When you’re considering the decision to file for divorce, you’re going to hear a lot of advice — specifically if you have children. Well-meaning family, friends, and experts, may tell you to stay in the marriage “for the kids,” while others will use the same logic to encourage divorce.
While it’s important to make sacrifices for your children, there is an extent to which it can become harmful, regardless of what you ultimately decide when it comes to staying or leaving the marriage. In other words, “doing it for the kids” is the wrong attitude to have, period. Here’s why:
Your Children Need The Real You.
Whether you end up filing divorce forms or not, it’s important to remember that your children need all of you, and not just a hollowed-out shell of a human being. You might think you can “fool” them into thinking that you’re all right, but if you haven’t actually taken the time to work on you and your own happiness, they’re going to notice, and that’s ultimately going to bring them down. That’s because:
Children Aren’t Stupid.
No, they may not realize the complexities of what you’re dealing with, but they can tell happy from sad from indifferent. They know when something is wrong with Mom and Dad because they’re always around you, they’re part of you, and their developing brains are very perceptive. If you remain emotionally stagnant six months or a year or five years after the divorce papers are final, they’re going to know it. And no matter how hard you try, they’re going to end up feeling responsible. After all:
Kids Want To Help.
They love you, and they want to see you happy. Your stability adds to their stability, and if you can’t overcome the negative emotions that often accompany a bad marriage or divorce, then you’re going to saddle them with your problems in addition to their own. Children deserve better, and so do you.
So avoid making excuses for the situation. A bad marriage is hard, but it can be overcome. If you want your children to thrive, don’t use them as the excuse for why you’re holding onto the past and not allowing yourself to be happy.