When Is It Healthier to Leave a Bad Marriage?

Lawyers for Divorce, Illinois

What are the consequences of staying in a bad relationship longer than you should?  While no one wants to go through a divorce, if your marriage is really on the rocks, new research shows that staying in a miserable marriage can actually be bad for your health, far worse than striking out on your own.

According to a long-term study of 373 married couples conducted by the universities of Nevada and Michigan, constant strife and arguments about core issues such as children, money, in-laws and leisure activities, all negatively activate the release of stress hormones. This has negative consequences that include inflammation in the body, changes in appetite regulation, and compromise of the immune system.

Researchers in England have found that people in unhappy marriages are at higher risk for depression, high blood pressure and heart disease and do not heal as well after an injury or illness. Mental health is affected as well, as unhappily married people also suffer from lower self-esteem and higher psychological distress than those who are happily married.


Divorce, dividing property, spousal support and other family law issues are emotionally charged issues that are life-changing for everyone, but if you are in a stress-producing marriage, cutting the cord from your spouse may be the best long-term solution.  At this emotionally difficult time, it makes sense to consult an experienced family law attorney to help you deal with the issues and avoid mistakes.


The seasoned and compassionate Illinois family law attorneys at Wolfe & Stec, Ltd. always focus on our clients’ needs and feelings, and we work to clarify and resolve the financial and emotional issues they are facing in the most effective and efficient manner. We offer a free consultation to help you find the best solution for your individual situation.  Call or contact us online today for your free consultation.


Negative Effects of Staying Together

Even if your marriage is so bad that you are constantly fighting or walking on eggshells, “mend it, don’t end it” has been the generally accepted philosophy about marriage in our society.  And even if you manage to avoid fights, therapists have found that couples that are conflict-avoidant are just as likely as fighting couples to face relationship difficulties, if not more so. As a result, in situations where couples are truly miserable or there is abuse, neglect or serial infidelity, many people don’t walk away soon enough and their health is seriously affected.

The following are ways that a bad marriage can negatively affect your health.

  • Increased Risk of Depression, Anxiety and Anger — People who feel stuck in a bad marriage and are too insecure to leave wind up getting depressed, feeling anxious, losing self-esteem and feeling angry about their situation.
  • Increased Risk of Heart Disease — Researchers have found that stress (including marital stress) equals the negative effects of other risk factors, like physical inactivity and smoking. This stress increases high blood pressure, cholesterol and obesity, which in turn increases your risk of heart disease and stroke.
  • Disturbed Sleep — Tension from fights and being angry and upset leads to inability to relax and get a good night’s sleep. Lack of sleep negatively affects health.
  • Increased Risk of Diabetes — Chronic stress increases blood sugar levels and raises the level of stress hormones, which can cause the body, over time, to become insulin-resistant and develop Type II Diabetes.
  • Increased Rate of Obesity — You eat more when you are upset or stressed, so it’s no wonder that you put on weight.  Also, studies have shown that chronic stress affects the way that your body metabolizes high-fat foods and leads to weight gain.
  • Slower Healing and More Illness — Couples who are stressed and upset don’t heal as quickly as others if they have surgery or injuries. Those in bad marriages get sick more often due to chronic stress that leaves the body more vulnerable to illness and infections.
  • Increased Bad Health Habits – People seeking relief from the pain of a bad marriage may turn to binging on food, drink or drugs in an effort to feel better.


If you are considering leaving a bad marriage, there are many factors you need to consider, both financial and emotional. Every marital situation is different and has to be evaluated on an individual basis, but if your unhealthy marriage is affecting your health, it is a major reason to look at ending it. The health of your children may also be negatively affected by their parents’ fighting and antagonism. In many situations, both children and divorced spouses find they are better off living in separate homes.

There is help available for anyone considering getting out of a bad marriage. An experienced family law attorney can provide legal guidance from the beginning to help you examine your issues, prevent making costly mistakes, and walk you through the entire process.

The skilled and compassionate Illinois family law attorneys at Wolfe & Stec, Ltd. know the laws, the courts and the system and can guide you through every aspect of your divorce to eliminate as much stress as possible. We believe it is best to deal with divorce issues amicably and settle outside of court if possible. However, if necessary, we will aggressively represent our clients’ interests in court.

Don’t delay. For a free initial consultation, contact us online or call our offices today.

Attorney Natalie Stec

Natalie M. Stec, born and raised in Illinois, and earned her Bachelor of Science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Her practice has been concentrated in significant pre and post decree marital and family law cases; including custody, visitation, support, and paternity matters. She has important criminal defense experience in both misdemeanor and felony cases. She is a very dedicated and passionate litigator. [ Attorney Bio ]