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Divorce

Divorce  

430 members have voted

  1. 1. Are your parents divorced?

    • Yes
      159
    • No
      254
    • Other - please explain.
      17


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I don't actually get what the big deal is with divorce. But, I don't get what the big deal is with marriage. I got married because it was important to DH, but my feelings for him and my commitment to our family was the same before we got married as after.

 

But, then again, DH was the first person I ever was friends with whose parents were still married. Growing up I have literally NEVER had a friend whose parents were still married. Were they married to other people? Maybe. But I've never had a friend whose parents lived together.  Starting in late elementary school through high school, all the kids I knew went through divorce. And sometimes it wasn't even the first time. 

 

Now I know a few other people aside from DH, but it is still the minority.

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There is a long history of divorce in my family.

 

I have found at least one divorce in my:

 

parents' generation

 

grandparents' generation

 

great-grandparents' generation

 

great-great grandparents' generation

 

 

 

:(

 

Same here. It was kind of depressing tracing my family tree.

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My parents married each other, had my sister, divorced, remarried, had me, then divorced again when I was two.

 

My dad remarried (not to my mom this time) when I was 6, and my mom remarried when I was 11. Both of them married someone 13 years younger. Both are now divorced again. They taught me how to make a marriage succeed--pretty much just do the opposite of everything they've done.

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I don't actually get what the big deal is with divorce. But, I don't get what the big deal is with marriage. I got married because it was important to DH, but my feelings for him and my commitment to our family was the same before we got married as after.

 

But, then again, DH was the first person I ever was friends with whose parents were still married. Growing up I have literally NEVER had a friend whose parents were still married. Were they married to other people? Maybe. But I've never had a friend whose parents lived together. Starting in late elementary school through high school, all the kids I knew went through divorce. And sometimes it wasn't even the first time.

 

Now I know a few other people aside from DH, but it is still the minority.

For me, the big deal had to do with my dad essentially divorcing himself from our family, and not just his marriage. Maybe for other people who are more emotionally mature, they can make it just about the spouses. But I think most of the time there's no way the kids don't suffer when parents divorce.

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Same here. It was kind of depressing tracing my family tree.

 

Why? It's just divorce.  Is it the divorce that bothers you? I would be sad if I knew there was a lot of substance abuse or untreated mental illness or domestic violence. That is sad. But why is the divorce part sad?

 

I would feel just as sad if there were a lot of unhappy marriages, of people treating each other horribly, or unable to leave a bad situation. 

 

But just the presence of divorce? That wouldn't bother me at all.  For all I know my family tree could be rife with it. I have no way of knowing. I don't have that much information about my family over generations. I have minimal information from my mom's side and zero information on my father's side.

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I was just wondering how prevalent divorce might be for us adults. Are your parents divorced? Mine divorced when I was 6 years old.

 

Maybe I should have phrased it Did your parents divorce, to cover the fact that maybe one of your parents is widowed, which is not my question.

 

 

No divorce for my parents or my dh's parents. 

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Why? It's just divorce. Is it the divorce that bothers you? I would be sad if I knew there was a lot of substance abuse or untreated mental illness or domestic violence. That is sad. But why is the divorce part sad?

 

I would feel just as sad if there were a lot of unhappy marriages, of people treating each other horribly, or unable to leave a bad situation.

 

But just the presence of divorce? That wouldn't bother me at all. For all I know my family tree could be rife with it. I have no way of knowing. I don't have that much information about my family over generations. I have minimal information from my mom's side and zero information on my father's side.

Divorce causes fractured families. Kids living in two different houses or not seeing one parent at all. Long term lack of cooperation and cohesion......kids events and wedding and births.....all have to be managed with a destroyed FOO. I don't know how you can see it isn't a big deal.

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Divorce causes fractured families. Kids living in two different houses or not seeing one parent at all. Long term lack of cooperation and cohesion......kids events and wedding and births.....all have to be managed with a destroyed FOO. I don't know how you can see it isn't a big deal.

 

Fractured? Destroyed? Maybe it can also be ok?  My life was a lot better once my parents divorced. I now have several friends who have had 100% amicable divorces with nothing 'destroyed'.  No trauma. Nice birthdays and getting together for holidays.

 

And living in a home that is a battle zone, hot or cold, aint no walk in the park either. I mean, I have a friend who has been married over 20 years, and as near as I can tell, she and her husband hate each other. It's a quiet hate, but it's there. I can't imagine that is great for her kids. I wish they would just pull the bandaid off and get it over with. But, her church won't allow it and that's that.

 

It seems to me that there can be happy people and sad people in divorced families and in non-divorced families. But simply having divorce in a family isn't a reason for shame or sadness

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My parents divorced after 35 years of marriage. They are both with amazing people now; it is wonderful to see them happy again.

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Fractured? Destroyed? Maybe it can also be ok? My life was a lot better once my parents divorced. I now have several friends who have had 100% amicable divorces with nothing 'destroyed'. No trauma. Nice birthdays and getting together for holidays.

