Hi! I'm Nicole Myers Licensed Professional Counselor and were going to talk today about the subject of divorce. In my career, I speak to many people who have been affected by a divorce. In fact, most people I talk to have been affected by divorce; one way or another. We all know someone whose parents have been divorced, whose children are divorced or maybe we ourselves have been divorced.
Today's question is about staying together for the children. It is: I know people who stay together for their children and they seem to be managing just fine. Would it be a better choice to wait for our children to move out before we get divorced, especially if they are teenagers?
This is one of those questions where you're trying to do what's best for your children and you don't want to make waves in their lives as you attempt to deal with the struggles in yours. So, on the face of it, staying together for your children may seem like the best choice until they are out of high school and they don't need to have your day-to-day supervision.
However, there are some concerns which happen with that because what you are doing is modeling behavior for your children as you're raising them. Do you want to model for your children staying in an unhappy relationship and what that looks like? You may not realize it but, if you look at what's happening in your household, chances are your children are noticing stress between you and your partner. That stress may come out in how you treat your children and how you interact with others. They may notice that there are less fun events happening in the household because you and your partner no longer want to spend time together. If those things are happening, it's going to affect your children. Further, if you're modeling behaviors of hating the person that you're living with and staying together for your children, your children are more likely to choose that sort of relationship as they get married when they are older. In other words, if you stay in a loveless marriage that does not get better, and no one works on it, your children are more likely to do so as well. On the other hand, if you get divorced when you and your partner can still work things out and agree to handle the children for their sakes, rather than working in anger to attack each other, your children will experience a better outcome.
This doesn't mean, however, if you're contemplating divorce, that you should announce your divorce at your children's birthday party. Something like that can be very scarring for your children. You still want to wait until there is an appropriate time, such as scheduling a family supper rather than at a family event where people are supposed to be having a good time and focusing on the children. So, in the long run, divorcing when you realize that you and your partner can no longer manage the affairs of living together, is a better choice than staying together for the children because your health and well-being affects theirs.
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