Post # 1
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard this. Couples who are so beyond miserable with each other are staying together just because they have children. I understand that having a nuclear family is important but so is everyones happiness. My mother and I left my father because it was the absolute best decision for us. There were other extenuating circumstances but mostly, she was just so unhappy. No-one should have to live in such misery just for the sake of their children. Kids aren’t stupid. Most know that their parents hate each other. I know people whose parents stuck it out until they were in college and then split. Most of them wished that they would have done it a long time ago and sparred them years of unhappiness. As a child of divorce (or rather, “seperation” in my case since my father has YET to sign the papers – it’s been 15 years!), it’s not the worst thing in the world for parents to split up. I was SO much better off after we left my dad. If my parents would have stayed together, my life wouldn’t have panned out at all like it has.
DH has a co-worker who HATES his wife (and from what we hear, the feelings are mutual). So much so that he talks about killing her and swears up and down that all marriages are miserable. When DH tells him that we’re actually quite happy he always says “give it a few years”. DH has told him on numerous occasions that if he’s so unhappy he should divorce her but naturally he pulls the “kids” card. If this guy is as genuinely miserable as he makes it seem, I can only imagine what his home life is like. I told DH that if he ever gets to the point where he hates me with every fiber of his being (like this guy seems to feel about his wife) then I want him to divorce me, regardless of whether or not we have children. Obviously if our relationship has gone that far downhill, there’s no coming back. I doubt his co-worker is going to wake up one day and all of a sudden love his wife. I wouldn’t want my children to witness our hatred towards each other. If you ask me, that’s far worse than just parting ways. Two happy and indepenant parents are better than shit loads of dysfunction and misery.
Now, I say all of this without knowing what it feels like to be a parent. I just like to assume that I’ll still have the same mentality if my life ever goes in that direction. I like to think that I’d be strong enough to leave but I guess I can’t really know until I’m in that situation. I just know that for me, my mother having the courage to leave changed my life for the better. Things weren’t always easy but she’s a god damn super hero. I’d hope that I’d be able to provide the same for my child if my relationship fell apart.
What are your thoughts on the “just staying together for the kids” mentality? Especially parents, would you stay if you were that unhappy?
ETA: Before anyone questions the “killing” part, DH seems to think he’s kidding about that so he’s not concerned that this guy is really going to go home and kill his wife.
Post # 3
As a child with parents who had a super toxic relationship and chose to “stay together for the kids” I freaking THREW A PARTY for my mother when she finally divorced my dad last year.
Post # 4
I think it’s a tough issue and a touchy subject for a lot of people. It also seems like most parents underestimate the tension that the kids pick up on. For a while, my parents got and stayed married for the kids and it was miserable. Home life was awful because of all the fighting/arguing and neither parent was ever really at their best due to frustration over being trapped in a loveless marriage. Personally I think kids are a lot smarter than most people give them credit for and it’s better to be honest with them about the situation instead of hiding it and making everyone miserable. While some people may disagree, divorce is not necessarily bad for children.
Post # 5
I wouldn’t want my children to witness our hatred towards each other. If you ask me, that’s far worse than just parting ways.
I couldn’t agree more. Staying together “for the children” is not beneficial to the children in any way. When my parents finally divorced when I was in high school it was the best thing that could have happened for our family.
Post # 6
I agree with you completely. Our first child is due in July so I don’t know for sure yet but I went through this. My parents fought, barely communicated, didn’t get along ever, and pretty much never showed affection. I would rather them have divorced when I was small then waiting until I was 19 like they did and I honestly believe both of them would be much happier even now if they had been separated for longer. It also affected their relationship with me as they didn’t want to spend time together so I had to figure out how to spend time with each one in the same house without the other feeling alienated. I felt stuck in the middle all the time. I don’t know how strong I’d be to leave the situation if it came up but I do know how it affected me and I would never want to put our kids through that.
Post # 7
My parents stuck it out until I left for college (brother was in high school). They weren’t fooling either of us. I do think in some sense that my brother and I benefitted from them staying together. I hate splitting holidays now and it would have been worse as a kid, and I know we would have gone on fewer vacations since money would have been tighter. I really don’t know if it would have been better if they’d split earlier, it wasn’t super contentious in my house. I think I’d get divorced if I ended up in a similar situation but who knows.
Post # 8
@UpstateCait: I hear ya, Cait! I don’t understand the reasoning behind staying together when you’re miserable either. Life is too short and you should do what is right for yourself and your family. Children are very aware of tension between their parents and should have the opportunity to witness a decent, loving relationship. ~ I went to dinner with a Girlfriend last night that has been married for 12 years and has 4 children. I can not tell you how upsetting it was to see her cry as she shared how her husband purposely makes her life miserable (he makes her feel isolated, is no help, puts her down constantly, etc.). She wants to move forward, but fears what will happen if she were to get divorced and/or leave him because she doesn’t have a job and has no money (since she’s a stay at home Mom). I have no clue how long this will continue. So sad!
Post # 9
I agree! My parents did the stay together for the kids thing and I spent a lot of my youth wishing they would have just gotten divorced!
Post # 10
We have lots of friends who you can tell are totally miserable together. One couple in particular, really dislike each other. They very rarely even talk to each other and maybe go out together once every other month. She has told me that they’ve had sex approx 5 times in the last 2 years. I always ask her why she doesn’t get divorced and she tells me because of the kids.
Meanwhile, last week her 2 year old said “Mommy your stupid” when I said we don’t say that it’s mean, she replied “Daddy says that”. Fantastic! I can see why she would stay. Obviously, it’s what’s best for her kids. Ugh.
I wouldn’t stay, however, I also put my marriage first. My children are not put before my husband. I strongly believe nurturing my marriage is what’s best for my children and lots of people disagree with me on that one too. I think lots of couples let their marriages go to crap because they start living for their kids and forget about each other.
Post # 11
It’s refreshing to see these like minded opinions!
Post # 12
Agh, one of my best friends who have known from high school so over 20 years now is in this situation. He and his wife don’t even live together due to his job is 4 hours away from where the house they bought is. He lives in apt in the town where his job is and “goes home” every other weekend. His job entails him working all kinds of odd hours and weekends. They have 3 children one who has special needs.
He and his wife really can’t stand each other and I have said for years now he should really leave but he always comes back he stays for the kids. She is a SHAM and he works like a dog trying to pay all the bills plus the medical expenses that their insurance doesn’t cover. I don’t ever see him leaving her even though they both are unhappy.
Post # 13
@mwitter80: I also put my marriage first. My children are not put before my husband. I strongly believe nurturing my marriage is what’s best for my children
I agree with that as well.
Post # 14
I think it’s crazy. Either get counseling and work it out, or get a divorce. Do you really want your kids’ primary example of a relationship/marriage to be your unhappy marriage?
Post # 15
I totally agree with you. Without a healthy marriage there is no “family”.
Post # 16
2nd that! I used to watch Dr. Phil a lot (before we had more than 6 channels) and one of his biggest things was telling couples they needed to put the marriage before the kids. Said the best thing for the kids is knowing they have stability and a loving environment to live in.