When I wrote the Yahoo! article, Why My Divorce was the Best Thing for My Kids, I expected there would be varying feedback. I am not afraid to say it aloud: my divorce was positive! When I got married I did not expect it would end in divorce. I hoped it would last and be something that I would enjoy throughout the rest of my life. When I saw that my dreams were not going to turn into reality, I made the decision to end my marriage. That was not an easy decision to make; however, the results in the lives of my and my children have been more positive than I imagined and I am proud to say that I made the right decision for me and my family.
Why My Divorce Was Positive For My Kids…
#1 – Because I am happy. When I was married to my first husband I became the epitome of unhappiness. My depression became a virus that passed through the household like a common cold. Before I knew it, we were both bitter and unappreciative. Spending more time yelling and wishing each other away with nothing but anger fueling our every interaction. As I mentioned in the article, my son was the first one to notice how happy I was after the divorce (he was just 7 at the time). I have talked to couples who stay together for the children’s sake and my advice to them is don’t! Your kids can sense every emotion and they can feel what is going on whether you tell them or not. If you are not able to create happiness in your marriage, there is no amount of ‘staying for the kid’s sake’ that is actually going to spare them any pain.
#2 – Because kids quickly bounce back.There is no doubt in my mind that sooner or later my marriage was going to reach its end. We tried –twice– to make it work and it just wasn’t meant to be. Ending things while the kids were 7 and 1 was far better than if they had been older. My oldest son only has distant memories of us all being under one roof and my daughter doesn’t remember it at all. In today’s world, unconventional households are becoming more commonplace. So, they are not so different from many of the other kids they know who live with a similar situation. Also, unless you force them to, kids don’t dwell on things. They try to understand, they take in what you say, and then they move on. Unless it’s brought up, my kids never mention the divorce, and they never have. From day one they bounced back, found the excitement in life (i.e. a new bedroom), and kept moving forward.
#3 – Because they became the priority. When struggling to deal with the marital situation, the kids were not our priority the way they should have been. Sure, we fed them and made sure they had clothes, went to school, etc. But at the end of the day we were more concerned with proving the other person wrong, getting our way, and finding personal happiness in a somewhat miserable situation that we temporarily lost sight of the most important thing: the kids always come first. One evening my son had come to me wanting me to play a game with him. I told him to wait a while, that I just wanted to go in my room, and then I would play with him (when really I just wanted to escape for a few and not argue with his father). He said to me “all you ever want to do is go in your room.” That was the first moment when I realized something had to change.
Please don’t get me wrong — I am NOT advocating for divorce. I believe in marriage (as shown in my two failed attempts) and I still hope that one day I will find the man who is right for me. The person who will share my goals, interests, and values among other things. There are fundamental qualities that are necessary to make a marriage work and mine just didn’t have them. Of course, this is not exactly a shocking revelation when you get married at the age of 17; barely knowing yourself, let alone what you bring to the table when paired with someone else. Not saying that it can’t work, but it just didn’t work for me. Recognizing this, and moving on – not trying to stick it out for the kid’s sake – was the most positive results for my kids.