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Divorce damages children terribly

(122 Posts)
Onmyownwith4kids Sun 11-May-14 09:43:40

I thought I 'd post here as this is a comment I've just read on another thread written by someone who's been lucky enough to be happily married for decades. I'm in the process of divorcing my 40 year old husband who's on holiday at the moment with his 27 year old girlfriend. He would have stayed with me if I'd shut up and let him get on with his affairs. I admit I'm struggling. It 's exhausting bringing up 4 children alone and working full time. Comments like that bring me down so low. My children don't seem damaged. They're laughing, happy and doing well at school. But will they deep down as the poster claimed be affected forever by this?

DevonFolk Sun 11-May-14 09:45:49

They would be far more negatively effected if they were to grow up in a house where there's no trust or love between the parents. You are being a strong role model for your children and don't let anyone tell you otherwise.

Comments like that make me seethe angry

ThisFenceIsComfy Sun 11-May-14 09:48:05

I suffered a lot worse than divorce in my childhood and even I'm not irreparably damaged.

They will be fine thanks

ivykaty44 Sun 11-May-14 09:50:20

Try to not let their views worry you, they have not walked in your shoes and consequently have no idea how hurtful their idiotic comments are.

I didn't stay with a philandering husband as I knew my DC would suffer if I did but my primary thoughts were I would become a wreck if I stayed and wouldn't be a good and decent mother

MirandaWest Sun 11-May-14 09:52:42

I've been separated from XH for 3 years and very nearly divorced. My DC seem fine smile

EffectiveCommunication Sun 11-May-14 09:52:55

As a child of an amicable divorce, I agree. As a parent who was divorced by someoen who wanted an acromonious divorce, I would agree. Children are damaged by divorce.

I would also like to say children are also damaged by watching their Mum and Dad rowing every weekend as mine did.

Children are also damaged by watching their Father put their Mother down as my exh did, during the marriage.

Basically children are damaged by bad unions.

Cabrinha Sun 11-May-14 09:55:17

Oh bollocks to crap like that!

Yeah - divorce AFFECTS children.
My daughter (5, and 8 months post split) says "I wish my things weren't in 2 houses, and it's sad that you don't seem to do anything with daddy any more". (too right I don't, I leave him to his prostitutes)

It has affected her. It sometimes makes her sad.

But there was no choice, and the alternative would have affected her more. Imagine my girl growing up thinking that "normal" in a relationship was 2 parents who never touched, never showed any interest or affection in each other, never had fun together, never did anything together. She was learning what a relationship looks like from me, it would have been MY FAULT if she'd accepted that in her own relationships. I used to cry, knowing that, before I dumped him.

Now, she sees me laughing and kissing my boyfriend. Sees him doing stuff for me. Sees me with an expectation of happiness.

The ideal is 2 happy parents that love and respect each other. She didn't have that. At least now she's not in a horribly damaging environment.

Stay strong OP. It's tough, but it's not your fault, and your children ARE fine.

I think most (intelligent) people agree - permanent damage from divorce is not the separation itself, but how the parents handle it.

treaclesoda Sun 11-May-14 09:56:41

I think it probably does damage children on some level, but not as much as a lifetime with a father trampling over their mother's feelings and treating her with such a lack of respect will damage them. Sometimes its the least worst option. Damage doesn't have to be irreparable.

Anyone who thinks you should put up and shut up in your position is someone whose opinion appears to be so far removed from reality that they are not worth considering. Although I'm sure it is still hurtful.

Be kind to yourself, and don't let anyone tell you you are doing something wrong. No person should have to tolerate an unfaithful husband/wife.

flippinada Sun 11-May-14 09:56:53

Completely understand why comments like that are hurtful, especially when you're at a low ebb but it really is a lot of judgmental nonsense.

I've been a single parent for 8 of my DS's 9 years. He's a happy, confident boy who certainly doesn't seem to be ruined.

Mintberrycrunch Sun 11-May-14 10:02:05

My mom divorced my dad when I was around 10-11, I had 3 younger siblings, my dad had affairs hence the split, though the truth only came out when I was around 21ish. We were I optionally torn between the two and it wasn't nice, I wish it had been more amicable but my mom absolutely hates him still even after 20 years. Growing up I didn't think I would ever get married etc possibly due to this however I'm now married, with one dd and one on the was and incredibly happy with my husband, I'm posting because my husbands parents are still together. They stayed together for the children as was done in Italy, however they are miserable together always arguing, both my husband and his sister have told them they would have preferred them to separate and had a chance at happiness with someone else. On occasion witnessing them argue brought me back to my childhood, and made me glad that my parents had divorced.

Lweji Sun 11-May-14 10:02:15

Bad divorces can damage children, but so also bad marriages.

It will depend a lot on your attitude and your ex's.

If you manage to at least be neutral about each other, they will suffer less.
If you manage to be there for the children and show them love, they will suffer less.

Anyway, your ex is responsible for the divorce not you. His actions led to it.

EdithWeston Sun 11-May-14 10:07:08

I suspect that children do stuggle with divorce - it's a huge change in their life and one they didn't ask for and probably don't want (even in highly dysfunctional families - it can be heartbreaking when they just want everyone to stop it and be happy together).

