Are You Staying In Your Marriage For Your Kids?
One of the most common reasons people stay together is for their children. Depending on your unique situation, this might be the best reason to stay together, or the worst.
We're told over and over again that we have to stay for our kids; that children from "broken homes" (I hate that term) do less well in school, are damaged, and grow up to have poor coping and relationship skills. So we try. And we try harder. We bend ourselves into pretzels trying to make this square peg fit in this round hole come hell or high water, because if we don't, our children will suffer, and we will have failed.
I call bullshit.
I left my marriage for my son.
Because what my ex and I were modeling to our son wasn't what I wanted him to grow up to have for himself. While I had this vision of myself as being strong and powerful, that vision wasn't based in any kind of reality, and that by staying in my marriage, I was actually anything but. I knew that the only way this small, innocent child had a chance at creating a happy, lasting, loving relationship in his future was for us to get out of this marriage, find ourselves, and create happiness—somewhere else.
In that moment I knew that my husband was worth more. We brought out the worst in each other. I knew that being with me kept him locked into a dynamic that he was better than. I knew I would never break free of being the oppressed, codependent, small, fragile bird that I had become unless I broke out of my marital cage. I knew that staying in our marriage was keeping us from finding people we actually liked, with whom we could create a meaningful, trusting bond, and that if we could find that, outside of each other, our son would have a chance.
My ex is now re-married, and I can say without hesitation that his current marriage is one I aspire to. Their home is full of love and laughter, and while sometimes it's really hard to witness, I'm also perfectly clear that my son is far better being raised in that house 50% of the time than in our old one 100% of the time.
My ex and I had a dynamic that was toxic for everyone around us, especially our child. But he doesn't have that dynamic with his new wife, and I've never had that in any of my relationships since him.
If you've been staying for the kids, consider looking at this from another angle.