Where the Science of Psychology Meets the Art of Being Human

Unhappily Married: What’s Best for the Kids – Together or Apart?

0 views

Unhappy Marriage: What's Best for the Kids - Together or Apart?

Deciding whether to stay in an unhappy marriage or leave is possibly one of the hardest decisions a parent could make.

Sometimes despite the greatest ‘happily-ever-after’ intentions, a relationship can become a tense, unhappy, conflicted union. If this is the case there’ll be no hiding it from the kids – they’ll know and according to a growing body of research, they’ll wear the impact.

A number of studies have pointed to the negative impact of divorce on children but there is compelling research suggesting that many of these problems have their roots in the conflict and tension that preceded the breakup. It is widely accepted that parental conflict does damage, particularly when it is any of the following:

  • frequent;
  • heated (verbal insults and raised voices);
  • physically aggressive;
  • unresolved (in the child’s eyes);
  • about the child;
  • brings on the silent treatment between parents.

Parents will do anything for their children and this may fuel the decision to stay together in an unhappy marriage. Conflict though, might do more harm to children than divorce:

  1. Harm to the parent-child bond.

    In an unhappy marriage, where tension and conflict is the norm, parent-child interactions also seem to show signs of strain. As explained by researcher and psychologist Chrystyna Kouros, ‘…if mom and dad are fighting, it will show up initially – and in some cases on the second day – in a poorer quality relationship with their kids.’  The exact reasons for this are unclear but there are a number of likely explanations. Conflict drains the resources of a relationship and in doing so, can give way to ineffective or inconsistent parenting. Parental energy is also strained, leaving less to invest in the children.

  2. The trigger for psychological and behavioural problems.

    Marital conflict is associated with a range of internalising (such as depression, anxiety, withdrawal) and externalizing (such as aggression, non-compliance) outcomes in children.

  3. Poorer academic performance.

    Children who report higher levels of hostile, intense or unresolved conflict between their parents show poorer academic performance. 

  4. Poorer interpersonal skills.

    When there is ongoing tension and unresolved conflict between parents, there is likely to be minimal modelling of effective ways to resolve conflict. Disagreements are a part of life and the first place children learn how to handle them is in the home, by watching their parents. If there is limited modelling of successful conflict resolution, there will be limited learning of successful relationship skills.

  5. Trouble with their own future romantic relationships.

    Children who are exposed to frequent marital conflict are more likely to have trouble with their own romantic relationships in adolescence and through to adulthood. For children from high conflict homes, their experience with romantic relationships and is a negative one, effectively limiting their knowledge on how successful relationships work.

  6. Leads to emotional insecurity.

    Research has found that when parents are in an unhappy marriage, the conflict compromises the social and emotional well-being of children by threatening their sense of security in the family. This in turn predicts the onset of problems during adolescence, including depression and anxiety.  

  7. Causes cardiac stress and an increase in cortisol (the stress hormone).

    Tension or conflict between parents causes a physiological response in children. According to research, when children see conflict between their parents, they experience cardiac stress and a significant increase in the level of cortisol in their body. This physical response can harm their stress response systems and interfere with their mental and intellectual development.

  8. Non-verbal and verbal conflict cause similar responses.

    In a study conducted at the University of Notre Dame, it was found that children responded similarly to both verbal and nonverbal forms of conflict between their parents. Yelling, name-calling and verbal spite induces the same stress response in children as eye-rolling, heavy sighs, silent treatment and non-verbal intimidation such as finger pointing or glaring.

  9. Increases the likelihood of adult children divorcing.

    Research has found the highest rates of divorce occur for adult children whose parents divorced after a high conflict marriage. The second highest rate was for those whose parents stayed together but had a high conflict relationship. 

How to Disagree Well – Even if it’s an Unhappy Marriage

Disagreements are a fact of life. Disagree well, and you’ll provide your kids with the opportunity to learn some valuable life skills that will hold them well throughout their lives. Here’s how:

  1. Don’t fight dirty.

    Reduce the hostility and don’t fight dirty. No name-calling, yelling, personal attacks, eye-rolling, glaring or silent treatment. If a dirty fight is all you have in you, just keep it away from the kids.

  2. Resolve the argument and let the kids know you’ve made up (they’ll be able to tell if you’re faking).

    Make sure you let the children know that the argument has been resolved. Research has shown that conflict is particularly damaging to kids if they believe it to be unresolved. Let them know that you and your spouse forgive each other and have made up. It’s important to do this respectfully and warmly. Children are sharper than we often give them credit for and if you’re faking the make-up, they’ll know it straight away.

  3. Keep the effects of the clash separate from the kids.

    Be deliberate in keeping the effects of a marital clash on you separate to your relationships with your kids. Conflict takes its toll on even the strongest person. An unhappy marriage will drain your energy but its important to stay patient, sensitive and consistent with your kids. Do whatever you can to make sure your children feel that you still have enough energy for them. 

  4. Be alive the possibility that the kids may blame themselves.

    Let them know that grown-ups sometimes get cranky with each other and that it has absolutely nothing to do with them. Let them know they are actually the biggest reason you love each other or care about each other and that no matter what, they’ll never be the reason for the fight. They might blame themselves whether the argument is over them or not – it’s just the way it is. If you are arguing over something to do with them, do everything you can to keep it away from them or at the very least, do whatever you can to shut it down.

Not all marital conflict is unhealthy. It’s important for children to learn how to effectively manage conflict and one of the best ways for this to happen is for them to see their parents doing exactly that – loving each other through the bumps. Conflict that is resolved respectfully and with warmth and empathy will have a positive effect on kids and equip them with valuable tools for their own lives.

 Children of divorced parents can flourish and be as successful as children from families where the marriage is intact.

Nobody but you can decide whether it’s best to stay together or separate but what we know from the research is that if you stay together, it’s critical to minimise conflict, especially in front of the kids. Constant tension and arguing can harm them more than divorce. 