 

And living in a home that is a battle zone, hot or cold, aint no walk in the park either. I mean, I have a friend who has been married over 20 years, and as near as I can tell, she and her husband hate each other. It's a quiet hate, but it's there. I can't imagine that is great for her kids. I wish they would just pull the bandaid off and get it over with. But, her church won't allow it and that's that.

 

It seems to me that there can be happy people and sad people in divorced families and in non-divorced families. But simply having divorce in a family isn't a reason for shame or sadness

Yes sometimes divorce is the better of two bad choices. I have never seen it be great.

 

I am not ashamed of my divorce. But there is sadness especially for our son. And my Xh and I get along very well now.

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Both sets of my grandparents had long marriages that lasted until one spouse died. My dh's grandparents also had marriages that lasted until the spouse died. One of his grandmas died young when his grandpa had small children still. He married a second time and that lasted until she died too. Both our parents are still married. I have lots of aunts and uncles and none of them divorced. Actually one did but it was a brief marriage that had no childen. The divorce was amicable and she stayed married to her second husband a long time. One did get separated but they ended up getting back together and staying married. My husband has one aunt who got divorced but the rest stay married.

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It's complicated. I don't think my mom was ever married to my dad, but she says they were. I doubt it though. They really never had a "marriage"...it was weird. My theory? We were the other "family", the ones he had to keep hidden. Years later my mom dated someone, for a long time (easily 8-10 years?), but he also left her :(. Dh's parents are together. Dh comes from a healthy home environment, I don't. It's just complicated.

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My parents are divorced, the first couple I knew of to be.

One remarried quickly to someone I disliked, and then that marriage died a long and miserable death when I was in my teens, adding to the difficulty of having relationships with my half-siblings (besides a large age gap).

The other waited until the same year I got married to remarry, and divorced amicably a couple of years later.

Both are living happily with long-term mates now, with no apparent intent to marry.

 

My grandparents on both sides stayed married. I have one divorced aunt and three who have been married for many decades. My siblings have not yet married.

DH's parents are still married.

 

Just because a marriage is miserable doesn't mean divorce would be better; just because the divorce was miserable doesn't mean staying together would've been better. Some people are not suited to marriage, and many people are not mature enough to do divorce well--it's not surprising that they'd be a lot of the same people.

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My parents have been married 40 years. My ILs have been married a little longer than that. None of them have ever been divorced (and all of them got married pretty young -- I think my parents were 20 and 23, my ILs 21 and 24). None of their parents were divorced either. My grandparents were married 65 years and were an adorable couple until my grandmother died unexpectedly.

 

Growing up, I didn't know very many kids whose parents were divorced, but I know several people of my generation who are. I think it's more prevalent now. I have some theories as to why, but I don't really know, of course.

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Growing up, I didn't know very many kids whose parents were divorced, but I know several people of my generation who are. I think it's more prevalent now. I have some theories as to why, but I don't really know, of course.

 

And for me, this is the opposite.  I remember as a child feeling like my parents were the only ones that were still married (and they did get divorced when I was 19, but it wasn't after a long, awful marriage or anything; it was somewhat out of the blue; in hindsight, there were signs, but it didn't feel like everyone could see it coming).

 

But of my friends?  I know very few divorces.  My brother is divorced and remarried.  I have one friend that separated because of untreated (and unwilling to treat) mental illness.  He subsequently committed suicide, so she is technically widowed, not divorced.  I have another friend that had a short marriage at 19 that was abusive; she has been remarried for 20 years.  Very unusual to get divorced amongst people  I know (late 30s-40s).  

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No.  My mother died at 49 though.  My parents were married for 30 years.

 

 

Same.

 

Most of my friends parents did not divorce either.  My brother is 4 years younger and most of his friends parents were divorced.

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Why? It's just divorce.  Is it the divorce that bothers you? I would be sad if I knew there was a lot of substance abuse or untreated mental illness or domestic violence. That is sad. But why is the divorce part sad?

 

I would feel just as sad if there were a lot of unhappy marriages, of people treating each other horribly, or unable to leave a bad situation. 

 

But just the presence of divorce? That wouldn't bother me at all.  For all I know my family tree could be rife with it. I have no way of knowing. I don't have that much information about my family over generations. I have minimal information from my mom's side and zero information on my father's side.

 

In my family's case there was substance abuse and domestic violence, and I wouldn't doubt some mental illness, also. But that's not why it makes me sad. 

 

Perhaps there are families that can divorce and things improve, but that has not been the case in any divorce I've seen. Divorce fractures families. In my family, from what I know (I don't know the particulars of my great grandparents or my great-greats) it has meant the loss of father's and poverty for the mothers and children. It's been the loss of extended family and continued friction in relationships. 

 

It has also meant that the next generations have not seen what healthy relationships are supposed to look like. They have not learned how people work through conflict or compromise. Instead when things get difficult, they just leave.

