Why Staying Together for the Kids is a Bad Idea

200226883-001

Why Staying Together for the Kids is a Bad Idea

Trying to stick together for the children, even after you’ve done everything possible to resurrect your marriage, usually just makes things worse. Even when the children are shielded from the arguments, they can sense the hostility like a tense fog over the house. Some kids even report feeling relieved when hearing of their parent’s divorce, the opposite of what we picture would happen, begging them to stay together. But having things appear to be working and having them actually working are two different things. You can’t hide the truth from them. They live there, too. And they know, already. Kids have an incredible beat on what’s happening with their parents. It’s some sort of natural inclination. But to deny it is to insult their intelligence. Children also model their romantic relationships after their parents. If you stay together without any longer feeling love, commitment or any tender feelings at all towards one another, what kind of message are you sending them? Will they do the same in their future marriages or relationships? Don’t you want them to be happy and follow that happiness, wherever it may lead? If you stick together, your sacrifice is wasted. In fact, it is doing more harm than good.

There are lots of considerations when getting a divorce. There is the financial burden, which everyone will endure, including the children. It can be hard in a variety of ways. There is telling them, the possibility of moving and putting them in a new school, custody battles, and fights over asset allocation, child support and alimony. The average divorce lasts somewhere in the vicinity of six months. The most hotly debated and contentious can take years. For those in no financial condition to divorce, a separation until the means for a simple divorce can be arranged may be the best answer.  Some worry about the stigma. But today, divorce is so common the stigma has virtually evaporated. What generally happens when it is all over, or at least when a new pattern settles in, is things get better. Without living in a contentious household, the kids feel more secure. They will relax and be themselves. More focus will now be placed on them instead of on the elephant in the room. Parents can also feel that they are being upfront with their children, and the kids won’t feel lied to. There are also lots of life lessons being portrayed that can carry over into their love lives, once they grow up. Children learn to have realistic expectations for relationships, love and marriage. Too many people today have some sort of Disneyesque vision, skewing their expectations. They just are not realistic when it comes to love and relationships in the real world. But children of divorce see past all that. They are also less likely to jump into a committed relationship without thinking about it, and who with.

A divorce helps children see their parents as people. They see their parents in many different roles; sometimes as a worker, of course as a parent, a friend, child, and a sibling and when they start dating again, as a partner to someone else. In other words, the kids don’t take their vision of their parents for granted. They also recognize more closely that their parents are flawed, or to put it a better way, human. But children who see their parent’s marriage as an ideal to be lived up to, suddenly cannot choose what their heart wants. They keep chasing an ideal that they will never catch instead of the reality of love that is before them. Everyone has to find someone right for them. And those two people have to develop a relationship that works for their particular personalities. But when we try to bend a relationship to match some unrealistic ideal, things are bound to run in to trouble.

Children can see their parents more as people who have hopes, dreams, flaws and regrets. They also gather insight into how bad relationships operate and how good relationships work. Usually, parents get into other long-term relationships after divorce, or get remarried. So instead of focusing on having children coming from a “broken home,” realize that if your house is full of contention, either explicit or implicit, it is affecting the children far more negatively than you think. It’s best instead to have the courage to move on with your life, embrace who you are and after you heal, allow yourself to love again. These are great lessons to pass onto your children. They will learn to be brave, and go forth in the world to find the love that they deserve, the kind that is right for them. To learn how to operate and move forward when you have kids and a separation is looming read, The Truth About Children and Divorce: Dealing with the Emotions So You and Your Children Can Thrive by Robert Emery.

Mandatory Class for Those Getting Divorced in Oklahoma

divorce class

Mandatory Class for Those Getting Divorced in Oklahoma

A strange state law has arisen in Oklahoma, for those who want to get divorced they must take a mandatory class issued by the state. According to the newspaper the Tulsa World, “The program will cover resources available for families on subjects that include substance abuse, addiction, family violence, behavioral health, individual and couples counseling and financial planning.” These all sound like good things that could benefit the couple and society as well. However, some believe that Oklahoma is over-stretching its bounds. For instance, according to the same newspaper, “(Republican representative Jason) Nelson said broken homes have an impact on social services, the prison population and the school system. As a result, divorce affects all taxpayers.” But others are asking, is it really the state government’s business who gets divorced and who doesn’t? Should citizens be forced to take a class because they want a divorce? These are some thorny issues Oklahomans and others will have to sort through. The bill was written by Representative Nelson along with a State Senate Republican Rob Standridge, and was just recently signed into law by Gov. Mary Fallin. To add insult to injury, not only do couples with children under 18 years of age have to take the class but they also are forced to pay for it, as if the price tag of divorce wasn’t elevated enough. Nelson supported the now Oklahoma state law by saying, “It seems like a small thing to ask people to do — to take a course — when the challenges that come from divorce are so permanent.”

One problem detractors bring up is the stigma many children suffer, particularly in regions where “traditional family values” are so important. In a recent article in the Chicago Tribune Heidi Stevens argues “One class is one more example of the stigma we attach to kids of divorce as sad, broken future prison inmates.” Certainly more and more children are growing up in blended families, single parent families, same-sex families and other non-traditional families, all over the country and in all regions. What’s more, the Great Recession has seen more and more mothers and women become the breadwinners in their household while more and more men are stay at home dads raising the children. In this social atmosphere, does this class really seem necessary? Certainly resources should be made available to those who are entering into a divorce. But a mandatory class cheapens the hours, days and even months couples struggle over whether or not to get divorced, trying different things to save the marriage and coming to the painful conclusion that their union, which they believed would last the rest of their lives, is in fact coming to an end. It’s such a pivotal emotional process that no couple comes to lightly. But inherent in this law, that the class is mandatory is a message, that perhaps this couple didn’t think things through, and that message can be seen as insulting for so many who agonized about the end of their marital partnership.

