Merriam-Webster defines “sham” as: 1) a trick that deludes: hoax, 2) cheap
falseness: hypocrisy, 3) an imitation or counterfeit purporting to be
genuine, and 4) a person who shams. If any of these definitions (or all
of them) describe your marriage, join the club.
As you read this, you may be one of the many unhappy spouses who have mastered
the fine art of “pretending” to spend every day in marital
bliss. Perhaps you deserve an Academy Award – and that’s saying
a lot. It’s not easy putting on a smiling face and acting like everything
is fine, when it’s not. It takes work to pretend like you have a
happy marriage when behind closed doors, it’s anything but.
Not sure if your marriage is a sham? Or, perhaps you’ve been in denial
all these years but your heart has been aching, yearning for something
more? Let’s take a look at the signs and symptoms of someone who’s
unhappily married but doing a great job putting on a “show”
for the outside world. Do any of these describe you?
- You go to bed next to your spouse fantasizing about being romantic with
other people, not your spouse.
- In your mind, you fantasize about being intimate with a neighbor, co-worker,
old friend, or someone you know from your church or community.
- Sometimes you despise your spouse and wish they would leave you or cheat
on you so you have a “reason” to file for divorce.
- You are happier when your spouse is not home.
- You resent your spouse for trying to control you.
- Given the choice, you’d prefer to travel with friends than with your
husband or wife.
- You are not attracted to your spouse anymore, but you’re definitely
attracted to other people and think about it constantly.
- Before going out someplace with your spouse, you get into heated arguments
but act like everything is okay when you’re in public.
- You no longer complain about your spouse to friends and family because
you don’t want them to know how unhappy you really are. You’d
prefer for them to think your marriage is intact.
- Sometimes, you can’t stand being in the same room as your spouse.
- You often think about how you’d be much happier if you were single.
- If it weren’t for money (or your kids), you would have divorced years ago.
- When talking to people, you say how happy your marriage is, while inside
you know you’re lying through your teeth.
- You hate it when your spouse’s birthday, Mother’s or Father’s
Day, or your anniversary rolls around because you have to say things you
don’t mean in cards you give your spouse. You feel the same about
glorifying your spouse on social media but you feel like you have to worship
them on Facebook and Instagram on those special days.
- If you have kids, you don’t want them to end up in a marriage like yours.
Can you relate to any of the above signs and symptoms of a fake marriage,
a sham? If so, you’ve probably had thoughts like, “I don’t
know why I stay. I’ll revisit divorce when the kids move out. Maybe
I should just cheat but stay married. Eventually, something has to give.
I don’t want to be a failure so I might as well remain unhappily
married.” If you’ve had these types of thoughts, you’re
The question is, should you stay unhappy or should you move on? Of course,
only you know the answer to that, but it is something to seriously consider
if your marriage is for lack of better words...a sham, a fraud. You could
be lying to your family, your kids, and worst of all, you could be lying
to yourself. But at what cost? Your happiness, your physical and psychological health?
How Stress Affects the Body
When you’re unhappily married and lying about it to everyone you
come across, you’re not in an ideal situation. For one, the stress
of being unhappily married is going to affect you emotionally and possibly
physically. The stress of a bad marriage can affect sleep patterns, it
can lead to weight gain or weight loss, and it can lead to anxiety, panic
attacks, and cardiovascular problems. For some people, the stress of a
bad marriage leads them directly to drugs or alcohol, or both.
Secondly, pretending to be happy is stressful. You could have just gotten
into a bad fight with your spouse but as you go to your spouse’s
Christmas party, or as you attend your child’s soccer game or dance
recital together, you have to put on a fake smile and act like you have
a great relationship, like you adore each other. Your spouse may even
demand that you “put on a show” whenever you step out your
front door – this gets exhausting!
“Stress symptoms may be affecting your health, even though you may
not realize it. You may think illness is to blame for that nagging headache,
your frequent insomnia or your decreased productivity at work. But stress
may actually be the culprit,” according to the
Stress, including stress from an
unhappy marriage, can affect your thoughts, your feelings, your behavior, and your health.
If stress is left unchecked, it can lead to serious health problems, such
as obesity, Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure.
Here are just some of the ways stress can affect you according to the Mayo Clinic:
- Chest pain
- Sleep disturbances
- Stomach issues
- A lack of focus or motivation
- Substance abuse
- Eating too much or too little
Are You Crazy or Emotionally Abused?
If your marriage is a sham and you’re tired of pretending like everything’s
okay, we invite you to
contact our firm to sit down with a Los Angeles
divorce attorney for free. In a confidential consultation, we’d be happy
to give you legal advice.