The third DC - the marriage wrecker??

(94 Posts)
TheCountessOlenska Sat 18-May-13 20:42:48

Someone I know was saying that she reckons that when the third child comes along is when the husband goes bonkers and runs off with his secretary. She said she knows loads of couples this has happened to (I know of two of them myself to be fair)

So, surely this isn't true of the general population??

I hope not, but sadly I know of one!

RiotsNotDiets Sat 18-May-13 20:44:44

Not for my parents, but my husband managed it with just one DC.... maybe it's not the number of children, but having a twunt for a husband that does it?

KD0706 Sat 18-May-13 20:45:22

I can think off the top of my head of three couples I know who have three or more children. All still together.

The divorced people I know have either had none or one child.

I suspect that if a husband (or wife??) wants to run off with their secretary they will do so regardless of number of children ...

Branleuse Sat 18-May-13 20:48:24

the stress of 3 nearly broke us twice. I think it takes a special sort of organised person to deal with 3 with no breakdowns

mercibucket Sat 18-May-13 20:51:14

never heard of this, and cant say it matches what i see in rl either.

mybigarse Sat 18-May-13 20:52:03

My ex-H left me for a pole dancer a few months after I had my 3rd DS.

Sadly I am not joking.

peteypiranha Sat 18-May-13 20:53:14

I have never encountered anyone thats ran off with the secretary in rl. However of someone did I doubt it would be due to number of kids it would be that they didnt have a very strong relationship to start with.

fizzzness Sat 18-May-13 20:53:47

Weird , I've been thinking about this recently. I'm a third child, divorced parents.

I'm sticking at two

Fakebook Sat 18-May-13 20:54:24

Wtf?! I've never heard this. Surely by the third child you know what mistakes not to make and know how to help each other cope? confused.

I'm pregnant with dc3 and (touch wood) things have been better this time so far than with dc1 or dc2. DH is more in tune and helpful this time.

I really hope this isn't a popular trait in the population. <nervous emoticon>

anchovies Sat 18-May-13 20:56:13

Our third was the easy one in comparison to the second! If anyone was going to run off it would be in the first few months after ds2s birth. By the third we were both much happier and much more chilled out!

ShadowStorm Sat 18-May-13 20:57:56

I think a husband who's the type to go bonkers and run off with secretaries would do so regardless of the number of children they have.

bigkidsdidit Sat 18-May-13 20:59:19

huh, never thought of it before but the two families I know with 3 children have both just broken up

HollyBerryBush Sat 18-May-13 21:00:20

We've hung in for thirteen years after DS3 - tho I have to say it has had its ups and down, but they are mainly caused by DS1!

TheCountessOlenska Sat 18-May-13 21:00:31

Sorry Facebook - I don't really believe it, but my friend was convinced!

Having pondered it further, I wonder if it has something to do with the third child sometimes being a bit of a surprise? (the two couples I am thinking of, I know that the third pregnancy was unplanned) So the theory wouldn't apply to a planned third child.

SantanaLopez Sat 18-May-13 21:02:10

The plural of anecdote doesn't equal evidence, but all the divorced couples I know only have 1.

ShadowStorm Sat 18-May-13 21:03:09

But if it's down to unplanned pregnancies, why single out third children?
That theory would apply equally to couples with an unplanned first or second child.

Chilliandbanana Sat 18-May-13 21:04:35

Nope, all divorced couples I know have one or no children.

I have 3 DC's and my husband hasn't run off with a secretary but that could be because he doesn't have one grin

Loulybelle Sat 18-May-13 21:05:55

My Dsis and BIL have coped with 3 children, 2 step children, and the death of one of their children.

Its down to bad luck, if you married a man twatty enough to do such a thing.

spiritedaway Sat 18-May-13 21:06:22

I have heard 3rd children referred to as glue babies. . In that couples on the rocks decide on a 3rd to make it so i guess in that situation they are more likely to break it.

TheCountessOlenska Sat 18-May-13 21:08:03

I wonder if 2 to 3 puts more financial pressure on than say 1 to 2 or 3 to 4 ( bigger car, bigger house, no hols etc)

MotheringShites Sat 18-May-13 21:08:58

3 sent us to the brink! We're ok now.

