We don't want to divorce, but we do. What other options exist?

by BrianGreen 47 Replies latest jw friends

  • FlyingHighNow
    Some people have been depressed so long they don't realize they are depressed.

    This is sooooo true, Gary.

  • Super_Becka
    Your children are young, they will adjust to having divorced parents, it's a very common thing nowadays and children are resilient.

    This is so not true. You may think this when you are in your teens and twenties. But hit your thirties and forties and you realize how much you lost when your parents divorced. Mine divorced. I wish they would have gotten counseling and worked it out. I still hurt. I'm 47. I was 9 when they separated and 11 when they finally divorced. Our family was fragmented, never to be the same again.

    Hi FlyingHighNow,

    Wow, I'm sorry if I offended you. I was just going on my own personal experience and the experiences of those around me. I will concede, though, that everyone I know of with divorced parents, myself included, are in their late-teens and early-twenties, so I can't comment on what happens later on in life. I do know that one of my friends is very glad that her parents are divorced, they split up when she was 9, too, and she and her father are much happier now. Another friend of mine has parents that have been separated for almost 15 years but never divorced, and he's actually angry that they're trying to work it out, he's happier with his parents apart. Another friend has parents who are on the verge of separating, and she says she'll be very relieved when it happens. Me, I'm still working through this mess, like I said, but I am glad that my parents are finally happy. My mom is seeing a new man who makes her very happy, and my dad has been in a relationship for two years and has a new son, it's good to see them both smiling so much.

    I do know what I'm missing out on, though. My family has been torn completely in two. My parents promised that they would always work together to do the best for my brother and I, since we were getting ready to go to college when they split up, but that was a lie, they refuse to even speak to each other now. They're both so angry and bitter towards each other, it's hard to believe that they were together for over 20 years. Now that they're apart, they can finally release all of the animosity, and I know that there was no way to save that marriage, not after what I've seen and heard between them. I also know that I won't ever be able to have big anniversary parties for them, no 25th anniversary (I was really looking forward to that one), no 50th, no nothing. If I get married, I have to invite my parents separately, and I don't know if they'll both attend, because they can't stand to be in the same room together, let alone sit on the same side of a church. If I get married and have children of my own, I'll never be able to take my kids to "grandma and grandpa's house", it'll always be "grandma's house" or "grandpa's house", but never both together. My children will never be able to visit their maternal grandparents together, not ever, and that hurts me more than I ever imagined something could hurt, because I know how special grandparents are. I will miss out on all of the great family times that my parents shared with my grandparents because my parents are bitterly divorced, and nothing will ever fix that.

    And my brother hardly even speaks to my father anymore, he blames him for the divorce, and there's nothing harder than trying to answer my father when he asks me, "When's your brother coming to visit again?? I miss him, I haven't seen him in ages."

    And there's nothing I can do about that, either. I just want to fix everything, but I can't. That's what I do best, I fix things and I make people feel better, but no matter what I do, I can't fix this. I hate being at home because I can't handle not being able to spend time with both of my parents at the same time. When I'm at my mom's house, I feel guilty for not being at my dad's house, and when I'm at my dad's house, I feel guilty for not being at my mom's house. I hate going home for the holidays, because there's always questions of, "So, who's house are you spending Christmas at this year??", and then looks of disappointment. I can't be in two places at once, I wish I could, but I can't. I love my family, but I can't handle being at home when I'm out of school because I don't know how to make everyone happy.

    But that said, I am very glad that my parents are happy now. It's so good to see my parents smiling and laughing and joking again. It was so exciting when my mom told me about her new boyfriend, she was just like a teenager, telling me about how great he is and how well he treats her. She never got excited like that around my dad. And at my dad's house, he's always playfully teasing his girlfriend, just like a young man teasing his best girl. My brother is moving on and getting over this, my parents are very happy with their new lives and we're all trying to not live in the past. Sure, I'd be much happier if my parents had stayed together and we still lived in the house that I grew up in, but that wasn't a viable option, not at all, and in the end, everyone is better off now.

    Yes, parental divorce has side effects and it is something that will stay with the parents and children for the rest of their lives, but in some cases, it's just better for the parents to get divorced and get it over with, after careful consideration, that is. It can save years of pain and anguish and in the end, sometimes it really is worth it.

    Just an opinion.

    -Becka :)

  • FlyingHighNow

    Becka, my daughter left her husband early in January. She finally brought her four year old back to him and has the nine year old with her. We called to speak with her four year old and he didn't want to speak with us, he wanted his mother. This child is grief stricken. I can tell you from experience, you do kid yourself. You just want to get on with your life, so you convince yourself that your parent's divorce hasn't affected you. I said what I did, not because I am offended. I said it because divorce has a very profound affect on children. Even when the divorce is due to abuse, it still will affect any children involved for the rest of their lives.