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It has also meant that the next generations have not seen what healthy relationships are supposed to look like. They have not learned how people work through conflict or compromise. Instead when things get difficult, they just leave.

I wish it were this simple. In my case my family is fracturing and coming apart at the seams causing all of us to be in therapy BECAUSE they stay together, and our lives are exponentially worse due to their continued marriage.

 

My parents have no damn idea how lucky they are that my sibs and I have been committed to seeing this through to dad's death - he's in his last six months now. If it were to go on longer than that, I think we would abandon them in order to save our own marriages and families.

 

We all have different experiences. In my case, the greatest gift my mother could give her kids right now is to get the heck out.

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In my family's case there was substance abuse and domestic violence, and I wouldn't doubt some mental illness, also. But that's not why it makes me sad. 

 

Perhaps there are families that can divorce and things improve, but that has not been the case in any divorce I've seen. Divorce fractures families. In my family, from what I know (I don't know the particulars of my great grandparents or my great-greats) it has meant the loss of father's and poverty for the mothers and children. It's been the loss of extended family and continued friction in relationships. 

 

It has also meant that the next generations have not seen what healthy relationships are supposed to look like. They have not learned how people work through conflict or compromise. Instead when things get difficult, they just leave.

 

You don't work through or compromise with substance abuse or domestic violence. One party either stops their behavior and, in the case of domestic violence, completely changes their mindset in regards to power and control, or the other party leaves. You can't compromise with those. The 'working through' is a one sided issue. I have seen couples weather one partner getting sober. It is often one person telling the other to get sober or get out. Sometimes the addicted partner is able to make the change, sometimes their addiction is stronger than their marriage. But I don't see that as a failure of compromise or an unwillingness to worth through conflict.

 

So, I don't see divorce as a negative in those situations. I'd rather my kids not have a father than live with an abusive one.

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My parents are not divorced; neither are my former in-laws. They've have been married 43 and 40 years, respectively.

 

My grandmother is divorced, but it was a wartime marriage and her (American) soldier-husband abandoned her when his unit left the country. She re-married a local and was married ~ 40 years before my grandfather passed away. She's been single/widowed for about 35 years. She had three sisters who experienced similar wartime marriage and abandonment; two re-married locals and had long-term marriages, but the third never re-married. These are the only divorces in that generation, both sides of family.

 

Of my grandmother's children, only one is sort of divorced. It was another marriage to an American soldier who was in-country at the time. He took her to the States and they divorced after five years because he developed a drug habit that fueled his abuse towards her and the kids. They never formally divorced, she took the kids and fled home. He was never heard from again. One of those kids has never married. She's a serial monogamist, but refuses formal marriage.

 

I'm divorced. We were the first divorce for my ex-husband's side of the family, going back to his great-grandparents (at least). We're the only one in my generation (siblings, cousins) on my side of the family.

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You don't work through or compromise with substance abuse or domestic violence. One party either stops their behavior and, in the case of domestic violence, completely changes their mindset in regards to power and control, or the other party leaves. You can't compromise with those. The 'working through' is a one sided issue. I have seen couples weather one partner getting sober. It is often one person telling the other to get sober or get out. Sometimes the addicted partner is able to make the change, sometimes their addiction is stronger than their marriage. But I don't see that as a failure of compromise or an unwillingness to worth through conflict.

 

So, I don't see divorce as a negative in those situations. I'd rather my kids not have a father than live with an abusive one.

 

Even if the reason for the divorce is totally justified the kids still do not learn healthy ways of relationships. And that is sad.

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You don't work through or compromise with substance abuse or domestic violence. One party either stops their behavior and, in the case of domestic violence, completely changes their mindset in regards to power and control, or the other party leaves. You can't compromise with those. The 'working through' is a one sided issue. I have seen couples weather one partner getting sober. It is often one person telling the other to get sober or get out. Sometimes the addicted partner is able to make the change, sometimes their addiction is stronger than their marriage. But I don't see that as a failure of compromise or an unwillingness to worth through conflict.

 

So, I don't see divorce as a negative in those situations. I'd rather my kids not have a father than live with an abusive one.

 

 

I did not say that one compromises on domestic violence or substance abuse. Never. Should my mother have left my physically abusive father, absolutely!

 

But, there are generations of relatives who the moment any conflict comes up (not re abuse) that they just walk. Men and women, but especially the men. Maybe I'm being naive, but I feel like if my father had seen healthy relationships, had seen adults give and take, grow and develop healthy relationships, maybe he wouldn't have issues with addiction and DV. Or his brothers, or the many cousins. Instead, when a marriage ends, the men disappear. All the way back to a great-great-great grandfather. Or if my mother had parents together maybe she wouldn't have sought unhealthy relationships.

 

Are there bad marriages that cause trauma-yes. But, in my personal experience with friends and family, divorce causes so much more. 

 

And yes, I wish I had a heritage on intact families.

