After the Fighting Stops the Kids are All Right! (case study)
Key Points
  • Do not fool yourself, your children, know you are staying together for them. This is a great deal of pressure; maybe they want you to stay together, but it is healthier to make sure everyone is happy.
  • Come to a loving agreement about your marriage, and if that means separation, or divorce, then know you are loving yourself, your spouse, and your children enough to be concerned about everyone’s happiness.
  • Growing apart is not a crime, or a mistake, sometimes people grow to want different things out of live. This also does not mean the marriage needs to continue. Once the fighting stops, the kids can heal and be happy.

After 16 years of marriage, Kara and Rick found it! Marital bliss? No, marital courage. After years of silence between them, they agreed to separate. Those years of feeling lonely if not alone, with the one they used to truly love, took its toll. But Kara and Rick finally stopped living a lie and playing a game. No more years of love-making that had been reduced to stress-relieving mechanical sex. They would be open to new relationships.

During those 16 years, five girls had been born to Kara and Rick. They had their share of fights and felt the tension taking the life out of their family. The children knew that mom and dad were hanging on only because of them. Then a funny thing happened: Mom and dad ended it all in such a civil way, and now their daughters are happy again!

Kara and Rick had been through hard times together. They had married young and grown apart. They’d fought fiercely and produced five beautiful but nail-biting nervous children. They finally sat down one day and talked for what turned out to be the most important two hours of their marital life. No pawns, no prisoners, no execution; instead, they had a civil, loving discussion and came to some agreements.

Rick would leave and live with a friend, sell the family business, take a new job offer, get the family out of debt. He would pay support for his daughters and enough for Kara to get by while she went back to school. Kara would take those two courses she had been lacking and get back into her profession. Her mom would watch the children half a day, with a sitter in the afternoons. They would tell all their friends that they were both happier and neither one was the bad person. They would get involved with another partner as nature took its course. Their divorce would be simple and fair. There was no hate, just growth in separate directions. The dreams they had shared at 19 no longer held true. Both of them had new dreams.

Well isn’t that special, but what about the kids? Don’t worry. They’re happy. Happy because the fighting had stopped. Happy because the shouting was over. Thrilled to have both mom and dad in their lives. Dad still takes them to movies, mom still heads up field trips. Each child has her own little niche with mom and her special place with dad. They see both their parents nearly as often as they had. Now when they see them, they are all smiles.

Kara and Rick were honest and civil. They love their children. It shows. Their children are all happier than any of them have been in the past seven years. The issues that split their parents still remain, but mom and dad are resolving them.

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