Millions of individuals are stuck in an unhappy marriage but will not walk away for fear of financial or emotional hardship, research has revealed.
The study, which polled 2,000 married people, showed that one fifth feel 'trapped' and would only divorce if financial security was guaranteed.
One quarter of married people are no longer ‘in love’ with their partner, 15% wish they had married someone else altogether and three in10 have considered ending their marriage or spending time apart.
When quizzed on the cause of unhappiness in their relationships responses differed between men and women.
Men blamed a frustrated sex life, while women said they had ‘too little fun’ and ‘too much worry over money’.
The research, commissioned by lawyers Slater & Gordon, also revealed one third of the women studied had considered ending their marriage.
Women were most likely to cite a fear of being unable to cope financially as their biggest reason for not separating, while men were most worried about the impact it would have on the family.
“There is still a prevailing attitude in society that you should stay together no matter how unhappy you are," said Amanda McAlister, head of family law at Slater & Gordon.
“Obviously divorce should always be the last course of action a couple takes, but the idea of hundreds of couples staying together despite being miserable because they worry about struggling financially is really sad to hear."
She added: “The reality is that divorce can be a liberating experience and studies have shown that children are happier if their parents are happy.”
Top 10 reasons for putting off divorce include:
1. Not sure I have the courage
2. I might regret it
3. I’m hoping things will improve
4. It would have too big an impact on the family/ need to stay together for the kids
5. I wouldn’t be able to sustain myself financially
6. I wouldn’t want to leave my home or have to sell the family house
7. I’m too old to walk away now
8. I would feel guilty leaving them
9. I’m scared to be on my own
10. I’m worried about being lonely