Would you leave a safe but unhappy marriage for a happier life? Would you have the strength to leave your husband or wife to have no regrets when you are on your dying bed? Would it make any difference that the partner you are thinking of leaving has been tolerant and supportive of you? I asked myself these questions after watching the last episode of House of Cards. (Warning: spoiler alert).
Yes, I know that Claire and Frank Underwood are fictional characters in a TV show, but Claire’s decision to walk away from it all left me with some soul-searching questions of my own. These are the questions I have asked you.
The underlying agreement of all married couples is to love and support one another, I have this in my marriage to John, so do Claire and Frank. But there is a difference – my real-life marriage is old-fashioned; the Underwoods modern. So, in my old-fashioned views of what I believe a marriage must be, Claire and Frank’s marriage has always fascinated me.
Claire and Frank are open about their indiscretions. I have watched them have a threesome with their security guard. Both have had extramarital affairs and they know each others secrets; she knew Frank murdered his mistress.
But Last night, I watched Claire listen to the quiet whispers of her angel telling her that life with Frank is safe but not fulfilling. She knew that she can never be truly happy if she stays married to him. So, she bravely walked out. Where Claire got the emotional strength from, I don’t know. But I believe that not having a child in the marriage must have made it an easier decision for her.
As you may know, marriage is an easy union to enter but hard to get out of. It is even harder for women because there is still a stigma attached to divorce. I believe this is one of the reasons some women still stay in an unhappy relationship.
To answer my questions to you, I am very lucky that I am in a safe and happy marriage. However, if today, my marriage becomes unbearable, I will not be walking out. I have always had the strength to cope with unhappiness but never the strength of walking away. In saying that, I may just have some strength in me that I am unaware of. Plus, I have not really been unhappy since I met John and had my daughters.
So, over to you. What are most afraid of when it comes to leaving a marriage or a partnership that no longer brings you joy? Is it financial fear? Do you feel powerless because you have become completely dependant on your husband?
Until recently, I was a stay-at-home mother. My husband, John, was the breadwinner and my daughters and I were solely dependant on him for everything. But unlike many stay-at-home mothers, I was and still am very involved in our finances. Also, luckily for me, John is not a power or money hungry man.
But people are capable of showing you a side of themselves when a union breaks down. Nene Leakes of The Real Housewife of Atlanta knows this too well. She claimed to have seen a different side of her ex-husband when they were getting a divorce. Some years later, when they re-married, she made him sign a prenuptial agreement before she walked down the aisle again with him. When asked why she wanted a prenuptial agreement signed, she explained that you will never really know the person you are with until you are in court.
For now, I am happy in my marriage and hopefully you are too. If it ever goes wrong, I hope we can walk away like Claire Underwood did.