5 Reasons Women Have Unhappy Toxic Second Marriages But Can’t Leave

Second Marriage | | , Writer
Updated On: July 19, 2024
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Famous TV actress Shweta Tiwari has recently spoken about how poisonous her second marriage was and why she decided to call it quits. While so many women find themselves in an unhappy marriage but can’t leave, Shweta brought domestic violence charges against her second husband Abhinav Kohli, separated from him and even filed an FIR.

Strong-willed Shweta said that there is no reason why women have to end up staying in an unhappy relationship, just because it is their second marriage. She said, “People are pointing at me and saying, ‘Oh! It didn’t work out the second time also?’ I would ask them, ‘Why? Problems can’t happen a second time?”

As Shweta points out, it’s better to walk out of a troublesome second marriage than to cheat or look for emotional sustenance somewhere else and yet stay in the toxic marriage for the sake of society

This brings us to why everyone can’t be as bold and sorted as Shweta when it comes to leaving a toxic marriage. Shweta Tiwari’s second marriage problems with Abhinav Kohli is a strong indicator that second nuptial innings can be harder, especially where stepchildren are involved. In Shweta Tiwari’s case, her husband was showing lewd videos to his stepdaughter Palak and directing derogatory remarks toward her.

But why does the unhappy marriage but can’t situation become more pronounced the second time around? Even when the signs of toxic marriage are apparent. We decode the dynamics of a second marriage and fresh beginnings for you.

5 Reasons Why Women Can’t Leave Unhappy Toxic Second Marriages

Divorce rates in India, when compared to other countries like the US or Britain, are really low. Even so, relatively more and more people are walking out of unhappy marriages today than even in the past. The divorce rates are higher among celebrities.

However, if a male celeb gets married thrice, it is acceptable. But when a female celeb decides to end her marriage a second time, even though it was a toxic marriage, the innuendo is that the problem must lie with her.

That is why women find it harder to move out of a toxic second marriage. Here are common social prejudices that put women in a place where they are acutely aware of their unhappy marriage but can’t leave:

Related Reading: 7 Reasons To Breakup Early Rather Than Be In An Unhappy Marriage

1. The blame is on her

If a woman decides to walk out of a marriage for the second time, the blame is always on her. It is always construed that she is too independent or not domesticated enough for the marriage to work.

As such, divorced women in India deal with a lot of social stigmas, but God helps the twice-divorced woman. She has to be strong both mentally and financially to deal with society, fight endless court battles and find her freedom.

toxic marriage
It is always construed that she is too independent or not domesticated enough for the marriage to work

2. Support system goes missing

Parents and siblings might be supportive when the first marriage breaks. But when a woman says that there are adjustment issues the second time too and thinks of leaving a toxic marriage, the reaction is, “Oh! No, not again. Don’t count on us this time.”

No matter how progressive and evolved a family is, they still cannot accept a second divorce. They want the woman to stay on in the second marriage and adjust in every way possible, even if there are clear signs of a toxic marriage.

3. They get used to the toxicity

After going through a toxic marriage the first time, when women are hit with the toxicity of the second one, they begin to accept it as a given. They start treating the toxic situation as normal and make peace with their fate.

It is not easy to have a successful second marriage, but it is very painful not to find happiness a second time. Along with that comes the resolution that no matter what, she will make it work. Even when it does not work, women keep trying and trying harder till the toxicity becomes a part of the system and they feel even leaving a toxic marriage is not going to make their life any better.

Related Reading: Second Marriage After 40 – What to Expect

4. Women suffer from self-doubt

Women bring the insecurities and baggage of their first marriage into the second one. They keep telling themselves that they should not make the same mistakes they made earlier. When things don’t go as planned and the tiffs start, women start grappling with self-doubt.

They keep blaming themselves for the issues in their relationship. They feel the fault must lie with them somewhere if things aren’t working out for the second time and continue to stay in the unhappy marriage but can’t leave.

second marriage
Self-doubt and self-blame when second marriage hits troubled waters

5. Intimacy issues

If lack of sex led to the first divorce and it continues to be a problem in the second marriage as well, the issue can be extremely hard to resolve. A woman wrote to us saying both her husbands were impotent and when she told her family about that, they told her she was the sexually needy one.

These are the reasons women keep on struggling in the second marriage and lack the strength to take the resolution to walk out of a toxic marriage for the second time.

In fact, in Indian society, second marriages are often arranged matches to ensure financial security and protection for women. In a scenario like that, it is harder to take the second marriage to court. As a result, women keep suffering silently yet continue to stay in an unhappy marriage but can’t leave.

It’s time to leave a toxic marriage?

If you are a wife who is stuck in an unhappy marriage but can’t leave, we tell you what exactly you can do to take control of your life again:

  • First and foremost, you need to build a safety net for yourself and plan how you are going to deal with the transition post leaving a toxic marriage
  • Then, you need to start carving a path out for yourself to be financially independent before quitting a toxic marriage
  • The third thing to do is to confide in a trusted family member or friend who you trust to understand your situation. This confidante can be a savior who comes to your rescue if you feel threatened
  • Also, it’s equally important to seek professional help to help you recover from this toxic marriage. Therapy can be of great help in helping you deal with the trauma and emotional exhaustion of not one but two failed marriages
  • It’s important that you cut all ties with your ex as soon as you decide on leaving a toxic marriage. Toxic partners can be quite cunning and capable of emotionally manipulating you or using your children as leverage to keep you stuck in the hell hole
  • And finally, give time to yourself. Indulge in self-love, give yourself ample time to recover from this setback


1. Why do most Second Marriages Fail?

The failure rate of a second marriage is actually higher than you can imagine. There may be quite a few reasons behind it, one of the predominant ones being financial problems due to issues like child support and spousal maintenance payments. Uncomfortable questions and comparisons, especially on the intimacy front, can also become a sore point in the marriage. Stepchildren, multiple sets of in-laws, and of course ex-partners tend to become divisive factors in any second marriage.

2. Is it better to stay in an unhappy second marriage or get divorced?

Getting a divorce is definitely a healthier choice than being stuck in an unhappy marriage, irrespective of whether it is your first or second. You will have a stronger chance to meet the right person, you can devote your time and energy to your personal growth, both you and your kids will be happier and your health – both physical and mental – will improve.

3. What are the signs of a toxic marriage?

There are various signs of a toxic marriage that you may be voluntarily or involuntarily overlooking in your second marriage. These might be – your opinions are muted, you rarely take your own decisions, compromise is a regular thing, your efforts to grow are stunted, there are various secrets, you are isolated from friends and family, your privacy and personal space are violated, you feel insecure and threatened, intimacy is obsolete and many more. We request you to take a stand and come out of a toxic marriage as it’s never too late to press the reset button and start afresh.

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