Would you stick with a relationship for your kids sake OT??

#1 Edited by Ariabed (1101 posts) -

If you're in a relationship and have kids their happiness is the most important thing.

Now saying that, say you're in a relationship/married and you have young kids, you love your kids but you are no longer in love with your partner, all the magic and sparkle has gone from the relationship, the only thing holding you both together is the kids, it might be that you still kinda get on with each other, but you're more friends than lovers.

Do you owe it to the kids to stick with it even maybe till they're older?

Or do you owe it to yourself not to waste time in a relationship/marriage you're not happy in?

What would you do in that situation OT?

#2 Edited by crewe8 (674 posts) -

@ariabed: The happiness of the kids is important, but so is yours, you can't stay in a relationship if it's not working.

#3 Edited by Korvus (2923 posts) -

If you're in a loveless relationship, the best you can do for the kids and yourself is to separate. I spent my childhood years wishing as hard as I could that my parents would get divorced. Seeing the most important people in your life (at the time) giving each other the cold shoulder, barely talking to each other and when they did was passive-aggressively (or just plain aggressively), and the horrible horrible times when they thought "going out somewhere fun" together was a good idea...I lost count how many places I used to love got ruined by the memory of having both my parents there arguing, in a foul mood, snapping at me because they couldn't stand the sight of each other. The best times I had with my parents were when they decided to take separate vacation and I could spend a week with each separately. My day would take a nose dive if my parents were even in the house at the same time, which thankfully didn't happen often...

#4 Posted by always_explicit (2655 posts) -

Love of your children is the only thing that matters. If you have One mum, One dad. 2 dads. Foster parents. The only thing it takes to raise perfect well rounded children is love and education. Its far more beneficial for children to have love than it is for them to simply exist with a nuclear family unit.

#5 Posted by Korvus (2923 posts) -
#6 Posted by Ariabed (1101 posts) -

@korvus: @always_explicit: very true, indeed guys, but some couples do stick together for the kids sake, just going through the motions on autopilot, and it might not be that they argue all the time but have just grown apart. I think it's a more old fashioned view to stick together for the kids.

#7 Posted by always_explicit (2655 posts) -

@ariabed said:

@korvus: @always_explicit: very true, indeed guys, but some couples do stick together for the kids sake, just going through the motions on autopilot, and it might not be that they argue all the time but have just grown apart. I think it's a more old fashioned view to stick together for the kids.

Its certainly common enough, I just think once kids reach a certain age they become perfectly aware that something isnt quite right. My parents stayed together for years until they hit breaking point when i was 13/14. I had known since I was little that my mum and dad always argued while my friends parents never did. Now my mother is in a healthier relationship with a new man who is not only a better husband to her but was also a better father figure to me when I needed one. The irony being the fact she chose to stay in a loveless relationship for my sake actually had a far more negative impact on me than it ever did with them breaking up and him being replaced. I certainly would have been happier without a father.

#8 Posted by Korvus (2923 posts) -

@ariabed said:

@korvus: @always_explicit: very true, indeed guys, but some couples do stick together for the kids sake, just going through the motions on autopilot, and it might not be that they argue all the time but have just grown apart. I think it's a more old fashioned view to stick together for the kids.

Its certainly common enough, I just think once kids reach a certain age they become perfectly aware that something isnt quite right. My parents stayed together for years until they hit breaking point when i was 13/14. I had known since I was little that my mum and dad always argued while my friends parents never did. Now my mother is in a healthier relationship with a new man who is not only a better husband to her but was also a better father figure to me when I needed one. The irony being the fact she chose to stay in a loveless relationship for my sake actually had a far more negative impact on me than it ever did with them breaking up and him being replaced. I certainly would have been happier without a father.

Indeed. I also think that a lot of the abuse I suffered at the hands of my parents wouldn't have happened if they were divorced. Normally they would argue, one would go out the door and i'd be alone with a very pissed off, very violent parent.

