Staying for the Children: Why That is NOT Always the BEST OPTION

Staying for the Children: Why That is NOT Always the BEST OPTION

One prevailing theme related to fear of divorce is that the act of divorce, in and of itself, will damage the children. People research multiple studies to substantiate this concern. By all means such an upheaval in our children's lives should not be taken lightly. Divorce needs to be well considered, and navigating the children through this process should be undertaken with insight, reflection and empathy.

Yet, very few people consider the consequences of children growing up in unhappy yet intact homes, as they witness conflicted, unloving and uncooperative parental relations. Children tend to model what they see in their parents' relations. Certainly, as parents we want better for our kids. Yet, the likelihood is that such children will incline toward similar marriages. Worse still, many parents claim their kids really don't know anything is wrong with the marriage. The irony is that they will therefore normalize what may be a mediocre, disappointing or conflicted marriage. At least the kids ought to know that the marriage is indeed falling short of the mark. In that way, they can note the failure and aim higher for themselves when they come of age.

I have heard everything from friends who have stayed together unhappy for years, just waiting until the "last one is off to college", to others who have divorced, but maintained healthy relationships with their spouse and the children have thrived.

Staying for the Children: Why That is NOT Always the BEST OPTION

5 Reasons to Divorce

Hearing their parents argue was more stressful than the divorce itself.

They would have realized something was wrong with the relationship, even if their parents had stayed married.

Their home life before the divorce was less than ideal.

Unhappy parents take their feelings out on the kids.

Adapting to the divorce as a kid isn’t as hard as you’d think.

Research (including some of my own) suggests that children do better after separation from a high-conflict marriage. However, children do worse after separation when their parents' marriage was low-conflict. This suggests that their parents' low-conflict marriage would have been "good enough" for the children. That is, compared to divorce the children in these families may have fared better growing up in a less-than-perfect married family.

So, I firmly believe that parents need to carefully consider (and consider again and again) how a divorce will affect their children. Parents who are good at protecting children from their grown up concerns may need to ponder this issue with particular care.

In the end, however, I believe that no parent should stay together (or divorce, as many parents have told me they did) "for the children's sake." Why? For a very simple reason: This is a grown up decision, and parents need to take responsibility for their own choices. You need to own your decision to stay together (or not). You can stay together, because you decided to put your children's needs ahead of your own (or for 100 other good reasons). But any such a decision should be about your values not "for the children's sake."

In other words, I don't want you to be a martyr. I don't want your children to bear the guilt of your misery. You need to make your own decisions. And especially if you have children, staying together despite your unhappiness most certainly is an option to consider with great care.

By the way, if you decide to separate, turning your marriage into a living nightmare is not the way to make the decision easier on your children (so they will be relieved by the dissolution of your high-conflict marriage). Instead, you probably need to talk with your children in advance. You need to give them some warning about the possible implications of your well-concealed marriage problems. And if you do go ahead and separate, you also will want to keep your "children first" policy both in your own parenting and in working with your children's other parent. I offer loads of advice on how to do so (and more on the issue of staying together) in The Truth about Children and Divorce.

Even when you think you're putting on a good show for the kids, you're not. Even if your children can't put their finger on what's wrong with Mommy exactly, they know that their mother is not happy.

And most likely, although I know you don't want to hear this, your kids see you in an unhappy marriage, especially the older children who have the outside world to compare your situation to. But because you're a great mother, you stick around in this unhappy situation, believing wholeheartedly that you must be doing the right thing by staying married for your children. You feel by choosing unhappiness for yourself, you are choosing happiness for your children. Besides, how could you do it by yourself anyway? It would be impossible. You settle for your miserable marriage because you've told yourself it could be worse. They could be worse. You could be worse off. Your kids could be worse off.

Although you don't mean to, you're lying to yourself and hurting yourself . . . and your kids.

Your Depression May Become Your Child's Depression

Bottom Line
No matter what you choose — marriage counseling, divorce, or your own individual therapy — it doesn't have to be this way. You are in charge of your destiny. Show your children that caring for yourself and your heart is important so that as time goes on, they will do the same.

miamigirl1970 is a GirlsAskGuys Editor
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Most Helpful Guy

  • Pretty fucked up when you think of it, right?
    You sign up to a lifetime obligation. One in which you'd have to rip your leg off as a man in order to get out. You get to be in company with someone who might or might not change (statistics do not favor you, though), and might end up in a completely different individual. Or be cheated. Or simply, as you get old you go through changes and the relationship simply won't work. And ultimately, if you have kids, you have a decision to make to stick a dysfunctional relationship with the kids, or go separate ways with a chance you get no custody of your own children.

