Do you think it’s really the better choice to stay together “for the children?”
Our mother was executive assistant to the president of a major company and loved her job. Our father loved the theatre and would’ve pursued that career had he not impregnated my mother after a few months’ dating her. He stayed in his family’s business.
My brother and I were loved but lacked the example of parents who loved each other. They were a couple only in name - separate bedrooms, no mutual displays of affection.
Now, here I am married for six years to a man I thought I loved but who’s distanced emotionally. Like my father, he works hard and earns well. Like my mother, he’s focused on details related to our home, our car, never about feelings.
Even sex is part of the household routine - Saturday night (or it’s put off till the next Saturday for some reason) after the kids, ages five and three, have gone to sleep. Then a drink and a shower. It’s all so precise.
It puts me right back in my childhood knowing this isn’t the way I want it to be.
You’ve written that divorce is “almost always hard on the children,” yet many times you’ve also acknowledged that it’s inevitable.
How will I know when there’s a right time for me to have a chance at real love?
If I ever meet the right man can an amicable divorce with easy access to both parents be worse than growing up within an icy version of married life?
True Love or False Marriage?
Let time be a partner in this decision:
If you meet someone who makes you feel that you could experience a loving relationship together, take time to learn as much as possible about him and the atmosphere in which he grew up. It matters as much as your own background.
Use time to give your children as much feeling of love, support, and stability as possible. During the time while still in your marriage, discuss with your husband whether there are things you can both do to reach out to each other emotionally.
If he’s not interested in that conversation, get counselling on your own about how to initiate an improved connection between you and your husband.
Still, there may come a time when you’re certain of wanting to end the marriage.
Dr. Dona Matthews, P.D. a developmental psychologist, author of four books about children, adolescents and education, writing in Psychology Today, has said, “In the long term, divorce can lead to happier outcomes for children. When parents are arguing or incompatible in a deep and lasting way, divorce can be a relief for children, a chance to breathe healthier air, free of the tensions of an unhappy relationship.
“When changes in family structure are handled well, children experience a temporary disruption but can achieve long-term resiliency and strength.”
Unless a marriage is abusive, which warrants an early response which likely leads to divorce, I agree with Matthews that couples should try their best to make a marriage work.
There are a variety of reasons why couples or one partner only may feel temporarily unhappy - e.g., financial issues, job stress, mental-health problems that need to be addressed.
But when a marriage is relentlessly unhappy and there’s no sign of change, don’t stay for the children. Instead, do everything possible to help them adjust.
Reader’s Commentary Regarding the opinions of Boomers vacationing in Florida (February 23):
Reader – “The younger generations are FURIOUS at these entitled selfish people. Many of us have lost our jobs and are struggling to feed our families.
“Many of us (some with conditions that make COVID-19 a risk for us) struggle with the choice of going outside the home to work or not having a job.
“Many of us are struggling to care for our children in lockdowns and be their teachers while also having a full-time job. Our children have missed major opportunities to develop sorely needed soft skills and are struggling with school and mental health.
“And these boomers go to their winter properties despite being asked not to, jump the line on vaccines and then complain that people are “treating them like pariahs” and the government’s making them pay for quarantine and additional tests.
“Boomers are behaving like spoiled children.”
Tip of the day:
Show children love, support, stability. But if deeply unhappy in a marriage resisting repair effort, focus on helping children through divorce.