MacaYoniAndCheese Sat 18-May-13 21:11:33

My FIL ran off with his secretary after DH (DC3!) was born. To be fair though, he's a complete and utter asshole in every way...perhaps men with the asshole 'chip' are more likely to take-off with floozies in times of stress?

Mandy21 Sat 18-May-13 21:13:37

I'm not sure Number 3 is always a marriage wrecker - but its obviously an extra factor to give a couple less time together, less money, makes things more stressful. And it also depends on what has gone before - our number 3 was a breeze in the early days after we'd had premature twins first time round. I actually think couples who have twins are 3 times more likely to get divorced than those with singletons. Add in a 3rd child and its a surprise my DH and I are still together!

LittleMissLucy Sat 18-May-13 21:14:50

I think statistically, the parents of multiples (twins, triplets) are supposed to be under more pressure and are therefore more likely to split. Maybe if there are three back-to-back it has a similar effect.

On the secretary front - I had a friend whose dad did exactly that. My friend never spoke to or saw the dad, or her sister again. It divided the family of four, into two.

HollyBerryBush Sat 18-May-13 21:15:16

Number 3 is the financial killer - and finances are what usually break a relationship

WorrySighWorrySigh Sat 18-May-13 21:23:18

We seem to have survived this marital death knell so far. DH has suggested that as I am his secretary and accountant that we should run away together leaving our three teenage DCs to go feral (spot the difference).

RiceBurner Sat 18-May-13 21:29:55

I know lots of couples, (including me and my DH), with 3 children who haven't split up after the 3rd DC, but none of them (including us) were terrible hard up. So I can't comment on the financial pressure issue. I guess if you can't afford a 3rd DC, having one might be the straw which breaks the marriage? But otherwise I know lots of couples who were very happy to have a 3rd child.

NewFerry Sat 18-May-13 21:30:22

We have 3 and will be celebrating 27 years together in the summer, and no 3 was our surprise baby.
Anecdotally, all the divorced couples I know have 2 children.

Actually, dc3 was much easier to than the first 2, and yes, financially we are still on fairly cheap hols while our friends with 2 are starting to have luxury hols, but I would much rather have dc3 all year than 2 weeks in a luxury hotel.

HollyBerryBush Sat 18-May-13 21:31:02

What happens when child 4 or 5 comes along?

TheCountessOlenska Sat 18-May-13 21:32:12

grin Worry

I only started this thread because I sometimes fancy going for a third but if I'm honest numbers 1 & 2 have put a lot of stress on our relationship - I don't think we're cut out for a large family!

TheCountessOlenska Sat 18-May-13 21:35:05

Holly I assume one goes through some kind of pain barrier with number 3 and any after that you barely notice grin

We don't have financial pressure but if anything dc3 brought us closer, we were so totally knackered in the first year after dc3 arrived that we actually became kinder to each other, there was a sort of companionship in the struggle to get through the days, too tired to play the "who is the tiredest" competition that featured most strongly for us after having dc1 smile.

I think if you have the kind of DH who buggers off when things get a bit tough or is inclined towards an affair then it may happen after 3rd dc but could just as easily happen at any time your relationship hits a bit of a challenging time or a lapdancer sticks her breasts in his face

greenformica Sat 18-May-13 21:41:58

I know lots of big families and no hubbies have run off at the third.

Almostfifty Sat 18-May-13 21:43:02

Our third arrived well before we'd planned him, but he's just the most lovely boy in the world.

Off to Uni next year, I'll miss him (but not his angst) madly.

okthen Sat 18-May-13 21:43:35

Maybe (if indeed true) it's partly because, by the time a couple have their third child, they are generally a little older and heading into mid-life crisis territory? So it's the time id life rather than the number of kids. Search me- sadly I've seen couples with no children, one child, two, three, four children split up.

Molehillmountain Sat 18-May-13 21:48:59

God, it has been hellishly tough at times having three, mainly because number three, gorgeous dd2 has been and still is a shocking sleeper. Two years in I think it has made us stronger but only in the sense that you feel stronger for having got through something tough. I guess we've been through tough enough stuff to know we're pretty strong, including me having a huge career crisis and finding out that we needed a donor to conceive because dh doesn't produce sperm, but this has been much tougher because we're so tired and over stretched that all the stuff that we used to do when things got tough, like spend money, get away from it all and generally relax, aren't options.
I can really understand why some couples would crumble under the pressure.