I’ve never met a parent who went to divorce as anything but the last option – but it is an option and perhaps a sound one if the marriage is one of tension or high conflict. 

Showing respect to your relationship doesn’t always mean staying. If you’ve fought to keep it intact and it continues to fall apart, respecting it might mean ending it rather than sending it to a slow cold death. Only the couple involved can make the decision and it’s not for anyone else to judge.

Every family is different but there are common reasons that relationships fall apart. If you have more fight left in you, see here for the 6 most common reasons relationships come undone and ways you might be able to get them back on track.

There’s a big difference between giving up and knowing when to walk away. Deciding to divorce in no way means you have failed or that the relationship wasn’t important, right or wonderful in its prime. What it means is that it has run its course and has little more to offer either of you. Think carefully before you decide to stay together for the kids, they may be the reason you need to make the heartbreaking and brave decision to walk away.

How children deal with divorce depends heavily on how the parents deal with it. See here for ways to help  children safely and soundly through to the other side of divorce.

Like this article?

Subscribe to our free newsletter for a weekly round up of our best articles

50 Comments

Jenny H

I want to make sure that everything is settled and my children are financially provided. This article is really helpful to me. Thank you for sharing this information!

Reply
Exasperated

I’m making this short. My wife and I have been married for over 12 years. I have two sons that I love very much (9 and 11 yrs old). My wife and I are constantly arguing. I’m miserable and wish I had never met her, except that I have two sons that I can never bear to be without. I just don’t know what to do.

Reply
Manpreet

I am not satisfied with my life.my husband have no love and care for me and my children.he is addicted of drugs ago 5year.many a time i tried to understood him. But he always ignore and neglect my views. But now i want to stay separate from his.also i am going to mentally upset day by day in his tensions. What should i do for that.how may i safe in future.

Reply
D

I read most of the comments and I don’t think I saw even one from a father/husband’s point of view. (maybe I missed it? But that, ‘s me – the hsband/father.
I’ve been married for ten years – our little girl is four. She’s the most precious thing int he world to me. My marriage is not. Rather than gripe about my wife, suffice it to say, we are not doing it right and I know it is going to hurt our little girl. I work hard. Gone 5-6 days a week, home late int he evening, lucky if I can meet my little girl for a few minutes before she sleeps. I see her on the weekend and spend as much time with her as possible. But she loves mom very much and they have a great relationship and she is still at the age where mom is her everything though dad is starting to get interesting, too.
Mom has the temper though. Bordering on manic. And she has a trash mouth, uncontrolled and teaches our daughter to talk that way. She has a temper, too. Lashes out at the girl, at me, at her parents whom we live with. Trying to calm her down makes it worse, There is little love between us, She does not like me for whatever her reasons are and I believe only stays with me because I can provide for her and her parents. There is no violence, except the mental kind, the emotional kind – I am so very afraid of what our silent spells are doing to the little one. I am so afraid of what her temper does. I don’t know what to do at all – whether staying provides the needed balance or whether it is doing more harm to show this relationship like it is.
Divorce here in Japan, means mom gets the child no matter what. I wouldn’t want to take her away from her mom anyway. Mom is not a cooperative type – she just doesn’t seem to know how. She is very caring and tender when someone is sick though. I tend to wish myself sick more often. But I am healthy. She is a controller and I don’t like to be controlled so that is hard for her. She loses her temper when the child does not want to be controlled and maybe I am just blowing it all out of proportion, being the child of a divorced home, where the mother left the father who was a caring man, for reasons of her own. My wife is the product of a loveless marriage and the loveless parents are in our house. It’s a mess and my leaving would make it only messier I believe. But what does staying do?
These are some of the reasons why I could not convince myself to bring a child into the world for so long – because of the utter selfishness of doing so in a situation that is not perfectly conducive to the raising of the innocence into joyous adulthood. But it was always recommended to me by one I loved dearly, to create generations, that I might know the joy of my own father- and indeed, my wife and I have had very good moments too! And it was during a very favorable term in our relationship that she got pregnant and it was a lovely happy pregnancy and there is so much good – but this bloody temper of hers… Oh, god, maybe I am just making this into something too big and have to learn how to not be so sensitive and maybe learn a few more tricks to keep things a bit more calm or provide balance in another way. Isn’t that what man is supposed to do? Provide leadership and stability somehow? I wish my lady knew how to cooperate and support me better, but seems she turns the tables on me quite easily and finds some way to make her moods my fault, her temper my fault, anything bad in her life, my fault – it is really hard to be a door mat… And what kind of example is that for my daughter, too? She is not learning what it means to be a good woman. Nor is she learning what a good relationship between man and woman is. Nor is she learning what a good man looks like either. And so the question. Dear lord, what do I do for her sake? So far the answer is, I love her dearly. Stay and keep talking to her slowly gently. Be her daddy every way I can and try to give to my wife whenever I can, too…

