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Should I Stay Married For My Children’s Sake?

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Good day Phoenix Men, I know this may seem like a silly question but is it wrong to stay married and together just for the sake of the children? I am in such a mess right now, I don’t know what to do? Nine months ago, I left my wife after she told me she did not love me any more.

I lost all my self respect and begged her to take me back, which she eventually did.We went to counseling to try and get things back to some kind of normality, and for a while things seemed to be much better between us.

The other night for no apparent reason she started an argument and all the things I wish I’d said to her over the years came out, and my words were not nice. This time I have refused to move out of the family home, as I simply can not afford to move elsewhere.

My dilemma is that when I think of us divorcing, I think of the children and it’s breaking my heart. I love my wife still even though yet again she tells me she does not love me. I want things to be great again, if not for me, then for my children’s sake.

Am I doing the right thing by wishing and praying for a successful outcome? When deep down I know it’s all over?

Sorry for being so confused and rambling on, but I have a problem with bottling things up and everything has gone too far now. One minute my mind is made up, then the next I am almost suicidal, although I know I would never do anything stupid to harm myself as I know I need to be here for my children.

Just sitting here wishing and praying for things to be normal is sending me crazy and my emotions are all over the place, I am constantly up and down and nothing makes sense anymore! Anyway, thanks for hearing me out and allowing me to get things off my chest. If you can offer any words of wisdom please do, thank you in advance, Eric


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12 thoughts on “Should I Stay Married For My Children’s Sake?”

  1. Eric, I was where you are now. I don’t know the perfect answer for you but: I was living a life which I hated. I spent all my time working to keep away from my ex and therefore saw little of the children. I left because I couldn’t take it anymore, felt suicidal and went back a couple of times because of the children, but realised each time that the whole marriage was wrong and my ex didn’t care. So I left and slowly realised what a crock of shite the last 20 years had been. I now see the children (not as much as I would like) and have been brought close to suicide over being prevented from seeing them many times in the last 3 years. I am now happier than I have ever been in my life and wish I had left her years ago. That happiness rubs off on the children who love to be with me and are happy with me. I do feel broken hearted for making them children of a broken marriage, but selfishly I am better off.

    Sounds awful doesn’t it. I know someone who stayed because of the children and left when they were older and left home. he regrets the wasted life he had and wishes he had gone years before. He now lives in a caravan because he is too old to work and he has nothing. He fell out with one of his children and sees the other once a year. I am not trying to influence you either way, and the best option is to make things work with your wife. If you can do that and can be happy then you are a winner. Anything else is a bad option, certainly for a while. You sound as if you are an emotional type, like me, and the whole process has almost killed me, and although like you I never seriously thought I would do it, I nearly did. I would say to my wife, STOP. WE MUST FIX THIS AND WILL FIX THIS. THE ALTERNATIVE IS TOO BAD TO CONTEMPLATE. Good luck

  2. Thanks for the reply so quickly & what you have said really makes sense, & to be honest I think it will have to come to that eventually, but I just can’t get the picture of my two babies being devastated over the split of their parents it really does kill me just thinking about it. God I’m confused. Thanks anyway & it has cheered me up knowing someone has got through it & for the better as well. Oh bloody hell I just want to scream. Take care Eric

  3. Eric, I feel for you ‘cos I too had those feelings. My first 4 months separated were sheer hell in which she manipulated and toyed with my mind. Despite everything I felt I needed her, i wanted her, I wanted my children to have a proper father, I wanted to be near them and put them to bed. I asked to go back on several occasions, begging and pleading. She is the one that is always saying no. Now I am entering my fifth month, I am starting to see her for the person she really is. She is a Jekyll & Hyde character who will use me as an emotional crutch when SHE needs it but I am mentally insane whenever I show emotion and want a shoulder to cry on example, right at the start of separation, i sobbed uncontrollably and she said “pull yourself together”. A month ago, she sobbed uncontrollably and asked me for a cuddle, I gave her a cuddle. Next day, it was back to her normal Ice queen state. She will be nice one minute and then when she doesn’t get what she wants, turns vindictive and nasty, telling everybody that I must be such a basta*d.

    Now my feelings are starting to turn to hate for both me and her. Me for not having enough self esteem & respect for seeing what she has been doing & for her because of what she has been doing. I no longer want to go back but miss my children terribly. I do not feel love for this monster of a wife but feel love for two innocent children. What I am trying to say is, yes for a while its going to hurt but you will slowly come to terms with it. As a measure of how hurt I got – nearly lost my job, drinking too much, suicidal on occasions and gave into all her demands. Now I feel stronger, perhaps I wont give in to her demands so much and not get so hurt. Take care Eric and whatever your decision, hope it works out for you. Paul

  4. Eric – You don’t say too much about what is wrong between you and your wife, but you do say it is you that still loves her, and she is the one that does not love you. This suggests to me that you are not getting something from her which you need, otherwise why is it you that is wanting to call a halt. Can you think a bit about what this might be? To answer your question – no its is not sensible just wishing and praying for things to be normal, you will need to so something to bring about change, and you will need huge patience while that comes about. I take it that there are no 3rd party complications and this is a case of a marriage that has dried up? – I am going through the same thing, and we are currently working at reconciliation, but its hard, and like I said you need lots of patience and the pace of change/improvement is glacially slow. Maybe you just had a temporary lapse of patience?

