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Are You in an Unhappy Marriage Just for Your Children?

Emotional distress

If you are in an unhappy marriage, is it better to stay married just for the sake of the children–or to divorce? Are the effects of divorce on children always negative? What really is best for the children?

Mary is a successful professional who works with couples in the throes of separation and divorce, helping them to separate with as much dignity and respect as possible, and as little harm as possible.
Besides extensive training and education for this work, Mary brings the painful experience of helplessly watching her parents’ marriage self-destruct.
The usual marriage-enders had been there since she was about eight. Mary recalls the late-night shouting, the blaming and criticism, the defensiveness and the utter contempt at times each seemed to hold for the other. She recalls the icy silences and her mother crying. The parents tried to hide or deny their unhappiness, but children always know.
Mary loved her father, but from about age nine she began to pray that her father would leave. He stayed and the conflict continued. Mary was at university when her parents finally divorced.
Mary resented both her parents for staying together and putting her and her brothers through all that turmoil. It took her another ten years and a couple of children of her own to get past that.
So why did her parents stay together in a marriage that was not working? Their explanation was they did it “for the sake of the children.” They didn’t want to “unravel the family.”
Many couples manage to turn a souring relationship around through counselling, but often the deterioration has gone beyond the point of no return before they seek counselling.
What is the damage from staying?
When children under ten see their parents in open conflict, they tend to blame themselves. They tend to put their own lives on hold. As they get older, they may just withdraw and become increasingly isolated from one or both parents.
A few will develop behaviour problems: acting out, defiance, deteriorating grades, bullying, etc.
However, the biggest long-term damage comes from their internalizing what they see modeled. It is the parental modeling that years later leads to the 26-year-old mother handling conflict with her husband by screaming at him, or her husband handling conflict by bullying. It is what they saw their parents do. At an intuitive level, they don’t know any other ways of resolving family conflict.
What is the damage from separating?
The issue for the children’s health and development is not whether the parents are together or apart, but how well they handle conflict. If separating gives them space to cool down and co-parent with mutual respect, the children, as children, will be better off than when their parents were together.
Later, as adult children of parents who were separated, they can draw on a model that says you don’t have to go down with a sinking ship. Their parents didn’t unravel the family by separating. Rather, they separated because the family had already unraveled.
Would you want your daughter or son to stay in a chronically unhappy marriage? Then be careful what you model.
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Dr. Neill Neill retired his psychology practice at the end of 2013. He maintains an active coaching practice via telephone or Skype with select clients dealing with alcoholic husbands or ex-husbands. Check out his book, Living with a Functioning Alcoholic: A Woman's Survival Guide. http://drneillneill.com

57 comments to Are You in an Unhappy Marriage Just for Your Children?

  • Anna

    Hi Dr.Neill,

    Thank you very much for your reply…My husband and I had a talk the other day and we both agree that seperation will do us good…at least for the time being…Today I packed everything and am ready to move out.My husband is very calm about it and said we may still see each other though..he suggested that we may even start dating again…well…I am not so sure about it…one voice in my heart still tells me to stay and give it another try…..it has been 9 years since we met…can’t be easy for anyone I guess….anyway…that’s all the news for the time being…wish me luck!:)

  • Stacy Howard

    Dr Neill,
    I read this & know i should separate from my husband. Although we rarely fight, we just don’t talk. My husband is also an alcoholic. However, I just can’t get past taking my children’s father from them & the fear of being a single mother. My children love their father, and there are good times between the kids & their Dad. My chilodren are 4, 6, and 9. Anyway, thank you for printing this excerpt. I just have to find the courage to do it.

  • Many people stay glued to their marriage because of children or things like financial security. But I don’t think it is worth to spend your life unhappy and miserable.

  • Ginger

    I am 37 with two children in a miserable marriage. My husband is an alcoholic- he has had DUIs, in trouble with his job which resulted him being in a 30 day rehab. We have been married 16 years and separated twice. The children are 7 and 12 now. Husband is verbally abusive I finally realized and does not refrain anything or words on his mind when fighting with me in front of the children, which happens drunk or sober.

    I am on the fence with what to do… I finally mentioned to my sister who told me my family sees it and says I try to cover it up good. Also this marriage has never been emotionally fulfilling with so much other things. He was the person I dated in school and then married because it was the “right thing to do”. Any advise?? How far do you let it go when the children are involved?

  • Parents handling conflict badly (yelling, abusive behavior, etc.) has more negative effects on the children than the parents being separated. In other words, if separating reduces the amount of verbal abuse, the children benefit.

  • Mistiek

    On Monday my husband and I separated for the 3rd and final time. We have now been married for 10 years and although he was still hoping to make it work it just was not going anywhere. We just don’t make each other happy and seem to bring out the worst in each other. The final straw came when he left on Sunday for work in Scotland and I was relieved and I realized I felt better when he was away. I noticed I am a calmer person with out him here and instead of being down in the dumps and miserable and then getting angry with the children over little things resulting in heated arguments with my 7 year old; I was able to deal with his tantrums and calmly defuse the situation.

    I realized that I am not the parent I want to be and think it has everything to do with my unhappy marriage and realized I was doing more damage to my children than good by staying with their father.

    It hurts like hell to know I will be hurting my children and dread the day he comes home from Scotland and we have to tell the children as their little hearts will break. But, I believe if we stay amicable with each other and give our children 2 happy homes to live in they will come though this as happier little children.

    I have been fighting for 5 years from the 1st separation to make this marriage work and I have finally realized it will never change and my happiness is important for my children. Also, what message would I be giving to my children if I cant show them love and affection for my partner? I don’t want them growing up thinking that’s what a relationship is about. My son not being romantic and my daughter settling for anything less than what she wants! Good luck to you all in your decisions….

  • Julie

    Wow thank you for posting this. I’m not married nor have children yet but constantly hear about the damage divorce does to children. I always felt it was a very unfair characterization of divorce as the large scale studies always compare the criminal records and divorce rates of children of divorce and children of parents who stayed together. This is a ridiculous comparison of apples and oranges. Of course a child who grows up with parents in a happy loving marriage will be happier than a child who watched his parents marriage dissolve. A better question to ask is do children who grow up with parents in a miserable or unloving marriage versus parents who end a miserable/unloving marriage going to do better?

    Personally, I’m thrilled my parents got divorced and I had the opportunity to grow up in a peaceful, happy home with my mother and wonderful step father. Rather than the terror and chaos of living with a stressed out, miserable mother and angry father.

    I’ve known several friends who have either asked their parents to get a divorce or have said they were thrilled they did. Thank you so much for talking about this. I only wish there were more folks in your profession that did.

  • Priscilla

    Thank you for posting this. All this time I have been in a very unhappy marriage and even though I tell my husband I love him and want to be with him. I know in my heart its not what I want or need. Our 3 years of marriage has been a total disaster. I went from being so happy when our daughter was born–to not wanting to smile. With him, even when i see him everyday there’s no passion anymore and half the time I am around him I want nothing more than to run away and be free with my kids.

    We argue. We both always have to get the last words and put eachother down. I’m tired and have made many attemps to leave the relationship, but I feel my kids need both their parents in order to be normal. When you post about children acting out in these ways it explains alot of the reasons for my sons behavior. He’s 8. I never realized the damage I was doing untill now. I know I want to be alone but how to get there is the only struggle. I can’t seem to find a solution to this, but I know it will benifit myself and all my kids if i get out now and save their futures of becoming someone who others will adore. So, thanks for your info.

