Staying in a Loveless Marriage Because of the Children

Staying in a Loveless Marriage Because of the Children

So your marriage is crumbling and you know that you are not in a happy relationship. You’re ready to leave your spouse and end the marriage, but what about the kids?

How can you leave your marriage thinking that will hurt your child’s feelings? You’re ready for a divorce, but you aren’t ready to destroy the future of your kids.

Should an unhappy couple stay together for a child? Keep reading if you are stuck in a marriage because of the kids.

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Is it okay to stay in a loveless marriage?

First, ask yourself why do you want to stay in a loveless marriage? What do you and/or your spouse get out of staying in a relationship where no one is happy?

“It’s easier.” I’m sure many of you think, if you stay in an unhealthy marriage, it is so much easier than going through a long, expensive, horrible divorce.

Is it easier to stay in marriage forever with no love, than go through a temporary difficult stage in your life?

“It’s much more convenient to stay with my spouse because they can help out with the kids. I need them to watch, feed, or pick up the kids when I need them to.”

A babysitter can help out with the kids.

“It’s more financially easier for us to stay together. I don’t have a great paying job, so I need to stay with with my spouse to help support me financially.”

Try getting a loan or a second job, part-time.

Will any of these reasons help your marriage be a better one in the future? Will it help you or your partner become a better spouse for your marriage?

I want to leave my wife, but not my kids.

Well, let’s look at what’s happening in your marriage. You both have gone to counseling, you’ve prayed together and made some compromises.

Is your marriage improving? Is your wife doing all she can to become a better wife?

If you have worked at trying to fix things in your marriage and it still isn’t working out, and you’ve already made up your mind to leave, then maybe the best thing to do is leave.

If you are unhappy in your marriage day in and day out, you’ve got to make the best decision for your family. You must learn to differentiate your marriage to your spouse versus your relationship with your kids.

But shouldn’t I stay with my husband for the kids?

mom hugging daughter in front of dad sitting on couch

Here are some things to consider if you don’t divorce because of the kids:

-Your kids will start to feel just like you do in your unhappy marriage. If you are arguing and fighting with your spouse all the time, and you are feeling stressed, depressed and frustrated, your children may also begin to feel the same.

Instead of being happy and playing with friends, your kids may also begin to feel stressed out and show signs of depression every day just like you the more and more they are around you feeling unhappy.

-Because your kids are depressed and/or stressed out, this can cause them to be an unhealthy child overall and create other medical issues (ex. heart problems, malnutrition).

child screaming and covering his ears so he doesn't hear parents arguing

-Staying in a toxic marriage can create an outburst of negative behaviors in your kids. Your kids may start lashing out (ex. yelling, screaming, hitting) just like you are in your relationship.

-Your child may begin to fall behind in school because of the turmoil going on in the home. She may not be able to concentrate or maybe she’s tired from her mom and dad yelling at each other all night while she’s trying to sleep.

She may not be motivated to do well in school as she is not happy with her family’s issues.

girl at table trying to read and covering up ear when parents are arguing

-Your child learns his behaviors from what he sees. If his parents are not dealing with conflict in a productive way, he may, in turn, have poor social skills with others. He may not know how to deal with challenges appropriately and may develop poor relationships or friendships.

-Your kids are learning what a marriage should be or look like from their parents. Once they grow up they may find themselves in an unhappy marriage too, because this is what was taught to them.

They may have difficulty with dating or finding a romantic connection due to treating others the same way they saw their parents treating each other with abuse and disrespect.

-You may have broken a wonderful relationship you’ve built with your child by staying in an unhappy marriage. How can you be the best parent to your child while fighting with the other parent?

Maybe you’ve shown your child the ‘ugly’ side of you and now they have no interest in bonding with you because of what they’ve seen you become.

little girl sad when parents argue in kitchen

-If your child becomes negatively affected by you staying in a toxic marriage, they may also grow up and divorce. They were not taught what a loving marriage looks like and how to deal with conflict, therefore, finding themselves in a dead-end marriage.

If you do decide to get a divorce:

-Know that divorce may be difficult. It may be difficult for you, your spouse, your family members, and even friends.