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Even if the reason for the divorce is totally justified the kids still do not learn healthy ways of relationships. And that is sad.

 

Leaving a bad marriage can a very healthy thing to do. It's an excellent way to teach self respect, healthy boundaries, self reliance, all components of a health relationship.  There is nothing healthy in staying in a bad marriage or any bad relationship.

 

It's not the divorce that is modelling an unhealthy relationship, but the unhealthy relationship itself. Sometimes it can be fixed and sometimes it can't. There is nothing wrong or shameful in acknowledging that something is broken beyond repair or was never right to begin with.

 

And just because you didn't grow up seeing a healthy relationship doesn't mean you are doomed.  I grew up in a toxic environment. I am not defined by my past. I am an adult and I take responsibility for my choices. DH and I have a very healthy and loving relationship. There is nothing about it I would change. Our family is very happy. I am especially pleased with how we are able to work through disagreements in a respectful and non-violent or controlling manner. The same can be said for my sister and my brother and their marriages. Part of that is that we all saw my mother leave such a bad situation. We have tremendous respect for her and what she did.

 

Just because kids spent part of their lived witness to an unhealthy relationship doesn't mean they can't learn different ways to do things.  Goodness, just because someone grew up witnessing a health relationship isn't a guarantee they will model the same in their own lives. Far from it. Our kids will grow up and make their own choices, over which we have little control. It's not all about us or all our fault.

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Even if the reason for the divorce is totally justified the kids still do not learn healthy ways of relationships. And that is sad.

My parents chose not to divorce and I still didn't learn healthy ways of relationships.  If anything, I learned about manipulation, passive-aggression, and disrespect.  I learned that people and family don't matter, that children can be used as pawns, and that the ends justify the means.  I learned to mistrust, build defense mechanisms, and run away.

 

Sometimes divorce is the only way to ensure that children will have the best possible chance.  Growing up in a dysfunctional, unhappy household is no way to live.  

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Leaving a bad marriage can a very healthy thing to do. It's an excellent way to teach self respect, healthy boundaries, self reliance, all components of a health relationship.  There is nothing healthy in staying in a bad marriage or any bad relationship.

 

It's not the divorce that is modelling an unhealthy relationship, but the unhealthy relationship itself. Sometimes it can be fixed and sometimes it can't. There is nothing wrong or shameful in acknowledging that something is broken beyond repair or was never right to begin with.

 

And just because you didn't grow up seeing a healthy relationship doesn't mean you are doomed.  I grew up in a toxic environment. I am not defined by my past. I am an adult and I take responsibility for my choices. DH and I have a very healthy and loving relationship. There is nothing about it I would change. Our family is very happy. I am especially pleased with how we are able to work through disagreements in a respectful and non-violent or controlling manner. The same can be said for my sister and my brother and their marriages. Part of that is that we all saw my mother leave such a bad situation. We have tremendous respect for her and what she did.

 

Just because kids spent part of their lived witness to an unhealthy relationship doesn't mean they can't learn different ways to do things.  Goodness, just because someone grew up witnessing a health relationship isn't a guarantee they will model the same in their own lives. Far from it. Our kids will grow up and make their own choices, over which we have little control. It's not all about us or all our fault.

  

My parents chose not to divorce and I still didn't learn healthy ways of relationships.  If anything, I learned about manipulation, passive-aggression, and disrespect.  I learned that people and family don't matter, that children can be used as pawns, and that the ends justify the means.  I learned to mistrust, build defense mechanisms, and run away.

 

Sometimes divorce is the only way to ensure that children will have the best possible chance.  Growing up in a dysfunctional, unhappy household is no way to live.

 

I am not being understood. I am not suggesting people stay indefinitely in toxic or abusive relationships. Good grief I divorced and got myself and my son out of such a place. Yet it is far from ideal. It is sad. And difficult at times. Yes life will go on. Hopefully my son is learning from my mistakes and his dad's mistakes just like all kids should. And yet....his FOO is gone. He will never have an intact FOO. And there are many things that come up that are hard on my son because of it.

 

I dont know why that is such a difficult position to understand.

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I am not being understood. I am not suggesting people stay indefinitely in toxic or abusive relationships. Good grief I divorced and got myself and my son out of such a place. Yet it is far from ideal. It is sad. And difficult at times. Yes life will go on. Hopefully my son is learning from my mistakes and his dad's mistakes just like all kids should. And yet....his FOO is gone. He will never have an intact FOO. And there are many things that come up that are hard on my son because of it.

 

I dont know why that is such a difficult position to understand.

I don't understand why having an intact FOO is all that important.  I had an intact FOO until my father passed away.  It wasn't all that great. Having married parents who despised each other did not make my high school graduation, college graduation, marriage, or surgeries any easier.  My parents got into a huge verbally abusive fight in my hospital room as I was being prepped for surgery.  The last thing on my mind was "Thank goodness I have an intact FOO."  No, it was "Please let me die under sedation so I don't have to listen to this any longer."  