    Yeah... not marrying isn't a hard choice for me at all lol


Most Helpful Girl

  • Yep. I've had friends tell me divorce was the best thing that ever happened to them. Or they loved their step parents to death or more than the bio parents.

    • Also... my parents stayed together, but they can't leave each other because of finances so... like your example about people waiting until the kids are older, I'd say a lot of that is due to trying avoid the $ wars with custody/child support and god only knows what else.

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What Guys Said 16

  • Good all around information. I've been there through the whole thing with two kids.
    The thing is, there was no way I was going to stay. I had already fallen in love with another woman and was too young to understand why, nor what it would do to the children. They were 1 and 3 years old in a ten year old marriage.

    When the oldest was about twelve or thirteen she became completely enraged with me, and had carried a LOT of guilt about the failed marriage. Here's one thing we know - no matter how you do it the kids think it's their fault. So there has to be some acknowledgment and accommodation for that.

    I had to calmly explain to her in several different ways that I had left her mother and not her, that I still loved her and I was still her dad. She finally came to understand this but it was difficult at that age. It also didn't help that her mother had continually told her what a dead-beat dad I was, even though I had paid thousands in child support, and was heavily invested in making it possible for them to spend time with me, even though her mother severely curtailed it. And her mother painted a very bleak picture of my new wife, their step mother, called her a slut and a whore, a witch, a cunt. Gee, you think she was a little bitter?

    What really changed things was when the oldest turned 16 and wanted a car. Her mother asked if I would go in half on a car and I suggested she come down to where I live, we could find something suitable and I could do what it needed to fix it up to usable. You can't get much of a car for a couple of grand these days. Anyway, that all worked out fine but when it came time to get her back home with it her mother was too busy to help her. After a few weeks she decided she wasn't going back, she wanted to live with her dad. So she did, for three and a half years, did high school with us, graduated, and started some college. She finally decided to go back home since me and new wife expected a lot more from her than her bio-mother, so she bailed.

    However, a few years later she came to the reality that those were her best years, with us, and has become and stayed very close since. Her bio mom has become estranged for a broken financial arrangement with her so they just don't even talk any more. Her step mother (wifey ver 2.0) has not taken the place of her real mother. Funny how things work out, huh?

    The youngst though never really bonded, although we do speak and the relationship is good. -->cont

    • She is extremely independent and still has some influence from her bio-mom (they live close by). She is also a successful in her career - she's a journeyman commercial electrician running a job crew at 25 years old.

      Anyway, this is a long round about way to say that yes, the kids do survive although it is extremely hard on them. Some of them don't do so well, depending on the individual circumstances and what kind of parents the divorcees really are. It's one thing to dump your marriage, it's another to dump your kids.

      And yes I do agree it's better to split the sheets if the differences are indeed irreconcilable. Better to preserve yourself than to stay in a hell-hole of a marriage.

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    • @SovereignessofVamps Money issues can play a big part, but I don't believe it is a primary reason very often. Normally is a failure for one or both to be fulfilled, or lack of satisfaction from the marriage. And yes, couples will stay together even in light of an affair - they just don't want to start over on their own. It is very common for older women to do this - they have shut down sexually and are not interested, but don't want to be on their own. Or they are financially comfortable. Many will overlook their husband having some side action.

      Men are notoriously lazy about their wives, and even themselves in the way they function and take care of themselves. They over eat, get fat and lazy, watch too much TV, sports, video games, too much porn, dress sloppy, reasonable grooming goes out the window. And the wife just shuts down. Why would she be attracted to that? No more sex, usually they are completely repulsed. --> cont

    • So then she can't stand sex with him and he gets all bent and the fight is on.
      The women do it too, they get fat and lazy, after children are born there is little or no drive for reproduction, so unless the sex is fantastic their drive drops off and they tend to just shut down. Or they dress sloppy, don't look attractive, so their man isn't attracted anymore - we call this 'frumpzilla'. Ewww. LOL And especially if their partner doesn't keep up his game, women in particular will just shut the door on sex, and a lot of society will tell her that is a valid option. But it's not, and the two may as well just be roommates at that point.