But yeah, it's like Ariabed says, not every couple who fell out of love with each other is going to be aggressive, but the situation tends to deteriorate with time, not improve.

#9 Posted by jasean79 (2338 posts) -

@ariabed said:

@korvus: @always_explicit: very true, indeed guys, but some couples do stick together for the kids sake, just going through the motions on autopilot, and it might not be that they argue all the time but have just grown apart. I think it's a more old fashioned view to stick together for the kids.

You just described my parents in a nutshell. They were married 32 years before they split and my dad said that he stuck it out until my sister was old enough to graduate high school. But, for about 5 years prior to their divorce is when it all started to go downhill. My brother, sister, and I all knew where it was headed and that it was just a matter of time.

Do I think my folks made the right decision? Yes and no. I wish they would've reconciled their differences and stayed married until death do them part. I think there was a lot of selfishness on their parts, and each had their own problems that they never worked out before working on the relationship. Now that they've been apart for 8 years, my dad has moved on and gotten remarried and seems to be content. My mom, however, never found someone again. She's lonely and I think, although she wouldn't admit it, is still hurt by how things turned out. Were it not for her kids and grandkids, I think she would probably sink into a deep depression.

There's a lot more to this story, but to answer your question, I think in a marriage, which by vows is to work things out "for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health", that man and wife with kids CAN make it work. They just have to try. The problem with most failed marriages is just that - people stop trying. They think that they don't have to put forth any more effort now that they're married. That couldn't be furthest from the truth. Marriage is tough, and those that are willing to work towards staying married will do so, no matter the circumstances.

#10 Edited by Korvus (2923 posts) -

@jasean79: That is a nice sentiment, but why would you want to put effort into a relationship you don't want to be in anymore?

#11 Edited by jasean79 (2338 posts) -

@korvus said:

@jasean79: That is a nice sentiment, but why would you want to put effort into a relationship you don't want to be in anymore?

Because they let it get to that point. What I mean is, when you feel things start to go south, that's when you need to kick it into overdrive and start correcting the problems before they become so far gone it's irreversible.

There's a reason my folks got married and had kids - they loved each other. There's no reason they couldn't have stayed married if they just would've focused on that which brought them together and rekindled whatever was extinguished.

#12 Edited by AutoPilotOn (8124 posts) -

@korvus: well I don't believe you should just divorce. You should try everything in your power to stay together with divorce being the final last option.

#13 Posted by toast_burner (21306 posts) -

Does anyone here actually think it's better for a child to grow up with parents who are miserable and hate each other than for the child to grow up with their parents separate but happy?

#14 Posted by AutoPilotOn (8124 posts) -

@toast_burner: no, but the divorce should only be after effort and maybe consoling was done to try and fix the problem first IMO.

#15 Edited by jasean79 (2338 posts) -

@toast_burner: no, but the divorce should only be after effort and maybe consoling was done to try and fix the problem first IMO.

And plus, every relationship is different. My folks were miserable, but didn't hate each other. I think they very much could've worked things out if they both would've tried. Apathy is what kills relationships.

#16 Posted by Korvus (2923 posts) -

@jasean79: Oh yeah, definitely. I think you should work on your marriage daily, whether there's problems or not. Getting complacent in your relationship and waiting for shit to hit the fan is never a good idea. I don't know about focusing on what brought a couple together being enough to keep the marriage alive...as a recently married guy I want to believe it but I won't swear by it.

@AutoPilotOn: As I said above, I think it's important to solve problems as they come but I don't think many people consider gettingn divorced just because there's a problem...people consider divorce when there's problems on top of problems that never got resolved and now you don't even want to be with someone anymore so I think that if someone is seriously considering divorce, they probably should do it.

#17 Posted by jasean79 (2338 posts) -

@korvus: Right, I mean what brought two people together years ago is certainly not as strong as the bond that they hold in present day (of marriage). But, I think that if you "know" you want to get married to someone, then that desire to want to be with them should be maintained throughout the relationship. And by desire, I don't mean physical attraction/sexual in nature.