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I don't understand why having an intact FOO is all that important. I had an intact FOO until my father passed away. It wasn't all that great. Having married parents who despised each other did not make my high school graduation, college graduation, marriage, or surgeries any easier. My parents got into a huge verbally abusive fight in my hospital room as I was being prepped for surgery. The last thing on my mind was "Thank goodness I have an intact FOO." No, it was "Please let me die under sedation so I don't have to listen to this any longer."

Again, of course a FOO fighting constantly is not preferable to a family that divorces.

 

I think it is a reflection of our current society that people are so meh about divorce. What's the big deal about divorce? What's so important about an intact family? Those attitudes are Mind Blowing to me. And I say that as a child of divorce, a divorced woman, a mother of a child of divorce and a step mother of a child of divorce.

 

Wouldn't you have liked your parents to find a way to stop fighting and have a peaceful family?

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I don't understand why having an intact FOO is all that important.  I had an intact FOO until my father passed away.  It wasn't all that great. Having married parents who despised each other did not make my high school graduation, college graduation, marriage, or surgeries any easier.  My parents got into a huge verbally abusive fight in my hospital room as I was being prepped for surgery.  The last thing on my mind was "Thank goodness I have an intact FOO."  No, it was "Please let me die under sedation so I don't have to listen to this any longer."  

 

We all see things through our own experiences.

 

My FOO didn't fight.  My dad just quietly simmered until he didn't anymore, and then, they got divorced.  That left the divorce a surprise to my mother and to my brother and me.  So my memories of my FOO are largely happy and certainly not fight-y.

 

Twenty years after the divorce, though, my parents still don't like to be in the same room together.  For birthday parties for my children, I have to do two celebrations or choose one parent over the other.  Every.single.gathering.  Over and over.  I don't want to continue to hurt my mom (who is the most hurt).  I don't want to exclude my dad.  But they can not get over it themselves, and no matter what I choose, the consequences are one of those things.  So, with every birthday, every soccer game, every award ceremony, every birth, every holiday, these things come up.  Over and over.  When it gets bad, I find myself fantasizing over an intact FOO.  I can theoretically know that they are both happier now, but I'm not, and sometimes the selfish part of me comes out.  :)

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Again, of course a FOO fighting constantly is not preferable to a family that divorces.

 

I think it is a reflection of our current society that people are so meh about divorce. What's the big deal about divorce? What's so important about an intact family? Those attitudes are Mind Blowing to me. And I say that as a child of divorce, a divorced woman, a mother of a child of divorce and a step mother of a child of divorce.

 

Wouldn't you have liked your parents to find a way to stop fighting and have a peaceful family?

Of course I would have but it didn't happen; it was never going to happen.  They needed to divorce.

 

Lest you think I am cavalier in my attitude, I work daily on my marriage to make sure DH and I stay together.  So far, we have managed to keep an intact FOO for our children.  I actually agree with you that our society has accepted divorce as typical and usual.  I think it should be more difficult to get a divorce, that marital counseling should be mandatory before filing for divorce.  My heart aches for people who put more energy and dedication into a 6 year car note than a marriage.  I simply believe that having an intact FOO is not going to solve all problems; it doesn't make life any less complicated.  Yes, we all have our individual experiences and anecdotes of what did and didn't work but I cannot say that one option is better over the other.  I think it would be wonderful if all marriages lasted and married adults were able to compromise, love, and honor whatever vows they took. But they don't. 

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Other.  My parents split when I was 20.  They never bothered to actually get the divorce.

 

Dh's parents divorced when he was 8 or 9.  They both remarried within a few years of the divorce.

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Of course I would have but it didn't happen; it was never going to happen. They needed to divorce.

 

Lest you think I am cavalier in my attitude, I work daily on my marriage to make sure DH and I stay together. So far, we have managed to keep an intact FOO for our children. I actually agree with you that our society has accepted divorce as typical and usual. I think it should be more difficult to get a divorce, that marital counseling should be mandatory before filing for divorce. My heart aches for people who put more energy and dedication into a 6 year car note than a marriage. I simply believe that having an intact FOO is not going to solve all problems; it doesn't make life any less complicated. Yes, we all have our individual experiences and anecdotes of what did and didn't work but I cannot say that one option is better over the other. I think it would be wonderful if all marriages lasted and married adults were able to compromise, love, and honor whatever vows they took. But they don't.

We are probably not disagreeing but I think our words matter. An intact FOO is important. It is valuable. NOT at all cost of course.

 

My issue is with the people, one or both, of a marriage who refuse to do the work to salvage a marriage/their children's FOO.

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Of course I would have but it didn't happen; it was never going to happen. They needed to divorce.