  • Crystal

    Hi,
    Currently I am feeling that there is no other option but to separate from my husband. We have been together since I was 17. I am now 29 and we have three children together. I am no longer in love with my partner. I do love him, but I am unable to show affection towards him. I am so conflicted I do not want to separate my family. I always wanted to experience all the major milestones of a family with him, but I just cannot do this anymore. I try talking to him, try expressing the changes I need in order to be happy i.e spending more time home doing things with our kids, doing yard work together, cleaning out house stuff that I cannot lift etc.

    He is a very hard worker, supports our family and does not want me working until our kids are in school. He does come from a family that has anger control issues. He is trying to get a handle on things, but I feel like the damage has been done and my heart cannot forgive him. I do not want my boys to EVER treat women the way he has treated me in the past. I feel sick to my stomach thinking that this could really possibly be over, but I am so tired of wanting things for our family and home life, wanting him to have pride in us, the kids along with our house and yard, and he could care less.

    He is a slob, I am always picking up after him, and he’ll say he’s going to get to it, gets mad at me for reminding him and still he will forget and won’t do what he was supposed to do. He smokes pot every single night, all day on weekends at the lake, and sees no problem with this. What am I supposed to do? My life has everything to do with his family. I am the one who has to put all the effort into being with his family. Don’t get me wrong I love his aunts, uncles, cousins, I really do, but he does not see my family even a 1/3 as much as I see his.

    If I leave him it will be blamed on me, I will have to deal with him not cooperating, making separating even harder on our children. I am nauseas just thinking about the way he would act and treat me and blatantly blame me in front of our kids. On the surface we look like an ordinary family, who is social when need be, friendly to each other, who occasionally fights, but behind closed doors, I am the numb, depressed wife, anxious, sad, irritable and tired of so much I don’t even know where/what to start at that makes me more depressed about life. Him or me? I don’t know how to leave. I don’t know if I can. I don’t want to separate my family and be blamed or called selfish. I want amazing things for my kids, that is all I want. But, it’s hard to have energy to put into that when I am so miserable. What is wrong with me….everyone will think I am ungrateful if I leave him, no one truly knows what he is like. And I cannot handle the fake we are putting off, I cannot do it much longer. I just want to be happy, and active, and affectionate. Instead I am lethargic, most days I have to take everything in me just to have a decent day with my kids, it’s killing me.

  • Justin

    I love my wife and my children more than anything. My biggest fear is losing our family. When I read a compilation of studies spanning over 30 years regarding the effects of divorce on children, I was appaled. I recognized some of the effects on my own life from my parents divorce when I was five years old. I understand that some marriages can turn sour and become unsafe for spouses and children, and attempts to save them from the fires continuously fail. But most importantly, I know that it only takes one spouse who loves their family to salvage a marriage from the ashes. The way we are raised and our interactions with others while we grow play a big part on how we decipher communications from others. For example: I say, “I can’t relax in this house with it looking this way”. She hears, “I think you’re a slob and a bad mother for living this way”. What I meant for her to hear was, “I would like us to work on chores together in a way that sustains a clean house”. We have the hardest times hearing eachother and it is a constant source of unfounded hurt. But I love my wife and need to show her that I do more often and in more ways. For my family, my wife, and my children, I will walk through the fires of hell every day for the rest of my life to keep it alive and nurturing. I could never live with myself knowing how badly I have hurt my children and scared their lives by giving up on the partnership I entered with my wife, our vows and our hopes and dreams and prayers, and the littles lives we started from love of eachother. For them, I will never stop trying.

  • Kevin

    I’m in an unhealthy marriage and plan to continue just for the sake of my kids. I think my wife would make things so miserable for me, that it would just be easier to stay the course for right now. I married her because she got pregnant and have now stayed together for about 15 years. We are clearly so different in terms of the way we view the world; our values, spirituality, culturally, sexually, etc. In fact, having sex with her is a real struggle for me and has always been so. I refuse to think of separating, as I love my kids so much and want complete access to them all the time. I’m a really involved dad with 2 boys. I spend quality time with them; coaching, homework, PTA, and all. I just can’t bear the thought of loosing them, although I know my wife and I would be happier apart. I’m writing this to see if there are other dads out their in a similar situation and are there resources for me to help me get through another 10 years in a dysfunctional marriage?

  • Lonelysoul

    Hi Kevin,

    I like your comment, however, have you imagined yourself with your wife after all the kids have grown up and they are living their lives on their own? If you come to think of it, it will just be you and your wife left alone in the house and no more kids to take care of (except of course if you are going to take care of your grandchildren)… then what will you do?

  • Lonely

    Crystal,

    I just want to tell you that you are not alone. I share exactly the same problem you are facing. I had tears in my eyes when I read what you have written. Of course, everybody here is having a painful/unhappy life. But yours was something I could relate to very well. I just think that we must start a new perspective in life… Do not expect anything from your husband. If he does the chores..it’s good, if he doesn’t, don’t bother. Do the best you can. Remember not to set a high standards on anything in life. Do things that bring you happiness.

  • The Child

    Dear Dr. Neill,

    Thank you for publishing this. I’m an 18 year old girl who very accurately developed the behavioral problems you’ve listed. I’ve isolated myself from my parents and once I was of age, I moved far away from them as possible to get away from the turmoil at home.

    I’ve grew up very unhappy due to my parent’s conflict, and constantly asked my mother to divorce my father since I was eight. The reason they’ve stayed together was “for my sake”.

    My parents married because my mother got pregnant with me and for that reason they’ve been in a very unhappy marriage with nothing but conflict and scarce respect for one another. The year that their marriage was on the brink and with the knowledge that I was old enough to not be an excuse, they’ve conceived another child, not out of love, but out of desperation and an excuse to not face the uncertain future of financial independence. And thus the cycle starts again.

    For all the parents that read this, and worry what will happen to your child if you don’t get a divorce; DON’T. In the worse case scenario, they’ll end up like me: antisocial, bitter, and with little emotional connections with my parents.

  • WorriedSick

    I have been married for 13 years and we have 2 children. I knew my husband for 8 years before we were romantically involved. He was a friend from the age of 20 and we got to know each other through the building we both worked in. For 8 years he would take me to nice restaurants, wine bars, movies, etc and this was a platonic friendship as for many of those years I was in another long term relationship. He wore suits, nice clothes, was well-mannered, chivalrous (doors opened etc). He was patient, calm, and loyal through and through.

    I had been single for almost a year once we started a romantic relationship. There were rocky times in the beginning of our relationship (i.e. he left me at a party once with all of his friends whom I had just met and he drove MY car home and went to bed. This was because he told me he was ready to leave the party and I didn’t leave immediately). After some relationship counseling, I felt it had just been an adjustment period where we were both trying to find our feet in the relationship. We got married after 1 year of dating, and we had our first child 18 months later. That is when our problems started.

    When our baby was 1 month old, he started criticizing me very heavily for not being organized enough ….. I ran out of clean baby bottles one morning after a long, sleepless night and when he saw me washing and sterilizing a bottle for a feed, he told me I was a “hopeless mother”. I had post-natal depression and he told me to “get over it … it’s not about you anymore, it’s about the baby”.

    His relentless criticism of me continued for 5 years, but we decided to have another child during one of the good periods. I remember him being angry with me in the car one day and he made me get out and pump gas at the petrol station, heavily pregnant because I had been “rude” to him. These are just a couple of examples of hundreds of moments over 13 years.

    At the time our 2nd baby was born, I had suffered a broken knee cap due to a fall a couple of days before the caesarean was due. I had to have knee surgery when our baby was a week old and my leg was in a brace for 6 weeks. When our baby was 2 weeks old, my husband turned 40. He actually gave me a hard time because I had not organized something special for his 40th birthday. I had a 2 week old baby and surgery 1 week before and had just come out of hospital. He made me feel like the worst wife on the face of the earth, and so what did I do? I rushed around organizing a surprise dinner with his closest friends.

