can be fixed faster and less expensive by a mechanic and neither
    electronic equitment nor a electronics technician is been needed to do the job.

    1. roseinbloom

      Michael, that is interesting, but can we compare that to relationships. I think we got way off the subject. Staying in a marriage is usually cheaper than divorcing. The old saying “two can live as cheaply as one” is very true. Two people can also thrive better together than alone. Maybe the “old model” requires less expensive maintenance.
      You have a very nice car, and I hope you have a wife of equal quality.

      1. starlette Post author

        Rose do you think that in a discontented marriage that anyone could thrive ?……..I very much doubt it unless they remained friends and had an agreement set up to both go their own way, including having relationships outside of the marriage………

        1. roseinbloom

          Starlette, I don’t know if people can thrive in a discontented marriage, but most marriages are discontented to some extent. If there is clearly disrespect and a lack of commitment, or other major issues, I would not stay. Though there is the other side of the issue, where people just focus on flaws and ignore all that is good and decent about a person.

  12. davidrv

    Hi starlette.
    I had put my life on hold, for my children. Being with them was more important than the relationship I had with my wife, their mother.
    I’ve always said that if there’s no abuse in the marriage, stick with it until the children are older and ready to be on their own. Then they will not be used as pawns in the breakup. I’ve seen that happen too many times.
    If there’s no children involved, what holding anyone back? Your image?

  13. starlette Post author

    Hello David, as long as the children are not picking up on any bad vibes and your not desperately unhappy then that could be the way to go……….what stops people leaving when there are no longer any children to hold them back………well in one case I know it was when the man was all set to leave and his wife became ill, so being the good man he is he felt that as the mother of his children he could not abandon her……..that was a tough call, but he figured he wouldn’t be happy living with the guilt of leaving her when she needed him………if not in the way he would have liked…..

  14. Drummer

    Hello Starlette – I am in a quandary – this morning I received advice of a message from Von Michael and one from you, and as has happened occasionally before – Replied to Michael(he being the first of the two names listed) but when I came to reply to you – the link had disappeared – so I have no idea what your message was. Can I ask you, please – to send it again so I can respond. Kind regards Drummer

    1. starlette Post author

      Hello Drummer, I haven’t sent you a private message, I did comment on your question re payment for prescriptions and that is still there….

  15. Drummer

    Thanks for your response Starlette – funny I can’t find your original comment anywhere – its very off as I have had it
    happen before – maybe I am doing something wrong. Hope you are keeping well. Kind regards Drummer

  16. Cassowary

    This is an interesting discussion. From my own perspective I stayed in my marriage for way past its use-by date. I stayed for the kids, I stayed for financial reasons, I stayed because my ex is not a bad person. None of these reasons was a good one for staying. I was miserably unhappy for years and it affected my kids and me in very many negative ways. I wish I had gotten out earlier (marriage lasted 20 years) – I have been separated for 18 months but feel like all my good years are behind me, I have no financial basis for retirement, I think my kids could have had a happier (if not as financially stable) life etc etc … it really is impossible to know what to do sometimes and for every person the right thing will be different.

    1. roseinbloom

      Cassowary, you do not know the result of a different choice. The problems could have been worse, or better. I hope you have the strength and luck to build a new and better life for yourself. It is possible.

  17. starlette Post author

    Hello Cassowary, hindsight is a wonderful thing……..you did what you did at the time for the reasons you stated, even if they did turn out to be the wrong ones, financial security is paramount to enable us to make sound decisions, your kids benefited from that so that was something at least…………unfortunately you now don’t have it, women very often give up a lot thinking they will always be provided for, but in many cases this is not so……….hope things take a turn for the better financially for you……..you could have many happy years in front of you, life takes some mysterious turns……would you really trade in your present life for your past one……….big price to pay for money in your pocket…….

  18. bathchairdave

    Most men only stay around as long as it suits them (giving a bit of pull and tug) We are all still a bit “hunter/fisher” Men and women stay around for ancient reasons. Will my son be a good bow maker? – yippee – I will wait a while. Lets not forget that women have the same tendencies. My mate the bow maker makes lousy bows – I need protection for my little bow maker, who will make great bows. Bubba the local maker of poor beer, and gives credit to boot, jumps in. DEAL DONE

    1. starlette Post author

      I will have to get my cryptic clue head on to decipher that one….lol………so cos Bubba gives credit you don’t mind drinking poor beer ?…..

        1. starlette Post author

          Oh I get it now….I think……..Bubba is a man lurking waiting to pounce on vulnerable women……..what’s a female Bubba called a Bubbless………she could be a women who picks up on sad vibes from a man in a less than a happy marriage and takes advantage to bag someone else’s man……..cheers……. I don’t do Meths either……luvs ya back…..

  19. idigdirt

    This isn’t simplistic. The dynamics are different in every relationship. Perhaps some throw in the towel too soon, ie: today’s disposable society. Long term marriages that end are a very different ball of wax. Why would someone divorce at say…62? 75? Because their life depends on it.

    I’ve had people say to me, couldn’t you just wait till he dies? No.

    I am 62 and my divorce is about to be finalized. This process has been more than grueling. But staying would have limited my days this side of the ground.

    When couples divorce after a long term marriage one of the parties finally comes to the realization that they deserve better. It took me years and years. Over 20. I was beaten down but kept on trying. Until my health was compromised.

    Through extensive counseling and a supportive tribe, I’m almost on the other side of this nightmare.

  20. starlette Post author

    Hello idigdirt………all circumstances are different, all tolerance levels are not the same……..we can only know when we have had enough in a marriage/relationship………really not good to get to the point when your health is suffering………you have done the right thing, pity you were not able to do it sooner……but all the very best for your future……..it can only be better than your past…….