    My son in law is finding this separation a huge wake up call. And he's making changes, very important changes to try to get my daughter to return so they can raise the two boys together. He realizes he loves his wife very much. He has even decided that retiring with the Navy, and he just made chief, means nothing if he doesn't have an intact family.

    I implore anyone thinking of divorce, if there are children involved, DO NOT take divorce lightly. They have no choice in the matter. They will be most affected by your decision. Get counseling. Live apart for a time and get counseling before you split up your family. Give it every try before you opt out. Sometimes divorce is necessary. A lot of the time it is not.

  • GentlyFeral

    I haven't read the replies to your post, so I may be repeating someone else's comments.

    This reminds me – just a little bit – of what my son's wife and her ex-boyfriend worked out. They had a child together, and still share a house with my son ( = her husband). They promised each other to stay close – not together, but within easy reach of each other – to raise the child. They're in the process of buying a property with two houses on it, so they can continue to do so and have more privacy and space.

    Divorce, or separation, doesn't have to mean being written out of your kids' lives. Think joint custody. Staying within easy reach of each other can make it work.


  • Robdar

    FHN, I agree with you. I see the damage that my divorce did to my son. If I had know then how it would affect him, I would never have divorced his father. I would have stuck it out.

    Gary, your post was a good dose of truth. I wish somebody had said that to me all those years ago.

  • tmo1965
    Another thing, is the high control group history. It really is a good idea to get post exit counseling. We pack a LOT of wrong ideas and bad thinking patterns with us when we leave the groups.

    I'd make a goal to be happy first, then if I still want to divorce I'd get divorce counseling first. If ya think a marriage is hard, a divorce is much harder. A successful divorce requires much more work and cooperation than a marriage does. I see people have MUCH more trouble with a bad divorce than I see having trouble with a bad marriage.

    There's a big difference between a young couple with no children and no assets divorcing and a couple with children divorcing.

    I say if there is abuse, neglect, or addiction, document that and go for full custody. If not, deal with the problem in a rational way that's in the best interest of the children. 

    Excellent advice. I highly recommend marriage counseling. I find that many people expect to have the first in love feeling throughout their marriage and that is just not realistic. Marriage has ups and downs. I have been married 10 years this April (1st husband). My husband was married previously and has 3 children with his 1st wife. He now has custody of the children and I'm glad he does, but the children have paid a terrible price for their parents divorce. All in all they are good kids, but I see some of the emotional scars too. Divorce is not something to take lightly and everything should be tried before deciding to go through with it.

    Best wishes on this situation.

  • yesidid

    My parents marriage was not a happy one. They fought constantly and it was hard to to be with them when they were fighting.

    What was much worse though was the three years when my mother left my father.

    My father was not a loving man, either to our mother or us kids. He had a temper but I would not call him abusive. However he

    had a lot of good qualities and I missed him when we were away. It was an absolutely dreadful time.

    When they got back together it was not perfect, they still argued. However it was not the hell of separation.

    I am soooooooooooooo grateful they did not divorce. I am in my sixties, but, till my dying day I will be grateful they put our

    happiness ahead of theirs. After all we did not ask to be brought into the world.


  • FlyingHighNow

    It may not be necessary to be separated. I want to make this clear. Counseling can go on while you live in the same house. Your entire family may need counseling. I only recommend separation if it's really, very necessary.

  • yesidid

    Have you read "Boundaries in Marriage".

    Some really practical suggestions.

  • gumby

    I'll have to throw in my lot with Flyinhighnow.......and NOT just because she's my buddy

    When I was little, I'd be woken up by my dad beating my mom up. He'd stop when I walked in the room. I wasn't in school yet. My mom and dad fought constantly. As the years went by, he didn't beat her anymore and the yelling slowed way down.

    All of this affected myself and my 4 sisters in that we all have insecurities/ low self esteem, etc. However....I'm STILL grateful they stuck it out. Divorce would have affected us kids much worse....I know it would have. Our parents loved us in spite of their fighting and we loved them. To see them divorce would have affected our lives more than their not getting along.

    My little sister has talked of divorce for years but has not done so. Her and her hubby are going to counciling and are working it out. If it works......their child will be spared the hurt of what a divorce can bring.

    I cannot answer for someone who is not in love with their mate as I do not know what would be best. Many who THINK they do not love their mate find out they are wrong when their mate is lost for good.


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