    If you have said unjustifiable things in the heat of the moment apologise for them, and ask your wife to help you work out a way forward. There are a couple of books that you should read, and which may help you, together, to re-kindle your marriage, they not only may give you insight into your emotions, but also give practical day to day things that you both can do to improve your relationship: 1. Michelle Weiner-Davis’s book “Divorce Busting” (horrible title but significant, intelligent, practical advice for creating a new relationship with the same partner) 2. Dr. John Gottman’s ‘The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work’ – This one is perhaps the best for on-going development of a relationship.

    Eric – your marriage does not have to be over unless you (or your wife) *chooses* for it to be so. Your children are young, and even if you separate, you and your wife will be tied forever as parents, and maybe one day as grandparents. You got blown of your reconciliation course. Pick yourself up, dust yourself down and get back on it. The alternative is simply too awful. Best of luck Danny

  5. Eric, if you love your wife then you owe it yourself and your children to battle on and try and get over whatever problems there are. Easy option is to walk away and give up without trying. Keep posting.

  6. I do love my wife but its been all one way now for a year now. I suppose she has been honest with me & I know in the past I have took her for granted, which I have apologized for but there seems no reasoning with her. Even now all I can picture is the faces of my babies. I must be weak & not able to just move on, as I’m sure now more than ever it is all over. She is really messing with my head. I’m sure & she promises me there is not anyone else & is there neither with me, she just doesn’t love me anymore. Thanks for all the different advice I really appreciate you all taking time & posting your messages. Here to another sleepless night.

  7. Eric, I have a better relationship with my children now than I did 3 years ago. But I am played with by my ex and she allows what she knows is just not enough to make me happy. She is spiteful vindictive and a nasty piece of work, and as the guys say hate can very quickly manifest itself and then you won’t care about her anymore. The worst thing for me was the thought of someone else replacing me in the children’s eyes, which hasn’t happened yet, but when/if it does I think I am not so concerned about it now. The children love me, I love them and nobody can break that. It is the fear of the unknown that prevents you from moving in the right direction. This manipulation that she does is going to last for years as the youngest is only 5, but rather that than living the life I used to live.

  8. My wife is doing the same she is playing with me, even though she tells me she is not. The thought of being replaced is also doing my head in. My relationship with the children is wonderful at the moment & I am worried sick things just won’t be the same anymore. I can’t talk to anyone & this board is helping me get things off my chest. I don’t know if I should just tell her to shove it & sometimes I wish I would, but this picture of my kids being devastated just keeps popping back up. Oh what to do? Thanks everyone I’ll post again.

  9. Eric – Whoa! steady on! – is it your wife that’s playing with your head, or is it you? Has she done anything overtly to trigger this latest crisis? Or is it that you became out of patience with what you saw as a lack of response from her?

    Take time out and think VERY VERY carefully, before you worry yourself into a corner from which the only way out is divorce. If your wife is treating you in anyway like some of the guys have mentioned here then I am really sorry for you, there is nothing more for you to do. But you do not suggest that in your posts. You HAVE been able to improve things since Relate, what blew that improvement away? – could you get back to that state at least? Sit down with your wife and ask her calmly if she is willing to try as well – but don’t expect to just take up where you left off, you guys would be starting from zero.

    I had a similar desire to tell mine to shove it and by some happy fluke I didn’t – and I’m thankful for it. Eric you are clearly in a highly emotional state right now, and this is not the proper frame of mind in which to make decisions that will fundamentally affect four other lives. Do not do anything until you can calm down and see things more clearly. Our counsellor posed an interesting question to us last time in which we were challenged to think “What do you each get from this relationship, and what do you bring to it?” Maybe if you and your wife can still talk that would be a good one to discuss. I am glad, however, that you do have your children’s interest so much in your thoughts – don’t ever change that… Danny

  10. Eric, Somebody here said it was harder for men to make the adjustment to single life than most women as they need constant reassurance that their partner loves them & wants them. Men need the security and the comfort blanket of belonging. I believe this is true. This was the first thing I missed when i left (although now I can see, it was mere words). Oh, BTW, this is no sleight upon women – the original suggestion was made by a person of the intuitive sex. I left because, I, like you, had hit that crisis point – doubting myself and doubting my relationship – 1 week later she hit me with divorce. From there on, it was mind game after mind game in an attempt to get what she wants. Up until now, I just wanted that second chance to make things better and prove I can be a better person. I now know that no matter what I do, she doesn’t want me back – she’ll take the money and the kids OK but me? No, not in a million years – it is all over for me. You are having your second chance and it appears that things have gone back to square one. You mentioned you bottle things up in your first post – this was predominantly what went wrong with my relationship, the ability to communicate was lost over the years.