Reply
WritingOntheWall

I realize this article is pretty old by now, but what brought me here this evening is similar to what others have expressed in their comments: pain. I’ve only been married for a little less than six years. My marriage has never been good or great. There have been times when I deluded myself into thinking things were okay, but that was only because the truth was so painful. Now here we are four kids later, with my oldest being only five years old.
My husband does not love or respect me. I don’t think he is a bad person, I just think I’m not the person he envisioned spending the rest of his life with and it is hard for him to pretend, so my feelings are always hurt. He says that I don’t openly communicate with him and that is his biggest issue with me. He is right. I shut down a lot and keep things to myself, but I don’t do this because I don’t want to share with him. I do it because I feel like he doesn’t care or just generally isn’t interested in what is going on with me because he never really engages in conversation, never asks me how I’m doing, what I’m thinking (unless it has something to do with him) and also because I don’t trust him to not share everything with his mom or others as he has so often in the past.
We had a discussion this afternoon about our marriage and about separating. I didn’t think until late in the conversation to ask him if he was recording our chat, but I did ask because he has done it before and let others listen to it. The conversation was calm as he and I both expressed our unhappiness. One thing he said that really stood out to me is that his first concern is for our children because he loves them so much. Then he paused and added that of course I still love you…It seemed so forced and obligatory that I did not specifically acknowledge those particular comments, I just let him continue to speak. It hurts to feel unloved, to face the writing that has probably always been on the wall that our marriage would end.
I have not been the wife that he has always wanted. I don’t fawn over him with affection. I don’t say thank you or swoon over him everytime he does something around the house. I find these things difficult to do because my own needs or wants are unmet, but also because he continues to remind me that I am not important to him or a top priority. I guess there is another part of me that feels like I shouldn’t have to stop to thank him every time he does something that he is supposed to be doing in terms of taking care of the kids or the house. I feel like I would crave affection and intimacy with him if I felt like his wife instead of a disposable roommate. He has never even talked with me about our future together and now I realize that it is because he could never see it. How can you talk and dream with someone that you don’t see yourself with? I feel so rejected because during our marriage it was like he never even wanted to be my friend. Anytime I try to connect with him it feels so one-sided that I eventually give up. His mouth never says the words, but his actions have said it over and over…I don’t want you!
Now I feel so stupid. I forgave him for cheating on me with multiple women in the first year of our marriage. And when I strongly suspected him of cheating another year, I swept it under the carpet and let him explain it away as if it was nothing. All because I wanted our marriage to work so badly. It was doomed to begin with. I don’t suppose we ever had a chance.
Now I hurt for myself and for my children. I just want them to be happy well-adjusted children with two parents who love them immensely. Life is hard enough without having problems at home. I’m telling myself they can still have these things. I’m not thinking about being alone or having a partner in the future, all I care about is being with my kids now. My hubby did ask or allude to me having someone or seeing someone now, but I honestly think he was saying hat to let me know that he is and given how he likes and needs attention from women, I guess this doesn’t come as a surprise. I can’t even imagine ever dating or getting married again. It makes me sick to think of it.
So the Internet is the first audience to hear that my marriage is ending. It’s too hard to say out loud so I don’t know who else I can tell. I don’t have a support system or family that I am close to like that. I don’t want to tell my mother because she will be too worried about and for me and she has enough to worry about as it is. I know that when I do eventually say it out loud and share it that my friends will know all the right things to say. None of them will be happy for me, but I think my husband has a few people that will be happy for him or relieved for him i should say. I’m just writing and thinking out loud so I know it looks like I’m all over the place. I’m okay. I will live to see and smile another day.

Reply
Misan

I went through same road dear… mine was constantly cheating on me without remorse. Although he has a polygamous background
he also tries to change my daughter’s mind towards me.

I moved out of the house at the point he started to bring these women to sleep in the house because I did not feel safe anymore yet he was still not sorry. I did not feel there any future we could build together anymore. I craved for a commited relationship.

While it was happening I couldn’t carry on any activity in the house anymore… and was unhappy and depressed which started to show in my business and health.

can we talk or chat

Reply
sherwin

my daughter born out of wedlock. my partner and I come from different religions. two months in her pregnancy, she turned out into a complete different person I fell inlove with. we had endless arguments in every aspects. she has no respect to me or anyone that matters. very controlling, aggressive. I really didn’t want anything to do with her. non the less as am the father I took up the responsibility. we are not married we are staying on our own providing everything. we argue every single day. I have no idea when last I was happy. my daughter is my life. we tried breaking up many times mostly when she can not control herself violently and vulgarly. I always went back thinking she can change. she restricts me from my family. she knows my weakness and that’s my daughter I love her to bits.

Reply
Lisa

I’m glad to have found this article. My husband is a marine veteran with severe PTSD and alcoholism. We have a 5 yr old girl and 8 yr old boy. It’s hard to deal with the roller coaster of his mental state. When he is sober he is a completely different person. When he drinks he is selfish, goes on spending sprees, and is verbally and emotionally abusive. The last couple of years, even when he is sober, he does not interact with the kids or actually spend time with him. I work full time and am the major income maker since he receives disability from the VA. He is not willing to seek additional help and I don’t know if the marriage is hurting the kids more then if we were apart. I just want the man I fell in love with back, although I know deep down that he no longer exists.

