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To Stay or Go?

This entry is part 11 of 12 in the series Mom Confessions

divorce“I’m my worst self when I’m around him.” It’s been a phrase that started as a fleeting thought, but has grown louder and more resounding over the past year or so. “Him” is my husband.

I’m a full-time working mom. I love my job and my colleagues, and feel like I’m in a position and job that was made for me. I love being at work, and when I’m there, I’m outgoing, friendly, and get along really well with all of my colleagues. But when I get home, and specifically when I’m around my husband, I turn into a totally different person. I’m impatient, negative, and honestly? I can be a total bitch. But, I feel, he deserves it and I can’t snap out of it.

I should back up.

We have history. Without going into too much detail, both my husband and I have messed up royally in our marriage. Me first, him second. His mess up actually caused some relief. “Oh good, we’ve both done something catastrophic to our marriage. We’re even.” I thought it would heal us, make us closer, strengthen our bond, but it’s actually done the opposite and has driven a complete wedge between us. So much so that I’ve strongly considered leaving (and often still do).

What makes me stay?

It’s complicated, but really, it boils down to three things:

  1. It’s emotional. I don’t want my three kids to grow up in a broken home.
  2. It’s vain. We’ve always been that family who looks like they have their shit together. Beautiful kids, great jobs, amazing adventures. To realize it’s a façade makes me worry about what people will think of me and of us. It’s vain, but true.
  3. It makes sense. I can’t do the job I do without my husband, who picks the kids up from school and gets them ready for bed when I have late nights. He takes the helm when I have my frequent international work trips.  Also, we can’t pay all of the bills if we’re divorced. Financially and logistically, we’re better together.

Point number one above is something I’ve researched at length. Are kids who are exposed to a loveless marriage messed up as adults seeking their own companionship? Research varies. Some says it’s better for the parents to stay together and others say it’s better to split. My personal opinion is that I really don’t know, and I struggle with it on a daily basis. We don’t fight in front of our kids, and have actually been pretty mature when it comes to the issues with which we’re dealing. For that, I’m proud. But, they definitely never see mom and dad hug or kiss, and I don’t want that to totally distort their view of love in the future. I counteract it by heaping oodles of love and hugs and kisses on them, but realize that it probably isn’t enough.

If I’m completely honest with myself, I think the romantic relationship for us is over. I feel no love for him whatsoever, and that crushes me to the core. However, I don’t foresee us doing anything official because of the kids. Is that wrong? Is that bad? Does anyone have a good marriage therapist we can see to hash everything out, and truly discover together if the relationship can persevere? I’m taking any and all thoughts. Have you contemplated splitting up? While I know every situation differs, why did you end up going through with it or not?

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  1. I grew up in a broken home. My mom cheated on my dad many times and my dad didn’t want anything to do with her anymore. There were other issues involved as well. I wanted my parents to get divorced and they eventually did. I have seen the consequences of their choices and it really didn’t turn out that well.
    I have also witnessed other family members go through similar things and they have chosen to work it out regardless of what happened in the past.
    One thing I can say is that love is a choice. We choose to love. We choose to sacrifice. We choose to be together. For whatever reason you chose to be with your husband, remember that. Love and partnership take work. I would encourage you to seek advice and council about this.
    Just because a plant is dry and weak, doesn’t mean it can not be revived and flourish.

  2. No one can really tell you to stay or go. Regardless of your choice some counseling/therapy can be extremely beneficial for both of you. I have a close friend who is such a therapist and when she was having issues in her relationship she went to see Don Huggins (775) 825-0587. I have also gone to see him with martial issues (should I stay or should I go-and yes, I am still currently married). He has years of experience in the field. I read a quote from Steve Jobs recently that really struck a cord with me….

    “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma-which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” Steve Jobs 1955-2011

    I think the situation you face is becoming more and more common in this day and age. Either choice you make will be difficult and take a lot of work. But in the long run I am sure you will be better off for taking control of your own future. Good luck!

  3. I’m so sorry to hear of your emotional turmoil! My parents divorced after 22 years of marriage. I was 16 at the time and my one single regret was not that they split, but that I didn’t have more influence over the outcome. However, they’re both far better off than had they stayed together. It was quickly apparent after the divorce, too, so I never really had any pangs of despair over things.
    I completely respect your wish not to want your children to grow up in a broken home, but many of us who did are completely fine. What I think you might want to consider more heavily is the example you’re setting for your children. What would be the advice you’d give them were they to come to you with the same circumstances years later?
    If you truly are unhappy and are wanting to make the split, yet you stay, that sets a precedent that an institution can be more important than an individual’s opportunity to live his or her best life. If you decide a split is the right thing, your children may be uncomfortable at first, but as they grow older they will realize you took steps to take care of your own happiness – and I believe they’d follow suit. Meaning, if they find themselves in a similar marriage where it just isn’t right, they’ll take the painful course of action that will get them to an ultimately happier life down the road.
    That said, it’s all your decision. I just think it’s healthy to provide an example for our children of not settling for unacceptable conditions (if that’s what your circumstance is). I have no clue if that’s helpful or not, but hope you find clarity – whatever direction – that makes you feel better about your eventual decision. Good luck!

