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The "manacled To A Toxic Marriage By Kids" Debate

Those of us looking for the courage to find a way out of a bad relationship seem to have a heated debate over children. It's just as heated and defiant of a real, consensual standard as most others, such as capital punishment, abortion, euthanasia or any of the other arguments human beings get so silly and overheated by.

I look at debates like this as being truly absurd. Arguing over a dilemma that has no correct answer is folly, and those who really feel they know the difference between right and wrong by taking a stand either way are fooling themselves and upsetting others, nothing more.

I MEAN NO DISRESPECT HERE. Not to anyone who feels either way. I happen to be in the "stay for the sake of them" camp, because of my individual situation. My daughter means everything to me, I would lay down my life for her - not that anyone whole *would* leave in my situation would feel any different.

But in MY case, here are the facts:
1. I was an only child of a broken home. It happened when I was three. I felt the pull of wanting two parents - MY parents in a family again, all under the same roof. Both of mine bluntly and sometimes rudely made it clear that is NEVER going to happen. It was a sore spot of sadness that will never resolve in my life.
2. My daughter is not stupid, she's been witnessing the death of a marriage from within the family dynamic for some time. She feels great sadness over it, and it breaks my heart to see her feeling so helpless. I know this is a strong argument for opponents of staying, but keep in mind: leaving or staying has NO effect on this sadness in a child's life. And as parents we are failures for not providing the loving home all children deserve already.
3. Financially, it takes both of us, my wife and I - to keep the family and home from being lost forever. Should I cut loose and run for the hills, the collateral damage will begin with my daughter losing the only home she's ever known. My wife won't be able to afford keeping it and they would be just as destitute as I.

4. This point does NOT apply to me, but I've heard it and it is DEFINITELY valid: "I don't have a way to generate the income needed to become my child(ren)'s provider on the other side of the door. It would take time or is impossible. That would leave me with abandoning his/her/their fate to being raised by The Evil One."
I'm not so bad off that I would worry that my wife would ruin my daughter's life without me, so this one isn't holding me back. My wife and I did love each other once, and I do see the good in her and know she's an excellent mother. So I'm not worried about this. I do know however that some of us are really concerned about it - in some cases it's a very real threat that must be avoided, in others it's the fear left behind by a broken heart and nothing more. No offense, and I don't need to be told how wrong I am. I know that I'm right about this only in some cases and have no desire to lecture or be lectured about The Evil One and his or her Evil Ways and why I should validate. Just assume that in my case it's not true and in yours, if you read this - I validate you. Looking at your case objectively I may think you're very right, or I may think you're fearing this irrationally. It's not really my business - and I feel for you either way.

Now, an open comment to those of you who oppose my view: I appreciate your words. They are wise and valid. Please take no offense. Feel free to discuss!

I would like to see this story as an invitation for open, respectful debate over the issue. There will be no resolution. But I would like to see us all walk away from this debate with a much more open mind about it. We are all here to give and receive support together, and I don't want to see any more hurt feelings or judging over the children issue. Let's talk it out, together! Nobody knows better than us what's right and wrong about staying in a toxic marriage for the sake of children - or not.
TheVerticalMan TheVerticalMan 41-45, M 2 Responses Nov 19, 2012

Your Response


I don't really want to take sides in a debate, but I will say that as a child of a broken home I actually had the opposite experience that you did. I was thankful when my parents finally chose to end it and lead separate lives and even though my life was often more difficult afterwards I was much happier. Children see and hear and pick up on much more then we are aware of and then those things shape their views and actions and personalities, which is what often leads to them finding themselves in similar good or bad situations as their parents did. I'm happy my mother showed me I didn't need to accept an abusive spouse and that it was worth it to stand up for myself. That's just my two bits. :-)

Absolutely! Pity this story didn't really stimulate a healthy dialogue though.
But your point illustrates well how judging others over what's right or wrong for their children is a pointless argument.
My experience was no-win. Both parents were way too immature about it.

I disagree that it's a pointless argument, simply because in having the discussion or argument it allows everyone the opportunity to see things from other points of view and experiences that they may not have considered and then gives them a more rounded platform from which to make a decision as to what's best in their situation. Just sayin' :-)

Indeed, and that was the objective of the original story - to encourage a healthy debate. I wrote this because I had seen a lot of flamewars between members of IAMBL, arguments about what's best for children that quickly broke down into emotionally charged crap being chucked around.

That's part of the issue with online discourse, it tends to de-evolve rather quickly when one can not see the other people behind the monitor, and especially when it involves deeper or more serious topics. Plus as a society we seem to have forgotten the need for manners, and that they are deserved and should be used online as well.

ROFLMAO - haha! Yes, and in my profession you get to see a LOT of that. Tech Support Guy. On top of that, I'm a REAL tech support guy, not a script-monkey who's more concerned about his metrics than the customer's problems.

2 More Responses

Why cant you teo talk? Why cant one swallow their pride... This seems awful..