Reply
Age-A

Hello, I’ve never shared my life or feelings online before. So this is hard for me to do. I have nobody to talk to anymore, that I can trust or even talk to about this kind of stuff anymore. I pretty much left my old life and friends, as well as alienated myself from my whole family, to be with my ol’lady / baby mama. And that’s on me. I chose to do that, not my wifey or my phone. That was all me. I own up to my faults. Thanks to my awesome family and good upbringing. Well, on my dads side mostly. I was brought up to be a hard worker and to be a good provider and to be a good husband and father. On my momma’s side, it was a nightmare. Well living with her and my very abusive stepdad. You name it, I went through it and more. Things that no child should have to live through, even if they were bad as fuck and deserved a damn good lickin. The things he did to me, no child deserves what happened to me or should ever go and live through! No movie can show you the things that man has done to me. And I would never wish what I’ve been and lived through on anyone! Especially a child. Anyways, the good and bad life that I’ve lived made me strong. And taught me what not to do and what and how to do, to be a good parent and to be a good husband and partner. Through the marriages and break ups of both my parents. Good or bad, I learned what not to do and first and foremost. How to act in front of the children. I have older sisters and not to older aunties and uncles. So I grew up how young couples act and react in their relationships as well. All good teachings for the future. Plus there is a lot of women in my family, both sides. And I was close to mostly all of them. Ok, I was all their favourite. So they all shared everything about themselves and their relationships with me. So I had first hand experience in all things women at a very young age. Their secrets, feelings, wants and needs, their desires and worst nightmares about everything, and most importantly, how and when they LIE. And all over petty things. It was all weird to me but I listened to all of them. Never really knowing that It would all help me in the future. So that I can watch out for any of these things later on in my future relationships. Plus they all told me to watch out for scandalous, spiteful, lying and cheating ass women when I grew up. And that I would be able to tell the difference between a chick that is lying to me and a chick that is lying to herself to make herself feel better about her own flaws and faults. So back to my relationship, my wife is very loving, at times. But very spiteful and hurtful, if she doesn’t get what she wants. And she doesn’t give a fuck who is around to hear or see what she does or says. Now she was raised by her mom and grandma. She is the first born grandchild, so she got spoiled as well. But not the good kind of spoiled. She grew up in a family who played favorites. Now her and her family members all play that same game with my children. My ol’lady picks on our youngest son. For what reason, I don’t know? But it has effected our family and her family. They all alienated and hate my son. And our other kids treat and blame him for everything that goes wrong in our house. Because they hear their own mother blame and verbally abuse him. All for nothing. And the kids intentionally cause trouble now between my wife and me. Over “Brownie Points” for God knows what. And I’m the only one that has his back and sticks up for him. And that drove a wedge between us. I don’t blame my son at all. Or my other kids. My wife had two kids from a past very bad relationship. And her and her family favors them more than the kids we have together. And they put them and their feelings and wants before my kids with her. But our youngest son gets the true hate of the others. Her hate and bad talking about him to her mother and family, made them not like him. And they don’t even know him, like at all. Now the kids are doing the same thing, to their own little brother. ? And I get the blame. Because I baby him. If I don’t give and show him love, who will? I don’t want any of my children to grow up to be serial killers or fucked up. It’s bad enough that his own mother and siblings and grandparents and uncles and aunts treat him like shit for no reason at all. Just because my wife has it out for him. I want and need to leave this toxic person. But my kids are being misguided by hateful and spiteful family members. I don’t want to look like the bad guy and make them choose between their mom and I. What should I do? Any feedback from anyone will suffice.

Reply
Karen Young

Your son is so lucky to have you. Keep letting him know that he is amazing and loved. All kids need to know they are important to somebody, that they matter, and that they are loved.

Reply
Rubie

Hi…ive been married for over 12yrs..its never been a happy marriage ..cause i was already having a kid..on my previous relationship..my husband an i we got 3 kids together but he never give my 1st kid love…always hes doing everything to make his kid happy..incluiding my stepdaughter cause she is her child..im so inlove with my son..i hate the treatment hes facing..when i adress this to him hes so verbal an agressive…sometimes i feel like moving out with my boy.. but i think abt my other kids..this thing its killing me so bad…what can i do

Reply
Anonymous

Hi so I don’t really know how to say this but I’m 14 and I have a brother who is also 14 as well as a sister who is 12. My parents as far as I know have never been happy with each other. They fight almost every single day and it gets violent. (no one injured) just earlier today they had a fight and my father had broken a hole into the wall about the size of a basketball. They seem to never have a resolution and have constant name calling. I understand many kids blame this upon themselves, but I don’t. Us three kids have pushed for a divorce (only talking to our Mom) but every time she says she would but she fears of him retaliating and coming to our house and burning it down or something of the sort. Neither of our parents are perfect, I would like to make that very clear, if given the choice to live with one parent forever, all of us would say our mom. She truly loves us as well as I believe so does our dad. However, he is a very extreme alcoholic and often swears to an unimaginable extent. He will get violent, throw things, name call, the sort. Our father is very abusive and none of us want him around but he is unstable. He has always told us that we are the reason the marriage failed, but our mom told us later that he has always been a drunkard. I don’t feel like I have any sort of emotional trauma, but my brother has become very anti-social within the past 2 years and my sister has become increasingly more violent and vulgar. Mom sleeps upstairs in the bedroom while Dad sleeps downstairs (they have always slept separately, we are not really religious so that doesn’t come into play)
in the basement, as far as I know they don’t ever have sex and never kiss and I cannot remember a single time where they have ever gone on a date. I truly believe there is no love left in them between each other but I don’t know who else to share this with. I feel like there is no solution.

Reply
Karen Young

With everything in me I wish this could be different for you. I can hear how much you love your parents and your brother and sister, and how much you wish things could be different for your family. You are so right – parents aren’t perfect. Absolutely none of this is your fault. I expect it is confusing when your father is in one of his abusive spells and is blaming you. The most important thing is to not let yourself believe any of this. There are so many reasons adults say hurtful things, and often it has nothing to do with the truth. One of the painful things about life is that we don’t get to decide when other people are ready to make the changes they need to make to find a happier, calmer, safer life. I wish we could, but we can’t. It is so painful to watch people we love suffer, especially when we are caught in the tailwhip of their unhappiness. You are amazing. I want you to know that. The solution will come when one of them is ready to do what they need to do. In the meantime, stay strong and brave, and know that you are loved and that you are not responsible for any of this. Your parents are good people – I can hear that in your words, but sometimes good people get stuck in situations that hurt them and the people around them. And I want you to know that above all else, whatever happens around you, and whatever is said to you, your insight, your wisdom and your courage are everything.

Reply
EJ1987

I only see comments from the parents in the loveless marriage so as a child of a loveless marriage I would like to share my experience.

For as far as my memory goes back, I cannot remember my parents showing each other any form of affection or intimacy. They never slept in the same room, never hugged, never held hands, never celebrated their anniversary, never went on dates, never complimented each other, and only kissed twice a year.

My mom got pregnant almost immediately after she met my dad and they got married not long after. She told me that my dad wrote her a love letter that convinced him to marry her but the lack of trust I have in father leads me to believe that was a lie. My most vivid memories of my parents relationship are always of them fighting. My mom always deflects and can never take blame while my dad isn’t considerate of other peoples feelings and kept an important part of his past a secret. I could never have an honest conversation with my parents and be vulnerable because I have never seen them do that with each other. I found myself lying and keeping my feelings and resentments to myself. I can’t recall one time they were ever happy together, but they didn’t divorce until I was 18.

