I’m 37, living in a verbally/emotionally abusive and sexually-empty relationship. My wife, also 37, calls me a jerk, son-of-a-bitch, a-hole, bastard, all in front of our kids, ages five and eight.
She’s always had a bad temper. She used to have some control of it, but not anymore. Now our kids are starting to repeat this behaviour.
She’s using them as pawns, telling them that they’re responsible for our fights.
When I tell her privately that I’m going to leave her or take our kids away, she tells the kids that’ll be their fault.
How devastating will it be for me to take these kids from this home versus staying in this loveless marriage? Are they too young to handle a breakup? Should I wait?
Your children are being exposed to heavily negative and frightening influences. A break-up appears inevitable. No specific age level for children is certain to be better than another for them to handle it.
Back in1984, Dr. Judith Wallerstein, who led the longest-till-then ten-year California Children of Divorce Study, concluded: Five years after a marriage broke up, younger children in the study appeared to be more depressed and emotionally scarred than older siblings. But after ten years had passed, younger children carried fewer memories of stressful events.
Today, some experts believe “the potential for emotional trauma appears to peak around age 11.” Child psychologist Dr. Scott Carroll adds, “The divorce itself is not the hardest part, the hardest part is the conflict.”
That’s what your kids are already experiencing.
Yet, just grabbing them and fleeing may escalate the ongoing drama they experience.
I do advise abused men and women alike to RUN if they feel they or their children are in physical danger, or that the abuse is too unbearable to handle a moment longer.
If you start to feel this level of fear, forget worrying about their ages, and just leave, though your wife may threaten you with a charge of kidnapping them.
That’s why I urge you to see a lawyer immediately to discuss how to handle the break. I also urge you to see a children’s therapy specialist who’ll advise you on how to help your children deal with their current - and likely future exposure - to their parents’ fighting.
Dr. Wallerstein’s quote in the New York Times, years back, is still significant: “It matters very much what happens in the post-divorce family. ''
My friend’s a great guy but it’s increasingly difficult getting together with him socially because of his extremely bad breath.
How do I tell a nice guy that his breath stinks?
Bad breath or halitosis is unpleasant for everyone, including your friend who may see others’ discomfort yet be clueless about how to fix the problem, which can smell like rotten eggs or even worse.
Certain foods, health problems, and/or poor dental hygiene can be the cause. But you have to tell your friend that he needs to explore it.
Relying on chewing gum, mints or using mouthwash are only temporary solutions if his diet (e.g. garlic, onions, spices) tooth decay, or gum disease are involved.
Say that you’re worried about him and suggest that he see a dentist. When he asks why, tell it straight: A consistently foul odour coming from your mouth may mean something’s going on that can harm your health.
He may be initially embarrassed but ultimately grateful, especially when he finds the cause.
Reader’s Commentary Regarding parents/grandparents who complain about adult children and their kids being too busy for them:
“I was most interested that you advised an older couple to finally get cell phones to be in touch with their children.
“I agree and add that if we become accustomed to texting our children, rather than phoning, they can access our messages and reply when it’s convenient in their often-busy lives.
“I had the same problem with never being able to keep in touch with my daughter who won’t use a phone now except to text.
“Now we have wonderful "conversations," albeit fairly short ones. We send each other photos. And I use just two icons - a smiley face and a kiss.
“I’ve kept my phone simple: for texting, taking photos, calling occasionally. I have what I want as an older person and a mom: meaningful, increasingly rewarding and often fun, frequent contact with my daughter and son-in-law, two busy working people.”
Tip of the day:
There’s no definite age at which a marital split is easiest on children. But a persistently nasty home environment isn’t better.