When there is no chance that whatever is wrong can be fixed, then the absolute duty is to help the children through it as best you can. And the comparison isn't to the rosy-tinted one that children (and probably outside observers) see or want to see. It's to what healthy arrangements can be made now, compared to the reality of the broken marriage.

Outsiders don't see what's wrong, nor see the sadness behind closed doors. If you've forgotten what it's like to be happy, you might not see the importance of reducing/removing daily misery.

It's usually written on cards to octogenarians, but the phrase "It's never too late to have a happy childhood" has just sprung to mind for some reason. Life goes forwards. The important think here is what gives the best shot at a better future.

And I doubt sticking round with an unrepentant adulterer is that shot.

EffectiveCommunication Sun 11-May-14 10:07:42

That is why I advise people on MN to avoid a man going through a divorce where children are involved, who wants to be adding to the pain of innocent children. Wait until the divorce is over and done with before dating a guy, there are plenty of them out there.

CogitoErgoSometimes Sun 11-May-14 10:10:20

Comments like 'divorce damages children' are far too simplistic to be taken seriously and usually made out of ignorance or even fear e.g I've only stayed married this long because I think divorce damages children.

You only have to read some of the comments on the 'Stately Homes' threads on this board to realise that growing up in a dysfunctional marriage can do horrible damage to children. What's important is not the status of the relationship or the location of the parents but, as PPs have said, the environment the DCs grow up in and the attitudes they see before them. Calm, happy, attentive, cooperative parents ... divorced or together ... win every time.

Badvoc Sun 11-May-14 10:17:45

Wrt to the comment - Sadly, there is no cure for being a cunt sad
Re read your op...your kids are happy and doing well.
Give yourself a break x

EffectiveCommunication Sun 11-May-14 10:18:31

My thoughts on the matter are, those that marry young or have children within two years of knowing someone, are kind of forgiven in my book for messing up the lives of children.

I don't have a lot of sympathy for those who have been with someone five years or are in their thirties and then have children, and them mess up children's lives, they really should know better. They know what they are doing and do it anyway.

Joylin Sun 11-May-14 10:20:18

Growing up in a toxic environment is not preferable to divorce, don't get upset over the ignorant and wrong opinions of people who haven't a clue what their talking about.

Onmyownwith4kids Sun 11-May-14 10:20:29

I suppose like anyone I wanted to give my children a wonderful childhood and feel I've failed. It just would have felt more of a failure to show my daughter that she should put up with lies and affairs. Or my sons to see that this kind of behaviour was without consequences. The children seem really happy. I've never said anything negative about their father beyond '"daddy has a girlfriend and you don't do that when you're married" but I seem constantly drawn to articles about how badly children are affected. I feel so sorry for my oldest who's 12. He's the one most aware of what's gone on

EffectiveCommunication Sun 11-May-14 10:22:16

It is a stage of grief for the loss of your family as it was, you are going through, called the guilt stage, you will get past it.

CogitoErgoSometimes Sun 11-May-14 10:23:01

That's a bizarre opinion EffectiveCommunication. I don't think anyone goes into marriage at any age deliberately to mess up children's lives. hmm Doesn't matter if you've known someone five minutes or five years, things can and do go very wrong.

JeanSeberg Sun 11-May-14 10:23:29

I'd like someone to define this damage (genuine question). In terms of:

- academic success?
- future relationships?
- long term well being

It's all very vague to talk of damage isn't it.

EffectiveCommunication Sun 11-May-14 10:24:55

Come on, I am talking about knob head behaviour here. If you know someone five years you know they are behaving like knob head, they have the character traits and form for it, they can't be hidden that long. To then choose to have a child with someone like that, knowing they are like that, you know what you are doing.

CogitoErgoSometimes Sun 11-May-14 10:26:32

OP you and your ex should make yourselves available to your 12yo if he's particularly aware and if he has questions. There is a point where not saying anything negative starts to create secrets, silences and conversational no-go areas... and that is not what DCs (especially older ones) need.

I think sometimes the negativity that a divorce can generate can be damaging for children - I think it's terribly regrettable that our current ways of separating from relationshiips/marriage enshrined in the divorce system require one party to find fault/blame the other - unless you are both prepared to wait 2 years following separation for a no fault "irretrievable break down" divorce.

I've seen the repurcussions of this in our close family.

I hope as a society we can move forwards towards more grown-up and less acrimonious separations.

We need to seek peace as much when separating as we do when trying to maintain a relationship, if not more so.

NickiFury Sun 11-May-14 10:28:44

No it doesn't. Dramatic parents who insist on the big sit down discussion with the parent who has stepped out of line being The One To Tell The Children as I have seen recommended SO often on here with all the ensuing tears and drama. Ime the damage is done where parents allow children to see all the turmoil and heartbreak in order to punish the parent leaving.

I realise it's hard to hide your heartache when you've been cropped on from a great height but you have to try.

The exposure to rows and the using of dc to score over the other parent is what causes the damage.

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