“We’re staying together until the kids are out of the house.” It’s the excuse many struggling couples make as to why they stay together in the face of relationship disaster. The sentiment behind the statement is admirable: “We will forge through this adversity so that our children will have a stable and strong home life.”
The truth is, often staying together is worse for the kids than separating. Sure, what the kids want is a happy, solid family foundation, but if you and your partner can’t offer that, faking it rarely works. The kids feel the tension. Even if you hide the arguing and disagreements from them, and keep it all behind closed doors, unless you have an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor, odds are your kids can detect dissension between the two of you, and that creates a loss of the feeling of safety at home.
When I was a kid, my parents didn’t hide the fighting. It was right there in the open. Then, would come the quiet after the storm, walking on eggshells, and the fog of imbalance that was our lives. And, I recall how uncomfortable it was to come home each day after school to it.
Then, one day my parents told me my dad was moving out. I was sad. I’d miss him, but I was also relieved. I knew the fog would soon lift. And, lift it did. I traveled back and forth between my mom and dad, but I got to smile with both of them separately, and I found myself once again walking on a ground void of eggshells.
My parents’ divorce was eventually the best thing for our family. They both got what they needed, and although I wanted all of us happy together, it was better having us happy and apart than together and miserable.
Written by: Leon Scott Baxter, America’s Relationship Guru and The Dumbest Genius You’ll Ever Meet
About the Author:
Leon Scott Baxter, America’s Relationship Guru and The Dumbest Genius You’ll Ever Meet, is the founder of CouplesCommittedToLove.com, the author of three books on relationships and the soon-to-be-released parenting book, “Secrets of Safety-Net Parenting.” Learn more about Leon and his parenting ideas at SafetyNetters.com.