    I have been a fool for 13 years, but now we are at the point where he berates me and talks to me like I’m a piece of dirt in front of our children and I can’t let them see this any more.

    He and I are in constant combat, but most of it is silent and he is now working on our 11 year old daughter. He puts me down to her, he laughs at me and involves her in the laughing at me.

    I have read psychology pages on ‘victim complex personalities’ and he fits the profile. He had a mentally and verbally abusive father who put his mother down for years until she left him, and his father was an uncaring, rude, dominating husband and father. I feel like history is repeating itself and I am the one paying for the fractured personality and interpersonal problems that his parents relationship caused.

    I love my children and as the daughter of happily married parents of 45 years, I NEVER thought I would have children in a broken home. I am worried sick about what divorcing will do to them and I don’ t want to hurt their childhood, but I believe I am doing them more psychological harm by staying with him.

    He represses them, but plays the victim and makes it look like I’m ungrateful. He’s extremely cunning, but I’m scared of what he’ll be like and what he’ll say to them if he gets half the custody time.

    The other night he made our 6 year old son do the naughty corner in a dark room with the lights turned off. He sat in the room with him, but he knows that our son is scared of the dark. When I questioned him as to why he was making our son sit in the dark, he roared at me to keep out of it and that he was disciplining our son “his way” and that I should butt out. He roared at me like I was a piece of dirt right in front of our daughter and my mother who was in shock with her mouth open in disbelief.

    He’s not normal and he’s very manipulative. He plays the martyr all the time and is very clever at painting me as though I’m hopeless and miserable all the time.

    I find myself crying privately a lot, and sometimes when he’s rude to me I find myself saying, “Shut up, God I hate you” under my breath.

    This is no way to live and I feel duped. I feel like he conned me with chivalry and manners until he “got” me and then all he did for the next 13 years was try to crush my spirit and control me.

    I have fantastic support from my parents (who have admitted to me they almost hate him after the things they’ve seen him do to me and others we know), but I am just so worried about damaging my children psychologically.

    What do I do? Our beautiful children are 6 and 11. Should I end this before my daughter hits the teenage years? I know he is going to try and turn her against me and I love her more than life itself.

  • Sam

    Hey Neill!

    I grew up with my sibling in an atmosphere where the father beats the mother to death. My mother was married to my father, later did she realize that she was betrayed and certain facts were not told to her which could have saved her from marrying.

    After the marriage, as usual, the whole cycle of beatings and abuses started. She never took the step of divorce. She threatened my father that she would take a divorce if he does not mend his ways. Its been 21 years since they have been together. And I am 20 now. I would rather blame her for not taking any step towards ending it. Had she done that earlier itself, at least my sibling would not have been born and at least one life could have been saved. I do love my father . But some times he’s vulgar. Huh ..

    He even beat me indecently many times! I don’t know what love is anymore. I feel that I am being enforced to live with certain people who say that they are my protectors and saviors. Well, they did not protect me anywhere. They can’t even stand up for me when I need them the most.

    My father is an alcoholic and he loses his senses when he fights. He drinks daily. Whenever I want to talk to him about studies in abroad, he brushes up the topic saying he does not have money. In India, almost every parent saves it up for their child. He did not. And its a tradition that for girls gold jewellery is made. He did not do that either. I hardly have any gold. I am not complaining about that, it’s just that I feel bad when my friends’ fathers who have same positions as managers make kilograms of gold.

    Every night, my father comes and shouts and fights. And my brother too follows the same path. He started scolding me with abuses back a long time. Sometimes he even raises the hand. Last night me and my father had an argument. And my brother abused me for a simple reason. My father does only one thing. He asks, “Why are you talking like that?” The next moment, he hits me on my face twice and it hurts my braces. I have braces on my teeth. I got little blood from the gums. I even called my best friend last night saying I don’t wanna live with them anymore. Even she has a very much similar life just as mine.

    My right side of the face still hurts and I am in pain . I wanna run away from here. I don’t feel if my mother is on my side anymore. She is not able to tolerate my thoughts anymore. She thinks I am flying in the air, castles type of girl. I don’t even know what to do. All the options of going away from here seems pointless. If I am not allowed to go out, they may put me into marriage and murder me. If that happens, I surely can’t live with it. I may end my life. I know this is much of confession rather than a complaint. I needed to share this to someone.

    Now look here; last night they fight and now they talk like lovebirds. And when asked why do thy do so they reply, “It’s for the children.” Come on, for me? I would rather love to live alone than to live with you.

  • Diane

    I hate my husband’s guts. He is abusive and cruel. I wish he would leave home, but he doesn’t. I don’t want the cops here, I just want my husband out. I hate even calling him my husband. It makes me sick to think I would wind up with a fat, disgusting, lazy piece of crap like that. I want out of this marriage. It is not healthy for kids, animals or anyone to put up with married people’s abuse. Divorce, divorce, divorce!!!!!

  • Thank you for posting this, but still after 25 years of marriage and 4 children I still don’t know what to do. For the past 7 years after my youngest son was diagnosed with Autism, my life completely changed and the relationship with my husband became non existent at all. Him working 14 hours a day and me having all the responsibility of the house and my kids was just too much.

    It’s until now that he said that our relationship is not working and that we need to find help because he cannot take it anymore!!! He blames me for everything. I stopped working 12 years ago as his request and now I feel I’m in a disadvantage. He just said that if we cannot work it out it’s better to divorce!! What about me???? What am I supposed to do???

  • Ashley

    Somehow it’s always nice to know one is not alone. I became pregnant for my then boyfriend of 9 months and decided to get married after many arguments about me not wanting to have my baby out of wedlock. So here we are 3 years later and I am miserable. I have spent hours crying tonight before seeing this site. I have tried so hard, but my husband is so manipulative and his ego bigger than his bank account. He puts me down all the time, blames me for everything, doesn’t help me out, speaks to me wrongly or not at all. He would spend all day on his phone playing games than talk to me. He has never on his own thought to do anything nice for me. But he loves our son and my son loves his dad so much it scares me.

    I feel worried about the way his dad treats me because I feel he might grow up picking those bad attitudes towards women. I’m scared that if I leave, I will be taking so much away from my son. And that there will be such a bad fight about custody and blames, all of which will be mine as it will all be my family’s fault. I am fed up. I want to be loved, to be appreciated, to be cared for, spoken to, I just want to have a happy life, not one with someone who really doesn’t want to be with me or is just with me for all the financial benefits there. I’m constantly giving and doing. I feel emotionally drained. Even if I was to leave, I have no idea what to do or how. I want to take my son with me without all the custody battles.

    What can I do??

  • I’ve been in a ten year verbally abusive marriage I want to leave. I really need help. All she does is put down the two children as if she doesn’t want them at all. She yells and screams and flies into a fit of rage. She will not cook or clean or do laundry. I thought things would change, but they have not. I have been the sole provider for them for ten years she doesn’t manage money well. We’ve been living on a little nothing for several months. Because she doesn’t manage money, we have no money for groceries. We are always in the red at the bank or overdrawn. How do I leave?

  • Laura

    Today was the first day I left the house without my wedding ring. It made me sad, but made me feel strong like I wouldn’t have to put up with the verbal abuse and put downs any longer. It made me feel like it was time to stick up for myself and demand to be respected. I’m not perfect so I don’t feel like I need to list all the reasons why he’s wrong or has hurt me, but I’m at the point where I’m recognizing that his anger and verbal abuse is damaging my self worth and creating a reaction in me I’m not proud of. I feel horrible that my children have heard our arguing. I have confided in my parents so they are aware of things I’ve said and things he’s said and have let me know I can always go there…. at this point I don’t think that he’ll ever respect me unless I leave…. I hate having my parents involved, but I’m really thinking maybe that’s the best thing to do so he knows this is serious.