I know you're not Christian, but C.S. Lewis does offer some great insight on marriage:

"What we call ‘being in love’ is a glorious state, and, in several ways, good for us. It helps to make us generous and courageous. it opens our eyes not only to the beauty of the beloved but to all beauty, and it subordinates (especially at first) our merely animal sexuality; in that sense, love is the great conqueror of lust. No one in his senses would deny that being in love is far better than either common sensuality or cold self-centredness. But, as I said before, ‘the most dangerous thing you can do is to take any one impulse of our own nature and set it up as the thing you ought to follow at all costs’. Being in love is a good thing, but it is not the best thing. There are many things below it, but there are also things above it. You cannot make it the basis of a whole life. It is a noble feeling, but it is still a feeling. Now no feeling can be relied on to last in its full intensity, or even to last at all. Knowledge can last, principles can last, habits can last but feelings come and go. And in fact, whatever people say, the state called ‘being in love’ usually does not last. If the old fairy-tale ending ‘They lived happily ever after’ is taken to mean ‘They felt for the next fifty years exactly as they felt the day before they were married,’ then it says what probably never was nor ever would be true, and would be highly undesirable if it were. Who could bear to live in that excitement for even five years? What would become of your work, your appetite, your sleep, your friendships? But, of course, ceasing to be ‘in love’ need not mean ceasing to love. Love in this second sense — love as distinct from ‘being in love’ — is not merely a feeling. It is a deep unity, maintained by the will and deliberately strengthened by habit; reinforced by (in Christian marriages) the grace which both partners ask, and receive, from God. They can have this love for each other even at those moments when they do not like each other; as you love yourself even when you do not like yourself. They can retain this love even when each would easily, if they allowed themselves, be ‘in love’ with someone else. ‘Being in love’ first moved them to promise fidelity: this quieter love enables them to keep the promise. it is on this love that the engine of marriage is run: being in love was the explosion that started it."

#18 Edited by AutoPilotOn (8124 posts) -

@korvus: yea I agree a lot of times it's years of smaller problems that add up. But I still think these problems might have a chance to be fixed with some effort and it help and they owe it to their relationship and children to at least try and work it out before there is a final divorce.

My wife's parents divorced 2 years ago while we were living with them. It wasn't not just one problem it was that her mom reached her final straw and left one night. Her dad has a temper problem (though never physical) and her mom has a problem with dealing with problems and just let's things go or hides say bills to avoid them. Me and my wife both think something could have been done and should of been done before her mom reached her final straw they both needed consoling.

Now he has had several gfs and his problems have not gone away nor have hers. They are just with new people now same problems.

#19 Posted by AmazonTreeBoa (16744 posts) -

I can't relate. I am not willing to make kids with just anybody and I would have to worry about "losing a spark". Been with my girl almost 21 years and we still get along great.

#20 Edited by Korvus (2923 posts) -

@jasean79: Not being Christian doesn't mean I'm automatically dismissive towards religion so always feel free to share with me =) That being said, I find that text quite sad...I love everyone I meet, even the ones who cause me harm; I'm mostly in a constant state of empathy. I feel compelled to listen, to support, to help. While this is great, I think it would be infinitely sad if my feelings for my wife would be reduced to this. I've been with my wife for 4 years and I have to say I'm more in love with her now than I was when we started dating. The feeling of awe, the need to be together at all times, the immense joy of finding someone who completes me grows daily, and even if one day this changes then I hope I can still be in love with her. If one day that ends, then probably so will the marriage...I don't need to be married to someone who went from being my best friend and my entire world to someone who become only my friend and I enjoy having around the house. To me, that feeling is simply not enough...that being said, we both work daily so that our feelings don't get reduced to that.

@AutoPilotOn: That's true. Some people see a troubled marriage as "the marriage has problems" instead of "We are creating problems in the marriage" . By dissociating their actions from the consequences, it's a lot harder to fix it, since if you say your marriage is failing through no fault of your own, you will never find (and fix) the source of your grief.