Many people who do get divorced often site it as the right decision. Yet, still a lot of divorced people walk around with guilt. They feel like used goods or they feel broken. But this class further stigmatizes them. What’s more, the state representative saying that it’s a burden on society and the taxpayers further shames people who are going through a painful time in their life and want to move on. In terms of children, one of the most damaging things to them isn’t divorce but a conflict ridden home. A recent study out of the U.K. found that children growing up in single parent or step-parent homes were just as happy and well-adjusted as their counterparts in dual parent homes. Yet, these parents who are deciding to divorce feel a slight pinch at this law, as they want to do what’s best for their child and believe they are doing the right thing. In an interview with Reuters Standridge said, “If you are going through the whole divorce process and have kids, if we can do anything to keep people together, we should. Marriage is a lifelong contract with the state and with your children.” Certainly a conflict ridden household is less stable for the children. And what message will you be sending them, that it is okay to stay with someone who doesn’t make you happy? We will see if this law holds up or if a couple will challenge its constitutionality. But today it is the law of the land. If you are contemplating divorce, read Before You Throw in the Towel: Twelve Things You Should Consider Before Filing for a Divorce by Bob Moorehead.

Almost 20% of U.K. Parents Consider Divorce after Summer Break

divorce-family-problems

Almost 20% of U.K. Parents Consider Divorce after Summer Break

Summer vacation, while often looked forward to, can end up being a stressful time for parents. But this recent survey out of the U.K. tells the tale like no other. Almost 20% of U.K. parents consider divorce after their kids finish summer break. The survey was conducted by Stowe Family Law and used 2,008 U.K participants.  All were adults and 1,244 were parents. Those who considered separation or divorce did so after the kids had been home for summer vacation. One reason was the financial burden that comes with having the kids around all the time. 46% of participants felt more pressure to spend during summer vacation. Senior partner at Stowe Family Law, Marilyn Stowe said that another reason is that the marriage was already on the rocks, but the parents didn’t want to ruin their children’s summer break by splitting up. Of this she states, “Our experience, based on the clients we see at our offices across the country, is that parents may give their marriages ‘one final go’ over the holidays, or delay any proceedings until the children are back at school because they don’t wish to spoil the family’s break. The grass isn’t always greener on the other side. I suspect that a relationship in trouble may be too damaged to be rescued by a holiday -– but can easily be broken by it.”

Another Swedish study also looked at what forces cause divorce or separation and found that those who commuted 45 minutes or more were more likely to divorce. Other research out of the University of Kansas found that those who argued about money, specifically when it was early on in the relationship, were more likely to divorce. Of course all of these studies are interesting. But they really don’t talk about the concrete forces that inhabit below the surface that cause a couple to drift apart from one another. Truly if a couple is connected, compassionate toward one another, committed and enthusiastic about the relationship, no amount of summer vacation or commuting can drive them apart. It really starts and ends with the couple. You have to decide to reinvest in the relationship and keep things fresh, or else you will drift apart. You both have to decide to let things go when they need to be let go, and forgive. Moving on over the rough patches, reminiscing about the good times, loving one another and taking the time to be there for each other makes your relationship strong, resilient and vibrant. It’s all up to you and your spouse and how you decide to perceive one another, and how you choose to perceive yourself and your relationship together. It starts and ends with you. For more advice on saving your marriage, read Divorce Busting: A Step-By-Step Approach To Making Your Marriage Loving Again by Michele Weiner-Davis.

Dating Websites Advertise users’ Good Credit scores

Young woman removing credit card from purse

What do you look for in a potential mate? Perhaps it should be someone who is smart, funny, and passionate about something, someone who shares your values, and is responsible with money. That last one was difficult to discern, until now. Two new dating websites have sprung up advertising their users’ good credit scores. One is Datemycreditscore.com, the other Creditscoredating.com. Though these sites aren’t full of millions of profiles as Match.com and other such sites, they are picking up speed. And the fact that they exist at all sheds light on what is on people’s minds nowadays, how they are approaching dating and relationships, and what concerns they have about their future. Though a spouse’s credit affects a person at any age, this phenomenon is of particular concern for the under 40 crowd. Student loans can now leave one owing in the tens of thousands, and lots of young daters don’t want to have to shoulder the burden of their own debt coupled with a partner’s. The New York Times recently conducted interviews of 50 singles ready to mingle who had not yet reached their fourth decade in life. A person’s credit score then is an indicator not only of the debt they have but how responsible they are and how far they can go in life.

Though this trend will probably continue if not increase as tuition rises each year and the labor market remains anemic, it leaves us wondering whether rating someone on their credit score isn’t going too far. Though banks, car dealerships, employers and even landlords use a person’s credit score to decide whether or not they are a good candidate to do business with, should love fall within the same parameters? Certainly it depends on what you are looking for. When dating for fun or exploring possibilities, a credit score doesn’t mean so much. If things are turning serious but you will not share finances, it still shouldn’t be a problem. But in the case of cohabitation or marriage, especially when tying the knot, a person’s credit score is vitally important. With a good score it can be easier to get a mortgage or a car loan. A poor score will make it cost far more, or perhaps not allow you to get a mortgage at all. 800 is considered an excellent score. 750 or above is very good. A score of 660 or below is worrisome. But there is something more. For those looking for a commitment, being responsible with money will likely show dependability and commitment in other areas of their life. So perhaps it isn’t so silly to evaluate someone on their credit score after all. If you would like to learn about how to improve your credit score, read the insight of Michael Green in his book, How To Rescue & Rebuild Your Credit Score- The Fast Track To Improving Your Credit & Getting Out Of Debt.