Even though divorce may be difficult, it may be in the best interest of the child. Divorce may lead to a better home and future for your child if your marriage is unhealthy.

couple taking off wedding rings signing divorce papers

-With a divorce, it is possible for you to go on with your life. You will be able to financially support yourself (and kids), even if you do need an extra job or maybe help from family.

It may be hard adjusting at the beginning and may have difficult times throughout, but definitely not impossible.

-Don’t stay in an unhappy marriage pretending it’s all rainbows and daisies when it’s not. It is never better to stay in a horrible relationship just because you don’t want others to think you are a failure.

Since when are we considered a failure if we choose a better, happier life for us and our children rather than being abused, stressed and depressed in a marriage?

happy mom and smiling kids sitting watching tv on couch

No one will say that you made the wrong choice if you and your children have a happier and healthier future.

-If you do divorce you will be preventing your children from being in the mix of conflict which could include violence. You are now removing them from that dangerous environment and they will no longer have to live in or be in the middle of it.

-Try to separate on civil terms. Continue to see your children frequently and consistently and keep a mature relationship during and after the divorce with the other parent.

dad dropping off son at home with mom

Continue to create a strong and loving relationship with your children. Let them know how much you still love them even though the marriage is over. Keep them a priority in your life.

-Continue to seek help for yourself to become a better person and a better parent. Seek counseling, read journals and professional articles about divorce and/or self-improvement. Talk with family and friends who care about your well being to help you through it.

-You may feel like your child may be traumatized by a divorce, but many children have gone through a divorce, transitioned well and have turned out to be wonderful individuals.

Here’s a helpful guide to help you get through a divorce when children are involved.

If you are still asking if you should stay with your husband for the kids, ask yourself “why”.

I want you to consider what would happen if you did stay. Are you making the best choice or the most convenient choice?

Will your choices benefit you and your marriage or will it hurt your kids as a result?

If your kids will end up hurt, sick or alone when they grow up due to the turmoil they’ve gone through from your marriage is it worth it?

Every marriage is worth fighting for, but so are your kids.

little girl holding teddy bear while parents are sad

Maybe you aren’t ready to leave yet and you still want to work on your marriage. Use this to help rebuild your marriage into a stronger one.

Related topics:

How Do I Know When It’s Time For a Divorce?

How to Tell If You’re In An Imperfect or Toxic Marriage

Did you stay in an unhappy marriage because of your kids? Tell us why or why not? We would love to hear what helped you make your decision. Also, don’t forget to subscribe for the latest updates!

25 comments found

  1. Great post!!! That is something that a lot of couples are dealing with, a lot if not the majority. To stay or to leave. I see both arguments but I want to add one more layer to what you mentioned above and that is culture. Culture and community play a huge role in making the right decision. My two cents.

    1. Thank you. I agree, this is more common with many couples than we would hope. I really appreciate your insight as well. I do think that many other factors such as culture and even religion contributes to decision making. I still hope that at the end of the day, married couples involved in toxic relationships, really try to make things work out and if not, make the best decision for the entire family. Thanks so much for sharing.

  2. This is a very difficult situation for all involved. My parents had a similar relationship until finally, they decided to go their ways. It was VERY tough for my brothers and me, but happy to see our mom happy.

    1. Divorce and toxic marriages can be a difficult time for all involved. I’m sorry to hear about your parents, and how rough things were for you and your brother. However, I’m glad that you were able to see that through it all, decisions were made for the best interest of the family and now your mom is happy. Everyone deserves a happy ending. Thank you for sharing.

  3. I have a broth in law that is in a bind with the girl he chose to have a family with. I have no idea why he is with her… I have never seen her do anything for him and she stays in the room all day long. She cannot even take care fo the one kid that have together…. she says she cannot handle her all day and she is a Stay at home mom which makes me disgusted and he says he stays with her for his family. He comes home from work and takes care of the baby, cooks the dinner and cleans up. She does NOTHING. Crazy and no reason to stay with anyone… if the relationship is not equal…. get out and eventually the right one will come along. Staying with a person that does not love you will waste years and years of your life. The kids are better off in a happy environment.

    1. I can tell that you really care for your family and you don’t like that it seems like he is being taking advantage of. It’s an unfortunate situation if he is in an unequal relationship, but he really has to dig deep and ask himself if this is the kind of family that he really wants. If not, he owes it to himself to communicate with his wife and seek help for the relationship for things to get better for him and his children. He should remember that he may also be creating a way for his children and their future of marriage with his decisions (whether good or bad). He sounds like a great husband and father and he deserves the best family. I hope things work out for his family. Thank you for sharing.

