Staying together for children. Terrible idea? Or will protect them?

(64 Posts)
Laptopnotebook1 Thu 19-Nov-20 13:56:15

DH and I are having marriage problems and I don’t know how fixable they are. We’ve said too many nasty things now.

However, we’re fairly sure the kids don’t know as we don’t bicker or shout around them and keep nice.

DH thinks splitting will be really bad for them and we should try for their sake.

While I know what he means (older dc is particularly sensitive), it feels fake and like there’s a possible time limit on our marriage. Feels like a depressing way to live.

Obviously we need to try counselling etc.

But is it worth staying together for the sake of your kids?

OP’s posts: |
LittleMissLockdown Thu 19-Nov-20 13:59:52

As the child in this situation you can pretend and believe all you want that they don't know but they know, trust me they know.

Break up and make separate happy lives for yourselves. Don't stay for the children, they wont thank you for it and you'll be setting them the example that staying unhappily married is acceptable.

NTGFK Thu 19-Nov-20 14:02:25

As a child of miserable parents who didn’t like each other much - NO!

It stays without you forever as a child and shapes the type of person you become.

HotSince63 Thu 19-Nov-20 14:03:50

Another one as a child in this situation - and believe me, my sister and I both knew.

Funnily enough I posted about this on another thread a day or so ago. I have very limited contact with my parents (who are still together 20+ years after my sister left home, and they're together "for your sake" hmm).

I wished they'd divorced when I was about 12 and now I can't really stand being around them for more than the shortest (one hour) visit.

Ilikewinter Thu 19-Nov-20 14:08:22

No dont do it, my parents did with the aim of me and DB leaving school but they just couldnt do it, im 4 years older than DB and the day they told us they were seperating knocked me for 6. I had no idea there were any problems, no arguing, nothing.
I was just going through my GCSEs, i went completely off the rails and have no idea how i passed those exams - or how i didn't get arrested 🙈
I wished they'd divorced when they needed to and not tried to stick it out, which ultimately ended up worse for me.

user18435677565533 Thu 19-Nov-20 14:09:27

we don’t bicker or shout around them and keep nice

Are all the rooms in your house soundproof boxes?

Hearing arguments through the wall or floor is even worse than seeing it. And frightening because you can't tell what's happening or if everyone is safe.

Maybe your child is sensitive because they've been living in a toxic, unstable environment.

1950s1 Thu 19-Nov-20 14:12:21

I think you should have a serious conversation with him about how you should be respectful to one another and how to go about fixing your communication issues, then make sure you both make an effort to follow through with it and agree to call each other out on it if you are not. When considering wether or not to stay with him, think about how staying together would benefit your children's lives. It helps to weigh the pro's and cons.


TwentyViginti Thu 19-Nov-20 14:13:09

DH thinks splitting will be really bad for them and we should try for their sake

This is a line men often use when they realise they'll lose their cosy home set up, and how much they'll have to fork out if you split.

thedevilinablackdress Thu 19-Nov-20 14:13:10

Terrible terrible idea. I don't remember my parents arguing in front of me, but I sure as hell knew how bad their relationship was. So relieved when they split

aidelmaidel Thu 19-Nov-20 14:14:54

They know. And every day they're learning from you how to have a relationship. You maybe aren't fighting in front of them but you aren't coexisting like people who love each other. Your kids are going to think that's normal in a marriage.

aidelmaidel Thu 19-Nov-20 14:16:16

The kids will object to splitting, sure, and they'll take a while to get used to it, but your DH isn't thinking mostly about them, he's thinking about him.

PotholePalace Thu 19-Nov-20 14:26:06

I wonder about this too as dp and I struggle to get on, putting it politely. One of my children has SEN so might not be independent for a long time and I can't get my head around the financial side of splitting in a fair way for everybody. Definitely agree that it would be better to split and deal with the fallout rather than living in a constantly tense environment but I lack courage.

AttilaTheMeerkat Thu 19-Nov-20 14:31:22

Your DH is thinking about his own self, not about his children here.

Do not ever kid yourself that they do not know. Children are perceptive and do pick up on all the vibes here, both spoken and unspoken. They see and hear far more than their parents give them credit for. Sound too travels, they'll hear raised voices and angry words.

What do you want to teach your children about relationships and what are they learning here?. Is this really the model you want to be showing them?.