    Today he yelled because he misread what I said which started a huge fight…. then we have time apart and he mockingly says, “Hi, how are you?” like nothing happened or he can just pretend to glaze over things.

    Anyways we both know things need to change, I just don’t think he gets how ready I am to leave for good. If I was to say this he’d be like ‘good see ya, can I help you pack’ to be a mean person. I don’t know I left once for a day or so and he was dropping by my parents so maybe that’s what I need to do for him to wake up and realize what his actions are doing to me, and us.

    Like I said, I’m nowhere near perfect and when verbally pushed I’ll fight back as best as I can… it just breaks my heart and breaks me down every time and I don’t think he cares.

    Not sure where this will go… just felt like maybe typing this out would give some clarity, but it hasn’t so far.

    Just wanted to mention that today I took a big step and went in public without my wedding rings on and that was okay… I felt strong and like everything would be okay.

  • Diana

    With each and every post I have at least two things in common: I want to cry and I thought I was the only one that thought these thoughts and had these feelings, yet feels so trapped with nowhere to turn.

    I read on a therapist blog this afternoon this passage which for the first time in a very long time, I cried tears of happiness. It summed up exactly how I feel, how I should feel without me feeling ashamed of myself and my marriage. The passage goes- I didn’t consciously choose to be in an unhappy marriage but I can choose to deal with it with dignity and intelligence, no one can tell me what to do, it may be a lonely place but its my place. It is only my life to live.

    It’s simple, if I truly love myself and my children, I need to be happy. I need to be happy for them. I cannot continue to allow my beautiful children to be hurt by this marriage any longer. God bless you all and I wish happiness to you all.

  • Tim

    I can’t bear to lose my precious children. My wife and I have no chemistry at all. We don’t speak the same basic language it seems. I realized this when we first met, but I ignored it and made it my mission to win her. She was awful to my family immediately, which caused great pain and nearly ended our young marriage. But we stuck with it.

    We have three beautiful kids and one on the way. Some things are good. She’s very organized and keeps a lovely home. And she’s worked hard to make things better with my family. But we just don’t click. I don’t get to be myself because I know she doesn’t mesh well with that person. So I refrain from natural thoughts or tendencies often. And she’s terribly unfair with our kids and yells frequently. She’s frequently told me that she doesn’t feel that I love her. Sometimes things are okay, but I’ll never be truly happy.

    I forced this relationship even when the signs were there that it wasn’t a good fit. I can’t bear the thought that my five year old son would ever have to comprehend that his mommy and daddy don’t love each other. I don’t know what to do. I know that scars are likely inevitable either way. I want to be happy so bad, but it’s just not in the cards I’m afraid. My own fault, but I do love my kids more than anything else in the world. Any life where I get to come home to them every day can’t be all that bad, can it?

  • Gabriell

    Interesting article but I don’t buy it. My kids would rather us like each other and stay married but if we have to be unhappy then just be unhappy and keep things together.

    No one is completely happy, I have been married 29 years to a man I don’t like but I like my family, I like my kids living with a mom and a dad both who love them and I don’t believe a new girlfriend or a well meaning step dad is ever as good as mom and dad in the same house.

    If there is physical abuse or drugs and alcohol involved or worse abuse to the children of any kind I say leave, leave now, leave today.

    Am I teaching my kids the wrong things by staying? I don’t know. I am showing them that when you make a commitment you keep it, that you don’t just walk out on your family because you are not “happy” there is a lot of happy and unhappy in life and sometimes you have to make it work with what you have. I am teaching them that I value our family and I am willing to stick it out, take the high road, do what it takes to keep us a family.

    Be honest kids of divorce do horribly most times. I am one, I don’t have many friends or family that are not divorced at some time, and I have yet to see a happy ending. I know a lot of single moms struggling to make ends meet with fought for child support and a job they hate. Kids are now in daycare and new schools in crummy neighborhoods while Dad makes a new family with someone else.

    Happiness is something I need to find for myself. I find it with my kids and friend, and life. My husband thinks I owe him sex, I don’t agree so I assume he will find his “happiness” where he will. This isn’t just about two people, this is a family.

  • Jimmy

    Very interesting read. And it hits oh so close to home. I am stuck in an absolutely loveless and sexless marriage. I have no connection whatsoever with my wife of 16 years. We are roommates, and although we get along well, don’t argue, and are generally very cordial, there is simply nothing there. I have been thinking of leaving for sometime.

    One day, my wife asked me if I wanted to stay married. I answered honestly with a “maybe”. That spawned a lot of discussion, and we are now in therapy. We are both mature rational adults, its all very civil, luckily. I know in my heart of hearts it won’t work, but I have to try, as I see it as the right thing to do. We do have one teenage son, who always says “I love you guys”. It breaks my heart, and keeps me from pulling the plug so far.

    I am usually a very together person, but this is really painful for me, as I am sure it is for her. I think the kid kinda senses things, but he keeps professing his love for us both. I am in a place I haven’t been before, and its very disruptive.

    As I wake up at 50 plus years young, I just want to live the rest of my years being happy, healthy, and the being the great guy I am. I have a ton of friends, and always have a smile on my face. I would so love to meet a great woman who can appreciate all the love and good vibes I have to give. This is really, really tough. I love my kid and I don’t want to hurt him. Sound familiar?

  • rob

    I have been married 21 years and am in the exact same situation as many of you. I have two sons as well and the challenge on this end is, due shaken baby syndrome from a sitter when he was younger, the oldest is a disabled. Had he not gotten hurt, I don’t know if we would be together or not. Then along came the second son who is active in sports. Both his mom and I are active in both their lives and activities, but that’s pretty much all we have in common at this point and have for a long time. Outside the home we seem like the all american family. Inside the home, we barely talk, spend most of our time in separate parts of the house, and when we do converse about something, other than kids, it often leads to a fight. I have found being in separate rooms reduces the conflict, but it’s really like living alone at this point anyways. I wanted to do the honorable thing and keep everyone together but, everyday this seems like an unrealistic goal. We married young, grew up together and are great friends, but from a marriage standpoint things suck. The youngest is a sophomore and I don’t know whether to stick it out 3 more years or just give up at this point.

  • Tanya

    I guess I’m one of the few that really was blessed by my parents divorce. My step-dad is a wonderful man and has been a great dad to me. His family is my family. I had to see my father and step-mother’s extremely unhealthy and abusive marriage until he died when I was 13, and it horrified me. If their marriage was that bad, how awful must have my mom and his have been?

    Now I’m 25 and in an unhealthy marriage. I have a two year old son, who we both love more than anything in the world, and while I hate the idea of him not having both of us actively in his life on a daily basis, I know that me and his father are not giving him the example of what a healthy relationship should be, with mutual love, trust, respect, and good communication. My husband thinks it’s okay to say awful, cruel things in arguments because he apologizes afterward and doesn’t really mean them. It’s a cycle of verbal and emotional abuse that I will not tolerate any longer.

    I do not hate my husband. He has some very good qualities as well, but when there is that kind of verbal and emotional abuse, that far outweighs the good, it’s just not worth it to stay. I told him that I wanted us to both live in the same city (he’s in the process of getting out of the military, so we will be moving regardless of divorce/staying together) so that we can both be a part of our son’s life, but he wanted no part in that. He will move to Florida, but I have said from day one that I don’t want to live that far south, so I am moving with our son to an area in Missouri where I have connections in my pre-baby profession, which I have kept my license up to date in even while being a stay-at-home-mom.

