couples

"Don't judge me, but... I stay with my husband for the kids."

I don’t want my children to be dragged through a divorce.

My parents broke up when I was just five-years-old. I didn’t understand why I had a sippy cup of juice at my mother’s house during the week, and why there was an identical one at my father’s apartment. I didn’t understand why I took a “holiday” with one of my parents each week. I didn’t understand why I had to constantly be in a car, moving, pulled between the two places, two peoples lives.

I didn’t understand and I didn’t like it at all.

I promised myself that I’d never let this happen to my own children. I’d find the right man and I’d know everything there is to know about him – no surprises. There wasn’t going to be a divorce because we would be a perfect fit. You don’t cheat on, lie to or hurt your perfect fit.

But sometimes people are very good at pretending they’re perfect for you.

"We were perfect together."

That was the man who became my husband. My ideal man. He was determined to achieve, aware of his responsibilities at work and in our home. He knew what I wanted, and more importantly, what I needed from a marriage. So it wasn't long before I was confessing "I do" in a white dress that fit perfectly. My perfect fit.

We had two beautiful children in the space of three years. What I saw as the perfect age gap. They'd grow up together playing with blocks and Barbies, and grow old together still making childish jokes.

But then our relationship quickly began to deteriorate.

He stopped calling me to tell me he was on his way home and sometimes, he didn't come home at all. Some of his excuses included going to see a friend, having a drink with an important client or working back late. Anywhere but with me. With our kids.

"And suddenly we were broken..."

I didn't understand until I overheard him talking to her. The 'friend', the 'important client', the woman who made him 'work back late'.

ADVERTISEMENT

Maybe not so shocking, he asked me for a divorce just weeks later.

I saw my mother's face as my own father walked out the door, and when I checked the bathroom mirror, I saw it staring back at me. Surprised, confused, worried, but most of all, understanding.

I finally understood one thing: I wasn't going to ruin the happy family image for my children.

My husband wasn't impressed when I told him to stay in our house. Our home is two-story, so I suggested he move into the top portion of the house and I'd stay in the bottom. Our kids could move between. I could hear the desperation in my voice as I pleaded for him to do this for me, it was the very least he could do.

"We both live in the same house."

I think what swayed him was our kids. The thought of possibly having them taken away from him through the Family Court system, made him reconsider. His adoring feelings towards me, so obvious only a year before, had been lost. But not the love he felt towards our little ones.

We've been living  in the same house for over five years now. We're very much separated but haven't gone through with a divorce. The kids are free to roam up and down the stairs, to see and talk to both of us. They haven't asked why their parents don't go out together, why they have separate bedrooms, separate lives. I'm not sure what I'll tell them when the time comes and their suspicions are raised.

Or what if he brings home a woman and they notice? How do I explain?

What would you do if you were in this situation?

Want more? Try these:

"I'm the perfect mother."

"Ending my fairytale marriage was the best decision I ever made."

Follow iVillage on Facebook

When you become a parent, you don't leave your brain in the delivery suite. That's why mothers with kids of all ages come to themotherish.com; because they're still interested in news about entertainment, health, current affairs and food along with an inspiring and useful stream of parenting advice and support.

Most importantly, they come because they want to hear personal stories of parenting directly from other mothers, without fear of judgement.

[iv-signup-form]

Light blue and pink butterfly illustration. You click, we help. Shooting star illustration.

Mamamia is funding 100 girls in school, every day.

So just by spending time with Mamamia, you’re helping educate girls, which is the best tool to lift them out of poverty.

Thanks for helping!

Light blue and pink butterfly illustration. Girl with pigtails sitting at desk writing in notebook. Row of four books.
Three hands holding books
00:00 / ???