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"Staying together for the child(ren)" Did anyone's parents do this?

(75 Posts)
alikat724 Thu 19-Sep-13 10:21:11

Our marriage has stumbled from crisis to crisis for 3 years, and the reality is that the only reason we are still together is because we have a DD, who will be 2 in November, and we both desperately want her to grow up in a happy family unit. Our crises are all self-generated - no cheating/affairs or anything, although there is an EA/VA issue associated with him being a binge-drinker - and I bear huge resentment because he has reneged on having a second child; so some fairly big issues. DH has agreed to start counselling for the drinking-related stuff, and I trust that he will follow through with it. We will do whatever it takes to make this work - I am hoping we will do an Imago couples counselling workship in November BUT - my question here is, does anyone know if their parents stayed together "for the children"? How does that make you feel, and do you think it was the right thing to do?

NothingsLeft Thu 19-Sep-13 10:32:51

Yes mine did. They are now both toxic alcoholics and I have very little to do with them now. It was very far from a happy family unit although my patents don't think so.

I wouldn't have another child with someone with a drink problem. My dad has always been a heavy drinker and my mum drank to blot out her life I think. She's now not too far from dying and my dad is totally obvious to it.

alikat724 Thu 19-Sep-13 10:57:52

NothingsLeft thank you for your response, I am very sad to hear that. I hate the cliche but alcoholism is a scourge. I hope you are able to steer clear of it for yourself. I know it is impossible to change the past but do you think you would all have been happier if they had split?

Yes mine did. They finally separated when I was 22, my brother was 24 and my sister was 18. And we wish they had done years before hand. So my mum didn't put up my dad's affairs for years, if not most of their 25 year marriage.

flowerpotgirl12 Thu 19-Sep-13 15:58:40

Mine did until I was ages 12 (I was the youngest of the kids), life was much nicer all round for everyone once they separated. Once I had gotten over the initial shock and upset, I could clearly see mum and dad were 1000x times happier than I had ever seen them together. They remain good friends to this day (20 years later) and don't think that would have been possible if they had kept struggling on together.

My parents finally separated when youngest sibling was nearly grown up. We'd all begged them to separate for years. Things are better now but would have been better still if they'd split up at least 10 years earlier.

turkeyboots Thu 19-Sep-13 16:06:30

Friend of mines did. They slowly tore each other apart and friend moved in with us for the last year of school so to avoid them. They split once he went to uni and became proper parents again. He wishes they did it earlier and not made him suffer through his childhood.

cestlavielife Thu 19-Sep-13 16:06:46

you "want her to grow up in a happy family unit"
it clearly isnt a happy family unit...

NatashaBee Thu 19-Sep-13 16:13:39

Yes. It was shit, and my mum resented us for being the reason she was 'stuck there'. Don't.

LEMisdisappointed Thu 19-Sep-13 16:15:46

Mine did - i wish they didn't. Saying that, they clearly loved each other deeply (as demonstrated by the bond when my dad was in a care home with dementia - he lived for my mums visits and she was there, every day). The trouble is, there was always resentment - the marriage was not good, my mum is a difficult person to live with to say the very least, my dad had an affair, he came back (for me?) but she never really forgave him and spent the rest of their marriage punishing him for it. I desperately wanted them to be together because they couldnt do the whole amicable split thing, but looking back, i just needed them both to be happy - but they wasn't, not together. I bear a lot of guilt for this and have serious self esteem issues, i suffer from anxiety and depression and its because of my insecure childhood. It wasn't even that bad, if that makes sense.

It does sound though that the pair of you want to make things work? Do you really want that?? You need to be very honest with yourself. It is ok to say that too much damage has been done to go back. I think that you should have the counselling and he needs to get on top of his drinking, or it will destroy him - you cannot allow it to destroy you and your children and he needs to know that you wont allow it. You may well be happier apart, even if its shit in the short term. Also sooner split now when DD is young enough that things happen around her without too much questioning, things are just what they are. The older she gets, the more it will affect her if it comes to a head.

I wish you the very best

CailinDana Thu 19-Sep-13 16:16:29

Do you respect and trust your husband? Does he respect and trust you?

brainonastick Thu 19-Sep-13 16:16:42

Yes. It was awful, and contributed to depression and continuing self esteem and trust issues for all the children. I wish they hadn't, but I would never tell them that. Don't convince yourself it is 'for the best', it rarely is and the children will know exactly what is going on, despite your best protestations to them.

soundevenfruity Thu 19-Sep-13 16:23:05

I am sorry but what I am about to suggest has nothing to do with your question. Alcoholism is a huge deal breaker and it affects all the family, including you. Please check alanon website for a local support group. There are very useful for anybody who is in close relationships with an alcoholic.