    We’ve already started discussing logistics and plan to make our divorce agreement without lawyers, though we’ll go to JAG after we’re finished with it just to have someone who understands the laws and requirements look it over and make sure we’ve covered everything necessary. I think that if we can keep things calm and not throw out insults and accusations and attempt to be at least sort of friendly, we can still give our son a good life, even if we’re not married anymore.

    Divorce doesn’t have to be damaging to children if the parents can behave in a mature fashion and work together to continue to provide for the kid(s). It’s when one side or the other gets greedy and selfish or bad-mouths the other parent to the child that causes damage to the child.

  • peter

    Hi, reading these comments I can relate to a lot of them. I’m a 38 male, married for 15 years, and have 2 beautiful daughters. I’m British and my wife is Spanish. during our marriage I have never insulted her, never left her to do things alone with children, and have generally been there for everything she needs. I was unfaithful to her after our first child was born and always have regretted doing that. I told her and she forgave me. I saw a counselor and on we went. Sex has been low always and has now become non existent. I do try to be more affectionate and just do the kissing and cuddles, but even though I do that there’s no response sexually. well, 15 years down the line here I am in a relationship that doesn’t fulfill me at all. we have absolutely nothing in common, nada!!!!!!! Not in homes, clothes, holidays, or religious views, nada de nada. I have recently returned from a 3 day trip to a trade fair and had a one night stand. My head is now in turmoil. Although I know the women I was with is nothing, which is sad, because she is everything I could want from. But it has opened my eyes to how sad I feel and how empty things are at home. I am now contemplating leaving and have mentioned to her we need to talk. She just says she has nothing to say and that she has enough problems in her life. So here I am in limbo as to what to do. My daughters are 13 and 9 and love them loads, but know I would do more with them if a was happier. is there anyone out there that could shed some light and advise, I would be so grateful.

  • Kelly

    I have been unhappy in my relationship for years! We are not respectful to each other and we have been fighting every single day for years now. I want to leave and have wanted to leave for a very long time, but I can’t bring myself to do it because, I have three children ages five and under. My husband is such a loving dad and I can’t imagine how woeful he would feel not being able to see his kids every day. And of course my children love him too and I would never do anything to keep him from them, but I don’t want to live this way anymore. I have threatened to leave many times in the past, but never have, and so when I try and talk to him about how I feel about our relationship he refuses to listen and refuses to talk about anything. I really feel lost, and I feel like I could just idle this way for many more years- but I’m really not happy. My relationship is almost completely sexless and its been that way consistently for years.
    Maybe I need to see a counsellor?

  • jerry

    Kevin,
    We have a similar situation. I am too involved with my kids and think to stay married would be easier to be around my kids, than to get a divorce. I do in fact love my wife, but she comes from a double divorced family and abandonment, so divorce is natural to her because that what she knows. She just wants to be all about the kids and have me out of the picture. After her parents got divorced, her mom remarried and then, got another divorce and her mom left the kids for another woman. She and her sisters lived with their grandmother and she did not do a good job taking care of them so the step dad came and got the 4 kids a year later. This is due to dating another woman.

    Me, it’s hard to leave my kids so divorce is not what I want to do, but I know I should do. I feel like I’m dealing with all her past issues. I’m glad your staying married for the kids sake and for now so am I, but who knows how much more I can take. I love life and being with her is simply horrible but I have to do what I have to do.

  • robert

    I’m in a marriage where I’m growing very uncomfortable. She’s not a horrible person, but she tends to be a control freak. She is constantly putting me down and criticizing me for almost everything I do. My daughter, of almost twenty, sees this happening. She doesn’t know what she would do of we separated.

    The wife is not very supportive and sees all the negative things that could come out of every situation. If she gets crafty or buys something, she shows it off. I like antiques, so when I bring one home, she just sees it as another piece of junk in the house. She’s Bipolar so that doesn’t help at all and I am OCD and tend to have a temper, whether it’s learned or genetic I really don’t know. My father had a temper, as well as his parents, so you be the judge . She wants me to support her with her problem but there is no support from her about my OCD. She uses her illness as a crutch against me so as not to point out her flaws. Examples are as follows: When driving she see’s me driving carelessly, but when she drives like I do she tends to say I’m worse. I get an allowance where she asks me what I spent it on. She has no allowance, she spends when she feels like it, which is all the time, and uses the excuse that she. “is buying things as gifts for other people.” If I question her about it, it becomes world war three. She has put us through two bankruptcies because of her spending. No matter, what I ask her she seems to have an excuse for everything.
    I am at a loss as what to do.

  • michelle

    I need advice from the men.
    I’m in an 8 yr relationship. I’m consistently finding pictures of random women. Pictures of woman who have no clue he’s taking a picture with his phone. Their asses and tits. Then the porno thing, he forgets to completely delete stuff, web cam girls, etc. It’s crazy to think he has a sex deprived woman with him and he wants to do that. Anyways, when I try to let him know how this is wrong, he shuts down and walks away, he does not want to talk. I have never felt ugly or had problems getting a man, yet now my self esteem is so low. Why does he do this?

  • shannon

    My story is kind of the same, but has a twist. My ex- husband and I have been on and off for almost 18 years. The off part is due to his alcoholism. He has had many DUI’s and has spent time in jail for it. The last strike was almost one year ago. He was incarcerated for over 3 months. Well, that was the straw that broke the camels back. I moved on, with the help of my parents. We found a new place to live and were doing fine, except financially. I am on work comp due to a severe back injury so I do not bring home a lot of money…..he was always the bread winner and still is. When he first got out of jail he was wonderful. He didn’t yell at the kids, he helped me in any way possible. Well, here we are almost a year later and the yelling and fighting have started again. We have 3 children. (16, 9, 7) our son has ADHD, bi-polar and severe mood disorders. When Dad was away this last time, he took it real hard. He is a huge Daddy’s boy!! My ex is not a horrible father, but he does yell at them all the time. I hate it!! He came from an abusive home as a child. His father, grandfather, great grandfather and so on, all have been alcoholics.
    We told ourselves we would work through anything this time. But, my problem is, is that he has done so much damage to me and not just emotionally. He ruined my credit, he didn’t pay our car insurance and I got into a tiny fender bender and lost my license for 3 months. Now, last week, I find out it’s suspended again from that accident because they are suing me for $11, 000 and suspended my license until 2020. Now I have to hire an attorney, which I cannot afford, to go to court for this. I am just having a hard time forgiving him for all of this.

    I’m not saying I’m perfect because I am not. When we first got divorced I found a man. Well, I also had a relationship with him. And to this day, 14 years later, I still do. He knows that I did have one and he never lets me live it down. If we get into a fight he is always accusing me of going to “him.” “Him,” and I are still friends…nothing more. He is going through a horrible divorce and I am just here for him when he needs to vent. That’s it. Well my ex had an affair this last time before he went to jail. She was the one who bailed him out and he stayed at her house for a month or so. He says he’s done with her, so I guess I believe him.

    I don’t know what to do. He is doing well for now. We are trying to save money again because we took all of our savings and had to use it for a lawyer. He had a MAJOR bill. So needless to say, we’re pretty much broke and live paycheck to paycheck.

