Jump to content

Staying in a Bad Marriage for the Kids Sake


Juliana
 Share

Recommended Posts

This came up in another thread, and I think it's a really interesting question, because we are now a generation that has grown up with divorce. The adults today are the children of the divorces of the seventies and eighties. The attitude that "whatever is good for the parents is good for the children" seems to have been replaced by an awareness that divorce is a wounding experience for the entire family, and an uncertainty about the long-term consequences for our kids.

 

I came from a difficult/unusual upbringing, and have really not formed an opinion on this, but would be interested in your thoughts.

 

Would you stay in a bad marriage, or would you leave? Under what circumstances would you leave, if you did?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

There is probably nothing most people wouldn't do for their kids.

 

If I thought my kids were better off myself and my partner staying in a failed marriage then I'd probably accept unhappiness and stay in the marriage.

 

But I don't think they would be better off.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

As I've grown older and more mature, my opinion on this has changed drastically.

 

I come from a broken family. Thank goodness my mom left my father. He was abusive to her and would have been abusive to us. I have two children, different dads, and I'm single. I escaped rather than making the effort to make things work thinking "If I'm not happy, my kids won't be happy."

My son's father was a drug addict. He currently has 2 warrants out for his arrest. Nothing I could have done to make it healthy or to make him a good influence for my son.

My daughter's father is now in a happy relationship, had another baby recently. He didn't want our relationship to work. I should have compromised more but I doubt it would have helped.

 

I know some people may disagree with me but I think that once two people have children, they "should" stay together at all costs unless there is physical, serious emotional, drug, or alcohol abuse.

 

My son sometimes says "It's not fair that I'm the only boy." "We need a dad in the house." Now these comments don't come often. But I do know he thinks about it sometimes.

 

There's not a day that goes by that I don't think "My children should have a father in the household." "My children deserve more than this." "How can I do everything I need to do - financially, emotionally, etc. to provide for my children?"

 

My children are happy, well-rounded kids. I work and have a large network of friends and family that I can count on and my children can count on. We really do well but it is still not fair that my children don't have a "complete family."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sorry - got carried away with my long winded response. My answer to your question is:

 

A bad marriage = A marriage with abuse of any kind that counseling has not helped.

 

Besides that, I would stay. If it was something minimal, I'd put on a happy face and work through the problems. Don't discuss or argue in front of children. Yes, they may feel tension but not if both parents have a priority of making the relationship work and not allowing the children to feel the heat.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I understand your point of view too, Ellie. I completely respect your thoughts on it and can see it that way as well.

 

In an ideal world, parents wouldn't put their children through divorce or an unhappy home situation. They would work through the problems behind closed doors or in a therapists office rather than allowing the kids to know that there's a problem. They would have the common goal of raising their children in a healthy manner. I know, that's not the world we live in today.

 

I think co-parenting can be successful. Both parents may be happier. The kids can adjust. Even though my way of doing things has been much less than traditional, I just wish that kids never had to be co-parented. Going back and forth from house to house. Not to mention the parents that have to "share" their kids. Everytime my children visit their dad's, I miss them terribly.

 

I thoroughly believe that almost any problem can be worked through. It just takes two people that are mature, strong, motivated, goal oriented, family oriented enough to make it work.

 

Obviously I haven't always thought that way. Otherwise, I may not be a single mom. I lacked the ability to determine compatability and standards when I was younger. And - in today's society, there aren't expectations of getting married and staying married. It's now common for parents to be divorced or never married. I think society's expectations give parents an easy out and our children are going to suffer due to that.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I doubt there is a right answer to this question. I think ImThatGirl raises some valid points and that kids need two parents. I think the role of fathers has been downplayed alot by our society in recent decades. I don't think that single women deciding to have children, by design, on their own is often the right choice. I also would support a woman raising the child on her own, if she is pregnant and the guy is basically worthless as a father. I know of a man who owns a business near my parents home, and my name is gold when I walk into it and he sees me. Why? A long-deceased relarive got his mother and him away from his fahter who was an abusive drunk, and that turned out to be the right thing. On the other hand, I think a couple going through some very stressful times and not feeling like they want to be together should often keep trying. My signature kind of is part of that idea. Love is not jsut how we feel, it's waht we do. Even if you don't feel it, if you work on treating someone with love and caring for them, you will often find the feelings come back. Not always, but sometimes. So, it depends on the couple and the situation.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Welllll I think it depends on the circumstances...if one partner is abusive in any way they should split because abuse affects the kids to a huge extent...