Molehillmountain Sat 18-May-13 21:50:04

Having a third child has been the embodiment of the saying "what doesn't break you will make you stronger"

Sushiqueen Sat 18-May-13 21:52:29

I only know October one couple that split up after having their third.
In their case though it was the wife that had the affair and ended the marriage and that was less than a year after the third one was born.

I'm my parents third. My dad started shagging around when my mum was pregnant with me.

WorrySighWorrySigh Sat 18-May-13 22:01:05

We didnt plan to have 3. In fact we had definitely stopped at 2 but no.3 exists as proof that 90 odd % reliable is not the same as 100% reliable.

We wouldnt hand her back for the world.

Seeing the three DCs (aged 17-13) plus the cat in a dog pile on top of DH to watch Doctor Who is a mental picture I will carry always.

PastaBeeandCheese Sat 18-May-13 22:12:40

Never really thought about it before but for what it is worth I'm one of three and my Dad ran off with a work colleague after DSis3 was born.

I think the gap was hard for them. DSis is 10 years younger than me so perhaps they had forgotten what it was like to have a baby again and this created stress.

It won't put me off considering a 3rd but I've always been adamant I personally don't want a big gap.

My aunts 3rd child was the 'sticky plaster' that couldn't hold the marriage together. But her husband was a bit of a mammas boy wussy pants still is

Oops.. he couldn't 'handle' being a grown up because his mum treated him like a wittuw beebee boya and told him to leave as he could do better shock my aunt is no supermodel and she's not perfect but bloody hell it was harsh!

hazeyjane Sat 18-May-13 22:21:13

Dh and I have been so knackered since ds, our 3rd, that I don't think either of us could be arsed to run off with someone else.

Hmmm, dc3 is almost three weeks old ex dp left when dc1 was 7 months though, then he passed me on the stairs twice shock pretty much grin. Don't want to think about my child are bill for 3 when I go back to work (ex dp certainly won't!!) maybe I'll break the mould and find a dp now I have three dc grin

mumeeee Sat 18-May-13 22:25:29

Nope not true here. DH and I have 3 children and are are still happily married after 28 years,

sweetkitty Sat 18-May-13 22:29:22

My third child is an absolute dream, couldn't ask for a better behaved child, she has her moments yes but she's an angel. So much so that DP said when she was months old "lets have one more" then we had no4 and he's the one that's driven us mad grin

I think the third child thing is an excuse, of my friends that have split up, two have no children, two have two and one had five hmm

TheSecondComing Sat 18-May-13 22:31:08

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

reelingintheyears Sat 18-May-13 22:36:07

We have three,luckily DP didn't have a secretary. wink

ShadeofViolet Sat 18-May-13 22:37:40

Its taken us to the brink without doubt, although DS2's SN hasnt helped.

I agree with poster who says its a financial strain. That has been our main strain.

mummytime Sat 18-May-13 22:40:24

Nope. Our third was our easiest.
But DH's family is full of 3s, his Aunt and sister both have 3.
In my family 2 lots of couples have split after having 3, but one was 5 years later and the other about 11 years later. In both cases there were very strong reasons why those relationships were unlikely to last.

But most 3rds I know are planned, it is the 4th or 5ths that are a shock.

WorrySighWorrySigh Sat 18-May-13 22:44:32

I think the early years with three are hard. You have to get used to a level of chaos. Oh, invest in shares in Indesit. We are on 2-3 washes per day. Washing machines wear out and have to be instantly replaced or we disappear into a laundry tsunami.

Now DCs are teens it feels like we are running a feeding station. They vanish for hour ends on end but as soon as they sniff food then half-remembered faces appear in the kitchen.

Startail Sat 18-May-13 22:50:00

DH doesn't do babies, two was his tolerance level and so there we stopped.

Startail Sat 18-May-13 22:53:50

I think you both absolutely must want three and must be prepared for the fact that a lot of the world is set up for 2 adults and 2 children.