    I can’t decide if I want to stay or if we should go our separate ways. I know my son will start acting out again. Last time, when he was gone, I had to put our son in a Behavior Unit about an hour away from our home. He is a little guy that already has enough problems and I do not want him to go through that again. Please help. I really could use someone’s opinion besides family.
    Thank you.
    Shannon

  • margarita

    I am a mother of 5 at age 29. I’ve been with my husband on and off since my first daughter, who is now 10. We got married in 2009, but had separated for 6 months in 2006. At the beginning of our marriage, I tried to be the best wife/mother, after a while, it became hard when the insults started it was one after another, name calling, put downs and little fights over the stupidest things. Money was always an issue, sadly to say. Now were have been separated since April and I honestly don’t see a future for us anymore. He, on the other hand, wants to work things out, but I don’t feel that love for him anymore. I’m scared to be a single mom of 5, but I know I’ve got to stay strong for them.

  • tracey

    HI

    My partner and I have 4 children, 2 of them are his step kids and the other two are naturally his. I am wanting to leave our home to return back to where I grew up in Manchester. I want to take my kids, but he keeps threatening me saying, “I have to go alone and the children stay with me.” The relationship has been in shambles for quite a while now. I am just hitting my lowest point of where I can’t take it any more. What are my options on this and being able to take my kids?

  • child of unhappy marriage

    I am a child from am unhappy marriage. I remember being 8 years old and wishing my parents divorced, the arguing the screaming and shouting is very damaging to see growing up. I am now 40 years old and would never get married. I came close once, but lucky for me he walked out 3 months before the wedding, saved me a fate worse than death. I see so many unhappy married people and I laugh and think what a bunch of weak fools, staying together for the children, that’s a load of rubbish you are staying because you are too weak to leave. I am a single mother of one and am so happy I have my freedom and my daughter does not hear any arguing or screaming she just gets love from me day and night and I love it. I work everyday and pick her up after school and drop her off. I am a parent who has her own house car and job and does it all on her own without help from the state.

    Her dad gives me hardly anything and doesn’t see her and I don’t care. I would rather make my own money have a life without resentment bitterness and arguing. I will not make the mistakes my parents made, my daughter says she loves living with me and being with me. I love a life with freedom and financial freedom. All you woman who are kidding yourselves, go out earn some money get rid of the man, you don’t need him and take care of the children. If he’s a good man and your the problem, then men get rid of her and be happy and free, your children will thank you when there older, children only want happy parents that’s a fact.

  • lisa

    We have been together for about 6 years now. I was 18 and he was 30 at the time, I had my 1st child when I was 21 and shortly after that, GE got hurt and has been out of work. We had a daughter in 2012. He is always drunk, but it’s like lately, every time he gets drunk, he wants to argue. it doesn’t matter what I say he turns it around, as if I’m picking on him or trying to start a fight. He yells and cusses in front of our kids so bad, that our 3 year old is terrified when he starts to yell and he just starts to cry. What should I do, stay or leave. He says stuff sometimes like he’s going to hit me in from of our 3 year old.

  • Trish

    Children need a loving home. Children need two parents who are on the same page. It is better to have one happy parent than two parents who are at war with each other or children will be afraid in their own homes, they will see abuse and be subjected to abuse. It is not good for children to see or hear their parents abusing each other. It is not right to have a parent or both parents coming home drunk and the children see them this way. It is also wrong to ask others if they should stay or leave! You should know the answer to that question. Do not think that two parents are better than one, what if one partner dies? You do not automatically seek out a new parent to take the place. I come from a broken home, it was both parents being abusive to the children, it did a lot of damage to us. We just wanted to leave home and live free of the troubles. Doing what is right for the children comes first, my neighbors had children who tried to hide when the father beat the mother and yelled at her. That is no life for any child. The welfare of the children comes first, staying together must be so that the children live in a loving home they are happy to be in and they do not have any dread at all. I used to dread going home, I was safer outside the home. Two parents are not always better than one. It takes wisdom and common sense to choose the right way, peace.

  • martyn

    Hi, I’m married to my wife and feel like my heart is not 100% in it. I met my wife in my early 20′s, this was a traumatic point in my life where I had confidence issues. I dated her because, at the time, not many women seemed to pay me any attention. Perhaps this was because I was very skinny, at the time, or it might have been due to me being too shy to initiate conversation to show interest in women I was attracted to. I’ve never been a jock/popular person while growing up and have always struggled with women because I have been rejected a couple of times and have not experienced many things that young people do, i.e. pull a total stranger in a club (female of course) and exchange numbers to successfully meet up again or have intercourse with a few women between dating. After 11 months of us going out, she became pregnant. At the time I was happy with our relationship, I think this was due to the fact we we’re young, naive and didn’t know each other fully and that I had not found my feet, in terms of confidence and self-belief.

    During my mid to late 20′s, we had another 2 children (twins). As I hit my late 20′s I became obsessed in bodybuilding and running, my physique had become bigger and more desirable to women. Now I’m 30 and I’m finding I’m getting so much attention from women that I’m very attracted to. This is very hard for me because I’ve rarely experienced this, in my younger years, which had left me terrified of women. I really would like to experience one night stands and have been with more than 4 women in my life or have gone on holiday and met a number of women to have intercourse with. Most of my friends have been with 30-60 women in their lifetime. They tease me about this, which I find hard. The point I’m making is that I find it easy to approach women now and have gained so much confidence which I find I can now re-live my youth before it gets too late. That and my wife and I argue a hell of a lot. We tell each other quite often that we hate each other etc. We try not to fight in front of the kids as this obviously really effects our eldest child and will do so with the twins in time. We both feel we have grew apart with age, but the only thing keeping us together is the kids. The kids also keeps me from committing adultery against my wife.

    I find it very difficult to flirt with other attractive women and say no to proposals from pretty women when I’m drunk, so I now no longer drink when I’m out with friends. I know some women out there will ridicule me for how I am and what I’ve written, but I just can’t help how I feel, due to my past experience’s from how women made me feel while growing up.

  • James west

    Hi, my wife and I have been married now for 3.5 years and have grown apart. We have a beautiful little girl, who makes all the pain of my marriage go away . I am concerned because I don’t feel my wife can take care of our daughter if her and I split. As a husband and a dad, I work full time, take care of all the house chores and am responsible for all lunches and dinners for our child. I also drop off and pick up our girl from school . I myself come from a previous relationship where the separation ended up worse for the child, as the mother became vengeful and controlling, ultimately traumatizing our child. I am conflicted with the idea of separation because of our child’s best interest. Now in my current situation, I feel as though I would leave void in my daughters life, not being there everyday for her. My wife has become increasingly irritable and will ruin a moment if her O.C.D becomes triggered. My wife consistently accuses me of not being the right man for her and when she refers to our separation her focus is only on the new man she can’t wait to meet. As for now I just take her emotional abuse and stay strong for my daughter while I contemplate separation.

  • Frances

    How long do you stay in an unhappy marriage for the sake of your children, hoping it will change? I don’t love my husband anymore and haven’t for about 5 years. We don’t talk, doesn’t laugh and we can hardly look at each other. It’s such a lonely existence. It changes my personality and I don’t want the children to remember me like this. They see hear arguments. Doesn’t this teach the children this is how relationships should be? I feel trapped and worry that divorce would have irreparable damages to the children. I come from a broken home and know what long lasting, damaging effects it can have.

  • Frances

    Does anybody know of any chat forums that you can talk to similar people in similar circumstances?

  • Jubar

    I read the article, I’ve been married for eleven years and for the past four, I have just been going through the motions. I feel nothing for her or the kids. I feel like a slave to them and I know once we do divorce I will continue to be just that. There is no hope for me or my situation, as the family court judge is going to fry me like an egg. Marriage is not for the faint of heart, I don’t recommend ever doing it to anyone because based on what it is (two people living as 1 unit) is pure foolishness from the start.

