Choosing to stay in a dysfunctional marriage for the sake of the children is wrong on too many levels.
First, you use your innocent kids as an excuse not to take the first step because you fear you might make a mistake. Second, you give up on yourself because you are too lazy to regain control and start working on rebuilding your happiness. Moreover, you teach your children that hiding their emotions is normal, slowly turning them into unhappy adults who have no clue what a flourishing relationship is.
Still, even if this counts as common knowledge, far too many troubled couples tell themselves they must stay together “for the kids.” But have you ever considered how much these children suffer from growing up with parents who don’t love each other?
Here are 4 crucial reasons why staying in an unhappy marriage “for the kids” is the worst idea ever:
1. Your children will grow up with the idea that all marriages are unhappy.
Some parents don’t realize the extent of the influence their behavior has upon their kids. Children learn how to carry themselves in this world thanks to the parental figures in their lives. If you and your spouse have fallen out of love and behave distant and cold when you interact with one another, the little ones will hold on to the perception that all marriages are miserable.
2. You will be living in fear.
One of the reasons people choose to stay in dysfunctional marriages is because they fear the unknown. Getting divorced might lead to moving out, drastically changing your lifestyle, or even having much less time for your children. So, as people tend to create negative scenarios inside of their heads, you become obsessed with the idea that if you leave your partner, you might lose too much. However, the negative thoughts in our minds are usually much more frightening than reality itself.
3. Your children will feel your heartache.
History knows of hundreds of thousands of stories of children struggling with finding happiness because they are being raised by unhappy parents. No matter how much you try to hide your emotions, your kids will always sense the pain you are really experiencing. And as they do, they might copy your behavior and start hiding their own emotions. Instead of being truly happy, they will fake being joyful, while on the inside, they will feel even more miserable than you.
4. Your kids won’t be motivated to seek contentment.
Since children are incredibly perceptive, they usually adopt many of their parents’ habits. Oftentimes they even model their whole personalities. The environment they grow up in deeply affects their lives as adults. Having this in mind, if your marriage feels unfulfilled, your kids might develop the understanding this goes for all marriages, including their own. Is this the life you want for them?
You could choose to stay in your unhappy marriage, telling yourself you are doing it “for the kids.” But you can also decide to seek happiness and end your dysfunctional relationship with your spouse, showing your children how important it is to seek fulfillment and aspire to be with someone who makes them happy, even if this someone is themselves.
You could overcome your fear of the unknown and show your children how to be courageous and determined. You could teach them how to be independent and inspire them to never give up on their dreams.
But you won’t be able to do it if you give up on yourself and choose to stay with someone who doesn’t bring value to your life anymore.