  4. I kinda always think about my children first. That’s why I probably would stay in a marriage even if i was unhappy, just for them.

    1. Thank you for sharing your perspective. As good parents we tend to put our children’s happiness in front of own through sacrifices and commitments. I think that if the marriage could be worked on, we owe it to our kids to try to make it work. Thanks for visiting.

  5. What a great blog post! You really challenge your readers in asking direct questions and painting the picture of an undesirable living situation.

    1. Thank you Angela! When we are making huge life decisions like this, it’s important to take in ALL perspectives including our kids and not just our own. Try to make the BEST decision for your family. Thank you for visiting.

  6. Speaking from a person who came out of a toxic marriage, I certainly have my own opinions about what it means to be in a loveless marriage and whether someone should stay in it or not. If the two of you are toxic together, get out. If you just merely aren’t feeling the love or are unhappy, you might want to ask yourself why you feel that way. If this goes on for a long period of time, it may not be the marriage and it may be something going on internally. I think unhappiness has many sources, of which the marriage may only be a component or the easiest thing to blame. Negative repercussions exist on either end of the unhappy marriage spectrum. Yes, your child may experience negative consequences if they recognize you are unhappy. At the same time, as the marriage devolves there will be negative consequences as well. Instability of the child, different types of fighting amongst the parents. Often the parents use their kids as a tool in this fight they have with one another. And speaking as a person who was in a toxic marriage, sometimes you cannot control how toxic the other person is or how they will game the system to make you look bad in the eyes of the courts and in the eyes of your child. Some people work those things out. But more often than not they are the exception and not the rule. So be careful whatever you may decide.

    1. David, thank you so much for sharing your experience with us. First, I’m sorry that you experienced being in a toxic marriage. I hope you and your family were able to get through things okay. I absolutely agree with you, that if both of you being together equals an unhealthy marriage (even after seeking help), ending the marriage may just be the best decision. I also feel that even before you marry your partner, you should be at a place where you love and respect yourself, so you are able to do the same for your future spouse. Otherwise, you risk having an unsuccessful marriage. If you do marry, and find yourself unhappy, you owe it to your spouse to seek help to figure out ‘why’ and work at it to try to become a better husband or wife. You can’t have a happy marriage if you aren’t happy with yourself. Like you mentioned, if you do decide to go for divorce, during the process, it is crucial to create a civil relationship between both parents for the children. It is disappointing when parents use the system for their bad motives instead of the best interest of the children involved. But, do you risk staying in a toxic marriage to avoid a bad divorce? You are right, your decision is really important and so is the future of your kids. Do what you can to make the BEST decision for the entire family. Thanks so much for visiting.

    1. Thanks so much. It’s really sad to know couples are in a loveless marriage and can’t seem to get out. I wish the best for those couples and their families. I hope to have helped those involved. Thanks for visiting.

  7. Staying in a loveless relationship is so terrible! It is definitely scary to take the decision of divorce, but I would prefer it if I was in that situation.

    1. Yes, a loveless marriage can indeed make you unhappy, as well as your kids. As good parents, we definitely need to do what is BEST for the entire family and make the right choice. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts.

  8. This is such a complex topic. There are so many reasons why people choose to either stay in a marriage or get divorced…so many more than what’s listed here. BUT, one thing that remains constant is that whatever the decision is, it’s usually based on the kids. Thank you for the read!

    1. You are right, staying in a loveless marriage can be based on so many deciding factors, but at the end, I hope that the couple chooses what is BEST for the entire family. Thank you so much for visiting.

    2. On the other hand, people tend to bring children into the world to “fix” a marriage. It would never work in the long run. Resentment if the child found out he/she was born to benefit own desires.

    3. On the other hand, people tend to bring children into the world to “fix” a marriage. It would never work in the long run. Resentment if the child found out he/she was born to benefit own desires.

      1. Yes. Many individuals look at children as the solution to many relationship problems, only to find out it only brings on more of a burden if the relationship wasn’t built on a strong, loving foundation. Thanks for sharing.

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