Posted on May 14, 2013 · Posted in Blog

Divorce After 50How many generations of unhappy parents stayed together “for the sake of the kids?”

I grew up in a home where our parents chose to stay together in a hopeless marriage and that really changed my mind about staying for the sake of the kids. I came to the conclusion long ago that divorce is better than years of living in a home where parents fight, or disregard one another and where children are surrounded by sadness and anger. That type of upbringing can leave life-long scars.

Whether it’s societal values or other pressures, too many people still believe that it’s the only option for parents trapped in an unloving marriage.

Parents have to seriously think about the mental, emotional and psychological pain that children experience when their parents stay together “for the sake of the kids.” In unhappy family environments, the children do not have role models to follow for building their own future families. As a matter of fact, those early experiences could turn children away from the idea of marriage because it appears to be something more negative than positive.

Parents can be emotionally divorced and still live together, and when that happens, children feel it. Too often the children blame themselves for the unhappiness in the family and they can carry guilt and anxiety with them for many years. On the other hand, unhappy parents who choose an amicable divorce, with the children in mind, provide a much better outcome for everyone in the family.

Even though my childhood was filled with many unhappy memories, as well as insecurity, I still wanted a mom and dad…all kids do. Neither mom nor dad had the courage to do it anyway. Back then it was taboo and you were treated like an outcast if you were a “divorcee.” Those were much different times and my parents have continued in their unhappy marriage until today.

In retrospect, I feel that their choice to stay together was unfortunate. Don’t get me wrong because neither of my parents are bad people, and I still love them both unconditionally. They were just not the right person for each other. However, the real cost of them staying together was the well-being of my two brothers and I. Had my parents chosen to divorce and remain single, or choose another partner, I believe that they would have been happier and so would have we.

When my marriage failed years later, I made a conscious decision not to follow in my parents’ footsteps. I chose divorce but I was not going to hurt the family in making that decision. Each step of the process revolved around my children, not myself. I wanted to protect them at all costs. Twenty years later, I believe my ex-wife and I can pat ourselves on the back because our kids are tremendous, healthy individuals doing well in life.

I might support divorce in some circumstances but the optimal scenario is for families to stay together. And even though I experienced an unhappy childhood, I still believe in marriage and I am happily remarried today.

In summary, love needs nurturing and on-going attention. You can fall out of love as quickly as you fell in love. The ideal family is one that stays happily together. However, if children are being raised in a venomous environment or in the silence and indifference of a dead-end marriage, divorce just might open the door to a healthier, happier future for the whole family.

FancyLine

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