      Or then Chad Thundercock comes along and starts paying attention to her, awakens that sexual desire, and she either bails out completely or has an affair.

      This stuff is just classic, and it goes on every single day.

      There are a LOT of reason a marriage fails. But mostly it's because one or both of the spouses fails to uphold their vows.

  • "5 Reasons to Divorce"

    the fuck op?

    are you a divorce lawyer or something?

    • Never claimed to be anything, just saying that sometimes staying married because of the children is not the right thing... you took one piece of the article and didn't soak in the meaning why it was written... sorry about that!

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    • maybe I will ! ;)

    • most likely she is divorced and wants others to divorce. :P

  • I don't think people should stay together for the sake of the children or worse, to make a baby to try and save a marriage. it angers me at the selfishness of it. If they can't work it out, split but maintain a singular front of loving the children. And letting them know BOTH of you love them very much. Never make the kids pawns in the dirty war of divorce.

  • Exactly why I separated & I was the one doing the dumping , my ex just peed me off constantly , lazy ( & became really fat too ) & unappreciative , no wonder I was always cold , angry & resentful & my 2 could sense this , so had to take action. They still spend time with her at her parents regularly. It is being relieved of a burden , it has also taught me I'm best staying single , even after they are grown up.

  • I have heard this at all the time. To stay married for the sake of our children. This is not a healthy way... Both of couple need to MOVE ON... Find a new life when the kids growing up and they will understand why. Maybe from a therapy.

    Visit parents like joint custody which is not that bad at all.

  • Actually people should take a good look at themselves before marrying... Each other. Are they capable of handling a marriage? Marriage is no joke... it's a big responsibility...
    Many of these prime who get married are not ready and then they divorce where mostly women initiate the divorce and then the children are without either dad or their moms and they take damage for their parents fault...

  • My parents divorced and I still think they suck. They were irresponsible in the first place for having me then they went and got divorced. My bitch mom married a horrible step-dad and screwed me up even more.
    I have no sympathy for you because I know you're screwing up your kids either way.

  • The problem is that women often get divorced for selfish reasons. They have unrealistic expectations and will filefor a divorce if they're not happy all of the time.

  • Good perspective. My vantge point: My parents stayed together til dad died, but my siblings divorced with no kids. I've seen people divorce with kids, and I've seen people stay together for the sake of the kids.

    Financial freedom is a big driver of the ability to depart.

    It is honerable to stay together, but I agree, that doing so just because your church says so or just for that sake... and living in misery... is flawed. Putting up a facade for the kids I question. I've seen this twice now... in one case it possibly worked (maybe). In the other, I see adults living in misery with mental and physical consequences for the parents at minimum. If the parents can think about what is best for the kids, that makes sense... they aren't being selfish.

    Maybe another angle on all of this is how to repair the relationships so they are not miserable roomates but a good constructive marriage.

    I'm not married, but I know that can be tough.

  • Well written. I am about to go through this soon. I know my kids see that we are not happy but she refuses to believe they do, and worse of all she continues to deny that she's not happy with me. I don't feel loved by her at all. It's been 24 years being together and 14 of those married. She's never been excited about our anniversary or even lately hasn't wished me happy birthday. At the start of the relationship she said asked me to stop kissing her so often and particularly French kissing. Sex was always when she wanted it.

    We've been in separate bedrooms for most of our kids' lives and I know when they go to sleepovers I'm sure they see parents staying in the same room, heck even on television.

    The last straw (s) have been her spitting in my face. I've had enough. I saw my parents in an unhappy marriage and always secretly wished they'd separate.

  • Hence why I will never marry.

  • They can sense it.

  • wait so you're saying you're single?

