Everyone has an opinion about whether we should stay for the kids. But really, what matters is what you want and what you feel is right for your kids. Staying in a marriage for the kids is a noble act for parents. Few who do it can never really be successful. There will always be animosities because of the failed relationship and the kids will have front-row seats to these arguments.
Still, in many parts of the world and in Colorado Springs, divorce mediation is recommended for couples who want to legally separate. The goal of the mediation isn’t to bring couples back together but to arrive at a suitable solution for the family. This makes it even harder when there are kids involved in the relationship.
Child psychologists say that the effects of divorce on kids are life-changing. The effects can be so devastating that they find it hard to maintain relationships and be successful in the future. Kids of divorcees often have a hard time coping with the reality that their parents no longer love each other.
And yet, it seems wrong to ask parents to stick together for the sake of the kids, doesn’t it? Is it healthy for the children to see their parents arguing non-stop? Wouldn’t it be better for these couples to just move on and co-parent in separate houses? Isn’t forcing them to stay together has a more devastating impact on the kids’ emotional and mental health?
Can the Parents Cooperate?
The first question that needs to be asked is whether the parents can cooperate. Do they want to sacrifice their happiness and independence for the kids? Not divorcing a spouse you don’t love anymore means that you cannot remarry or even move in with someone else. Your kids will always have that hope of seeing you back together.
If both parents agree to cooperate and not argue in front of the kids (because honestly, this is what’s at stake), then they can co-exist under one roof. They can both be present in the kids’ lives. They can continue living as a family while also living their own lives outside the home.
What Do You Tell the Kids?
Trust that your kids will understand what’s happening. Don’t hide anything from them. Explain that your marriage is over but that has nothing to do with them. Tell your children that things like this happen all the time, but you will still be family. Don’t underestimate their capacity to understand. Allow your children to grieve the end of their parents’ marriage and welcome a new chapter in your lives.
Although your kids will hope that you will get back together, take it all in stride. It’s natural for them to feel that way. And who knows, maybe finally admitting that you were both wrong will lead you to the path of forgiveness and reconciliation.
The point is that no one should be forced to stay in a loveless marriage. Although your kids will benefit from seeing you both together, watching you argue and be lonely might be crueler to them. When making this decision, ask for your kids’ opinions. They are part of the family, and they deserve to be heard.