Staying together purely for the sake of the children is a bad idea all round. Apart from placing a terribly heavy burden on them it teaches them that your relationship was based on a lie. Your children on some level probably wonder why you and their dad are still together. Do not further also put him (your H) before them.

Divorce is not failure, living in unhappiness is.

Badwill Thu 19-Nov-20 15:33:30

If you're nasty to each other and filled with contempt/resentment then no. If you can rub along nicely in a friendly way then yes it's possibly worth staying for the DC. Every situation is different it's not always necessarily black and white. How old are the DC?

LaaaDaaaDeeeLaaaDaDaaaa Thu 19-Nov-20 15:57:06

Same situation here. Benn here before, then we get along. In your situation again now.

At the moment financially we have to stay together. We weren't getting on but now we are and I want to have respect for each other and treat each other kindly for the kids. I believe we can.

At the moment we can not communicate and I think if you remove the emotional parts from the relationship you can get on. I am now refusing to engage in arguments and I am going to do my best to walk away. Any grievances can be put in an email where nothing can get twisted and we/I can respond calmly. I believe at the moment this is the only way or hiring a full time mediator smile

A unhappy household is not good for kids, but if you can create a happy one for the time being I feel it will have less effects on the kids. I'm pretty sure you can find studies. Maybe google :

Staying together for kid Psycology Today
Or kids of divorced parents e.t.c

mindutopia Thu 19-Nov-20 16:02:03

I'm the other side of that coin. My parents were miserable and make a swift decision to divorce and we all moved on with our lives. It was a great decision for me. The hard years were the years they were together. Once they split up and mum and I moved out, actually life was so much better. It made such a difference to not live with constant tension and to have time when we could be happy. Holidays before this had been miserable and no one had fun. But after they divorced, life was much easier and happy. Two people who are equally committed to co-parenting and love their children will not harm them by splitting up. I think where there is harm is in the staying together unhappy or one parent just being generally abusive and horrible (which may be the reason for many break-ups but rather than being caused by splitting up).

thedevilinablackdress Thu 19-Nov-20 16:03:25

LaaaDaaa I'm sorry but that does sound awful for your kids. Being not too well off after divorce was tough but better than the animosity between my parents before.

Ultimatecougar Thu 19-Nov-20 16:06:22

I have a question for those who say staying together is teaching your children bad things about relationships.

What if you split and neither you or your ex ever have another relationship? What does that teach them?

HotSince63 Thu 19-Nov-20 16:10:45

What if you split and neither you or your ex ever have another relationship? What does that teach them?

That it's better to be single than to be in an unhappy relationship.

mummyof2lou Thu 19-Nov-20 16:12:14

Same boat OP. No arguments but resentment makes us miserable doesn't it? I feel like a miserable Mum. I don't think divorce itself is always the issue for the kids, but there's no arguing the financial impact. You can't split two incomes across two houses and not be impacted. I wish there was a black and white answer. How old are your DC? Ps DO NOT google the subject, it will paralyse you with fear!

pallisers Thu 19-Nov-20 16:15:22

A close friend did this. stayed together for the sake of her two sons (about 7 and 10 at the time). My son is best friends with the then 10 year old. They limped on miserably for about 7-8 years. Split when eldest was 18. He has no relationship whatsoever with his father - he blames him for the miserable atmosphere in his home. He left home as soon as he could. the younger one has a sort of relationship but a really tricky one. The saddest thing I heard was just after his parents split when I said to that kid "how was easter" and he said "it was brilliant because brian wasn't there" and at the look on my face he said "no seriously". brian is his father.

If you are two people who have grown apart but essentially like each other and don't want to move out - maybe. but if you are not happy together and are already saying nasty things, that is a toxic atmosphere for kids and you cannot keep it from them.

Ultimatecougar Thu 19-Nov-20 16:19:22

That it's better to be single than to be in an unhappy relationship

Not sure that's always the case, though obviously there are degrees of unhappiness.

Stationfork Thu 19-Nov-20 16:22:26

You should try and model the type of relationship you want your children to have in the future when they grow up. If all they see is a dysfunctional one with people who don't like each other they will then have these low expectations for themselves as adults.

Bagamoyo1 Thu 19-Nov-20 16:33:09

How old are your kids?

WunWun Thu 19-Nov-20 16:34:57

I don't think there is any benefit at all in staying together for the children. And what a waste of your life too.

You aren't obliged to have counseling if you don't want it either.

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