  • Goofy

    Wow guys. I am so glad I got out 17 years ago and stayed single. No it was not easy on my kid, and we have zero relationship at this time, but I am not being abused or living with a mess of a person. Life is too short. His new wife is the new abused. She truly has no where to go.

  • Sandy

    I see my situation in your stories. If I put worried sick and susy’s comments together that would be my story. Just wondered how things are for these two posters? Have either of you left? What age do people think a child should be to least be affected by divorce? In my mind I thought 16, but then maybe they get into drugs to cope or alcohol? What about 14? What if you have an extra sensitive child?

  • Susanna

    Kevin,
    Why would you stay in a relationship with someone you don’t like? Your post says you have never enjoyed having sex with her? Maybe you should take some responsibility for your own actions? You make yourself sound like a victim of this woman, but YOU are in control of what YOU do or do not do. Are you really looking for “resources” to get you through another 10 years? Sounds like you just want some sympathy and you aren’t staying for the kids sake, more like you are just plan lazy.

  • Lonely Mom

    I have been married for 7.5 years. We got married young (I was 18 and he was 26). We have a toddler right now. He used to be in the military and had to get out (as he got injured), and has PTSD as well. I work full time and he stays at home with our son. My husband is so angry most of the time…and always yells at me, in front of our son, about stupid things. I have put up with it for so long, and I know a lot of it is his PTSD and him not being in the military anymore. He is a different person. He will say things that make me feel like I am a bad mom. In a fight a couple of months ago, I told him I was afraid of having more kids with him because I wasn’t sure we would be together. Well, that didn’t go well at ALL, in fact it made things worse.

    We are in a rental home and he has destroyed a kitchen cabinet from kicking it out of anger, as well as a door from throwing something at it…all in about 2 months. This aggression is new and it really scares me. He ends up apologizing later but it doesn’t’ make it okay. I feel like our son’s personality is getting shaped by this fighting/yelling and I feel like he is beginning to get more irritable because of it…maybe so, or maybe it is because he is a little more than 1 year old and starting the “terrible twos”. It also bothers me that my husband smokes pot all of the time. Of course it isn’t around our son, and I know it helps take away his pain related to the military injuries, but it really REALLY bothers me! He knows this too.

    It pains me to think about leaving and taking our son. My husband is a good father towards our son, but he isn’t a good husband. He knows he is this way too and admits not being a good husband sometimes. I just don’t know what to do! He refuses counseling, by the way. I am so torn.

  • Bmjk

    After reading some of these replies I know FOR SURE what I need to do. My husband and I are in the process of separation and now I’m confident that it is the right decision for our family!!

  • Is it worth staying in an unhappy marriage for the children?

  • Mars

    I was in an abusive marriage for six years. He assaulted me while I was pregnant, yelled at me for hours on end, called me names, oh the list goes on and on. Yes, all in front of the children. So, of course, it was better for the children (and me) when he left, after one last hooray in which he nearly killed me in front of my son. Of course, it was crazy for me to have stayed thinking things would get better, or that I wanted the children to have a ‘father’ — he was no ‘father’; but, life afterwards has not been the ‘happy’ freeing story I read from others. Really, it has been devastating — not because he was gone, but because of the impact the relationship has had on all of us. Because of the ex, I had to move state, leave my home, leave the few friends I had managed to make while married to him, and leave a workplace where I really had nice people around me. We just didn’t feel safe. I have PTSD. Now, two years on, although we are better off without the chaos and abuse, we just have a whole new life of struggles (mine)– that the children may one day resent, and that are clearly impacting on us all. I am completely isolated, get up at 6 a.m. to get them ready for school, lunches made, two drop-offs to different schools (because of their ages), and then off to work (yes, I am lucky to have a job where I work full time, and get paid well. Shouldn’t I be happy?) Finish work, two pick-ups then home to make dinner, bath (if I can fit that in) and bed. It is all pretty ‘normal’. I try most days to keep it happy, but I am flailing. I am too tired to do all the chores (like put the clean clothes away which sit in baskets at the end of my bed), too stretched financially to pay for help, and the children–now 6 and 4 bicker with each other constantly, shout at each other, and the girl whines so loudly I could scream (I don’t, most of the time I do all the positive parenting things one is supposed to do: time outs, catching them being good, hugging them, kissing them, and telling them I love them, while slowly feeling that I may go insane. Lately, I am just not coping. The sound of their fighting this weekend was grating on me so much I just went and sat in another room. I then yelled that they had to go to their room. I don’t know how I am going to get through this. I am so unhappy. Then I feel like I am letting them down. I told myself ‘stand up’ ‘be strong’ ‘show the kids how we can survive’, and now I feel like I am drowning in a big lake without anyone around (or while people are all around but do not care), while the kids stand at the edge fighting with each other. Oh and yes, I see a counselor but really it isn’t helping because for all the talk, I still have to go back to my life.

  • Mama

    I was in a abrasive marriage for 9 years, I have 2 daughter but only is my biological daughter. After my daughter was born, he turned into my worst enemy, he stared saying I’m, “the worst mother there is.” We both were married before, he has a daughter by his ex wife, who currently in his life, he compares me to her constantly saying. “you’ll never be like her.” He tells me, “she’s a perfect mother” and I’m “nothing, dumb and stupid.” When he’s around his daughter and her mother, he make feel like the worst mother hes ever known, he even tell me to take my oldest daughter, and and get out. Before we got married my credit was perfect, he convinced me to get a credit card in his name, and stupid me did so, not realizing he had no intention on paying the bills and ran my credit low. I realize I have to get out this marriage before he’s ruined my kids happiness, they deserve the best so how do I start this process.

  • Mars

    P.S. The last was written as I sunk into a pit of blackness, flashbacks, and despair. That was a bad day, and reflects my struggle as a consequence of an abuse marriage. Everything, which now seems Okay, was too much. So not an easy journey moving out of such a marriage. But a few days later, and I wanted to add that when the fog lifts from those episodes, I see there is light at the end of the tunnel — and I cannot agree more that the children are better away from being subjected to an abusive man. (Also realized that perhaps I need to cut myself some slack, I figure now unfolded freshly washed clothes in a basket is OK; we are safe).

  • kattie

    ”I read your special report. I just wanted to thank you for putting that on the internet. I feel better and I know I have a roller coaster ride though hell. I know I will be stronger once I pass hell and turn into a stronger person. Thank you again. You are a good man to help people after what you went through. Maybe one day I can help people like you have helped me.

  • Kat

    I’m not sure how long ago this was posted as there are not dates, but I couldn’t help but respond from the “other” side.

    As a child of two divorced parents, I can’t help but call out some of the selfishness I am hearing in some of these posts. This does not include people suffering from physical or extreme emotional abuse. I definitely understand escaping a situation of alcoholism and belittling behavior. However, some remarks of “I’m not in love” or “I want to experience my youth now”….grow up. And no I do not mean that politely. I actually found this page while looking for a support group for children who hate their parents for their divorces.

    It is not your partners responsibility to make you happy. It is yours and yours alone. In many cases, people who dislike their partner’s behaviors learn this before they marry them (that is not to say that people don’t change, some do). If you knew who they were before you married and you married anyway, do not expect sympathy from someone like me for trying to bail on your partner now. “Falling in love” is a great way for people to make an excuse for loving being something out of their control. I am sure the romantic nonsense Disney feeds us on relationships doesn’t help. People often suffer from an unrealistic expectation of what marriages and relationships are about. The initial butterflies and jitters are NOT love. The relationship is what you get once all of that is gone. I believe this is the reason the divorce rate is high. I got news for you, if you are looking for someone you can live with but not fight with, have disagreements with, or experience general unhappiness with, then you’ll be looking for the rest of your life. Marriage takes WORK.

