I Feel Trapped In My Marriage - What Should I Do?

Updated August 17, 2023by Regain Editorial Team

Feeling trapped in your marriage is immensely complex, difficult, and emotionally taxing. When most people get married, they do so because they believe they've found the one and are interested in living a long, happy life with that person. Of course, there are many marriages that do go well and last for a lifetime. However, this is not always the case and some people end up in situations where they feel trapped in a marriage.

Therapy Can Be Healing And Teach You Coping Techniques

If you feel like you are trapped in your marriage, it is very important for you to know and understand that you are not alone. Furthermore, you can find a solution and determine what to do next, even if you're unsure of what that entails in this moment. The good news is that you're already on the right track because you've acknowledged that you feel stuck and are interested in learning what you should do next.

A Quick Word on Marriages

All marriages go through ups and downs regardless of how great they may seem on the outside. Sometimes, it can be easy to look at someone else's marriage and believe that they and their spouse have everything all put together. The reality is that no marriage is perfect, but the ability to work through certain issues in a marriage can deepen the bond between spouses.

What to Do When You Feel Trapped in Your Marriage

Coming to the realization that you feel like you are trapped in a marriage can be quite scary and unsettling. Many people are led to believe that marriage is supposed to equal happily ever after; the truth of the matter is that sometimes it does and other times, it doesn't. No two marriages are precisely the same and people should not live their lives trying to outdo someone else's marriage or compete with other couples. It's not healthy and it doesn't lead to happiness or success.

Figure Out What is Making You Feel Trapped


When you feel like you are trapped in a marriage, the most important thing for you to do is to first figure out why. There is no correct answer to this question. However, identifying what's making you feel like you are trapped in a marriage can be very helpful in determining what your next step ought to be.

Are you feeling trapped because you're afraid to talk with your spouse about an important matter? What are the dynamics of your marriage like? Are you interested in remaining married or do you simply want to call it quits and get a divorce?

These can be tough questions to face and, by all means, take the time you need to arrive at the right answer. Once you've identified precisely why you feel stuck in a marriage, you can then determine what should come next.

Talk with Your Spouse

If you're unhappy and feeling trapped in your marriage, it's very important for your spouse to be aware of this. Marriage is a partnership between two people who love and care for each other; if something is wrong, your spouse should be the first to know about it.

When you approach your spouse, it's important to bring up the conversation in a way which will not cause them to become defensive. An example of this is "I feel like I am trapped in the marriage; XYZ is what's bothering me," versus "I feel like I am trapped being married to you; every time you do XYZ, it drives me crazy." As you can imagine, the first statement is much more conducive to explaining your feelings and effectively communicating with your spouse; whereas the alternative is much likelier to feel like an attack on your spouse and they may become closed off or defensive, neither of which is conducive to finding a solution.

Make Sure You Have Support Outside of the Marriage

Therapy Can Be Healing And Teach You Coping Techniques

Sometimes, it can be easy to feel like you are trapped in a marriage when you're lacking friendships and connections outside of your marriage. For the sake of your mental health and social wellbeing, your spouse should not be your only support system. This doesn't diminish them in any capacity whatsoever, but it is important to have a varied range of people who you can talk to, confide in, and depend upon in your life. Having this necessary support can often prevent or lessen you feeling as though you are trapped in your marriage; the right support systems are furthermore linked to reducing stress in your life.

If you're married to someone who discourages you from having connections and ties to anyone else besides themselves, this is a major red flag. In situations where this occurs, it's not uncommon for it to appear flattering in the beginning. However, healthy relationships and marriages are not possessive in this nature.

As a matter of fact, isolation or alienation from others is one of the most common tactics which abusive individuals employ prior to and during their mistreatment of their significant others. You and your spouse should trust one another enough to be okay with friendships and partnerships outside of the marriage.

Know When You Simply Need to Get Out

Feeling trapped in a marriage does not necessarily mean that you should immediately call things quits and get out. Sometimes, feeling imprisoned is a symptom of an underlying problem which can be properly addressed and moved on from. With that being said, there are certain times where you feeling imprisoned in a marriage is a clear sign that you need to get out for your own safety and wellbeing.

If you are fearful of your spouse, getting away from them as quickly and smoothly as possible is strongly advisable. You should never be afraid of the person you're married to; your spouse is supposed to be someone who you can trust and confide in. Once you've reached a place of being afraid of your spouse, this means that your instincts have kicked in to let you know that something is very wrong. Trust yourself and go with your gut. It may be hard now, but it could potentially save your life later on down the line.

Of course, if you've been subjected to abuse or mistreatment of any kind, getting out of the marriage is absolutely imperative. Even if the abuse seems "mild" now, it will most definitely escalate. Abusers have a tendency to start off "small," see what they can get away with and then gradually amp things up. If you're at the point of feeling trapped in your marriage due to abuse or mistreatment, your spouse wants you to feel this way. Abusers know what they're doing and they bank on the other party feeling too afraid to break free.

If you are facing or witnessing abuse of any kind, the National Domestic Violence Hotline is available. Call 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or Text "START" to 88788. You can also use the online chat.

A Quick Word on Breaking Free from a Marriage

Marriage problems come in all different shapes, forms and varieties. While feeling trapped in a marriage is a very clear indicator of a problem, some marriages are salvageable, and others are not. Regardless of whether your marriage falls into the former or latter category, it's important for you to know that you will be OK.

If you and your spouse are able to successfully work through things and reach a place where you are both happy and content in the marriage, that's great and this is an experience which you both can grow from and bond over. If the marriage cannot be saved and comes to an end, then that means that something better is waiting for you further down the line. This can be difficult to see when you're in the heat of the moment, but in the long run, escaping from a bad marriage is infinitely better than continuing to feel like you are trapped and helpless.

Additional Resources and Assistance

Navigating through the thick of things when you're feeling imprisoned in your marriage or going through other complications in life is no easy feat. It can be tempting to feel as though you're all alone with no one else to turn to, but you're not. There are resources and opportunities for assistance out there which can be of value to you and guide you as you venture through this part of your journey.

If you're open to it, signing up for online therapy with Regain can truly transform your life and bring new possibilities into your life. One of the greatest benefits of working with an online therapist is knowing that you're not alone. Additional upsides include getting a new outlook on your situation, having a trusted confidant to talk to, and knowing that you're making strides towards overcoming a setback.

Online therapy doesn't make problems disappear into thin air, but it does allow you to find the right solutions to these problems. This not only contributes to your growth as an individual, but it also helps you realize that you're capable of dealing with any challenges or obstacles which may present themselves to you.

Feeling imprisoned in a marriage or dealing with additional problems in the world can feel lonely, hopeless, and isolating. With a Regain online therapist in your corner, hope will be restored. You will also know that you're capable of rising above anything and that you're in great company.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is it normal to feel trapped in a marriage?
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