Asheth Sat 18-May-13 23:00:50

DC3 hasn't wrecked our marriage, although it is probably the only thing he hasn't wrecked.... grin seriously I would hate to put a figure on the cost of everything he's broken - he is a total destruction magnet!

StuntGirl Sat 18-May-13 23:10:29

Don't think its true. If it is I suspect there were already problems in the relationship and it would have happened anyway with or without the third child.

I do know someone who ran off with his secretary though (and come to think of it he has 3 kids grin)

IroningBoredDaily Sat 18-May-13 23:13:33

No way!!

I am one of 3 - my parents are still happily married.

Most of my close friends are one of at least 3 children - all their parents are still married.

Out of my close friends, around 8 of us have 3 children - all are happily married.

I have 3 children and can honestly say that our 3rd child has most definitely completed our family - she is an absolute delight. We are most definitely happily married too!!!

ProphetOfDoom Sat 18-May-13 23:23:25

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Irishchic Sat 18-May-13 23:23:46

We have 5 dc. my dh can't afford to run off on me grin

mumofweeboys Sun 19-May-13 04:59:12


We both made the choice to have a third and our wee bundle arrived a few weeks ago. Dh was great to start but I think he is now resenting that my time is being taken up with the new baby and has said as much that he needs attention too - needless to say I told him to wise up.

Manyofhorror3 Sun 19-May-13 07:35:30

The thing about 3 is that as a couple you're permanently outnumbered. That might not sound much but it means that it's very hard for both parents to do one-to-one attention and activities at the same time. So eg jenny wants ballet, johnny wants football and Joe wants swimming - one of the parents ends up being the bad guy and taking a child along to an activity they don't want. It's only a small thing but that resentment mounts up.
My 3 are very close in age and if I have them by myself I've straightaway run out of hands, so simple things like crossing the road are a world of stress.
For all 3 to have their own rooms that's a 4 bed house and if that's not possible then someone shares - more resentment, more drawing of boundaries and battle lines.
As a previous poster said, the world is set up for 2 adults and two children. With three in car seats/boosters sudden even your choice of car is minuscule.
Trips out are 33% more expensive! We went to a fete yesterday, and every ride was £2. Each child went on 5 rides, so our outlay was £30, not £20 that all our friends with two children paid. When it's like that every time you go out, it soon mounts up!

BornInACrossFireHurricane Sun 19-May-13 07:58:01

Someone mentioned upthread about divorce rates in parents of twins/multiples. Having twins has sent us to the brink at times, mainly due to being bloody knackered and sleep deprived.

We pesonally don't want anymore as it would finish us off but I do know couples very happy with having three (or more). Saying that they do have an age gap of at least 2/3 years between each child in general- maybe this makes things a little easier? In general, that is. Of course some children are just easier, some parents have more family support, better financial situations etc

PrincessScrumpy Sun 19-May-13 08:03:44

Oh dear our dc2 was in fact dtds which took us from 1 to 3 overnight... Happily married but 2dc would be a lot easier and financially more secure as i've had to give up work as childcare was more than I earn. Dh does feel the pressure to provide for us and after a bad night we both get a bit snappy but we know why. With 3DC, we can get through a whole day with out speaking to each other except through the children so now make more effort. Fingers crossed for us

Anomaly Sun 19-May-13 08:21:06

I think children can break a marriage irrespective of the number if one or both parents are unrealistic about the work involved. We've three and I love it! We are fortunately financially secure although I priced up all three kids before having any. I'm now a little bit scared of accidentally ending up with dc4 as I think that would be too much. DH is waiting to get done and we're very very careful.

I seem to know a very small number of divorced parents. Only one close friend is divorced and she married very young and split before having kids.

peteypiranha Sun 19-May-13 08:23:26

Definitely agree with the age gaps most here have age gaps of 3/4 years and are still working and having very active social lifes. Children are only really stressful if you have them close together as you dont get time to yourselves.

HollyBerryBush Sun 19-May-13 08:38:25

I'd disagree with that - closer is better - age gaps cause a problem in activities etc. Roughly the same age and you are moving out of various stages collectively.

