Stay Together For the Kids: Can You Make It Work?


Many couples live together, quietly hating each other, just for the sake of the children. In general, in our modern “child-centered” world, everything is being done for the sake of kids. People go to the hated work just to provide kids with a happy future, they spend huge money on toys and gadgets for children so that they don’t look worse than some other kids in the class, people sacrifice sleep and rest for the sake of kids.

together for children

As they say, “Any bauble of folly will keep baby jolly.” And the same happens with marriage when it seems that it’s better for the child to grow up with the two parents. However, should we stay together for the kids? It’s necessary to figure out this issue. Despite what people say, divorce is a complicated thing. It never comes easy even for the initiator. Even if you have stopped loving each other, your past was filled with many pleasant and happy moments. Both spouses deserve happiness. And sometimes no one is to blame for the divorce. So, is it worth staying together for the children, thus destroying all the good that once was between you and your partner?

Does Staying Together For the Kids Work?

The decision to go on living together even when "all bridges are burned" and there is nothing left of the past feelings is made by people quite often. There may be several reasons for that, for example, it can be about the joint property, the negative childhood experience of one or both spouses who once experienced a loss of a sense of stability and inviolability of family relationships as well as guilt towards the child for the broken family.

And if material problems can still be solved, then psychological reasons that make two incompatible people stay together for the children sometimes form that Gordian knot, which seems to be almost impossible to cut. Oddly enough, but the spouses whose parents were divorced are the most afraid of their own divorce. Mindful of their difficult childhood experiences associated with the collapse of the family, these people try their best not to repeat the parental scenario. Unfortunately, despite this, most often they repeat what they are trying to escape from and act, sometimes unconsciously, as initiators of a divorce.

Some parents believe that the only acceptable (both social and psychological) option is when the family is created for the sake of the birth and upbringing of children. Therefore, they need to “carry this cross” to the end, even when it becomes prohibitively heavy, and living together does not give pleasure to any of the family members. Such a perverted sense of responsibility can trigger a feeling of guilt for any actions, leading to the family breakup. Try to honestly answer the following questions to understand whether staying together for the kids will work in your case.

Why do I want to end the relationship?

Be as honest as possible. At this point, try to put yourself, your interests and desires first. Try to single out the most important thing, the reason why you can no longer stay together for the kids. It can be both general (you have too different characters, there are no common interests, there is no trust) and specific reasons (offense, anger for an act that you cannot forgive).

Why do I still want to stay?

Of course, you believe that even staying together for the kids after infidelity seems to be the best answer to this question. However, do not look for easy answers, think about what marriage gives you. This may be the presence of an apartment or financial guarantees. Maybe your religion is against divorce, or you know that your spouse is a great parent. If you want to keep your family together, think about good moments that you have and had, for example, travels or the opportunity to fall asleep together, the joy of each other's achievements or support at a difficult moment. Is it worth destroying everything, or can you try to return respect and love?

stay together for the kidsAm I ready for changes?

During periods of hardship for a family, it is especially tempting to say that it is your spouse who is to blame for all adversities. Nonetheless, most likely, both of you, perhaps unconsciously, contribute to the collapse. If you ask yourself the question, “Does staying together for the kids work?” then you should understand that the positive answer can be only in the case when both spouses are ready to change themselves and work on the relationship. For example, to hire a babysitter and go on dates with a partner and spice up your relationship.

Staying Together For the Kids: Pros and Cons

Divorce will not go unnoticed for both children and parents. However, divorce does not destroy the world of the child. Yes, a kid may wonder why mom and dad have stopped living together and loving each other, or maybe one of the parents has disappeared from the horizon altogether.

Anyway, it is much more important for a kid to know that they have a mom and a dad, that they both love them and participate in bringing up. And it’s necessary to concentrate on this moment, you will hardly find advantages of living together after divorce for children if parents of the kids hate each other. A kid can easily get used to the new life and the fact that their parents are living separately. The main thing is to explain to the child that no one is to blame for the divorce and to support them in every way.

Calmness is above all

It’s much better when happy and calm parents are living separately than they are constantly swearing but living together. In families where there is an atmosphere of conflict, quarreling, ignoring, and heaven forbid, fights, children grow up twitchy and with wrong life guidance. After all, the manner of behavior in adult life is formed in childhood at an unconscious level.

That is, it is your couple that the child takes as the standard. Staying together with an unloved person just for the sake of a child, you show them that the family is a little hell, with constant quarrels, shouts, insults, and tears. Or worse, this is the neighborly coexistence of two strangers. They will not even have a chance to find out that everything can be different, that people can love, respect and support each other. To do that, you need to be honest enough to admit that the person next to you is not your soulmate. Divorce in such families is a less painful procedure, besides it is a short-term one, while “sitting on a powder keg” can drag on for years, if not a whole life.

