Every marriage goes through highs and lows, and you may have recognized those phases in your relationship. However, if recent years have brought fewer and fewer good times to balance out the bad, you may be feeling overwhelmed with unhappiness. In fact, you may even be entertaining the idea of ending the marriage and starting fresh with a new life.
The one thing stopping you is the children. For many parents whose marriages are essentially over, the real struggle is determining if it is better for the children if they stay together or break apart. This is an age-old question and one that involves examining the unique elements of your family. While there is no cookie-cutter answer, there are some factors to consider when weighing your options.
Weighing the pros and cons
Some psychologists believe it is better for parents to remain together for the sake of the children. This means keeping the disagreements and bitterness away from little ears and eyes. It also may mean a tremendous sacrifice if you find no comfort or emotional intimacy with your spouse. Enduring this loneliness for years, perhaps a decade or more while your children grow, can prove miserable, but it may save your children the devastation of divorce. On the other hand, remaining together in a hopeless marriage may have these negative effects:
- You may quickly become resentful as you feel the years slipping away.
- You may find it impossible to keep your disagreements and discord out of the children's view.
- Even if you do not argue in front of them, children are quick to notice when their parents are unhappy and may feel responsible for the tension in the family.
- Children who live with parents in a struggling marriage may pick up on negative behaviors or unprofitable methods of dealing with conflict.
- Some parents become so emotionally distraught in a loveless marriage that they unintentionally neglect their children's needs.
Of course, if there is physical, emotional or sexual abuse, you are not doing yourself or your children any favors by remaining. The safest course of action is to seek out someone who has the resources to help you protect your children. On the other hand, if there is no abuse, staying for the sake of the children allows you and your spouse time to work through your differences if there is a chance of reconciling and repairing the damage.
Perhaps the most effective tool for making such a difficult decision is information. You may find it helpful to learn about the divorce laws in Indiana so you understand your rights and learn what to expect from the process.