#21 Posted by Ariabed (1101 posts) -

@korvus: @jasean79: I think communication is the key to a good relationship, and not bottling things up till something explodes, and when kids are involved you owe it to them not to give up easily. It's funny though some couples argue like cat and mouse, and you would think they hate each other, but infact they love each other very much, and couples that seem happy are infact miserable underneath because they hold everything back. Apparently it's not normal for a couple not to ever argue.

#22 Posted by jasean79 (2338 posts) -

@ariabed said:

@korvus: @jasean79: I think communication is the key to a good relationship, and not bottling things up till something explodes, and when kids are involved you owe it to them not to give up easily. It's funny though some couples argue like cat and mouse, and you would think they hate each other, but infact they love each other very much, and couples that seem happy are infact miserable underneath because they hold everything back. Apparently it's not normal for a couple not to ever argue.

So as long as those arguments don't take place in front of the children. That's never healthy for any relationship.

#23 Edited by Korvus (2923 posts) -

@ariabed: I think that the only thing you owe your kids as far as your relationship with their other parent goes, is to always respect them (and teach your children to do the same) and together with him/her assure that the children can still keep in contact with both parents and are allowed to foster a good relationship with the 2 of you. You don't owe them to stay married; in fact, if your kids ever get a sniff that you're still married because of them they will automatically take it upon themselves to feel responsible for their parents lack of happiness, which is the complete opposite of what you want for them.

#24 Posted by AutoPilotOn (8124 posts) -

@ariabed: it reminds me of a everybody loves rayman episode. One min his parents are arguing about everything the next they are sitting down having breakfast together.

#25 Edited by Ariabed (1101 posts) -

@AutoPilotOn: lol I love that show.

But yeh that's what I mean I think if you're in a relationship and you argue you shouldn't drag it out and give each other the silent treatment for hours days weeks, just say what you have to say, come to some agreement or agree to disagree and kiss and make up. Life's to short to stew on a argument.

#26 Posted by jasean79 (2338 posts) -

@korvus said:

@ariabed: I think that the only thing you owe your kids as far as your relationship with their other parent goes, is to always respect them (and teach your children to do the same) and together with him/her assure that the children can still keep in contact with both parents and are allowed to foster a good relationship with the 2 of you. You don't owe them to stay married; in fact, if your kids ever get a sniff that you're still married because of them they will automatically take it upon themselves to feel responsible for their parents lack of happiness, which is the complete opposite of what you want for them.

And to add to that, parents should NEVER discuss their marital problems with their children, because as in my case, you tend to take sides...and that leads to resentment towards one or both parents.

#27 Edited by Korvus (2923 posts) -

@jasean79 said:

And to add to that, parents should NEVER discuss their marital problems with their children, because as in my case, you tend to take sides...and that leads to resentment towards one or both parents.

Absolutely! Both my parents would come to me and say "You know what (s)he did now?" or "Want to know why I'm upset?". My wife's mother did the same for her and I know my sister is sometimes guilty of it as well. Your children are not your psychologist, marriage counselor or a shoulder to cry on. The person you're complaining about might be your husband/wife but it's THEIR PARENT! Not to mention that most of the time the children feel like they failed to provide any real help (if you complained about their parent to them, it's because you want them to fix it, right? No? Well, your child thinks so) and will probably make for an uncomfortable couple of days/weeks...there are some things children don't need to know about their parents. I'm always shocked to see how many people forget this basic rule.

Same goes for the parents who let their children play them against each other "I know your mom said you can't eat that, but it's fine, go ahead". Teaching your children that one of their parents has no authority (or deserves no respect) can be really damaging to the relationship a child develops with said parent.

Your problems with your spouse should be solved in private if you think you can't have a conversation without losing your temper. On the other hand, if something arises and you manage to be calm, polite, explain your point and reach a mutual beneficial compromise, then by all means, let your children be present for that (unless the topic is something not suitable for children).

