News Flash: Bad Marriages are Bad for Hearts!

I know scientific studies are funded so we can have “evidence” of things, but, really, how obvious does something have to be for that study’s evidence to be a waste of everyone’s time and money?

Case in point: A study in Great Britain has now deduced that unhappy marriages (or relationships) are bad for your heart.

Oh, okay. Good to know. So, when the sound of my lover’s voice makes my cringe, when I dislike being in their presence, when the sex isn’t hitting any of the right spots, when I’m looking for stupid chores to do to keep me out of the house for longer, these are all indications that maybe, just maybe, I’m under so much stress from the unhappiness that my heart might finally decide to disagree with my choices in an overwhelming kind of way? This is a bad thing?

Doh! Who knew!

Of COURSE doing things you dislike, being with people you dislike, living a life that feels like a lie are all things that’ll send your heart around the arrhythmia bend. Like who needs a fucking memo?

All the unhappy people living lives that make them unhappy, I guess. Here’s your wakeup call: Wake the fuck up. DING-ding-DING. Life is short! Live it the right way as soon as you’re fuckin’ able, ‘cos it’s all too damned short! Anything you’re doing that makes you unhappy is something that maybe needs undoing, all right? Common sense, isn’t it.

Look at me — six months in a job I hated and I’ve managed to gain back 15 lbs, let my house go in a complete disarray, fell out of touch with everyone, developed an overwhelmingly negative mindset, and lost focus on everything that used to be important to me. SIX MONTHS! That’s all it took! Granted, there were a couple years of instability before that, but the six months of doing something I just couldn’t handle doing really took their toll on me, and FAST.

It’s one thing to be unhappy while you’re chasing your dreams, but it’s another thing to have given up on everything and force yourself to live a life because you “chose” your path when you said yeah at the altar. Hello? What’s the statute of limitations on stupid decisions? Oh, right! There is none!

If you’re staying in a relationship or a marriage because the alternative strikes you as being “too hard”, well, maybe you should consider the ramifications of living with a daily sense of dread that you’re trapped and life holds no options for you. Yeah, change is hard. For a little bit. Then it improves. But staying in a shitty situation because you feel obligated? Well, that continues to suck ass for every fucking day you allow it to continue longer than needs be.

Me, I’ve used my failed job as an example of how far from a number of things I once loved that I’ve now strayed, and I’m using it as a reason to recalibrate everything in my life… but it’s only when we realize how far we’ve fallen that we can see the distance we need to travel. I’m not the first person to observe that, and I won’t be the last. Hell, Sufi mystics have been saying same for centuries now.

I just don’t get how some hundreds of thousands of dollars (or pounds) need to have been tossed frivolously into the “scientific study” pit to realize that unhappiness is bad for our health. There’s something for the “no shit, Sherlock” files, eh? Unhappiness hurts. Goddamned right it does.

Living in bad times because we’re too afraid to change our course is as sad a decision as it sounds. It’s pathetic, but god knows many of us are guilty. I was. You’re not doing anyone in your life any favours by sticking around for them when you’re no longer who you were back when you made those promises. I mean, if you’re bitter inside and resentful of the life you lead, how can you possibly delude yourself into thinking no one else is picking up on it — or, worse, that no one else is affected by it? What you claim you’re doing for everyone else’s benefit is likely hurting them as much as it’s hurting you, but y’all are too close to the picture to see any of the detail clearly, ironically.

Relationships are a crap shoot. We hope like hell that the person we’ve fallen for will be able to change and grow in ways that we can mirror. But when they don’t, and we can’t, then how is it doing anyone any good to stick it out?

I’m the product of a marriage that stayed together long after its expiration date. I’ve learned from the best (thanks, Mom! thanks, Dad!) how to avoid the truth, how to lie about feelings, how to suppress what’s inside in order to just get through a day. I learned from them that there were obligations and there were wants, and wants always took a backseat to obligation. Those are the legacies passed on to me by my parents, and at 34, I’ve spent my life trying to unlearn all those debilitating things they taught me.

Think of the consequences of your lack of ability to act for better change. Think of what you’d say if your best friend, or better yet, your child, one day came up and laid out a tale for you of similar particulars as the ones holding you back. Would you tell them they deserve better? Would you explain you know they can handle anything that comes their way? Now why don’t you deserve the same?

If you want to read the rocket-science brilliance behind this scientific study, then have at ‘er. Click here. Meanwhile, do what you wanna do today and enjoy yourself.

(Oh, and before it sounds like I’m advising everyone to drop everything that makes ’em unhappy and run for the hills, then screw on some common sense, bub. Obviously cutting-and-running is a last choice. Face your unhappiness, do what can be done to improve it, and if improvements don’t do it, then maybe it’s time to just cut your losses and leave town. There are steps you take. There are books that can guide ya. Look for ’em. Consider your options. But know this: You are far from trapped. You only choose to be trapped. Time to make new choices.)

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