I didn’t ask why they waited until I was 18 to divorce and I honestly don’t care. If they said “It was for your happiness” I would have been angry and I have a feeling they waited because my dad didn’t want to pay child support. Their divorce took about 5 years to finalize because they refused to budge on alimony and financial arrangements, which only ended up costing them more money on lawyers. I was constantly manipulated and put in between them. If one of my parents asked me a question about the other and I gave them an answer, the other would yell at me for having that opinion. I ended up telling them both to stop talking to me if all they had to discuss was the divorce.

I never ended up forming a bond with my parents. They don’t really know me and I don’t really know them. I’m resistant to share any life updates with them and only call on holidays and birthday because of obligation.

As an adult I crave friendship but I always want to be alone. I have never been in a relationship because I shut down when someone admits they have feelings for me. When I meet someone who is from a genuinely happy family, I often imagine what they would be like if they were raised by my parents. I feel no emotional attachment to them and honestly asked myself if I would even mourn if they died. I’ve wished I was never born just so my parents wouldn’t have wasted 18 years of their lives together.

If you are in a loveless relationship and truly want to get divorced, I beg you to do it before you isolate your children beyond the point of no return.

Reply
Kate

I feel very similar with ej1987. But my parents never divorced. I told myself I would never have their kind of marriage. But I see that I do. It does function and we do cooperate. But there has never been intimacy. I don’t feel emotionally safe, because he is quite judgemental. And I’ve come to realize that I married him because I was insecure, avoidant, hanging onto the pain of a previous rejection, depressed. My husband and I might look OK on paper, and as I was raised to be a “good girl”, I never made hard decisions for myself, my parents didn’t believe in me, and my depression came from this lack of self sufficiency; so I married him to make my parents happy.
I grieve that I will never be close or have a bind with my parents, even though they love me. I just don’t know what to say in many social situations, and I don’t believe the conversation will be meaningful. (being a highly sensitive person makes it harder too)

Since having kids, who are still under 3 and some serious health conditions, I’ve finally given some attention and reflection to who I am and who I was. I don’t like who I was but that person married my husband. I am considering divorce, but finding it a battle with myself, as I don’t know if I could be a single parent nor have them away from their father (who is pretty good) or really myself be away from them.

Reply
Beth

I can relate to several of these comments. I am in a horrible, angry marriage. pretty much my husband despises me. I am no Angel i assure You, but i have been a loyal doormat for him. He is stepfather bc my daughter’s real father and I divorced when she was 13 months old. I married my husband when she was 5. So many red flags i wish I would’ve listened! But i really wanted a father for her, and he is a good father. Except with how he treats me, he’s very immature and doesn’t realize the way he treats me or things he says to me affect her!! Even if he kind and loving to her. He has struggled with addiction, I was very Naive to the prescription drug addiction thing. I hate that i was Too stupid to catch on, it took others pointing it out for me to get it. All the anger and hatefulness is exasperated when he’s on pain killers. I’ve begged and pleaded, but he would never stop. So, i had It in my head to leave him, even if we lived in a not so nice place as we do, at least my daughter will have a calm environment. Scared to death because i have No income! But I was going to do it. Then he got sick, really sick. Like he was months away from dying from a rare autoimmune disease and that hey caught it in time. He is going to be doing treatment for this for at least 2 years. Which will also at some points mean more pain pills for him! I want him healthy to fight this off, and I hate that i feel trapped now.. bc how can i ever Leave a sick man? Honestly, with all the stress I’ll probably have a heart attack and die and he will live to 100 years old! I thought This illness would open his eyes, he’s lucky.. but nope. Same angry name calling, threatening, hateful man. I’m sorry to make this so long..i wish U all well and i hope Everyone feels better after venting on here!!!

Reply
Sabir O

Though I’m a Muslim from Nigeria, I found most of the things here connected to me.
I married my wife after 10 years of courtship, I’ve been assisting her to go through school since when she was 14. I paid all her University tuition for 5 years, paid for her Msc. She is constantly at odds with my relatives & will not help with any financial expense of the house. Though, by Islamic teachings, I should be providing for her however rich is she. I only have a University degree & make more money than her but I was equally responsible for her job( it’s a big deal here). She is only interested in spending all she got on her siblings after I counseled her that’s a good thing.
She’s now always in a rage, insulting my mom and even me. She even clearly told me that she doesn’t like me but we have 4 children. I’m apprehensive about their future with any woman I could marry in the future.
I presently have a cousin of mine who’s in Medical school that agreed to marry me(monogamy is okay in our culture); but I doubt if taking a 2nd wife can solve my problem. I, initially decided to make my marriage an example of Western superiority of how women should be treated but I’m now thinking that the freedom she has has gotten the better part of her.
I once asked her to choose which style of marriage suits her the best; the western style or the Islamic one but she always cherry pick the benefits.
I honestly, don’t want my children to grow up without their mom but on the other hand I feel utterly cheated. I believe they have a duty upon us to enjoy the love of 2 parents but my wife mostly vent her anger on them when she feels a flash of anger.
My wife is always eager to suggest something I can my money on as if she wants me to go broke.
Please tell me something nice😢😭

Reply
LLO2018

Its not as easy to make that decision. I make sure we don’t fight too much between the kids as i have seen them impacted in on way or another. So usually i will just walk away from the argument. My reason for wanting to divorce is because of a lack of respect, intimacy, and him being all about himself. I also work same as him expect that i come home to provide dinner, clean and look after kids. I am treated more like a maid/nanny/chef than a wife and a spouse. We just cant get along on any topic as he just doesn’t take what my opinion and thoughts are, yet if another person was to suggest the same thing he will consider it, its pathetic. Breaking up has been on my mind constantly but have stopped each and every time and i feel trapped within myself of not being able to make a decision. I stay because of my kids and also due to the whole family reputation etc. I just dont know what to do.