 

Lest you think I am cavalier in my attitude, I work daily on my marriage to make sure DH and I stay together. So far, we have managed to keep an intact FOO for our children. I actually agree with you that our society has accepted divorce as typical and usual. I think it should be more difficult to get a divorce, that marital counseling should be mandatory before filing for divorce. My heart aches for people who put more energy and dedication into a 6 year car note than a marriage. I simply believe that having an intact FOO is not going to solve all problems; it doesn't make life any less complicated. Yes, we all have our individual experiences and anecdotes of what did and didn't work but I cannot say that one option is better over the other. I think it would be wonderful if all marriages lasted and married adults were able to compromise, love, and honor whatever vows they took. But they don't.

I am wondering how you feel about the thought of your children losing their FOO.?

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I am wondering how you feel about the thought of your children losing their FOO.?

 

I have thought about this quite a bit actually.  It would be difficult for them, but DH and I would always put their well being first. We wouldn't move away or anything like that. Neither of us would settle for only seeing our kids for the summer.

 

We do have friends who got a separate apartment and the kids remained in the house and the parents would stay in the apartment when they weren't with the kids.  That did that for over a year, and it allowed their kids to get used to the idea that their parents weren't living together. I thought that was a really good idea. Another couple I know already owned a duplex and, again, the kids stay upstairs and the parents alternate who is downstairs. That has been going on for a long time. And I know that the parents do NOT get along, but they are dedicated to that living arrangement while their kids are small.

 

But it's sort of a difficult thing to really answer because it's asking what their life would be like with other parents. In the first place, with different parents my kids wouldn't be my kids, right? It means imagining I have a different sort of partnership with my husband, which means imagining we are totally different people. It's not really an apples to apples situation.

 

So, the furthest I can stretch my imagination is my kids not living with both their parents in the same house. But if that were to happen they wouldn't lose their 'family of origin'. Just because we don't live together doesn't mean that they have lost us. We would still co-parent and would work together to put their needs first.  I just don't see that being the end of the world. My younger kid would have to go to school b/c I would have to get a paying job, we have certainly seen that scenario play out in my circle of friends. But, again, not the end of the world. But I don't see that as them losing their family.

 

But, really, my entire visualization of this is pretty laughable. I don't know what it is like to be in a marriage and have kids with someone that I can't work with, who wouldn't put the needs of our kids first. I just don't know what that is like.  To ask me to do so is to have to imagine a totally different family with different people, which makes the original question moot. 

 

When I have seen kids have a very bad time with divorce its usually because one of the parents is undependable, or checks out. In the situations I have seen it's been the father, so I will say 'he' but I don't imagine men have a lock on bad behaviour. So, if a dad don't want to see his kids, doesn't make the effort to see his kids etc, uses his kids to manipulate the situation, then of course that is going to be terrible for the kids. But its exactly that sort of behaviour that made the divorce happen. It isn't the divorce that is the problem but having an immature ass for a parent. I can't imagine life with a parent like that is any better than a life apart from a person like that. There is going to be sadness and disappointment no matter what the living arrangements are.  So there is going to be sadness from the hurt of having a lousy parent, but also some sadness as the child grows up in giving up the childhood illusion of what their family actually was.

 

I guess you could ask me to imagine what would happen if dh died, but death is different from divorce. Someone is just gone and everyone left has to deal with the same loss together. There is no negotiating holidays and vacations and birthdays. It isn't the same thing at all.

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My parents have been married for 54 years; my (only set of) aunt and uncle for 56; both sets of grandparents until their deaths; my in-laws were married for 50+ at the time of my mother-in-law's death (my FIL has subsequently remarried, happily); on both my side and my husband's our siblings and cousins have all remained married.  We have to scan pretty far into pretty distant relative territory to find divorce.

 

It helped my husband and me a *lot* to have more-or-less healthy negotiation and conflict resolution modeled over childhood and young adulthood, and to see different models of what family configurations and cultures look like, and to grow up witnessing our parents' and aunt/uncles' generation demonstrating what it looks like to invest into our FOO and extended families -- putting in time and effort and logistic and material support when that's called for; and holding-back and refraining-from-commentary and letting-little-slights-slide and intentional-ignoring when (sometimes) that's what's called for.  It really helps marriage odds, to have those sorts of norms modeled in multiple places in multiple forms.

 

That said, if someone of either of our families were in an untenable marriage situation such as adultery or abuse or substance abuse, either of our families would step up and support the person, in divorce.  Because, families.  We are not perfect by any stretch of the imagination (!!!), but we're there for each other.

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My parents divorced before I was old enough to know anything about it.   My main example of a healthy relationship was my grandparents, so I wasn't completely clueless (we spent every weekend with them year round from infant to teenagers).

 

My oldest doesn't have an "intact FOO" but it wouldn't have been an example of a healthy relationship if we had stayed together.  Ex-husbands example of an "intact FOO" was an alcoholic, abusive father so not exactly a healthy relationship.  She does now have the example of dh and I, a relationship where we can resolve issues rationally and discuss things calmly without belittling.   She used to talk about how peaceful our house was, despite the loud crazy younger siblings, barking dogs, and small space chaos because compared to her fathers house where there was evidently lots of yelling, it was peaceful to her.