    Hurt & resentment built up until finally exploded. How about you take your wife out for a meal and talked in a neutral place? Explain how you feel & ask her how she feels. Talk honestly & openly but be prepared for a negative response and be pleasantly surprised if it is a positive one. The one question I would ask you is do YOU want this relationship to work? If so, you need to pick yourself up off the floor and fight for it. Make every effort to open the communication channels…..swallow some bitter pride & turn yourself around. The alternative is that you loose SO much including contact. With all this said & done, I can only think of one scenario where a second try will work and that is where BOTH partners change & want to give it a second try and this is a tall order. What i mean by this is that people don’t split up for no reason… she may be divorcing you and will name your faults (or vice versa) BUT I bet that the majority of faults had a cause like in my case – lack of communication, not spending enough time together (really together without kids), her patronizing attitude etc.

    You both need to get things off your chest and both need to agree where you go from there (to coin a phrase – for better or for worse). If one of you says – I want you change – and that person makes all the changes, there will always be resentment because you did not have a chance to state what you feel about her and ask her to make the changes as well. I tried with my wife but it is still all me, I am the one who has to change & adapt and I resent that. Basis of all marriages is give and take, compromise where necessary & listen. When you stop listening, compromise & give/take goes out of the window. You wind up shouting and arguing. Example, up & coming Divorce – she hiked up mortgage to pay off all debts & to buy herself a new car. Me, I am stuck with crippling debts, holes in my shoes, clothes that look like rags and on occasions can barely afford to eat (and I am not joking, I have one pair of shoes and walk four miles each day, I get soaked when it rains and it ruins my clothes).

    I spoke to her about this and asked for compassion, her response, when am i going to get child maintenance ?…..this was the day before her increased mortgage came thru’ and after 5 months of me paying mortgage & rent well over the odds of child maintenance (also signed across the house to enable her to live a lifestyle where she does not struggle to that extent). It was after that sad conversation that I suddenly realised, she will never change… for me to do now what I must do IE fight for my rights, my love must now turn to hate to give me the strength to tear her apart if necessary. There is no ounce of compassion within her soul and she is a supposed born again christian. This makes me sad but if I don’t she will walk all over me like she has done already. After this, there is no way I will be getting a second chance. Sorry for the long lecture but as Danny says, you need to think this over very carefully. Are you really sure you want to put yourself through this before you do everything possible to save your marriage? We are here to support you and give you advice no matter what your decision is. Phoenixmen has been a lifeline to many (including me). Take care & repost.

  11. Well here we go & before I start ( this might be long ) Thanks to one & all for the support & advice. The wife & I talked yesterday & it was decided I would move out, as although I decided I could not afford it , it was in the best interests of the children. So looking on the internet for a place (room) to rent, the wife is most shocked at the fact that I would not be able to afford a two bedroom house ( yes House ) in a nice part of town for £550 a month, she then breaks down telling me this is not what she wants me to do, & praise the Lord, I can’t believe my luck we end up talking, yes talking, about how things might just be OK.

    Sleep great!!! Then this morning I’m told we will have to give it a couple of weeks & see how it goes. Is this good or bad, is she just covering the bases? Who f**king well knows cause I don’t. She hasn’t lied to me, she just doesn’t love me the way she did before this all kicked off. I’m so confused I’ve just had a great day with my babies having great fun. So what now? This is a lot briefer than it could of been & I could of rambled on & on. Oh what to do? She doesn’t love me & she says she probably never will, but as I said if we plod along together from now until the end the babies will be unaware of any problems, because as now & always they have come first, But what of my own happiness? Un-loved & miserable, or hopefully happier & two f**ked up children for the rest of their poor lives? Thanks

  12. Eric – this seems spooky but just tonight I think I gained some insight that may be helpful. I had been getting wound up about what it was that was wrong and needed to change in our relationship and was getting nowhere trying to talk it out with my wife. I gave her a bunch of flowers when I got in from work, and we just went out for a meal and chit-chatted away, and hey presto – the atmosphere is hugely better! We still haven’t touched on the “big relationship” questions, but I’m beginning to wonder if that will ever be possible – I think my wife simply does not “do” relationship talk.

    So I’m beginning to wonder if it is even necessary to try… – maybe if we just jog along for a while, doing the light ‘n easy fun things what ever it was that was suddenly magically wrong ( = “I don’t love you any more”) will equally magically and suddenly be right. None of this sh1t makes any sense. But “give it a few weeks and see how it goes” is as much sense as anything else is making. Ignore her “I don’t … and never will…”, she does not *know* that, she’s only saying it. Focus on enjoying the days and live in the present – You may even begin to feel happy and even loved. I think I shall try this a bit as well – but I’m going to cheat and read the Gottman and Weiner-Davies books again and try a few more of their moves on her without her knowing.. it worked this time maybe it’ll work again!! Move over Machiavelli – Mars and Venus are at war! Danny


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