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"You believe that you were happier after divorce"

My parents did not get divorced, so I can't quite say that.
I also know that it was a conversation that I had with my father at age 6 that made them interrupt the process. I vividly remember this conversation -and also remember coming to regret having been so convincing later.
Both brothers were to have tremendous difficulties later on (and the third one, who was born later, also would when my parents tried to overcompensate, so he had the opposite problems in a way), which did include fully fledged depression with suicidal intent. In particular, my parents being in a failed relationship for far too long, we were never given any love (the only person to have shown any towards me as a child was my violin teacher -which actually is not ideal for learning sometimes).
So I could not even notice when a girl I was crazily in love with dropped a hint with a ton of bricks that she'd like to go out with me (though it did strike me as odd that she'd asked me to teach her chess when I had not noticed any interest in that from her before). Even as an adult I remain incapable of seducing (deliberaty, I mean). Not only in romantic situations by the way, also socially, professionally...

They're fine now (though that took many, many more years even after they decided against the divorce -at least 15 more), but they wrecked us. It would have been far better if they had got divorced, then probably got back together later on, after maturing.

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi

by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Sun Nov 11th, 2012 at 04:48:59 AM EST
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Thanks for sharing your personal story. I'm sorry you and your brothers had such a difficult time of it, but am pleased to hear everybody is doing fine now. It's probably not much of a consolation, but I suspect the unhappiness you endured back then has helped to make you a better husband and father now.
by sgr2 on Sun Nov 11th, 2012 at 02:37:05 PM EST
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The story of the conversation with your father is very moving.

Without wanting to be unfair to your parents, it illustrates to me the major difficulty of modern parenthood : parents are too willing to demonstrate their love for their children by ceding to their childlike desires, rather than making the tough decisions required for their welfare.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Mon Nov 12th, 2012 at 10:17:24 AM EST
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What? What childlike desires did they cede to repeatedly? Where did they try to demonstrate too much love when they never showed any -and my father acknowledged that he had not loved us as kids.
As for my mother, she could sometimes fail to speak (after a big argument) for what I remember as a whole week, but was probably only 2-3 days.

I don't see that they were too willing to demonstrate their love to their first two sons, no.

Or are you saying that many parents err in the opposite direction?

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi

by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Wed Nov 14th, 2012 at 12:15:35 PM EST
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If  read your account correctly (and eurogreen probably read it the same way), your parents ceded to your desires as a 6-year-old when interrupting the divorce.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Nov 15th, 2012 at 01:45:17 AM EST
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Oh, no, I did not show clear personal desires to which they ceded.
We talked about what he was going through. And I told my father that before he made a decision he should think about whether he would not miss us (mostly my brother and I, although also to an extent my mother, as I would have mentioned some things that went well) too much, whether that would not be worse than the problems they had.
And shortly afterwards, when his girlfriend looked a little less perfect than before, he reckoned that he would have some difficulties as well, and that if no couple was perfect, he might as well be in the one with his children.

My mother was not present at the discussion and it did not have a direct effect on her. She simply accepted when my father came back, having split with his girlfriend.

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi

by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Thu Nov 15th, 2012 at 02:58:30 AM EST
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OK, I guess I over-interpreted the very small amount of information you gave the first time around. Now, you make it sound like the roles were reversed : you were the adult, weighing the interests of everyone, and he was the child following his impulses.

I probably jumped the gun because I have lived that situation myself, and have no regrets about divorcing in spite of the fact that my children were very sad about it.

That doesn't change my two-bit pop psychology judgement a bit : parents need to make the decisions, preferably in the best interests of all, but certainly without offloading the responsibility onto their children! I find it appalling that your father should lead you to believe (whether it was true or not) that you were responsible for your parents not divorcing. That's an intolerable burden for a child to carry.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Thu Nov 15th, 2012 at 11:57:22 AM EST
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I think one of the problems is the mythology of perfect parents and perfectly happy marriages.

While I know a few people who married one of the first people they met at college and have stayed (more or less) happy with them for a couple of decades, the reality is that most people go through emotional carnage with their relationships sooner or later.

A surprising number seem to stay there permanently.

The idea that relationship problems are somehow exceptional and evidence of personal failure is immensely poisonous - as is the Cult of Marriage which suggests that adult relationships are always fluffy and largely friction-free, and anything else is a shameful disaster.

It would be far more useful for kids to see examples of unromanticised but functional adult relationships than it is for them to be pressured into expecting perfection from themselves or from their parents.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Wed Nov 14th, 2012 at 12:34:32 PM EST
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