Reply
Rose

Watch the movie THE WAR ROOM and pray scriptures over your marriages Gods Word Can Not Return Void….If you dont believe in God….say positive affirmations over your marriage……meditate…exercise…be good to yourself…take your energy off of them…focus on you and yout kids. Visualize your spouse being loving and kind. If they try to argue with you instead of giving them one……smile and tell them you love them.

Reply
AY1980

I am glad that I found this article as it’s something that I can relate to.

My wife and I fell in love almost instantly and we got married about 2 years from the time we first met.

It’s now been 10 years and we are on our last chapter it feels. We have a 5 year old daughter and a 3 year old son and we’ve stuck together for the last two years just for them.. my wife describes the last two years as a nightmare and pure misery. She complains, criticizes , and nags about everything I don’t get right but I am human after all.

I consider myself to be a very involved father; get the kids ready for school every morning and drop them off at two different schools, bath them when they get home, do the laundry, do about 80% of house chores and she takes care of all the school stuff, summer camps, sits with my daughter for homework, birthday coordination, and dinners but she always wants more and considers the work she does as more valuable then what I do. I absolutely hate getting to the point where we just make lists of what each of us do.. all so I can show her that I do actually do a lot. It’s pathtic because we ruined our marriage because of first world problems..

Anyway we’re at the point where we just can’t move forward and their is too much resentment and toxicity between us. She wants to stay together in an unhappy marriage, the one she described as pure misery just so she can see the kids every day. She has rarely been away from the kids and the thought of that makes her even more miserable. I don’t think sticking together just for the kids sake is the best thing for our kids but I don’t know what do do. Any comments would be helpful.

Reply
Cristina

Wow. What more she want. My husband just basic he do in the house. I am more like a man. A woman a mother to him and lover. For him working as a carer 40 hrs a week and do a bit work in the house while im in work is enough. As a married couple they said it should be equal. Not in my case. Your wife should be thankful to have you.

Reply
Joe

I am writing here mostly because I want to vent it since I got nobody who to talk about my situation.

I got three kids, the eldest is actually my stepson, who is 7, then I have my daughter almost 4 and my youngest who is 2. I love them, in fact, I consider them my best friends.

As for my wife, I love her always and she is an important part in my life, the most important I could say, but she have been in bad temper almost every day. I have done and given everything to her, she does her things and she presumes of her “achievements” even posting in Facebook, but when is about me, or getting things for myself, thing that I love for me (not vices, I don’t drink and I don’t do drugs), I mean, getting some comic or rarely a video game that I play when I have time since the family is the priority, she gets mad at me and she treats me as if I killed somebody… and it has been this way always…. , I barely can remember the last time she was in good mood all day, recently she gets mad for smaller things of no importance and ignore me for many hours (eg accidentally pulled the blanket we shared and she got pissed off).

I believe there are more important things to be mad than smaller things. I am someone I have been respectful always, never looked for other woman since its against my principles, I am always all for my kids to provide the best, and I tried to do the best to my wife but she simply doesn’t want to talk or recognize of my actions toward hers other than “negative” actions…

But she is a wonderful mother and the most decent woman I ever knew, I don’t want you to get a bad picture of her.

This is actually my second marriage, in my first we didn’t have kids, but now I am afraid what is the route this marriage will take, I am not sure, not exactly for the kids, of what to do with our marriage as also I wouldn’t want to lose my kids.

Before coming here I asked her if she was happy and ignoring me was all the answer I got. Flowers and chocolates won’t resolve it, she’s not that kind of woman who would accept it.

Thanks everyone by read me.

Reply
CB

So, I want a divorce. I don’t hate my wife, I actually wish her much happiness but we don’t make a good married couple. I want things in a partner that she isn’t willing to give me. For the last 10 years, I’ve put her first and I’ve set out to make her life the most pleasant and easy as possible. I take our 5 year old to school each morning, I’ve done the night feedings for all 3 kids, I provide for the family, I take take care of the house and much more. I literally take care of everything. I am stretched very far and I feel like I don’t even really have a partner. I’m not mad at her because she has always been lazy (she has admitted it!) even before marriage, but some appreciation would be great and go a long way. She is a wonderful mother but she literally checks out whenever I am home. I have tried talking to her about my feelings but it never goes well. I am just flat out unhappy and at this point I don’t even want to fix things. Up until now, I just figured I’d stick it out because of the kids, but I am starting to think that isn’t the best thing to do. Our kids are 5, 3 and 3 months. However, the thought of being a part time dad make me want to vomit.

I am lost to be honest.

Reply
rade

CB please don’t make any rushed moves. I have worse problems with my wife. Your is a good mum and that is huge. Huge! Be patient. Work silently and she will change slowly. I have MS, ve4y disabled, still working, three kids she is neve at home, abusive, overspends, not intrested in the kids. But I try to be kind and I pray. For you too for our poor wives and for the sweet babies.

Reply
afomia

ohhhh sorry to start like this ,i am now at work but i cant do properly,we were friendes starting from highscool for the last 10 years in 2016 we were merried and we have one kid which i like her most,we were in love before merrage but now she always shout infront of my kid throw things kick me as that time my kid cry she is 1 year and 7 monthes but she know fight she realy terrible when she shout and throw the reason she provide is i must give all salary to her then she have to manage alone, she is not democrat,she has salary her own but i never ask her i gave enognh money for asbesa but she said soon i never buy this because i use for the other pourpose ex she send for her mum,she know how much i love my kid and i guss that is the reason,i have family who lost family when they are kid i support them with salary but she didnt like that she look greedy,even didnt like my family,so i am disturbed shall i divorced or what but dont forget i cant sleep without my kid.
thank you.

Reply
Susie

Is it brave to leave when you would have to share custody? I can’t imagine leaving my children, but I can’t imagine the hollow, empty and scared life I would live staying.

