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3 ways “staying together for the kids” can be problematic

On Behalf of | Mar 5, 2024 | Divorce |

Many couples stay together for the children’s sake when facing marital difficulties. However, this can come with its own set of challenges and drawbacks. While the intention may be to provide stability and a sense of family for the children, remaining in an unhappy or unhealthy relationship can have negative consequences for everyone involved.

Understanding the potential pitfalls of staying together for the children is helpful for couples navigating difficult decisions about their relationship.

1. Unhealthy role modeling

Staying together in a dysfunctional or unhappy marriage can model unhealthy relationship dynamics for children. Witnessing constant conflict, lack of communication or emotional distress between parents can impact children’s perceptions of love, marriage and relationships. Children may internalize negative patterns of behavior. They may also carry them into their adult relationships, perpetuating the cycle of dysfunction.

2. Emotional strain on children

Living in a household with tension and discord can take a toll on children’s emotional well-being. Constant exposure to parental conflict can lead to feelings of anxiety, stress and insecurity. Children may experience confusion and frustration while navigating their parents’ strained relationship. This can lead to behavioral problems, academic difficulties and issues with self-esteem. The absence of a healthy model of love and partnership can also affect children’s ability to form and maintain healthy relationships in the future.

3. Delayed healing and growth

Staying together for the children may also delay the healing and growth that both parents need to move forward. By prolonging an unhappy marriage, couples may miss out on opportunities for personal development, self-discovery and emotional healing. Resentment and bitterness can build over time. This can hinder the ability to co-parent effectively post-divorce. Ultimately, staying together for the children may prevent both parents from finding happiness and fulfillment in their respective lives.

While the desire to prioritize the well-being of children is admirable, staying together for their sake can be problematic in the long run. Couples must consider their options and prioritize their well-being and happiness, as this contributes to a healthier and more positive environment for their kids.