Better to stay in an unhappy marriage? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 5 Old 08-06-2010, 06:45 AM - Thread Starter
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I am seeking advice for my cousin. We are a close family and he is like a brother to me. He is a father to a six year old daughter and a great dad. Unfortunately him and his wife do not get along at all and this has been the case for years. Really, his marriage has been troubled from the beginning and his loved ones have always questioned how the two of them ever ended up together. He did find out after his marriage that his wife is bi-polar, which has added many challenges to the relationship. They have tried but he has told me that there is no way they will ever fix the problems between them.

My cousin feels that it is better for his daughter to continue his marriage and for him to be miserable then to get a divorce and try to find happiness as a single dad. His daughter is so important to him and he is willing to sacrifice his happiness so she does not have to have divorced parents. My family is having a hard time excepting this. We feel that for all of them it would be much better for a divorce to happen.

Currently his solution to the problem is to work out of state during the weekdays and be home on the weekends. During the time he is home he tells me that him and his wife "fake" being happy. When you are with the two of them you can feel the tension between them. His wife continually complains and my cousin seems to try everything to make her happy without ever seeming to be able to do so. It really is unbearable to witness. I can not imagine that his daughter does not feel the stress.

His plan is to continue to live this way until his daughter graduates from high school, so for the next 12 years he will live in misery for his daughter.

I have encouraged him to think beyond this box he has built and put himself inside. I feel that it is much better for all involved to be happy apart then miserable together.

Please share any advice with me that you may have. My family and I are not sure how to handle this situation and would like to be able to offer help and support in some way. Thanks!
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#2 of 5 Old 08-07-2010, 08:27 PM
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Can they try marriage counseling?

Can you cousin try individual counseling?
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#3 of 5 Old 08-23-2010, 11:09 PM
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Throughout history, people have settled for less than true love. I'm not recommending it, since DH and I are pretty much inseparable. But I'm not taking a position as to whether it's good or bad. Your cousin and his wife have to live their own lives and make their own decisions. If that ends in them deciding to forgo romantic love in favor of convenience and stability, that's their decision. A lot of people have done a lot worse than that. If they change their minds, your familial obligation is to be supportive and loving. If they don't, your familial obligation is to be supportive and loving.

You can't fix anyone else. You can't do anything about anyone but you. It sucks when you watch someone in a bad situation, but trying to interfere will just make it worse.
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#4 of 5 Old 08-23-2010, 11:22 PM
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I wasn't going to reply to this b/c I think Astral Mama is correct - people have to make their own decisions and the ones that they are most comfortable with.

My concern here is him leaving his dd with a bi-polar mother all week long. That could be intense to say the least, depending on how well her illness is "managed". I'd think he could be a better father if he were around more.

Has he seen research showing that children of divorced parents adjust fine when the parents are united in regard to the children and the children are able to have a healthy relationship with them?

I would think all you could do is bring up concern about the dd being left alone with the mother all week (if that is a valid source of concern) and mention that you all think he (and the dd) might be happier if they were able to spend more time together - or something to that affect. That's a tough situation and I wish you the best...
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#5 of 5 Old 08-26-2010, 02:19 AM
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I am going to say split up.

Case in point: Childhood best friend and his GF have a baby 2 1/2 years ago after being together for 1 year. They have spent the last 2 years miserable, to the point where their personalities are barely recognizable. They broke up last month when they were just too worn out from arguing.

Are they happy now? Yes. Very much so. She has a nice BF, and he went back to his ex. Both of them are much nice people to be around without the other around.

Is it harder now having to shuffle their son around? Yes, but the child is doing much better without always being around grouchy argumentative parents.

Was it hard on their kid? Yes. But now he has fun with more family members who are happy.

I have yet to see where staying together "for the sake of the children" is better for the kids. Yes breakups are hard, but an upset home and unhappy parents are worse. And no, you cannot hide your unhappiness from your children.
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