  • Today, divorce rates are at an all time high. With the advent of no-fault divorce in the 1970s, more and more marriages destabilized, leaving millions of children to fend for themselves in broken homes. A fact that is still not well-known is that approximately 70% of divorces are initiated by women. These women have created a generation of children who have been abused, and how this may help explain the rise of recent SJW-style leftism.
    The Effect Of Divorce On Number Of Children Murdered. In the United States, the divorce rate has hovered between 40-50% over the last several decades. For historical comparison, divorce rates went from less than 3% to almost 7% from the late 1800s to the late 1960s.
    Divorce was practically unheard of before the 1970s, and divorcees were shunned and treated like pariahs. Social shaming helped to keep families intact and children living with their birth fathers.
    Yet the rise of no-fault divorce, in which the ending of a marriage does not require a showing of wrongdoing or reason by either party, completely changed the landscape for families. One unintended consequence is the manner in which children have been raised. Several studies have investigated the outcomes for children raised in various environments and unearthed disheartening realities.
    One direct effect of divorce are the rising numbers of children who have been physically, sexually, or emotionally abused by adults. All types of child abuse have skyrocketed since 1980. For children, the odds of being murdered by a stepparent or their mother’s boyfriend is anywhere from 100 to 700 times greater than being murdered by their birth father.
    If we extrapolate this data over multiple decades, it is possible that women, who initiate the overwhelming majority of divorces, have caused the deaths of many thousands of children. Women’s desire to be free from their marriage in order to remarry a man who has no blood relation to their children has led to enough corpses to fill several cemeteries.
    Birth Families Versus Alternate Family Structures
    She's ready for round 2 on the cock carousel.
    She’s ready for round 2 on the cock carousel.
    In another study, researchers found that compared to children living with married biological parents, the children living with a single parent who had a live-in partner were at least eight times more likely to be maltreated in some way.

    • .. Moreover, they were 10 times more likely to experience abuse and eight times more likely to experience neglect.
      In other words, women are inviting strange men into their homes to allow them to terrorize their children. It is also likely that the type of men women are often attracted to are also the type of men likely to show aggression or be violent, even toward small children.
      For women who do not have a live in partner, they often bring strange men into their homes not knowing what the man is capable of. In fact, a woman’s innate desire for thrill and danger puts her children’s safety at risk, merely so she can feel the excitement of having a criminal’s penis inside of her.
      Furthermore, men who are not biologically related to a woman’s children do not feel a connection to them. This can be easily understood through an evolutionary lens. While appealing to evolution does not make an act right or moral, it can help cast light on why, for example, ...

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    • The rate of abuse is 33 times higher if the child is living with a mother who is cohabiting with another man.
      As we can see, the destabilization of families has caused a generation of people who have not been raised in intact families, and many have been victims of abuse. The choice of women to initiate divorce immediately multiplies the statistical odds of her children being harmed or killed. Yet women continue to file for divorce at astronomical rates, not out of malice or ill-intent, but simply because they require the guidance of men in order to maintain societal order.
      Are Social Justice Warriors Victims Of Child Abuse?
      This new phenomenon helps to explain SJW-leftism. These individuals did not grow up in a traditional home environment with a mother and birth father. They did not receive proper care and attention as children, and a sizable percentage of them were fondled by the multiple boyfriends of their mothers or observed as their mothers brought a new boyfriend into...

    • ... their home every week.
      The alternative life choices of their mothers has caused a rift in the psyche of SJWs and damaged their ability to function sexually. The next time you see a protestor screaming about the patriarchy, you can rest assured that their mother made choices guided by her desire for bad-boy cock, rather than the love of her children.

  • Your marriage becomes a nightmare when you refuse to humble yourself be a loving wife. Too many women are so puffed up with the false ideals of modern feminism that they demand respect and love. It never works that way. You will NEVER find better love with someone else. By leaving the children you are telling the world you are a weak willed, weak hearted woman who lied on her marriage vows and has no honor. I only hope your children see you for what you are. There are almost no good reasons to leave him, unless your life is in danger, and the lives of the children. I am so sick of modern women lying during their marriage vows.

    • So if he's a lying, cheating man-whore, she should stay with him? If her verbally abuses her or controls her, she should stay? If he leaves her alone for weeks or months at a time, she should stay?

      Why exactly are women always to blame?

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    • @FallOutBoy2001 You're welcome :)

  • I wonder if this is a way women phrase it, or what they mean.

    I know men who are 'staying because of the kids'.

    But it's not simply a matter of worrying about what is best for the kids. It's that they anticipate losing their kids in a divorce. They expect to see them a few weekends a month, until they are teens, at which point it might drop to a few visits a month.

    They love their kids. They want to live with them. The only way they can do that is by staying married.


What Girls Said 1

  • Well written


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