So, you’ve decided that you’re no longer “a couple”, but for whatever reason, you and your spouse have decided to stay together "for the sake of the children".
Isn't that what the children need? Don’t they need the strength of a two parent household in this mad society that we live in? Don’t they need the emotional assurance that Mom AND Dad are together? Don’t they?
Or do they?
When my ex and I decided to divorce, we decided that he should probably live in the house with the children and I, for their sakes. We weren’t getting along to make things worse, as he was still doing the ‘single dude’ thing outside of the house, skulking in at all hours of the morning, making hushed calls from his cellular phone at weird hours of the night, etc.
I thought that I was doing the best thing for the children at the time. I allowed him to stay, because I didn’t want to put them through the emotional upheaval that I was sure that they would have to endure if I kicked him out.
Something happened one night that changed my opinion on that whole “staying together for the kids” thing.
We were having one of our usual “discussions” at about two in the morning. As usual, it got loud, and our eldest daughter woke up (she was ten at the time), came out of her room, and said, “Will you two stop it?! I can’t stand it anymore!” It was like a light bulb lit up in my head, and I thought to myself, “Why are we doing this? Why are we putting these children through this nonsense? They’re clearly not in the best emotional place that they could be. We’re done.” At which time, I went downstairs, and sat at the kitchen table. I thought long and hard about what I was doing. Why was I really allowing him to stay? Was it really for the kids? Or was it for me? Was it because of my fear of being ‘alone’ that I allowed my children to hear and be witnesses to things that I would prefer they not? Was it because of my fear of what kicking him out would bring on?
Whatever the reason, I had to stop thinking about whatever it was that I was afraid of, and start thinking about just what his presence in the house was doing to the emotional well-being of our children. They were miserable. He had to go, and that was that.
It’s my job as their mother, to make absolutely certain that my children are protected, emotionally, physically and spiritually while they’re under my roof. So, I stood up from that kitchen table, and walked back up those stairs. He was standing at the top of the staircase, looking straight down at me. I looked up at him and I said, “You have to go.” To which he replied, “Go? Go where? Where do you expect me to go at three in the morning?” I headed back down the stairs as I said, “I don’t care where you go, but you need to be out of this house tonight.” He gave me the usual caveman response, “Well, if you want to try to make me go, go ahead.”
Now, during the course of a relationship that isn't going so well, eventually one of the participating individuals will decide that they've about had enough. I was in that place. I'd had enough of the drama, enough of the stress. Very few things can deter a mother who is trying to protect her children. So I was prepared. Completely fed up, I let out a big sigh, and I said to him, “We can do this one of two ways. You choose. We can do this the easy way, where you get your things, and walk out the front door on your own steam in 15 minutes, or we can do this the hard way, where you give me flack, and I call someone who’ll help you be out of here in the next 5minutes, with or without your stuff. It’s your call.”
I went back downstairs and sat at the kitchen table...waiting for whatever it was that he'd decided to do.
After about five minutes, he came down the stairs, bag packed. He kissed the kids, and walked out of the front door. Our eldest daughter, closed the door behind him, and said to me as she did so, “Thank God. Now we can have some peace.“ Hearing those words coming from her mouth at three in the morning changed my thinking forever.
When you think that you’re staying together “for the kids”, think again. Whatever emotional upheaval you’re going through in your situation, they’re feeling as well. Don’t think for a second that your children don’t see it. They see and hear much more than we realize. I decided that I would much rather have my children in a loving, one parent household, than a dysfunctional, two parent household, in which the parents are constantly at odds with each other. Kids are all eyes, and ears. They take in a huge percentage of what they see and hear at home. My household is happy and healthy now. There’s no fighting. There’s no stress.
I made the right decision, I've never had a second of regret, and my children are much happier for it.
Martinis for Everyone!
Copyright 2009 Debbie Burgin All Rights Reserved.