Dancergirl Sun 19-May-13 08:47:11

Rubbish, we have 3 and it's not that hard.

I wouldn't say 3 is that large a family anyway, some have 4, 5 or more dc. If a husband is inclined to have an affair, he'll do it anyway irrespective of the number of dc.

DS1 braught us to the brink.

We now have DS4, are still together.
I feel we are beginning to come out the other side now that DS4 is 3 (and at nursery twice a week).

peteypiranha Sun 19-May-13 09:29:24

I suppose it depends holly if you want to keep working then its much better having larger gaps.

wineoclocktimeyet Sun 19-May-13 09:33:07

I'd never made the connection before, but the 2 friends whose husbands have decided its too much hard work being a husband and a father, both have 3 children!

That said, I also have friends with 3 who ae still together

CissyMeldrum Sun 19-May-13 10:10:21

I have 3,3rd not planned,my eldest has SN but you is love isn't it

CissyMeldrum Sun 19-May-13 10:12:14

Forgot to say my husband is great.

janey68 Sun 19-May-13 10:12:14

Well, obviously it's far too simplistic to say that if you have 3 children you're at risk of hubby running off with his secretary and if you stick at none, one or two you'll be fine!!

BUT.. I think some of the posts above indicate how having a 3rd child could highlight particular stresses such as finance or space, it might limit some of the activities previously enjoyed etc which in turn is going to put pressure on a marriage.

I also know a couple of people who had a 3rd child after a big gap, and while both the couples are still together, I do know they've had a tough time of it. My take on that is that although the husbands went along with the idea of 3, in both cases it was the woman who was really driving the idea (older 2 kids in school and mum wanting a final 'bonus' baby) so I suspect those are the reasons behind it being an extra pressure. I know plenty of other families with 3 (or 4) children close together and although their lives are hectic, they seem to just get on with it.

So it's not the fact of having 3 kids, so much as the reasons behind having the 3rd

(Btw I don't like the term 'bonus baby' but I've heard it referred to that when a mum has a last one after a long gap out of her desire to do the whole baby thing again!)

jojane Sun 19-May-13 11:20:13

We have 3 and quote close together (6,4 and 2) it has been hard and we have had a couple of rough patches but we seem to be coming out the other side now ds2 is no longer a baby. Financially we are gradually getting better off. Most of my friends have 2 and it just 'seems' easier for them. I just seem to be chasing my tail all the time, house is always a mess, never get to the bottom of the washing basket etc!! Saying that ds1 is being assessed for aspergers and has only just gained control of his bladder so a lot of stress and worry would have been around whether we had 1 or 3 kids.

cory Sun 19-May-13 11:39:57

Also running through the couples I know with 3 or more- or still together. The real marriage wrecker ime is the midlife crisis. So if you could find some way of preventing men in particular from reaching their mid-forties, that might have more of an effect.

LucieLucie Sun 19-May-13 11:52:16

Yes it is IMO. We had friends who had 2 boisterous boys aged 6 & 4 and the dh wanted no more. Ds's were a handful as it was and the dh worked shifts.
The wife always wanted a dd and went to a tarot reader who told her she was going to have a dd next and described what she was going to look like.
This made the wife adamant they should have a 3rd dc as it would be a girl so she pushed and pushed her dh til he reluctantly agreed.

They had a boy.
The dh ended up leaving his wife and kids when the youngest was 1 he went away with a girl at work ...10 years younger.
I don't know anyone else with 3.

janey68 Sun 19-May-13 12:02:27

Wow that's a fairly extreme example lucie! But then I guess if you're going to base having a child on tarot readings ...

I think what this thread shows is that having children is HARD WORK full stop. So unless both parents are truly invested in it, it's likely to be the straw that breaks the proverbial. The issue of 3 children is maybe because society's default seems to be two, so to go beyond that you certainly need to have both partners fully on board. The couples I was describing, the dads certainly love their 3rd children dearly (I'm sure in 99% of cases parents love however many they have ) but I'm aware that the driving force behind having a final fling at the baby thing was the woman in each case, and I suspect that's fairly common because women tend to have more of a natural broodiness which sometimes kicks in as the youngest child grows up. I suspect the dads were willing to go for a 3rd but would have been equally happy to stop at 2, and that situation is unsurprisingly going to put pressure on a marriage, especially when baby number 3 gets a bit older and costs more, and there is more of a mismatch of interests, lifestyle etc between older and youngest child

LucieLucie Sun 19-May-13 12:40:16

grin janey68 I think you have it spot on!