Reply
Anna

I feel for all these people in the comments. I am also in a horrible relationship. We fight EVERY single day. I am not married and sometimes I’m glad I never actually said yes. I have two of the most amazing children. 6 year old girl and 4 year old boy. I can see it affecting my daughter and it’s killing me inside. She has this personal trait of having to do everything perfect. And if she knows she can’t do it, she won’t even try. I feel like this has to do with what we say to each other. I always say I feel like I do nothing right I. His eyes. He’s says I’m ruining this family because I want to leave him. Everything is my fault and I’m a bitch, whore, trash. I don’t work so he says don’t even think about touching his money. I have come to hate the person he is. I have stayed with him through drug rehabilitation. He has stayed with me through some really bad depression. But it’s from him! I just can’t do it anymore. But I feel selfish for wanting to leave. My kids come first no matter what. But what is best? Any advice is welcome.

Reply
Chala

I’m in the same boat I have two daughters one and two year old they both scream at each other yell roll their eyes sigh I’m also married been married for five years I meant do not like my husband because of his temper he gives me depression and anxiety to the point where I don’t even want to dress up I don’t like going anywhere around nobody in it’s like sometimes I wish I didn’t have children so I didn’t have to subject them to this I’m tired of my husband he always has something negative to say thinks his way is always right he always has a bad temper every time I suggest something I’m just ready to leave and find something better to do something better I feel like I’ll be so much more Freer but I don’t want to leave my girls as if I don’t have a job to support them and not much Family Support either because of my husband so I’m really kind of stuck and I just don’t know what to do any advice

Reply
Devon

Annette and Sadie- have things gotten any better for you?

I’m currently dealing with the same situation. I have a 3 year old and a 8 week old. I’ve been in a unhappy relationship for quite some time- even during my pregnancy I felt so alone and as if my pregnancy wasn’t even existent to my spouse. He cannot balance work and family time. I have left the house and am staying at my parents currently, he is now telling me everything I want to hear to go back to him. It’s been so difficult to say the least. I’m now at the point where I need to make a decision. Do I sell the house and try to move forward or give it another chance? I feel as tho things would only change temporarily and then we would be in the same situation. When he knew I was packing up and leaving he became very verbally adusive. Name calling me and putting the rest of my family down.
He works so much yet I somehow end up finacially supporting these children all by myself.

Looking for any advise.

Reply
Annette

I’m reading this and crying. I’m so scared that my husband and I are ruining our 2 young children. We have an almost 4 year old boy and a 4 month old girl. My husband has a lot of good qualities and I think if we had never had children our marriage would have been relatively easy, but my husband has a terrible temper. I hate the way he talks to our son. Our son can be strong willed and difficult at times and my husband cannot deal with it at all. I try my best to remind him gently and respectfully that we all need to take some deep breaths and be calm and work things out but this only makes him angrier. He has started saying things like “I’m done with both if you.” I’m trying so hard to keep it together but i don’t know how to make him understand how important it is that he work to control his temper. After he has calmed down he often acknowledges that he needs to work at it
but he just does it over again sometimes minutes later. Of course I’m not perfect either and after years of this behavior and seeing the negative effect it is having on our son I’m really starting to dislike my husband at times which then in turns just leads to more negative effects for my son as described in this article. I’m afraid to stay with him for the reasons mentioned but I’m also afraid to leave him. I don’t want my children to be alone with him and have no one to act as a buffer. I’m not sure his behavior is enough for me to get full custody. I feel trapped and in despair over my poor kids every day… I don’t know how to fix it.

Reply
Sadie

Annette, you are not alone. I have a 6 and 3 year old and I’m staying mostly because I don’t trust my husband with my children alone and I know he will push for at least half custody just to spite me. He doesn’t spend time with the kids now, when I’m not home, which is rare, he plunks them in front of the tv. I’m with them 95% of the time. His form of discipline is belittling them or making fun of them. He threw water on a tantrumming 2.5 year old!!! I’m so tired of this relationship, but so scared.

Reply
Anon

I’m a practical person and I know I can offer my kids more in a marriage than as a single parent. And to be honest, as well as them having their daddy around, it at least gives me the benefit of being around when he is with them so I can intervene when he is too temperamental or dangerous with them.
My god though, do I hate this prick! I have an 18 month old and another one on the way and we have a nice home and lots of support from friends and family around us. Our lives can and will be full, i just need to learn how to cope with him without it affecting my children.
I don’t know whether I am just trying to convince myself, or whether saying it out loud to someone is just cathartic but keeping it together is hard. Especially when you read about people online who are in really horrendous, abusive marriages. It makes me feel like a spoiled brat…

Reply
Juno

As a mother of 3 , now ranging from 15-20, I wish I had ended my marriage when they were young. Reading your situation here is like reading about my own experience. I am a very forgiving person which I realise now has been to my detriment. I allowed the good qualities of my husband excuse his bad temper. He was not physically violent but when I reflect, that is not a good enough reason to excuse him and try endlessly to hold the family together.
The situation now is that I have young adults who willl not accept my husbands temper and confront him. My three children have all suffered with their mental health and self harmed due to their inability to process and deal with their fathers expectations on them.
After years of working hard to keep my family together and work through difficulties because I just want a loving, caring and peaceful family unit, I realise that I have contributed to the terrible state of my children’s lives now.
Finally, I am ending the marriage. I do not know what affect that will have on my children but I don’t believe it can be any worse than what they have already experienced.
Life in our house has always been calm and happier when daddy is not here. I’m hoping in time that that will be out new normality. Not the tense and anxious state I convinced myself was normal.
I cannot tell you what to do nor can I directly advise you, I don’t know you. All I can offer is general advice and say, stand back and look from the outside in. Look to your future and your children’s future. What does it look like if this situation remains the same. What can it look like if things change? Only you know and you do know.
I sincerely wish you, your beautiful children and your husband the very very best, whatever that looks like.
Take care and be true.

Reply
JayBee

I feel this. My son is 11 now and my daughter is 9. They are both affected by this same behavior. I wish I’d left long ago. So much more to my story but now I realize it was my husband’s anger that has caused my son to exhibit anger towards me. My daughter and I both have anxiety and my son is depressed. Get out now while they are still young. It didn’t get better for me.

