The other day my 13-year-old daughter gave me one of the greatest gifts I could have asked for. We were talking about one of her friends who’s been exhibiting some extremely inappropriate behaviours.
I suggested that it might be because she’s simply trying to get some attention and affection. My daughter agreed and explained that her friend has been pretty upset because of the stress at home.
“Her parents hate each other and the tension is terrible,” my daughter explained.
And then she said the words that will ring in my ears forever. “Mum, I would have hated living with that kind of stress. I’m so glad you decided to get a divorce.”
There’s probably not a parent among us who doesn’t wonder if our divorce has screwed up our kids forever. But in my heart I knew that staying in an unhealthy and dysfunctional relationship was absolutely the wrong thing to do.
Admittedly there are various scenarios and sometimes, like when there’s physical abuse, it’s easier to make the choice. But in a great many circumstances it’s not as clear-cut for a woman. Perhaps your spouse has an addiction problem, is emotionally or verbally abusive or he’s a narcissist or you’ve simply fallen out of love.
Women will put up with a great deal and sacrifice their own happiness because they don’t want to “break up the family.” Here’s a news flash:
The family is already broken!
Talk to any adult whose parents were miserable but stayed together and I doubt you’ll find one that is happy about that decision. Not one will say “Hey, my father had affairs and my mum was always crying but gosh it was great we were all under the same roof!”