possible divorce-please helpSubscribe
My husband and I are having serious problems. We rarely speak to each other. I work full time and when I'm not at work, I spend time with my daughter. I always ask him if he wants to join us in what we are doing. He often refuses. I feel that since I work and she is in daycare, I should spend my free time with her. (I really want to stay home, but I was informed that he wants an "equal partner") I really don't like him anymore, but I can't imagine not seeing my daughter every day. I never thought I would have these feelings, but I do. How do those divorced mom out there handle not seeing your kids? Is it worth staying together to see her every day? What effect will our failing relationship have on her? (She is 20 months.) Thanks for your help.
Although my marital stress is not too bad, I have to admit I have the same thoughts sometimes. Everyone I know at work who's been married and has grown kids give the same advice: these years are some of the toughest there are (i.e., when kids are small, mine are 27 mos and 6 mos). If you can make it through these years you can make it through anything.
Other experiences I have heard is that everyone I know who ended up divorcing all said after the fact, if I could go back, I wouldn't have chosen divorce, it is just too painful. Especially with children.
I personally am a child of divorce, and I survived. However, my father, who would have NEVER apologized for anything he or my mother did when they were divorcing, one day told, sheepishly, 25 years after the divorce, that studies show that even in families where the couple is unhappy, it still does less damage to the child than a child that has to grow up with divorced parents, no matter how peaceful and harmonious the custody settlement.
AND, every time I think about the real practicalities of being separate, EVERYTHING is more difficult, more expensive, more complicated: maintain two homes, two sets of clothes for the kids, two of everything, at home it will ALWAYS be just me to do everything unless ex-hubby has custody. For what? So I can start dating someone else? Because that is seriously the only reason why I would need to be alone. If I don't like him anymore, and there is no more passion, and if on our rare free time, we don't choose to do things together, so? It is still easier, and better for the kids to stay together.
Of course, this is all advice for a marriage with simple marital trouble (falling out of love, bickering, etc.). If you are undergoing any kind of psychological, physical or sexual abuse, then I wouldn't say any of this (but I feel from your email that you aren't).
And one more thing everyone keeps telling me: invest in your marrige. Yes, unfortunately, so much of this burden falls on the woman. Yes, many (if not most) women the world over carry the heavier load. That is just life. So if it means doing things you may not feel naturally inclined to do right now (ex. be generous to a non-generous man, be gentle to a non-gentle man, and so forth), you may just have to, well if you want to keep trying to make your marriage work.
Don't aim for the early-day passion, aim for friendship, when the children grow, apparently many couples go through a honeymoon period. Have faith?
This is all stuff I tell myself everytime I think the way you are thinking. It has definitely served me well, and when I make the first step, things set into motion.
"The solution to violence is peace, the solution to hate, love, the solution to greed, generosity." Your solution may be to show your hubby that you DO like spending time with him, make him THINK that he is not second to your daughter...
What a great post! I know that over the years with my own husband, I have had times when I hated the man When the kids were home and growing, looking back our lives were pretty wild and emotions ran high and low, things were really vibrant and lively, we were each figuring out our own stuff and then trying to figure out our stuff with each other and then our stuff with the kids! There was always a lot of stuff!
Today the one thing I have learned is that working things out with my husband is a part of working things out with myself. He reflects me. When I am not liking him...I am really not liking myself a whole lot. So it is not with him I have a problem, although when I am in it, it certainly seems to be HIM. But it is not. When I work on myself and liking myself then I like him a whole lot more.
I would certainly suggest that before you commit to divorce that you spend some time working on you and use him as your barometer! Whatever you think about him, turn it around and ask yourself some deeper questions about you, how can you love yourself more-for instance. Give yourself a few months and see how you feel then.
Much love and light!~Cheryl
Wow, Natalie. What a great post.
I want to add that my parents had a very rough marriage for about 10 years when my sister and I were young. They *nearly* divorced several times, but decided to stay "for the children." I am SO THANKFUL that they did as a divorce would have completely devastated me. They worked through it, and I know it was quite painful for them at times to do that work. I have the utmost respect and admiration for them now, looking back on it with adult understanding. Now they've been married almost 35 years, and they are good friends. I don't see *passion* in their marriage, but get serious. I've been married 8 years and we aren't soap-opera passionate over here either.
I will say this: even if I didn't like my husband, wasn't in love with him, whatever, as long as it was what Natalie calls "simple marital trouble," I wouldn't divorce him because 1) I made a committment for better or worse and 2) I can't imagine not being with my daughter every day. And I wouldn't want to give that up, nor would I want to take that away from her father.
Is counseling a possibility?
My husband and I have only been married for just under two years, but I can relate to those feelings! Our son was born less than a month after our first anniversary. My husband is in the middle of finishing his Ph.D., we live in a 1-BR apartment, don't have much money, and there is a lot of stress in the air. We both have to try really hard to take care of ourselves, our marriage, and our son.
First of all, it is critical for you and your husband to get back on speaking terms. Get a babysitter, pack your daughter into a stroller and take a long walk together, turn off the TV for a week, go out for ice cream, do SOMETHING that gets the two of you in a situation where you can talk about something other than your daughter, even if it's just the weather. Nothing can improve until you two are back on speaking terms.
One of the things my father always said when we were growing up was "the best thing that a father can do for his children is to love their mother." That advice runs both ways. The most important thing you can do for your daughter is to learn again to love her father. Although it IS important to spend time with your daughter, it is more important to work on your relationship with your husband. I know the guilt that comes from feeling like you leave your daughter in daycare all day only to feel like you're abandoning her just to spend time with your husband. However, living in a household with two feuding adults or as the child of divorced parents will be much worse.