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My mom and step-dad have been married 30 years. My step-dad has been a strong presence in my life since I was 6.

 

I have a lot of issues with my father. I honestly don't know if I would be in contact with him if I did not value my relationship with my step-mother! My step-mother only has one natural daughter, and that daughter has no kids, and so my kids mean a lot to my step-mother, and I am happy for them to have a relationship.

 

Anyway, I am super-positive about my step-dad and my step-mom! I love my mom!

 

My dad is difficult. I cut off contact with him for 3 years, when my oldest son was a little kid, b/c my dad was intent on labelling him as a "bad child" and I was not going to put up with it (he labelled my middle sister as "the stupid/bad child" so it is a familiar pattern for him). I stopped that for religious reasons (as it is in my religion to forgive and to honor thy father) but I felt really bad to punish my step-mom for my dad's actions.

 

Now the last time I saw my Dad, he unintentionally (apparently? he likes to play innocent and/or claim other people are too sensitive) horribly insulted my husband and my husband was upset about it for several days.

 

He does treat my step-mom and my oldest sister well, so that is what counts for me in a lot of ways.

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I don't understand why having an intact FOO is all that important.  I had an intact FOO until my father passed away.  It wasn't all that great. Having married parents who despised each other did not make my high school graduation, college graduation, marriage, or surgeries any easier.  My parents got into a huge verbally abusive fight in my hospital room as I was being prepped for surgery.  The last thing on my mind was "Thank goodness I have an intact FOO."  No, it was "Please let me die under sedation so I don't have to listen to this any longer."  

 

 

I had an intact FOO prior to my parents divorcing. It wasn't all that great having parents who despised each other. But for me it got even worse when they still despised each other but were then divorced, adding things like a major drop in standard of living for me and my mom, going from our family making ends meet, to basic food and roof over head being at risk. Divorce did not end abusive fighting, financial and emotional abuse, which if anything, got worse. Actual day to day living got precarious.

 

There are an awful lot of homeless kids with a mom and an absent dad--whether via actual divorce or abandonment.

 

Also the way one is seen, stigma, by others in communities tends to be hard on kids from divorced families (though maybe less now than when I was a kid given how common it now is). When a parent dies there tends to be an outpouring of help for the family. When a marriage ends in divorce one often gets treated like trash. A single parent, a kid without a parent, is basically having similar neediness for help, but the help tends to be there so much more for the death situation (oh, how sad, bring them casseroles) than the divorce situation (avoid them, they are a "bad" family).

 

As a general matter, I think it is statistically the case that kids from intact FOO's tend to do better even when the parents do not get along.

 

But obviously there are situations that are so bad, physical violence etc., as to make divorce better for the kids.

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None of my biological or step-parents have ever been divorced. I was born out of wedlock previous to their current marriages and my mother's 1st husband died in a car accident before I existed. So I chose other.

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I had an intact FOO prior to my parents divorcing. It wasn't all that great having parents who despised each other. But for me it got even worse when they still despised each other but were then divorced, adding things like a major drop in standard of living for me and my mom, going from our family making ends meet, to basic food and roof over head being at risk. Divorce did not end abusive fighting, financial and emotional abuse, which if anything, got worse. Actual day to day living got precarious.

 

There are an awful lot of homeless kids with a mom and an absent dad--whether via actual divorce or abandonment.

 

Also the way one is seen, stigma, by others in communities tends to be hard on kids from divorced families (though maybe less now than when I was a kid given how common it now is). When a parent dies there tends to be an outpouring of help for the family. When a marriage ends in divorce one often gets treated like trash. A single parent, a kid without a parent, is basically having similar neediness for help, but the help tends to be there so much more for the death situation (oh, how sad, bring them casseroles) than the divorce situation (avoid them, they are a "bad" family).

 

As a general matter, I think it is statistically the case that kids from intact FOO's tend to do better even when the parents do not get along.

 

But obviously there are situations that are so bad, physical violence etc., as to make divorce better for the kids.

 

This is similar to my experience and this is what I'm saying too. 

 

I could not make a blanket statement that people should never divorce. At the same time, if your parents didn't divorce, then you don't know what you don't know. Thinking divorce would have made things better is often grounds for a rude awakening. Just when you can't imagine things getting any worse, they can and do. 

 

I once heard the pain of divorce vs the pain of death compared, and that death is said to be a "clean pain". To me that seems accurate. The pain of divorce is because of choices, and creates alienation that could be resolved but usually is not or even gets worse. The grief is sort of in an ongoing state of suspense. 

 

And for whatever reason, even in bad marriages (I realize there is a huge spectrum of bad marriages from small problems to big), the trajectory of kids' lives are almost always better off with an intact family. From criminal record, to household income, everything. 

 

I imagine almost no one gets married saying "We can always get a divorce if things don't work out." and I think the nature of the extremely serious commitment is there for a good reason. 