TheBigJessie Sun 19-May-13 14:19:28

Wow, what a huge effect on several lives that tarot reader had... sad

ComposHat Sun 19-May-13 14:43:41

I have heard 3rd children referred to as glue babies. . In that couples on the rocks decide on a 3rd to make it so i guess in that situation they are more likely to break it

I know a few friends who are the youngest of three and their parents had them to 'bring them closer together' after a rough patch.

In none of these cases did it work and the marriages broke down.

AmberSocks Sun 19-May-13 14:48:08

i dont see how 3 is different to 2?people make such a fuss,its only 3 fgs.

noddyholder Sun 19-May-13 14:51:26

Apparently it is but I know lots of families with 3 and they are fine! I have never encountered it myself. A child cannot break a relationship unless it is fairly shaky to start with.

ComposHat Sun 19-May-13 14:53:46

I was talking about a third child conceived in specific circumstances (often with a big cap between the second and tbird child) I know several cases where people have had a third to try and plaster over tough times in their relationship or after they've reconciled. In my experience the so calles sticking plaster baby never has the desied effect.

Whether the marriages break up because of the pressure of a extra child or would have failed anyway, I don't know.

tumbletumble Sun 19-May-13 15:05:34

DH and I have 3 close in age, and for us the toughest time in our marriage was just after the birth of DC2. We were suffering from all the common cliches of not having enough quality time together, not communicating well, sex life deteriorating etc. We both put some effort into improving our marriage, and things have been great since then, even though DC3 was a much harder baby than DC2.

hazeyjane Sun 19-May-13 20:11:40

i dont see how 3 is different to 2?people make such a fuss,its only 3 fgs.

That depends on quite a few different circumstance though, doesn't it!

Molehillmountain Sun 19-May-13 20:57:30

Amber socks-genuinely interested-do you have three? It does come down to more than numbers, obviously, but when we had two, it was am easier job to "divide and conquer" in that if dh took dd out to give me a rest when ds slept, it was one to one time with her. If he does that now, he's still managing the dynamic between two small people. So it's more full on. Our challenge is really that dd2 has been a shocking sleeper and remains so and that adds severe sleep deprivation into the mix.
I'm not saying it'll wreck our marriage, far from it but I can tell you that, after a honeymoon period where dd slept well, this has been so, so challenging.

AmberSocks Sun 19-May-13 21:30:51

Mole-i have 5.

Molehillmountain Sun 19-May-13 21:44:55

So, amber, is it a bit like me thinking one is easy because I have three?

threesypeesy Sun 19-May-13 21:54:19

We've got 3 dds and tbh if you're relationship is going to break down it will I don't see how a third baby will be the deciding factor in it. Our 3rd made our family complete and we made sure that we could financially afford the same lifestyle before having her so there was no financial difficulties.

I don't see 3 being a large family either and have never found taking 3 on days out etc any more difficult than 2, I don't tjink 3 is anymore stressful either organisation is your friend with 3!

AmberSocks Sun 19-May-13 21:57:41

Yes maybe. :-)

fluffypillow Sun 19-May-13 22:03:10

We have 3, and we are still together, and always will be (wouldn't have had any children if I didn't believe that smile )

Our third is a Girl, after two boys, and so she completed our family.

Joiningthegang Sun 19-May-13 23:13:23

3 was almost the end of us - he was a "surprise"

3 is v stressful - love him to bits but most days wish we had 2

amazingmumof6 Sun 19-May-13 23:46:54

never heard of this.

my dad ran off with his secretary after 25 years of marriage though.shocking.
I was 25, my sister was 23.

As for us, after 6 kids we are still very happy. DH works long hours, I'm very busy with kids and home and we are both quite tired generally, so we joked once that it would be impressive if either of us had energy for an affair! grin

sorry to hear about some of your stories.

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