LEMisdisappointed Thu 19-Sep-13 16:24:50

Thats a good suggestion sound

Mama1980 Thu 19-Sep-13 16:25:29

Yes for several years it was hell hmm and utterly destroyed any relationship I had with my biological father. I would never advise it.

soundevenfruity Thu 19-Sep-13 16:25:48

http://www.al-anonuk.org.uk/

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 19-Sep-13 16:27:05

Yes. Not 'for the kids' but because my DM has very catholic roots and an aversion to divorce. I spent plenty of nights as a kid lying in bed listening to arguments from downstairs and getting anxious. Then there was the constant sniping and criticisms that made everything very 'eggshell tready'. Later I became my DM's confidante while she moaned about how crap my DF was (she still tries it). Impossible to say what growing up would have been like if they'd separated, of course, but now they're both elderly, not in the best of health, and the atmosphere in their house is as bad as ever.

One effect - although I don't go as far as to blame them for my own poor decisions - is that I yearned so much to have a happy relationship where there was no fighting that I was far too accommodating of others' bad behaviour and suffered as a result.

A 'happy family unit' is not one where the two adults are trying to fool the kids everything's OK. Sorry.

Jeremiad Thu 19-Sep-13 16:27:54

I would echo NatashaBee - all through my childhood my mum made it clear to my brother and me that if it weren't for us, she'd be off.

I hate her for it, actually.

My mother stayed for 10 years. I've had MH issues ever since. Not because she left, because she stayed with the drunken fuck.

alikat724 Thu 19-Sep-13 16:29:58

Gosh now that's an overwhelming consensus! Thank you all for your responses. CailinDana Respect and trust are two huge issues for us, we both feel the other has broken their word on important matters so trust on personal matters is nil, but on practical stuff (financial, childcare, etc) it is 100%. Respect has been ground down by constant arguing and angry words, and we're not good friends to each anymore. I think these are both recoverable, if we can just string together a month or two without him binge drinking and without me becoming Hell Bitch because I am so furious with him for not honouring his word for baby #2. The two behaviours are inseparable.

I just don't know. He was my soul mate, my most passionate lover and my ultimate confidante 4.5 years ago. Now we have no sex life, we constantly criticise each other and the only thing we have in common is our DD. I feel lost at the concept of life without him but I can't go on like we are. So confused and sad.

WynkenBlynkenandNod Thu 19-Sep-13 16:30:27

Mine did. Though I'm not sure of Dad's part of this. He told me recently Mum made it very clear she had no intention of going into old age with him. She told me she nearly left him when I was two, was planning on not coming back from visiting from visiting her family. But was scared he would get residency of me so came back and had my Brother, stayed with Dad till he was 19.

Mum now has Dementia and doesn't want to see me as she thinks I'm evil. Weirdly since not seeing her for 6 weeks I've stopped biting my nails for the first time in my life. It's made me think about my relationship with my Mum and I think I felt responsible that she was leading a lifvsh was clearly unhappy in, felt it was my fault. She used to bugger off for 4 weeks every summer with just a phone call, two if we were lucky. As a parent to similar age children now I find it quite hard to see how she could do this.

I really wish she'd just left Dad and got on with her life, it would have been better for everyone instead of the weird atmosphere we grew up with. My Brother exploited the disagreements between them and worked out how to play them off against each other very effectively to get what he wanted. Doesn't seem to have done him a lot of good in his personal life, very sad.

Chubfuddler Thu 19-Sep-13 16:33:30

Leave. Your daughter will not grow up in a happy family unit with you two in the same house.

My mother failed to leave my father for multiple affairs and EA behaviour. It has to an extent cast a blight over my entire life. I wish she'd left him (he eventually left her when I was 12).

Back2Two Thu 19-Sep-13 16:34:31

Mine did for a few years and then split.
Just last week my mum referred to how they tried so hard to stay together for the children, "we thought you'd be so much happier"

I nearly choked. We were relieved when they split.
It's not about being physically in the same house is it? It's just about how you parent as a unit wherever you live.

My parents managed to balls up on many fronts before and after the split but that's another twenty-eight threads

Chubfuddler Thu 19-Sep-13 16:35:45

I could have written cogito's 2nd paragraph word for word.

yomellamoHelly Thu 19-Sep-13 16:38:39

Mine did. Separated when my youngest bro was 18 and at uni. Wish they'd done it when I was young. The atmosphere in our house could be horrible and my mum became increasingly ground down by it all. (Father was a serial cheat.) Mum was so much happier once the divorce was through though it didn't last long as she developed dementia. Total waste of a life. Don't speak to my father or any of my brothers now. Was a case of head down and get through my childhood. Never got to know my brothers or got to form bond with them. (We were played off against each other.)

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