The most hurtful question through my entire divorce was from a family member who asked: “How can you be so selfish and not think of your child?”
Where on earth does this accusation come from? How could someone just automatically conclude that because the decision to divorce was made that the children weren’t considered? There comes a point in the end of marriage where you begin to question if your misery is all in your head and if you could possibly somehow learn to live with the hurt for the sake of your children. You begin to question if you could possibly just “stay together for the sake of the children.” Many couples decide this is best for their family and for some it is the temporary crutch they needed to pull themselves through a tough situation and end up with a happy marriage. I discovered that several studies showed a peak in divorce once the children leave the home. I knew I didn’t want to just “survive” and “endure” a marriage for decades just to have it all end. Meanwhile what would my life depict for my children on how marriages should be? My most grueling and agonizing decision came from guessing if my spouse would change enough to become the Father figure my daughter would need. But how long should I wait for him? If I waited too long would the damage be greater than if we separated earlier? What an impossible decision to try to make. Especially when the results depend greatly on someone else’s decisions. Factor in that the entire time I’m waiting for him to become a family man I couldn’t never guarantee he would become, I was suffering from anxiety and crying all the time. Is this the mother figure I wanted to be for my little girl? Am I going to show her that this is ok and that this is the way being a wife is going to be? If I was going to be working, going to school and be a parent anyway I might as well do it on my own without the added stress of an unacceptable and hurtful relationship. After all, how hard is being a single mother really? Women do it all the time right? (That shocking and eye-opening experience is a story for another time.)
Eventually I concluded that my daughter would need at least one parent who was a strong and stable role model rather than watch both parent deteriorate each other as a proper depiction of marriage. Later my former spouse agreed that if I had not left, he never would have been motivated to make changes that he needed to make. Regardless if such an affirmation of the decision to divorce is ever received, I can absolutely promise that anyone with any decency of moral character who faces this decision will surely think of the best interest of their children!