Broken Home
I'm intrigued by a recent post from LaoTzu about the definition of a "broken home". Many of us have stayed in our dysfunctional marriages and opted not to divorce our Refusers "for the sake of the kids". But is it really better for them to be raised in a family with parents who are not good role models of an affectionate partnership?
Shortly before triggering my divorce, my fifteen year old daughter said something to me and my STBX that opened my eyes to the dysfunction we were exposing her to by staying locked in our affectionless marriage.
"My friends parents and the boyfriends or girlfriends of their older siblings are very physically affectionate with other, but the couples in our family never kiss or hug each other. What's wrong with us?"
I was raised in a very physically affectionate family, but my marriage was devoid of public displays of affection - and I realized how much damage I had done by raising my children in such a sterile environment. So it was not only hurting me, it was harmful to them too.
That was a pivotal movement when I realized just how broken my marriage was, and knew my children would be better off if I left my marriage and setup my own home where public displays of affection were not only permitted - but encouraged. Then at least during the time they spend at my home, they will discover that physical affection is not forbidden.
CherishMe2 CherishMe2
56-60, F
9 Responses Aug 18, 2014

That's why I felt the urgency to get out while my daughter was still a baby. "Daddy's room" and "mama's room" should not be part of a child's vocabulary.

<p>Oftentimes I think that the "staying for the kids" reasoning for staying in an ILIASM shithole has very little to do with the kids at all.<br />
Rather, it is all about coming up with a rationalization to avoid the tough choice and pain that a divorce is going to involve.<br />
-<br />
It sounds so much more altruistic and honourable to say - "I'm staying for the kids" - rather than saying - "I'm staying because I am too paralysed by fear to do anything else".<br />
-<br />
Incidently, I see nothing at all wrong with staying "out of fear". It is as legitimate a choice as any other, if made on a fully informed basis.<br />
But I DO think it is critical that *we* KNOW why we are staying, and not try and dress that up to look like something it isn't.<br />
-<br />
Tread your own path.</p>

While my parents certainly love each other and have always been close, I never saw physical affection...they almost never hugged or kissed in front of me. Yet I grew up as a very affectionate person. So personal temperament plays a big role. Therefore, don't beat yourself up over thinking that the lack of affection in your marriage will cause some kind of deep damage in your kids. In terms of how they bond with other people, it is far more important how you (and their father) treat them.

Thank you. You had a wonderful insight! Showing affection to one another is definitely to be encouraged. They will carry this throughout their lives.
It is kind of you to share this with us.

I've often wondered why my girls don't seem to notice the lack of affection between their mother and father. I believe they now think that is how a normal married couple act towards each other.

Yep. They think it's normal. This is to scarier thing to me.. It was certainly my experience as a child. My family was VERY dysfunctional. I was 16-17 when I finally realized "ooooh, this isn't normal..." That's a long time to have dysfunctional ideas ingrained. I can't help but assume it's largely why I ended up staying with my ex as long as I did.

You are right, Daddyo. I only saw my parents kiss once -- when my father was going on a trip (a trip I realize now probably was with his mistress). After he left, my mother called what he did a "Judas kiss."

My parents didn't sleep in the same bedroom or ever even touch each other. Consequently, I thought my refuser was an emotionally warm person because at least he'd give me a peck on the lips when he left home.

If my mother hadn't commented, I might not remember the kiss. That would mean my having no memory of my parents ever touching.

I so agree. I think about it all the time. We barely talk to each other, less touch each other. If we talk about something is usually when my son is around. It makes me so sad thinking about the pain that I might cause him after his father and I separate, but at the same time I'm so unhappy that scare me even more to pass my unhappiness to him. So, I try to convince myself: happy mom, happy kid. And that helps me to keep moving forward, and get my happiness back.

Agreed. My mother was physically repulsed by my father and made that quite clear. They slept in separate beds, fought constantly. I thought God help me my marriage will never be like that. But despite recognizing the problem, the baggage caused me to treat my spouse with the disrespect and undeserved loathing my mom treated my dad. My spouse forgives me and we work through it.... But the impact of her attitudes on my life is undeniable. :(

I remember once years ago my husband and i were in the kitchen and had a hug (at my insistence). One of my kids walked in and said "What's going on? You never do that."

You are so right, we are not teaching them anything good by staying.