    My parents are selfish people who only thought about themselves. Not about how the damage of their failed decisions would affect me. Being transferred from home to home like traded property. I was NOT property I was (and still am) a person with feelings that deserved a voice. Thanks to my father’s issues I have siblings all over I don’t know. And my mother was so desperate for attention that she spent 90% of her time chasing some guy (or now in her current marriage) and catering to his will…even at the expense of how I was treated by the new “partner”. They used a whole bunch of time blaming each other for their problems instead of carefully examining themselves for how they BOTH contributed to their unhappiness.

    T think the poster Gabriell (loved her whole post) said it best – I am showing them that when you make a commitment you keep it, that you don’t just walk out on your family because you are not “happy” there is a lot of happy and unhappy in life and sometimes you have to make it work with what you have.

    Some of you need to really think of how you’d want someone to treat YOUR child. I’d hardly think you’d want someone to make them as expendable as you have made your spouse. And then to have the nerve to be surprised when the left behind spouse becomes bitter and vengeful. Please allow me to dump all over your life and then tell you, you don’t mean a thing to me after all you’ve sacrificed, but don’t be mad, okay? Let’s be a little bit more realistic on what emotions ACTUALLY tell the other person. One thing I can honestly say I never blamed my mother for, was her anger with my father and his need to constantly keep his pants unzipped.

    I just wish people took marriages more seriously and stopped entering them with the idea that they can “get out” at any time. It won’t feel so good when your daughter or son is crying in your lap confused as to why their mate has abandoned them. Remember your kids PICK by example. I would never tell someone in a drastically abusive relationship to stay. If this person poses a threat to you and your child’s safety and mental well being, that’s different. But simple unhappiness? That’s for the birds. Arguments can be overcome if both parties can be mature enough to compromise. If you can not argue while separated, you can not argue while together. Get to the core of those issues, why you’re angry and move on. Don’t think jumping into another relationship is going to alleviate arguments.

    And for the guy who’s getting attention from women now and wants to have one night stands? Yes I AM going to trash your post. Why? Because you are going to put your family, your KIDS through the pain and psychological damage of divorce for something as temporary as a one night stand? You’re a real piece of work.

    I just want you all to know from someone who IS A CHILD OF DIVORCE, exactly how your crap becomes our crap. No, not in all cases, but many of us don’t realize until we are much older just how much of YOUR baggage we carry. We aren’t property, we shouldn’t just have to “deal with it”, we aren’t trading cards. Just as divorce means a lonely Christmas for you, how the hell do you think we feel? Who to invite to holidays? What not to say to the other parent to prevent hurt “feelings”? Who sits where at our own weddings?

    If you have the opportunity to make it work, then WORK. Marriages are WORK. Don’t go off making new families while leaving the one “behind” in shambles.

    Angry rant (sorry about any spelling mistakes)

  • onrebrof

    I’m staying in a miserable marriage for our baby. He was the product of us giving one last shot at having a normal sex life. Of course, now that he’s here our sex life is completely nonexistent. I’ve come to the conclusion that I could never be happy with ANY woman, so moving on to another relationship is pointless. Since I wouldn’t be moving on, since I guess I’m just not marriage material, there’s no point in divorcing and losing half or more of my time with my son. Actually my wife is a VERY good mother. She’s just a horrible wife.

  • edi

    Okay here is my story: I been married for 3 years and have a son 3 years old. I was not sure about getting married but as my girlfriend was pregnant, I married her thinking its all going to be okay. In the last 3 years, I opened my own restaurant and I’m making very good money and providing good life for my family. My wife hasn’t been working in the last 3 years and I don’t mind that at all but, she is a miserable women and is making me depressed. I can’t be around people while she is with me, as she makes me very uncomfortable with her sad face, and she doesn’t like my family or my friends. I want to divorce her, as I’m not happy and can’t make her happy, but I worry about my son. I have had girlfriends in the past and it has been great. I am starting to hate my wife and I’m tired because I am working hard and can’t sleep at nights thinking how am I going to get out of this, plus she is going to take everything from me, as she has never saved any money for herself. Any advice please?

  • Kat

    onrebrof – Sorry honey but you set yourself up. Its written all in your language. “I can’t be happy with any woman?” It sounds like nothing your wife can do would make you “happy” anyway. I am no therapist, but it sounds to me there are some esteem and issues YOU need to address. People need to understand their spouses also REACT to their partners. Her discord toward you may be coming from your self loathing. I’m going to be harsh when I say, it is not her job to make you happy…..period. If you base your marriage SOLELY on levels of happiness you are dooming it before it starts. Happiness and unhappiness change and fluctuate. Making decisions based purely on emotion is a dangerous game. I’m curious what makes her a “horrible wife”? Are you sure that you are being the best husband? No I don’t know your whole story, but just that short paragraph says a lot about the state of mind you are in, and it’s not her. There is turmoil in you that you are reflecting onto your relationship with your wife. You need to seek a certified counselor and get behind YOUR issues before you can attack hers.

    Edi – where to begin? I see this mistake a lot. What are her reasons for her unhappiness? People who exhibit depressive behaviors are suffering (internally) and they may not realize it. Before you go jumping off at how miserable she is have you ever thought …WHY??? Did she give up HER dreams to stay at home? Does she feel she has lost herself? Are YOUR friends and family critical of her? Are these people disrespectful of her when she isn’t present? People are painfully aware of others even when we think they are not. If she is suffering in personal turmoil she will exhibit detrimental behaviors to you and others. What can YOU do as the “stronger” partner to SUPPORT your wife? I’m also going to be harsh when I attack your language. Don’t you dare do yourself and your wife the disservice of comparing your relationship to “girlfriends” from before. To do so is selfish and in hindsight of the life before you. From your post it sounds like your still chasing the “single” life of dating and the thrill of the chase.

    People are so easily manipulated into thinking the grass is greener elsewhere. You are being manipulated by a world that encourages you to just “be happy” for you, everyone else will just get over it. Do they? Do they really? Do the children escape the turmoil of two part time parents? The sake of YOU is worth the pain and heartbreak you’d leave someone else in for a few moments of always fleeting happiness? I got news for you, kids don’t just get over being shuffled from home to home. They don’t just get over wondering who to spend holidays with and if it will affect the other parent. They don’t just get over seating arrangements for their own weddings. They don’t just “get over it”. There is a lifetime ahead of learning to balance YOUR immaturity (no I’m not attacking you, you’ll hopefully understand in a moment).

    Your were not ready for marriage and not ready for what “love” brings to the table. These two things do not ask what the spouse can do for you, but what you can do for your spouse. You have to be READY to bleed with this person and believe in them when they don’t believe in themselves. You have to be willing to stand TOGETHER when outside forces try and tear you away. MATURE relationships survive because they have achieved a bond to stand even when they themselves believe there is nothing left to give. LOVE is not what Disney feeds us, its not Twilight,it is WORK. “Falling” in love is void of responsibility and implies one doesn’t have a choice. Of course you do. You can choose to improve or choose to give up. If you base “love” on ALWAYS fleeting infatuation you are setting yourself up for failure.

    This woman was with you before you were successful right? Don’t allow the allure of success to cloud your judgement. This moment in time will one day pass, but the scars will not. This “she’s going to take things from me,” comment speaks loudly on your character. These things mean NOTHING. If the world were to end tomorrow, what good were all your things? Life is not guaranteed tomorrow. What is your legacy Edi? If you are really more concerned over things rather than getting to the core of your issues (yours and your wife’s) then it’s not your family failing you, it’s you failing your family.

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