Children don’t feel safe

It’s not even necessary to swear every day. You can just hate each other, practice silence treatment, ignore your partner and live as neighbors. Such behavior negatively affects the psyche of the child, they intuitively feel the conflicts and negative atmosphere. Many children, who live in a similar atmosphere, often run away from home, try to stay at school longer than usual and spend more time in the street.

According to the researchers, children tolerate scandals better than hidden conflicts. Scandals at least show the claims of parents to each other, while the hidden conflict is something incomprehensible.

Children will not appreciate the sacrifice

By sacrificing your happiness and freedom for the sake of a child, you automatically shift the responsibility for your failed life to a small family member. Moreover, sooner or later the thought, “I’ve sacrificed everything for you,” will prevail over you. What do you think the child will feel after such reproaches? A load of guilt. Their immature mind can simply not withstand this, therefore, do not sacrifice your life for the sake of the child.

Unhappy parents make a child unhappy as well

The ability to enjoy life, smile and be happy is a true art. Not everyone can see the good in trivia. The atmosphere of love, mutual respect and joy teach a child to be happy and create such an atmosphere around them. If parents seem a bit down in the dumps, blow up over little things and have a heavy smile, the child will perceive it as a quite normal manner of behavior. Nonetheless, this does not mean that it is necessary to get divorced at the slightest difficulties. You should remember that everyone has bad and difficult days. You need to break up when each of you has already tried everything possible to save a marriage, but nothing has come out of it.

How to Stay Together For the Kids

Many people cannot take the final decision and continue to live together. However, if you reflect on this step as well, it is necessary to weigh all the pros and cons and decide whether the game is worth the candle. How to stay together for the kids? If there is even the slightest opportunity to improve relationships, and if the wall of misunderstanding that has arisen between spouses is only a reflection of the family crisis, then it is worth working and trying to save the family for the sake of all its members, and not just the kids.

In the period of overcoming the crisis, you shouldn’t involve a child into it, telling them the subtleties of relationships. Everything should be between you and your spouse. No matter how old a child is, they will never be able to understand the real reason for disagreement between parents. Nonetheless, you shouldn't hide your feelings from them. It is only necessary to make them understand that there are situations when it's not going that well between people. You should talk to your child about what is happening.

staying together for the kids after infidelityEspecially when they ask questions. Things that adults are silent about, the children consider terrible and intolerable. Their fantasies can be much worse than reality. And, of course, a child should never witness parental "scenes." Being a parent, you should maintain a human face. And yet, you shouldn’t initiate a divorce until both or one of the spouses have a strong conviction that this step is required. You can infinitely break up and start living together again only until you don’t have children. If there are kids in the family, then you should have the strength to make a certain decision and follow it no matter what.

How to Cope With This Period?

You should understand that it’s only you two who can save or destroy your union. If both want to stay in the relationship, then you have to make a lot of effort. If one or both of you do not want to struggle for the family, then the crisis will not go away by its own, but it will only intensify so that the spouses finally break up.

  • Recognize the root cause of the crisis and start working on it. Your family is good and harmonious, but there is something that has brought novelty to the relationship. Both spouses should be engaged in introducing changes in your family life so as to restore harmony and a feeling of happiness again.
  • Work on the relationship instead of giving up as a bad job. The problems will not work themselves out. The spouses either deal with them, or they destroy the couple. You should understand that this is a difficult period for both of you. So, you should better support each other.
  • Do not resist changes in the relationship. Try to look for ways of accepting a new stage of the relationship. If something has appeared, then there were reasons for that. Perhaps the new will help you improve family life.
  • Recognize the good and bad sides of family life. New changes can either help or harm. Do not give in to emotions but keep your mind sharp to understand how bad are things that you are struggling with, and whether it can be used for your own benefits.
  • Do not neglect the help of specialists, psychologists, if you cannot cope with that on your own. It’s better not to turn to the help of friends and relatives since all of them will take the position of “supporting their friend/ relative” and not saving the family. Only outsiders who are not interested in you and who have psychological knowledge can help save the marriage. If you are tired of listening to the negative scenarios that conscious whispers you, then you should look to the near future. If you understand that tension between you and your spouse is growing, and it becomes more and more difficult to stay in the house, you don’t feel like returning home, then imagine what will happen next year.

All your attempts to save the family and live together, not allowing yourself to build a new happy life can be justified only if the child does not witness outbursts of anger and quarrels between the parents, if you voluntarily agree to live together for children even without strong feelings, in peace and tranquility. Children are extremely sensitive to falsehood, and therefore, do not try to deceive them.

Anyway, it’s up to you to decide whether to save the family for the sake of the child. And if this choice is too hard, find a solution together with a psychologist, having worked the situation in depth.

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