#28 Posted by Ariabed (1101 posts) -

@korvus: yeah that's wrong, trying to turn your kids against your partner is wrong and spiteful, once you resort to point scoring using kids as judges the relationship is on a downward spiral to disaster.

#29 Posted by foxhound_fox (87366 posts) -

No. An unhappy couple leads to problems for the children (i.e. not getting any attention and thinking they are the cause of all the fights).

It is infinitely better for children to grow up in two loving households than one negative one.

#30 Posted by lostrib (33243 posts) -

No, that's an awful idea. It would probably be worse for the kids

#31 Posted by Ariabed (1101 posts) -

@lostrib: @foxhound_fox: like I said it might not be that you fight all the time, you may even still get on fairly well together, it's just that the love the spark has gone from the relationship and you are just going through the motions day after day, so to the kids everything is fine.

#32 Edited by Korvus (2923 posts) -

@ariabed: It's really not that simple. A couple who is not in love anymore doesn't necessarily have big fights, I agree, but "to the kids everything is fine" is not entirely true except if children are not exposed to other couples, movies, etc. Questions like "Why don't you two kiss like Michael's parents do?", "Why doesn't daddy cuddle with you like in the movies?", "Why did mommy stop going with us to grandma's?" are quite common when children start realising mommy and daddy don't behave like other happy couples.

There's a lot of little things that stop happening when you're not in love with a person you live with. When mornings go from "daddy getting up early to cook breakfast for mom, mom goes in the kitchen and gives daddy a huge kiss" to them "meeting in the kitchen and only saying 'hey' ", kids notice. When dinner used to be the whole family at dinner table laughing, telling jokes, asking each other about their day, the parents holding hands or sharing a loving smile to them sitting at the dinner table with "How was your day? Fine? Ok, mine was fine too" kids notice.

#33 Edited by Master_Live (13994 posts) -
@korvus said:

If you're in a loveless relationship, the best you can do for the kids and yourself is to separate. I spent my childhood years wishing as hard as I could that my parents would get divorced. Seeing the most important people in your life (at the time) giving each other the cold shoulder, barely talking to each other and when they did was passive-aggressively (or just plain aggressively), and the horrible horrible times when they thought "going out somewhere fun" together was a good idea...I lost count how many places I used to love got ruined by the memory of having both my parents there arguing, in a foul mood, snapping at me because they couldn't stand the sight of each other. The best times I had with my parents were when they decided to take separate vacation and I could spend a week with each separately. My day would take a nose dive if my parents were even in the house at the same time, which thankfully didn't happen often...

Hear hear...hear hear.

#34 Edited by XilePrincess (13115 posts) -

It depends entirely on the situation. If the spark is just gone, and you're not having blowout fights or anything like that, then maybe continue the relationship if you wanted to. If a separation would see your kids going from an average lifestyle to two struggling, poor single parents, then perhaps it's better to stay married or at least stay financially codependent for the time being. It may be beneficial to remain friends who share a house.

But in all other situations, if you want a divorce you should just get one. Yeah it'll be tough and different in the short term, but the longer-term benefits of it are worth it.

#35 Posted by WiiPants (15 posts) -

Yes and then I would bribe the kids with candy so they took my side in all the fights. It's a win win situation unless your wife owns a candy store or something. I'm not sure what I would do in that situation.

#36 Posted by jun_aka_pekto (15887 posts) -

I'm not sure. But, if for some reason the wife and I split up, the kids will stay with her because she's worth a hell of a lot more than me.

#37 Posted by junglist101 (5457 posts) -

Since my daughter was born a year and a half ago I can definitely say that situations in my relationship have come up where I wouldn't have tried so hard to make things work if it wasn't for her...

#38 Edited by Ariabed (1101 posts) -

@junglist101: that's cool man, you're a top man, it's easy to run away when things get tough, it takes big hairy ball bags to stay and work through any problems that arise, and hopefully it's worth the fight.