Is it worse to separate from a partner you don’t love and upset your children, or better to stay together and be unhappy the rest of your life?
Divorce decisions are rarely black and white: Sometimes the children adjust and the parents go on to happier relationships; sometimes, the upheaval for everyone is harder than the family life that preceded it.
You must look at your own individual options more specifically and practically, and not try to make such generalized assumptions. A marriage is always worth giving your best shot before splitting… so, perhaps things would improve if you worked on making yourself happier within it, whether through individual counselling, getting out more with friends, taking courses, changing jobs, etc.
If nothing of the kind helps, then the next step involves talking to your partner about making potential changes together, or pursuing marital therapy.
But if splitting up is the final answer, then all of you including the children, should get some counselling help to adapt to the new situation.
Professional help isn’t a “trendy” approach… it’s a wise way to go through an emotional change with guidance and support. It will help you look at the question you asked, and recognize that only you can find the right answer that fits your own case.
As a single parent, my son and I were very close until he moved in with his girlfriend.
After they married when he was 34, I rarely see him and he doesn’t often call.
I never heard from my daughter-in-law again after the wedding.
They now have a son, almost one-year-old. They never visit our home with the baby. Yet they visit my daughter-in-law’s family regularly.
They don’t call, email or write. My birthday was ignored.
They may be upset that I don’t often go there to see the baby.
I’m still working, get up at 4:30 a.m. daily and it’s an hour’s bus ride there after work. It’s also expected that I buy them dinner, which makes it an expensive visit. Cooking isn’t my daughter-in-law’s forte.
My grandson’s first birthday is coming up and me and my (second) husband aren’t invited to his party, though family members of mine have been invited.
How could my son turn away his own mother for this person he’s only known a few years?
- Lonely Grandmother
I hear too many excuses and not enough solutions, with pride on both sides getting in the way.
As a grandmother, you’re the one losing out on more, so I urge you to make the stronger effort. It’s worth being tired, AND worth the price of a dinner, to try to re-connect.
It’s also worth writing a note of apology for not having previously visited the child much, and saying you sincerely want to change that. Then, set a date to go and bring your grandson his birthday gift.
This isn’t about making it to the party, it’s about making sure you have a part in the child’s life.
Perhaps your daughter-in-law sensed earlier that you had expectations that your son would stay closer to you than her. That’s NOT how a husband should behave, and he and his wife have recognized that their marriage comes first.
I empathize with the loneliness you feel over this situation. But you have the power to turn that around, instead of just complaining that you’ve been badly treated.
My boyfriend lives in a small town; his job just pays his rent.
I live in an urban centre 90 minutes away, have my family, friends and my own business here and enough money to buy a house.
Yet he wants me to move in with him there and commute to work.
I don’t want to demean him, but it makes no sense to me!
- Awkward Request
He’s the one who’s likely awkward about the financial imbalance. If you’re both ready to become fully-committed partners, it’s time for a practical discussion of what works best for you as a team.
Weigh whether he can get work in your city, how you really feel about paying more of the shot for housing and expenses, etc.
But if you’re not yet ready for throwing your lot in together, the logic either way doesn’t matter. Hold off awhile to see where the relationship goes.
Tip of the day:
There are few universal conclusions about the effects of divorce versus unhappy marriages; instead, there are individuals, their specific problems and how they handle them.