Should I stay with my husband and be miserable to make my kids happy?
Doctors, psychologists, and professionals are split down the middle on this issue. Half believe that divorce is the healthier option for families. The other half believe that even rocky marriages nourish children emotionally & practically. Personally, I don’t favor either side. Every situation is different and every family is different. For some, divorce is the best option. For others, staying together makes sense. There are too many variables to consider to make it a black and white issue.
There is one exception and that is physical abuse. In the case of physical abuse, get out as fast as you can. Nothing good will come of it—not for you or your children.
First, let’s talk about why people choose to stay together. Children from divorced families suffer emotional trauma, especially when the divorce is “messy”. Fear of abandonment & loss are common among these children. Bursts of bitterness, jealousy, and doubt often send these children into therapy. Research tells us that children of divorce suffer more often from depression and learning disabilities than those of intact families. These are just a few reasons as to why married couples choose to stay together for the kids.
However, it is important to note that divorce has its most harmful and profound effects on younger children. After age 18, children are better able to cope with the trauma of divorce. By that age, children have formed many of their own developmental beliefs about marriage, relationships, and family. So in your case, it may be important to consider the ages of your children.
On the other hand, many couples decide that divorce is the best option, despite the impact that it may have on children. The fact is that for many couples, staying together for the kids makes things worse instead of better. When a couple forces itself to stay in an unhappy & unhealthy situation, people are pushed into affairs, resentment builds, and everyone suffers. The problem festers and eventually, many couples end up getting divorced anyway.
The bottom line is that right now, you are staying in your marriage because you want to be a good parent. You should ask yourself a couple of critical questions:
- Will staying in this crumbling marriage make you a better parent?
- Are you doing more good or harm to your children and yourself by staying in this marriage?
If you are truly enduring misery, you are sending a clear message to your children: “I don’t deserve to be happy.” If you are putting up with abuse, you are sending a clear message to your children: “Don’t rock the boat. Endure abuse from others at all costs.”
Take some time to think about all of these things before you make your decision. Think about the legacy that you want to leave with your children when you are gone. Do you want them to remember a “normal” life with a mother & a father (even if their parents were miserable)? Or, do you want them to live through the trauma of divorce & remember a strong mother, who took her life into her own hands in order to live a life of true happiness?
These pains that you feel are messengers, listen to them. Turn them to sweetness. —Rumi
Both options are admirable. Choosing to stay together for the sake of your family is an incredible act of generosity & love. At the same time, taking a chance & pursuing a life of true happiness is also a brave act of love. Only you can decide what your legacy will be.
I am sending you love, strength, & courage! You will make the right decision.
In love & light,