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My parents divorced when I was 9.  My biological father left the picture completely a couple of years later.  My sister and I were much, much, much better off even given the financial struggles from that point until her remarriage (they were severe struggles, but I never realized it at the time...my mom did a fabulous job given the circumstances). 

 

My mother remarried when I was 12 and they are still married.  My step family is fabulous and I can't imagine my life without them. 

 

My mom has 5  brothers of whom 3 are divorced, 1 never married, 1 still (possibly unhappily) married.

 

My sister and I are both divorced (she was married for 1 year, I was married to my high school sweetheart for 14 years).

 

I despise the "from a broken home" line.  Our home was broken prior to the divorce.  We are all much happier and healthier now (well, most of us).

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What is "FOO?"

 

My parents have been married 43 years. My in-laws have been married for 40-ish years. My grandparents were married for 60 years. My five siblings all have (what appear to be) healthy marriages ranging from 21 years to 3 years. My husband's three siblings have all been married more than ten years. My husband and myself have been married more than ten years.

 

I do think a culture of intact marriages perpetuates that respect, love, and caring for a spouse.

 

I was also raised in a religion that allow for divorce, but it's uncommon (something 14-19%). Studies do show that regular church attendance does significantly drop divorce rates.

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What is "FOO?"

 

My parents have been married 43 years. My in-laws have been married for 40-ish years. My grandparents were married for 60 years. My five siblings all have (what appear to be) healthy marriages ranging from 21 years to 3 years. My husband's three siblings have all been married more than ten years. My husband and myself have been married more than ten years.

 

I do think a culture of intact marriages perpetuates that respect, love, and caring for a spouse.

 

I was also raised in a religion that allow for divorce, but it's uncommon (something 14-19%). Studies do show that regular church attendance does significantly drop divorce rates.

FOO Family of Origin

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My parents divorced when I was 9. My biological father left the picture completely a couple of years later. My sister and I were much, much, much better off even given the financial struggles from that point until her remarriage (they were severe struggles, but I never realized it at the time...my mom did a fabulous job given the circumstances).

 

My mother remarried when I was 12 and they are still married. My step family is fabulous and I can't imagine my life without them.

 

My mom has 5 brothers of whom 3 are divorced, 1 never married, 1 still (possibly unhappily) married.

 

My sister and I are both divorced (she was married for 1 year, I was married to my high school sweetheart for 14 years).

 

I despise the "from a broken home" line. Our home was broken prior to the divorce. We are all much happier and healthier now (well, most of us).

I agree families can be broken with or with out divorce. Either way is sad. Why do you despise the line?

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I agree families can be broken with or with out divorce. Either way is sad. Why do you despise the line?

I hate it also. Because it is never used to describe broken homes (regardless of marital status) and it is always used to describe single parent homes. It originated as vernacular laden with judgment.

 

My own home was MUCH more broken when I was married to the kids' Dad.

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I'm divorced. The term "broken home" doesn't bother me, and - thus far, anyway - nor does it bother my children.

 

I think we give rise to emotionally charged words when we can just as easily take them at face value. I think it's a choice, though perhaps a more difficult one for some depending on the baggage they carry over from negative relationships and painful experiences.

 

I could replace the word BROKEN with a synonym, such as FRACTURED. And that's exactly what a divorce does - it fractures a home.  A divorce legally fractures, or breaks, a family of origin. Also true: sometimes this break, or fracture, is the same or better than the INTACT family. One need only to look at mosaic art to see that something beautiful and good can come from the broken pieces. That a piece is a lovely work of art doesn't negate that it was created from broken bits. That someone is better off (emotionally) through divorce doesn't negate that this, too, was created from a broken relationship.

 

The term "broken family" doesn't have to be anything more than descriptive - if insensitively so, to some people's perception - unless we choose for it to be.

 

FWIW only one of my children has any genuine relationship with my ex-husband; the others are civil and courteous but could go the rest of their lives not interacting with their father ever again. They'd be the first to say that their home was much more 'broken' during our marriage than following our divorce. None of their friends come from divorced families, so the phrase 'broken home' could feel particularly loaded when coming from those families' mouths. And yet, it's just not a big deal to us because it's true - they are children from a broken, fractured home. Fortunately for them, we're all better off for it - financially, emotionally, spiritually, and physically. So we can shrug off any judgment, implied or inferred, and just accept the phrase at face value. Maybe it'd be different if we were struggling on any of those fronts, I don't know. We're not, which puts us in a great position to shed any baggage associated with the phrase and to move beyond it.

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Tita,

 

I am glad your experience and reaction to the phrase is so evolved.

 

It's not, as you suggest, that I have "baggage." I truly find the phrase insulting. Inaccurate as it is used to describe homes in which there has been divorce and that it (still) carries judgment and sometimes pity, patronization, and contempt.

 

You continue on with your evolved self. I ask that you consider allowing me to have my own reaction to the phrase without being corrected. Thanks.

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