Your daughter probably goes to bed before (or wakes up after) you and your husband - what about using that time to try to reconnect? If your sleep schedules are different enough that this isn't possible, what about keeping a journal in which both of you write when you have some free time?
Your husband may be refusing your invitations because he isn't a young-child person (my mom isn't one - she became more involved when we got older than 4) or because when he does accept, you only pay attention to your daughter, and not to him, so he then feels like "what's the use?"
I want to be a stay-at-home mom, too. I have many days when I resent the fact that my husband doesn't earn enough for me to stay home. However, it's just the way things are right now. Have you talked to your husband about why you want to stay home, sat down and worked out the financial realites of what it would take (moving to a smaller/cheaper home, tightening spending budgets, waiting until he gets a raise, etc.)?
Both of you bear responsibility for your relationship, which means that both of you have the power to change it. A few months ago, I was feeling incredibly unloved and ignored. At first, I just resented it and did stupid, petty things in retaliation. Then I realized that the old adage about "to get a friend, be a friend" also applies to marriage. I started e-mailing my husband notes about specific things I loved about him in the middle of the day, doing a chore that he usually did (dishes) on occasion, and making an effort to say at least one pleasant thing to him every day. It took a few weeks, but he started to respond in kind. We were BOTH feeling neglected. I couldn't change his behavior, but I could change mine. Life is still stressful, but now at least we talk about things.
I hope some of this is helpful! Good luck in everything that you do.
First I want to say as you can see you are definitley not alone. Two although I agree with some thing others have said, staying together just for the children is not one of them. Yes things get more complicated throughout life, especially when the parents are seperated. My mom is not with my dad, or my sisters dad, and she is thinking about leaving my youngest sisters dad. It is not uncommon for people to fall out of love. And happy parents make happier children. I remember my mom trying to stay with my sisters dad for 5 years after she was really unhappy, and it made my sister and I miserable. They always fought, we couldn't have a day together as a family without one of them fighting with each other. Bless my mom for she tried to make sure me and my sister had a good childhood, she knew what she wanted for us, and that he wasn't going to help her get there. My father hasn't seen me since he was 2 and my sisters dad is convinced our mother brainwashed us to hate him. With all of that being said marriage vows do really mean something. You at one point loved your husband, and he loved you now you have to split that love to add in a baby. My suggestion to you is to take time for you guys. Your daughter won't stop loving you because she has a night at the babysitters. My boyfriend and I had the same issues when we had our first, now where not married but same concept. I realized we were both exhausted, and we seriously falling out of love with each other. It wasn't either of our faults, but we were both so tired we couldn't remember what it was about each other we loved in the first place. Between a new baby, and work, and everyday life....we lost each other. See if your mom, or his would like to take your daughter overnight. Plan a whole night, and remind him of the passion. Although there isn't passion in everyday love, it always seems to come back when you hit the bedroom. Find some new lingere, make his favorite meal, do anything to let him know, you know who he is, and your sorry you have been away from him for so long. My mom explains it to me like this, when you stay together for the children you tend to take the hate you have for each other and show it to yoru children. But when there is love there, and it has been hidden by life when it is reawakened it feels like your first date. Sit him down over his favorite dinner, and let him know you appreciate him, and everything he does. Let him know you love him, and don't mention your daughter. My mom and me take turns, I take her youngest duaghter and she takes my son we have getting back to us weekends. Unfortunatly her and my step-dad have more issues than those weekends can help with. Usually by saturday evening my boyfriend and I are missing our son, and we get him early sunday morning and we all go do something together. Give him a weekend and tell him to choose what the three of you do. He needs to know you still need him, and without him you will crumble. We sometimes take these things for granted, but when they are gone we are lost. If you are definitly not happy in your marriage let him know. Sit him down and ask him how he feels. Some emotional talks will let him get everything out that he needs to, and you will know where you guys stand. I didn't even know there was a problem.....I knew I didn't like him much, but I didn't realize he was feeling the same, except worse. He finally sat me down one day and told me, he doesn't really know how much he can take anymore. I flat out asked him do you want to work on us, or do you think we are at our end. We are now expecting our second, even though I still don't like him sometimes, and he doesn't like me.......we now know its better for us to tell each other. A simple I don't like you right now, gets out a lot of frustration you would normally keep pent up, and thats what sound like has happened. Both of you are unhappy but nobody wants to acknowledge it, our children feel through us, if your unhappy your child can sense it. So the faster you get back to happy the better it is for your child. I hope this helps, and I wish all the best of luck to you.
There must hardly be a married person on Earth who, at one point (or more) has wondered what ever attracted them to their spouse! Marriage can sure bring out the worst in people, because it's hard! Fortunately, it can also bring out the best in people. Unfortunately, that can take a lot of self-awareness and hard, hard work.
One thing I know through my experience with my own step-children is that divorce is not necessarily better than a lousy marriage. The relationship stays awful or gets worse in many of the same ways (you will still have to deal with your ex all the time) and can be much worse in many other ways (financially, to name one). Most importantly, it can be very traumatic for children to know that their parents don't love, much less LIKE each other. Even worse is for children to hear (or overhear) one parent say bad things about the other - and it's bound to happen.
I would encourage any parent considering divorce to weigh the pros and cons very seriously and honestly. It's a decision that will strongly impact your children in how they feel about themselves, you and marriage/relationships.
Good luck to you, I wish you strength!
According to some estimates, roughly 50% of all marriages in the U.S. end in divorce. If you are considering a divorce, you should be prepared by hiring a good divorce attorney who can help you through the process. A good divorce attorney can help lead you in the right direction and to see all of your options. The following are questions and answers that are common to the divorce process. Remember, every situation is different and each state’s laws are different. It’s always best to consult with a divorce attorney before making any decisions.