 

If there is no abuse but big tension between the couple with often fighting etc. I also think they should split...

 

If however and this may be rare...the love is gone and they can't be with eachother that way but they don't hate eachother and/or can even be friends it might be good for the kids to remain there...and the parents could see/date other people outside the home.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well I think if parents were perfect but for some reason couldn't live together, it would be better for the children to live without the turmoil parents who don't get along can cause.

 

ANd because they are perfect parents and would do what is right and best for the children, their time with the children would never change, they would still have both parents equally, they would suck it up for holidays and do a "family" thing, their love and encouragement of the children would never falter etc.

 

however, parents aren't perfect. they are selfish. well... mine were. When they split, all my mother could talk about was how horrible my father was and how horiible it was to be stuck with so many of us and poor her and blah blah blah!!

 

So, if you're not a selfish parent, you actually care about your kids and are interested in their well being - you can make either situation (staying together or separating) work for your family.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yes, while I don't agree that a failed marriage should stay together for the kids, I definitely agree kids are better off with a father and mother. Co-parenting and a parenting agreement are essential when parents are separated.

 

I would also understand that no child wants to see their parents separated. Even if the marriage is terrible, kids know no better, they cannot see the alternative (2 happier parents living separately) and need to be guided through that.

 

Kids are very perceptive, in my view far more than adults, and if their parents are unhappy they generally follow suit. But as others rightly point out, you cannot make blanket judgements in situations like this. There is no absolute right way for all cases.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The A's ------- With kids involved these are the reasons I would end it, if I had to end it.. Because there are kids involved, these are probally the only reason I would end it.

 

Abuse -- physical violence toward me or my children.

Adultery -- If he cheats, he has ended it..

Addiction -- Substance addiction, not in my life. If it couldnt be remedied its bad bad news.

Abandonment -- If he has left me and I am otherwise single, end it legally too.

 

My first marriage was short lived, in fact I had filed for divorce before our first aniversary because he beat me up. He hit... I left.... It got worse after I left thats when the real abuse happened. There was also alchohol addiction in there, but my main reason to leave was the abuse.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

i stayed long after the music died, mainly because i could see that she would warp and poison the kids' minds if i left. a decade and more gone without any real love passing between us. it was hell.

 

but my kids think i'm the bomb. you can bet your favorite body part it was worth it.

 

 

 

I do admire your sacrifice SB - truly.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

i stayed long after the music died, mainly because i could see that she would warp and poison the kids' minds if i left. a decade and more gone without any real love passing between us. it was hell.

 

but my kids think i'm the bomb. you can bet your favorite body part it was worth it.

 

 

It can be done. If both parents have that common goal and realization that what they do will indeed affect their children, it can be done.

 

Unfortunately, it's easy for adults to act irrationally and without thoughts of consequences rather than sucking it up for the children.

 

KUDOS TO YOU SB!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 month later...

1. Maintain the same holiday celebrations; the same style of decorating, same traditions, same food, everything. Even if things are split between his house and yours, or you have left the home entirely, make sure you observe the celebrations -- birthdays, Christmas, kwanzaa -- whatever your family has always celebrated. Weirdly, this has been found to be a common element in studies of children who survive trauma relatively unscathed versus those who are severely damaged by it.

 

2. Do not argue with the spouse in front of the children, or describe your feelings about the spouse, the divorce, or your situation to your children. The children need to be able to lean on you; you don't get to lean back, although you can certainly take advantage of all the happy or comforting moments we have with our kids.

 

3. Go out into the wider community -- church, school activities, are opportunities to connect the child with a community of people untouched by the divorce who are not responding to them based on that situation and allows them to see themselves in another context.

 

4. Do not forbid any grieving, any expression of distress, or any anger at self or spouse, only set limits on the type of expression; ie no destruction of property. Be open and accepting of the childs feelings, without trying to "make it better." Inhibited emotional expression can cause feelings of panic that will exacerbate any problems.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...