I had a friend who had two kids and a financially stable husband and she was a housewife. She was the kind of traditional wife who would do everything for her unloving husband and her loving children. The first time Brian laid his hands on her, she was heavily pregnant, she stumbled on the table and that was when she had a miscarriage. Of course, Brian blamed her for his aggressiveness, he said that she triggered him negatively and then begged her to stay. The first time I saw her black eye, she already had two kids with him, she mentioned that Brian had a temper but she was learning to manage him, poor guy, can you imagine he had tantrums that she had to manage?
As if two kids under 5 were not enough. We had our differences, she once told me that the reason I was not married was that I was stubborn and I was too opinionated (clearly). The truth of the matter was I didn’t choose to suck up to my son’s father when I realized that it was not working, he already thought that I was stuck up simply because I didn’t want my son growing up around toxicity, we could both easily be toxic simply because we didn’t gel and he too had a temper that was intolerable, long story short we’re not together. But as for Betty, she’s still there. Fighting through her marriage meant more for her than creating a safe environment for her kids.
I always say that marriage is a good institution, as a matter of fact, the benefits of a good marriage are totally worth it. However, many people in toxic partnerships add no value to their lives. The choice of whether to remain in a marriage or end it is even more difficult when children are involved. For the sake of the children they have, many people decide to remain in an unhappy marriage. But I don’t think it’s a good idea to remain in a marriage just because of the kids.
As you guessed, Betty and I are no longer friends due to irreconcilable differences in opinions and way of life. For starters, I have always said that staying in an unhappy marriage is just another way of showing your children what is and isn’t acceptable in their own lives. When you choose your happiness and state of mind then your kids are more likely to do the same. We always assume that children should be able to adjust and accept things as they are but the truth is, everything around them affects them and eventually piles up. Children can sense tension and unhappiness in the home because they are highly perceptive to their parent’s feelings. Their mental and emotional health may suffer as a result, which can cause worry and anxiety. Parents who are unhappy when their children are young may also be more apt to struggle in their own relationships as adults.
Let’s get back to Betty a little bit, and there was a time when her disciplinary methods were rather harsh. I would watch her cane her children mercilessly and yes, her children were under 5. I guessed that her feelings of resentment, anger and frustration had to go somewhere and it wasn’t on a punching bag. Instead, her two little boys took the beating. I watched her sacrifice her own happiness and personal growth just so she could fulfill her purpose as a wife, and at the same time, she said that her children needed their father.
I always ask, what use is it to have a parent who only seems to reveal their ugly side? Wouldn’t you rather co-parent and allow your children to see the better side if at all it’s possible? Imagine if Betty’s kids only visited the dad twice a month. In those two times, the likelihood of witnessing his beastly side was almost NIL. Surely he could keep it together twice a month, no? If he couldn’t, then what would stop you from denying custody? Because at the end of the day, your kids are like a sponge and they soak in everything around them, are those kinds of manners worth soaking in?
So what do you do if you happen to realize that the other parent might not be up to task as a parent? Divorce! Even though divorce can be a challenging and painful process, it can also be a chance for development and healing. It can give people the chance to consider what they want and need in a relationship and focus on improving themselves so that they can be better partners in the future. Demonstrating to them that it is possible to make challenging but necessary decisions to prioritize one’s own well-being will also teach them that they don’t need to persevere in the name of love, especially when in abusive relationships.
I know for a fact that no child will ever thank you for keeping it together for them. They never asked you to. I don’t think a child would like to see a drunk, violent or cheating parent and want that for you. What happens in such situations is that the children are often forced to take care of or side with the victim, putting them in such situations, which will obviously affect a child’s development in many areas, including schoolwork, friendships, and mental health.
I always say that you can’t pour from an empty cup, you may think that you’re unable to live alone or you fear the outcome of separation but I would like to think that the outcome would be your children admiring your strength and selflessness as parents. It is not a child’s job to adjust to your life choices though it is your job to try and always make the best decision for them, decisions that would be easier for them to adjust to in the long run.
Keep in mind that divorce is the route you take when you know that your marriage is irreparable and especially when it brings out the worst in you and even affects the way you parent. There are different things you could try to save your marriage, but it should make sense and it shouldn’t take forever. Your kids don’t have forever with you, and your marriage shouldn’t take all your attention because as you’re trying to fix that who is going to fix your kids?
It’s essential to consider the parents’ connection as a whole rather than just the state of their marriage or divorce. The negative impacts of separation can be reduced if parents are able to keep up a cordial and respectful relationship even after getting divorced. Similarly, if parents can work on their relationship and enhance their communication and dispute-resolution skills, this can result in a healthier and happier home for everyone.
It’s not a good idea to remain in a marriage just for the kids. It may have a negative impact on both the parents and the kids, and it could perpetuate dysfunctional relationship habits. It is of the utmost importance for people to put their own satisfaction first and live happy lives, even if that means ending a marriage. The greatest gift a kid can get is a contented, healthy parent.