Would you stay in an unhappy marriage for the sake of your children?
My friend has been married for almost 10 years and has 3 children. She and her husband hate each other (her words not mine) but have decided to suffer being unhappy until their children are all over 16. The youngest is only 4. I don't think I could do that, would you?
It depends on my circumstances. If I have children, then obviously I have to think of their welfare. I would not intend to stay in an unhappy relationship for the sake of pleasing others. I know this sounds selfish, but if I am unhappy, I have to do something about it. I won't just sit there and hope my situation will get better. I have to act and do something about it because life is too short.
Life is too short to be unhappy for so long, you're right Tanx.
People who stay in unhappy marriages for the sake of their children are making a huge mistake. Unless divorce would put the children in harm's way (abusive parent, extreme poverty, etc.) it is best to part ways, and here's why:
1. You are modeling what marriage is. Your kids will learn that being married means being unhappy and not loving your spouse. In the future, they may opt not to get married at all or subconsciously attract a mate that will be oppositional just to replicate what they were raised to think marriage is.
2. The daily misery creates a toxic home atmosphere. Nothing needs to be said for the kids to pick up on the tension and distance. Especially when the parents "hate" each other. It's one thing to get along with respect for each other, but to hate each other? That is something you can't hide.
3. The parent-child relationship will be negatively affected because even though you may "hate" the other parent, that person is someone whom your child loves.
4. You may think you're doing this for the kids, but ask any adult kid if they would be glad their parents stayed together for their sake and the answer is a resounding NO. They report that they would feel guilty for being the cause of forcing their parents to stay together and forego their own happiness.
5. Adult kids also report that they would feel betrayed and cheated because of the false front put on by their parents. They would hate to learn that all those years together were a fraud.
Ask yourself why you're staying for the kids? Are they really better off in a home environment where their parents are unhappy? Because to them, all the other reasons to stay together don't matter if their parents are unhappy. With that said, married couples with children really need to get their act together because they're showing their children that you can stop loving someone just because they fail to meet your expectations. That you can just cut off someone you once loved. And that scares the heck out of children. Does your love for them also have strings?
Wow...I think they should separate for the sake of their children. Or try marriage counseling if they insist on living with each other. I could not live with someone I hated. I think as the children grow older, they will pick up on that, and may learn to not respect authority, or other people. I think if they stay together, they are doing their children a huge disservice.
I think you have something with the respect and authority, I am already seeing that. Tanx.
I did that for several years with the mistaken impression it would help my son. Eventually I had enough and we split, but we did so amicably and put our child first. Honestly, he adjusted very well, very quickly and we both moved on. He now has a dad and a wonderful step dad in his life and he sees me setting a positive example of what a healthy relationship means.
Children can adjust to divorce just fine when parents are mature about it and put their differences aside to work together for the mutual benefit of those kids. Sadly, many couples end up using their kids as pawns in their divorce etc. and that's when those kids get hurt.
I believe it's far better for children to be raised in a happy home, than to feel the pressures of living in an unhappy home that was maintained "for them".
Your last sentence spells it out for me, thank you for that.
No, I wouldn't do it.
My parents got divorced when I was seven and it was the best thing for our household. Whether parents argue or fight in front of their children they can (usually) sense the absence of love.
As Dr. Phil is fond of saying;
"Children would rather be from a broken home than live in one."
On the other hand I have heard of couples who stayed together, were cordial, and (their children had no inkling) the marriage was a sham. When the children moved out the parents got divorced and their adult children were devastated! They took it harder than younger children.
One person told me it created lots of trust issues for them in their own relationships. After all if they could be "fooled" into thinking all was "perfect" and (suddenly) have the rug pulled out from under them watching their parent's 30 year marriage fail how could they be "sure" if what they'd have would be "real" or lasting.
At least if they'd witness arguments and disagreements there would not have been an immense shock of hearing their divorce plans.
The trust issue thing is very important, I hadn't really thought about it that way, but of course now that you've said it, it's stupid to deny the effects of being dishonest. Thank you.
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