Deciding Whether to Divorce or Stay Together is Even More Difficult
This is a tough and controversial subject. There are no right or wrong answers, nor are there any simplistic black and white solutions. I am sharing my own perspective, based on my own life experiences. I welcome you to contribute your own perspective as long as you are respectful of the rights of others to see the world in a different light.
I grew up in a family that stayed together for the sake of the kids. I also ended up getting a divorce when my son was eleven. So I have a good perspective on both sides of this topic. Obviously neither option is one any family would choose – they both create pain and hurt.
However, I am opting in on the side of divorce as preferable to years of living in a home where parents fight, disrespect one another and children grow up surrounded by sadness and anger. That’s the world I grew up in and the scars are still with me today, many decades later. Dr. Phil often says, “I’d rather come from a dysfunctional family than be in one.” I firmly believe he’s right.
Staying in a marriage only for the kids is a physical choice that doesn’t touch upon the emotional and psychological pain children endure when their parents are a couple in name only. There is no positive role model of how marriage can and should be lived. Happiness, harmony, collaboration, respect and joy are all absent when parents are emotionally divorced while still living together. Children feel it, are confused by it, often blame themselves, are usually guilt-ridden and experience little peace in childhood.
That’s why I chose the other route when my marriage was failing. However, I intuitively understood what not to do in divorce. I consciously created what I call a child-centered divorce, co-parented with my former husband, shared custody and maintained a positive relationship with my ex for the decade to follow in behalf of my son.
If parents have the maturity and determination to re-connect, get professional assistance and stay together in a renewed commitment to marriage that would absolutely be ideal. The entire family will benefit and the healing will be a blessing. However, if children are being raised in a war zone or in the silence and apathy of sleep-walking through a dead marriage, divorce may open the door to a healthier, happier future for all concerned. But only – and this is the key point – only if parents consciously work on creating a harmonious, collaborative child-centered divorce that puts the children’s emotional and psychological needs first!
Rosalind Sedacca, CCT is a Divorce & Parenting Coach and author of How Do I Tell the Kids about the Divorce? A Create-a-Storybook Guide to Preparing Your Children — with Love! For her free ebook on Post-Divorce Parenting, coaching services and valuable resources on divorce and parenting, go to: www.childcentereddivorce.com.