  4. I thought these things about my husband/our marriage about 3 years ago, after we had our second child. I thought I wanted a divorce and I started to make myself believe awful things about him and our relationship. I would tally his faults, and the reasons I didn’t like him – never counting what he did right or why I loved him. I mentioned divorce several times, and he seemed apathetic about it…. which made me feel hurt.

    I ended up reading an article/blog about changing your inner monologue to remove the critic, and making a decision that this will work. Neither of us had wronged each other in any way, so we didn’t have that hurdle to cross. But once I changed my attitude and actions towards him, we became friends again. I realized I love him deeply, and showing affection led to a good marriage again.

    It sounds like there may be some forgiveness that needs to happen – starting with yourself, then with him. If you do want to make this work, try to determine how much is reality, and how much are you projecting or elaborating on. I was causing a lot of my own misery in response to a tremendous amount of stress. A counselor may help tease out done of the issues for discussion. Best of luck, no matter what you do.

  5. Don’t give up. The car might be broken but you can fix it. All marriages have hard times, some worse than others. However, when two people make a choice to work through their problems & differences their marriage goes to a deeper & more meaningful level. Anyone can get divorced and many people are quick to throw in the towel. But the strong ones who are open, honest & broken before each other heal stronger, closer & more powerful as a team. Get a therapist, start dating each other again like you did in the beginning, look for the man you fell in love with and be the woman he fell in love with. As moms we often let that role overwhelm us. I challenge you hot mama to dig deep and find that sexy fun woman he fell in love with. Praying for you two.

  6. I learned that you can’t be reasonable with an hour reasonable person. Had I understood this in the extremely dysfunctional relationship I had been in I would have made changes years before. I was ten years invested with two children. Every situation is different. You have to consider the children’s quality of life as single parents as well… child care, finances, and if you make more than he does and you have 5050 custody guess what…. you pay him support. Yep. You have no control over who he may marry and their impact… either wonderful or damaging that woman will have on your children. Ultimately they are the ones you have to consider first and foremost. Kids are resilient but need both parents in their court, and often in divorce they are placed in the middle of the mom did this, dad did that… Hurt people will hurt people. Bitterness, fear and anger will cause blindness. Divorce can cause all of these emotions, spiking irrational thinking that can takes years… or a lifetime to burn out. Choose wisely, my dear. Go to counseling. If there’s a will there’s a way. If There’s No will, There’s No Way Wither way. What do you do with an employee who is unwilling to work during his shift? You can give him/her all the tools and knowledge to succeed, but they have to want success in order to be successful. No amount of works you do will ever make him change anything about himself. You can climb the mountain 10 times, and he may criticize the boots you chose to get to the top every step of the way. This does not mean you stop climbing, but maybe it means you do it differently. You become more productive. You problem solve. This may be with or without him, depending on the consequences either way. Think of Chinese finger traps… the harder you pull the more the trap shreds, rips and damages you are stronger pushing forward together. Maybe while you’re working things out you can agree to only work through the issues in writing. In writing you see black and white. You can change the color or style of the font to highlight levels of emotion and importance. Focus on where you want to go rather than where you’ve been. Where you have been has only gotten you where you are now and it had brought little fulfillment to your lives. Good luck. This is a painful thing to go through, but you are not alone. EVERY MARRIED COUPLE THINKS ABOUT DIVORCE at one time or another. We always wonder what if. Only you truly know the truth all in all, so don’t seek advice from close friends who don’t have a clear perspective and want to protect you. Your focus is: children and husband. What are the ingredients needed to live successfully for those two dishes? When we decide we live for someone else, our perspectives can chance. Think… what can I do for myn husband today? Maybe discussing this with him will encourage him to do that for you. Try doing one thing for each other each day to make a difference for each other. Do you understand each other’s needs? If you Don’t understand each other’s needs, how could either of you possibly fulfill them? When we get lost raising kids, sometimes we forget about who the other person is.. like strangers living in the same home. What made you fall in love? Maybe you can start by writing each other a letter about that to help create a pathway of focus that derived our of happiness. Best of luck to you.

  7. Rori Raye: havetherelationshipyouwant.com
    this woman is strong like you and has us figured out. her tips are great because only YOU need to read and follow it. hubby will respond and all will be well!!!! (-:

  8. See family threrapist Dr. Lynda Ross 775-219-9015. Very practical, she will get you on track in a few sessions ?

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