Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.
Staying together because you don't want to be apart from your children.(35 Posts)
Do people do this? Play happy families and put off separation until after they've flown the nest?
I'm sure people do, just wondered what it's like in practice.
DH's parents did this. Don't think he'd recommend it.
Yes, they do. It isn't always the best thing, for them or the kids. But sometimes you just have to so people don't get hurt.
My friends parents did this, her dad left the day after she went to university & shes had all sorts of guilt, anger & frustration because of it. They don't speak at all now.
Her mum was/aware he/was going to do it as he'd threatened to but was still heartbroken & basically left on the shelf at 57
That does sound bad Phoebe I suppose it depends on the circumstances really.
I know it's not the ideal scenario but still interested to hear more.
Please don't do this. My parents did it and it meant I grew up in a house full of arguments/them not talking for weeks at a time and was always caught in the middle, it also took me a few bad relationships to find out what a healthy relationship was as the only relationship I knew was my mum and dads.
My parents did this and while they obviously never explicitly told me, I knew. I would much much rather they'd have split and been happy. There's still seems to be a prevailing attitude that divorce is bad for kids but I think it all comes down to how it's handled. Luckily we're all fine now and have a good relationship but it took a while to get to that point.
There's no rigght or wrong answer, God all I would say is get as many ducks in row before you leave if you're going to.
Children are not stupid.
Adults are not as good at "playing happy families" as they think.
I am eternally grateful my parents separated and didn't do this. Staying together 'for the children' is something I feel quite strongly about, negatively so.
From the experience of people I know: it's hell. And it's bringing your children up in a lie.
My parents did this and like others have said, it was pretty obvious how miserable they were. There was a horrible underlying atmosphere in the house and as an adult my own relationships have tended to be unhealthy, unhappy ones.
I'm another whose parents did this. If you asked them they'd tell you we didn't know and gave us a brilliant upbringing but it was obvious they hated each other. They'd argue when they thought we were asleep.
Please just separate if you're not happy.
My colleague did this. It has messed up the kids quite a bit knowing their parents clung on in a shit marriage on their account.
Both kids would far rather the parents had split, been happy and found new partners. Plus they were modelling bad relationship to them.
My grandparents sort of did this except they actually TOLD my mum, although I'm not sure at what age, that they were going to get divorced once she'd turned 16 and she'd stay with her mum and her brother would stay with their dad. What on earth possessed them to tell her this I don't know. Understandably, she was very very upset. The funny thing is, they never did get divorced and remained married up until my grandfather died, when my mum was in her 40s. Divorce wasn't as common or socially acceptable then and I think they'd reconciled more when my mum was older so they just never did it.
I don't understand the reasoning behind it being "for the children." I've known a couple of people I went to uni with whose parents divorced whilst they were there and they were really upset. I think divorce affects teenagers, even adult children, more than people think.
But I can understand not wanting to be apart from your children, particularly fathers. I have a male friend in this situation who is very reluctant to leave because he doesn't want to be apart from his child every day, and also for financial reasons. But he's extremely unhappy. He knows that my opinion is that he should leave but he can't bear the thought of leaving his child behind. It's a very sad and difficult situation to be in.
Yeh, I never said it was 'for the children', it's for my sake really. I can play a part and I can play the long game, if it means I don't have to wave them off to him eow.
As someone who grew up like this I think you're being really utterly selfish of you do that. Put your children and make their home a genuinely happy one (they'll know it's pretend- kids are not stupid)
I've been that child too, which I think gives me an advantage.
The other alternative is to actually forgive the fucker and keep trying. Sigh.
I am currently making this decision too. My kids are young enough that they'll never remember any different which is the one saving grace, but the thought of not being with them every weekend or having to do alternate Christmases just kills me. How old are yours? Do you want to talk about what he did?
In my experience it tends to be the male parent who does this more often than female and much much more common in relationships with traditional 'woman as sahm/part time work major child-carer' and father as higher wage earner/full time worker.
Whilst not right in any way, it's easy to see how this would be so. Whilst 50/50 custody is becoming more common, it is still not easy to pull off. Whilst women are used to juggling childcare and full time work it is less acceptable for fathers to do so. Employers tend to be much less tolerant of a man who can't stay late to entertain clients because he has to pick up from childminders than a woman. It's wrong but nonetheless true.
So when a woman wants out of a marriage, it is almost always the case that the kids go with her. That she has them in her new home with or without a new partner and ex must either persuade her for joint contact which it's often impossible for him to make work or he resigns himself to EOW and an evening in the week if he's lucky. I know there are many people where this is not the case. I am talking about the *NORM* (before everyone piles in and starts telling me about their super amicable every other day arrangements!)
For a man it's completely different. If he leaves he will rarely be 'allowed' to take his children with him. The nature of his work would probably render this impossible. Therefore he will normally only leave if things are absolutely intolerable and that misery outweighs the misery of living without his children. For most men (unhappy in their relationships) this is not the case. The degree of unhappiness is tempered by working outside the home/finding hobbies outside the home (or sometimes with the children. ) that kept the couple physically apart from each other. Occasionally this will also mean extra marital affairs, which although sometimes long lasting will rarely (from the mans perspective) have the intention of being permanent. They are simply a physical and emotional gratification to keep them in the marriage which lacked those components. Far from threatening the marriage, the affair actual perpetuated it.
I am quite nerdy on this subject as I chose 'Why do unhappy married couples with children still remain together long term ' as my dissertation. !
500 couples ( 1000 people) were asked would you describe yourself as happy in your relationship.
Where the man of the couple said no but the woman said yes. (54 couples) the single greatest reason for staying was not wishing to be a 'EOW dad'. (48) followed by money (4) and Ill health (2)
8 men admitted to current/ongoing physical or emotional affairs.
Further 4 admitted to past adultery.
Of these only 1 had plans to leave.
7 stated that if they weren't having physical/emotional needs met elsewhere they would be 'more likely' to leave although children were the deciding factor.
My conclusion is that parents stay together because of the effect that separation will have emotionally on them - the parents, rather than for the sake of the children. !
I won't be the popular voice on here but just wanted to add my perspective. My children were miserable when I temporarily split from husband/dad they knew why, dad had an affair and he actively wanted to split to be with her,i had no choice but to go. Fast forward three years and we are back together as a family and they are happy and thriving and say they wanted the family together. My kids were 13, 16 and 17 when it happened and they were old enough to now that the life,security, and family unit was gone, it was an adjustment that they simply didn't cope with, one stopped going to school, another developed severe anxiety, all have said they wish we could have put them first . Luckily we have managed to sort out adult issues out and have come out the other side, it's not easy either way but please don't always assume children don't want their parents to be together even though they have problems.
50/50 care of the kids is now commonplace and I think many parents can't bear the thought of not seeing their kids for half the week. So staying together is preferable. It's a horrible position to be in
That's interesting marilyn that was my situation - except h loves being an eow dad! Hes 15 years older than me & finds them exhausting. When he lived here he took no notice of them & their relationship is actually better now he has to look after them on his own eow
My friend is in this exact situation at the moment. He has two DCs with his wife and he is staying because of them and the financial situation. The result is that he is miserable and has resigned himself to being miserable for the foreseeable future. He cheated on his wife a few years ago (no condoning this obviously) and she forgave him, but now they're both unhappy - him because he feels trapped and her because she doesn't trust him.
FWIW I think they are both excellent parents to their DCs but him deciding to stay because of them and her not trusting him but still staying is not going to do anyone any favours imo.
Join the discussion
Please login first.