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Not being happy in marriage is not an excuse to divorce if you have children.

Having known people who chose both those alternatives, I must recommend divorce in the strongest possible terms, especially if you have children.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon Nov 5th, 2012 at 01:40:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I thought the way I put it made it clear that I was speaking from personal experience, too.
Not as a parent, no.

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi
by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Mon Nov 5th, 2012 at 02:37:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Not as a parent, no.
As I said if you do not have children it is perfectly OK to divorce as many times as you wish.
by vbo on Tue Nov 6th, 2012 at 03:45:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Er... As mot people on this site know, I am a father of two.
And I am not divorced, either.

I was referring to a personal experience between parents and children and said my experience was not as a parent. Maybe that was about my parents and I then?

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

by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Tue Nov 6th, 2012 at 05:32:18 AM EST
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OK. I misunderstood. There are different situations and I do not know yours. You believe that you were happier after divorce which may easily be the case but I am curious what was your relationship with both your parents ( and their new partners) and thoughts after the divorce? If it is to personal I  apologize and you don't need to answer.
I had "near to divorce" experience with my parents when I was age 12. My mum left my father taking my brother and me with her. I will never forget that suffering. It did not matter that I was on my mum side and I blamed my father...I still missed him a lot.Later  when they reconcile there was no one on Earth happier then me.
It was a long ago and at that time my mum wouldn't even think of remarrying because of social stigma.Let alone bring a new man in to the children's life.My mum died young due to uremia.She was 39. My father was young and he entered de facto relationships staying with that women to the end of his life. It took me 6 years to even agree to meet that woman (I was already married with children). Never had any sympathy for that woman and never been close. In the end I was only grateful to her that she took care of my father when he was sick.But she also benefited of that relationship financially so I suppose it was OK that she took care of him. That's my experience.
Unfortunately it was nothing comparing to a suffering of my granddaughter today because my daughter is divorced.
Also I am seeing many more children around me today , suffering greatly because of divorce/separation. I am not just talking generally but from the experience.  
by vbo on Thu Nov 8th, 2012 at 10:11:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Thanks vbo, your post explains a lot. You tell about the hurt you felt as a child when your parents separated, and how relieved you were when they got back together. This helps to explain why you are so passionate in your beliefs. Sometimes we are so shaped by our own experiences and perspective, that it makes it hard to see other points of view.

While you don't go into detail, the circumstances surrounding your parents' separation must have been quite serious for you to have decided to "side" with your mother, and "blame" your father, whatever the reason. It's sad that a child age 12 feels the need to choose sides when it comes to their parents.

I am also sorry to learn that your mother died at such a young age. Losing one's mother is never an easy thing. I fail to see, however, how that would have affected your wanting to meet, or soured your feelings towards, your father's new partner. Referring to her as "that woman" makes it clear that for one reason or another you didn't care much for her from the beginning, and I am left wondering why. Did you not feel your father deserved happiness after your mother passed away?

It's also clear that you are disappointed about your own daughter's divorce, and that too is sad, but understandable. Without knowing the reasons involved here either, other than the fact that your granddaughter is suffering, I suspect that you feel that matters would be much better if your daughter had just stuck with it, tried harder, and kept the marriage together whatever the cost, for the benefit of your daughter. Is that right?

by sgr2 on Fri Nov 9th, 2012 at 05:12:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I meant to say, kept the marriage together for the sake of your "granddaughter."
by sgr2 on Fri Nov 9th, 2012 at 05:39:19 PM EST
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Children are always in position to choose when parents separate/divorce...if not directly (to decide with whom they are going to live) then by having to take side (even if nobody ask them to). Yes you need two "for tango" so it's usually not the case that you can blame just one person for divorce but looking on the surface (and for children it is obvious even if they do not see it clearly) being unhappy in marriage one side usually enter an affair to help them leave the marriage not always the case but in most cases). The other side suffers and in front of children's eyes.So it's hard for children not to take side. Even tho children do not stop to love blamed parent.
"That women"(my fathers partner) entered relationship with my father while my mum being very sick was still alive. That made me even hate her at first stage when my mum died , but I wonder if that would be different even if she came to my fathers life after mum died. Did I want my father to be happy? I do not know if he was happy but fact that he stayed with her to the rest of his life tells me that he was comfortable in that relationship and after 6 years of rejection I started to accept that fact.I can't understand how anyone would expect child to be happy about parent's happiness with new partner having in mind that parents ruined that child's happiness...I was 18 at the time my mother die and fortunately did not have to deal with "that women" in my life , but younger children and especially adolescents are in for a more and less something like war...
I suspect that you feel that matters would be much better if your daughter had just stuck with it, tried harder, and kept the marriage together whatever the cost, for the benefit of your daughter. Is that right?  

Yes.Especially because almost 5 years after divorce I don't see that ANYONE is happy , not my daughter or her ex husband let alone my granddaughter. When they divorced my daughter told me that same sentence that you repeat here " Child can not be happy if parents are not happy". Now my daughter and her ex deserve what they have now but my granddaughter does not.
by vbo on Fri Nov 9th, 2012 at 09:23:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Sometimes life sucks. In the end we're all left to do the best we can with the situation at hand.

On the positive side, here's a chance for you to fill in the gap. I mean, that's what grandmothers are for after all. To fill the voids. To find the problem spots, and fill the need. There's lot of ways a loving grandmother can help to ease the suffering felt by a child going through a parents' split. Offering plenty of love. Lending a listening ear whenever she wants to talk about things. Showing empathy and concern for her feelings without putting either parent in a bad light.

I have no statistics to provide you, but I've often heard that children suffer because in their mind they blame themselves for the separation, wrongly thinking that it was something they did that caused it.

Children need to know that grownups have lots of issues between them that are hard to explain and difficult to understand. If you haven't done so already, I hope you can make this clear. The most important thing is for her to know that she is loved by both parents and that their separation had absolutely nothing to do with her. If you can do that, I'm betting with a little time she'll adjust just fine. Good luck to all concerned.

by sgr2 on Sat Nov 10th, 2012 at 08:51:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Thank you!
by vbo on Sat Nov 10th, 2012 at 08:58:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
... do NOT emit judgements about one or the other of the child's parents, in front of the child. Use your influence to stop parents bad-mouthing each other in front of the child.

In my own experience, manipulating children to take revenge on the ex-partner is one of the most harmful things you can do to a child. It seems to be very widespread, and not always done deliberately. Personally I don't like saying bad things about people, so I found it fairy easy to avoid this trap, but I was on the receiving end for quite a while (perhaps I still am, but the children are mature enough to discount it now)

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

by eurogreen on Mon Nov 12th, 2012 at 10:07:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"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
[ Parent ]
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
[ Parent ]
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
[ Parent ]
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
[ Parent ]
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
[ Parent ]
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
[ Parent ]
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
[ Parent ]
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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