Reply
Peter

Nobody but you can decide whether it’s best to stay together or separate but what I know is that if you stay together, it’s critical to minimise conflict, especially in front of the kids. Constant tension and arguing can harm them more than divorce.

Reply
Such

I feel the same, but unfortunately I am from Indian background where we have to live for the family. Me and hubby get along well and he is really good with kids family and me. But sometimes he shouts at me for silly reasons calling me mental and screams which makes me terribly upset even though I do all house chores. I have 2 kids 6 and 3 , I can’t come out from relationship but I have to be with it till I live. Sometimes I feel that all my hardworks are not been recognised at all and on top of that making others believe that I am mad. I don’t believe in concept of heaven and hell, as we see both while we live itself. I cry but by thinking my kids and my parents I convince myself that I have to live for them and I am definitely in a better position than other families who are in far worse conditions. Don’t take decisions when Ur terribly upset is what I have learnt. God bless all ladies who are going through deep pains.

Reply
kathrine

If you and your spouse have agreed that a divorce is necessary, but would prefer to avoid the stress and expense of a drawn-out court process, uncontested divorce may be a good option for your family.

Reply
Bryan

Hello. I was recently divorced less than a year ago, and we had a smooth divorce, and we both agreed on the terms of our divorce, in fact I went back to the home we shared the same day after the judge signed off of what we wanted. I did my best to comfort my ex-wife. I am still faithful today, but one thing I noticed is my ex-wife turned to be greedy and very mean, and uses our children to dislike me in every way. I never committed any adultery. We just could not get along anymore. Church counselors tried to help us, and now that we are divorced, they don’t help me when they were helping us to begin with. I guess life goes on.

Reply
Judy

You sound like a nice guy. Good luck in the future with the love that you deserve.

Reply
Emma

I guess most of us entered marriage for the happily ever after, I personally don’t think that marriages are perfect or could be perfect I think they just become a survival just getting by as long the kids are growing up and trying each day to make everyone think that you are happily married whilst the fact is you aren’t. I once read that most married couples stay in the longest marriages not because they were love each other but for the kids and fear of being alone.

No article, book, counseling session etc can actually prepare you for what you will face in your actual marriage. I have a very disfunctional marriege that looks perfect from an outside world, that’s why speaking about it with family or church counselors could just be a waste of time.

My husband spoils me with gifts such as brand new cars and breaks my heart the biggest way possible. This makes it difficult for anyone outside to see my unhappiness cos all they see is material things and concludes that everything is A okay.

1. He had an affair with my little sister.
2. He lies and cheat
3. I cannot for the life of me trust him ever again.
4. He watches porn everyday and have pictures of naked big ass women on his phone for fantasizing purposes.
5. He has love affairs at work with lady colleagues, when I confront him about them he calls me an insecure bitch that needs to get a life and butt out of his business.
6. He flirts with ladies on social media and sometimes at events with me present and when I confront him, he tells me I am just too stuck up.

I have four children with him and always thought that staying for the sake of them is better, but they cannot fix my broken heart and living with their father in this toxic marriage is not benefiting me in any ways. He is a great father to his kids, I fear when we separate he will blame me for the separation that broke their perfect family life and turn the kids against me. The only thing making this imperfect marriage look perfect is only because I am the one compromising my happiness for theirs. Putting on a smile for my kids all the time so that they never see my broken heart, always trying to be the best mother even though my marriage is technically over.

Nobody can feel my pain but me, he is often working in a month he can only get like 2 days off. I will be the one looking after the kids taking them to swimming lessons, hockey, chess matches etc. But as soon as one of kids start dropping grades at school or become naughty in any way or form he will blame that on me, saying it is your parental technique that turned the child into this etc. At least I tried to be there for them, unlike him who is always not around. And when finally around he is never present always glued to his phone chatting up ladies, or watching his X rated movies.

I work and earn more than he does, I want to seek tools to learn to put myself and my happiness first. I am drowning in this marriage, I lost my identity, I lost me trying to fix someone that cannot be fixed.

There is nothing worse like having a partner you cannot trust.

Reply
Cassy

Woman, do u own the place u live in? If u do u could kick ur husband out for cheating and treating u like a B. Your kids would end up staying with you because of the fact hes a mental abuser. I have my own apt with my kids on the lease with me, my husbands not on it, hes selfish and is always on his phone all the time even when he sleeps it’s on. He doesnt want to work he wants me to do it cause hes not a people person. I do the appointments ect, the day planning on what to do the cleaning the cooking ect. My kids are what keep me going everyday. I’ve tried multiple times telling him to leave my place but he always threatens me about our daughter saying she goes with him if he leaves. I know I’d win cause of the emotional abuse and in the past of mental abuse he gave me. But I think I’m just too afraid to be alone.

Reply
Hitasha

U r very strong lady none can sacrifice like you
I hope Ur kids respect you n be Ur side always.

Reply
Lisa

I feel your pain
I stayed and am currently still married (unhappily) the end of this month 33 years
I was compromised did myself no favors my husband threw me under the bus
My children no longer respect me two barely talk to me my last has followed her older siblings but is struggling with how t o move forward with me
My daughters have put all their faith in their father and stay connected with him have pictures up with themselves and their father none with me
My son created distance from both of us but primarily talks to me
I never saw any of this coming if I did I would have divorced
It’s been the most painful experience in my life not having my children’s trust respect and love
You will be alone if you can find the strength leave take your children

Reply
Briana

So sorry you are going through this. Please read Should i stay or should I go by Lundy Bancroft. I am sure it will give you clarity.

Reply

Leave a Reply

We’d love to hear what you’re thinking ...

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

















Hey Warrior - A book about anxiety in children.








Hey Sigmund on Instagram







{"cart_token":"","hash":"","cart_data":""}