FACING THE DILEMMA: Should I Stay, or Should I Go?
It is perhaps the worst feeling you have ever had. Clearly, you intended to stay with this person forever, but now you are faced with the dreaded question, “Should I stay or should I go?”
Many people are right where you are—feeling the heartache, the confusion, and conflicted feelings that go along with the mixed messages in your head and heart. Let me see are these some of the reasons why you are staying?
- We have been through so much together
- We have children
- I have invested so much of my time and energy in our relationship
- Marriage is supposed to be forever
- We have a business together
- I’m afraid of what life will be like being single
- I am fearful my faith will Judge me
- I will not be able to survive financially
I understand where you are coming from and how you are feeling, but now let me ask are these some of the reasons you want to leave.
- I am unhappy
- I am treated poorly
- We don’t treat each other like a couple should
- My spouse hurts my children
- I just thought our relationship would give me more satisfaction than it does
- We never have any money
- I no longer feel the love
- I just want more…
Each and every one of these can cause a person to have mixed feelings on what to do with their life. If this sounds familiar, I can help you as a Life Coach. My specialty is working with individuals that are contemplating divorce or separation. Contact me today to set up a free consultation, which is the first step to doing something for YOU. I will walk with you down the path as you make the necessary changes in your life to make it the most fulfilling.
When parents determine they can no longer live together due to problems, one or both make the decision to divorce or separate. This can be very challenging and frustrating because for one reason or another the parents cannot seem to be able to communicate.
Separated parents may take issue with each other if there are any differences in parenting style, expectations or structure. It is important for parents to establish some guidelines in areas of concern for their child, to prevent conflict, but with the understanding neither parent has the right to micromanage the other –This is what creates conflict. Areas that are often a concern between two home are bedtimes, curfews, social media, cell phones, discipline just to name a few.
Consistency in parenting styles, expectations and structure are helpful for children, but they are not strictly required. Even among families that are living together, there are often remarkable differences between the parents, yet the children are not harmed by the experience. Other evidence that children are not necessarily harmed by differences in style, expectations or structure comes by looking at the normal course of children’s lives in areas other than home life.
Over the course of life, especially in today’s world, a child will be subject to the care of alternate care providers, school teachers, baby sitters, daycares, coaches and instructors. A child learns to differentiate the styles, expectations and structures placed by all these different people and situations and thrive. Children learn to run during soccer, yet walk on the deck at the swimming pool. Whereas in one class he or she may be required to sit quietly, in another they may be allowed to ask questions directly of the teacher. Therefore, different teachers will impose a variety of expectations and children learn to differentiate between them and manage accordingly.
As parental differences become known, some parents may seek to use these differences as cause for limiting the other parent’s relationship, influence or time with the child or may seek to impose their style, expectations and structure, or way of doing things on the other parent. At times, one parent may inappropriately speak ill of the other parent to their child in regards to the differences, which is very unsuitable and does not teach a child anything positive.
Parents need to appreciate they can have different styles, expectations and structure, as does virtually every teacher have their own way of managing a classroom. As long as a parent’s behavior is not unruly or abusive and the child progresses developmentally appropriately. Different parental styles, expectations and structure can actually benefit the child as the child learns to adapt and manage a variety of situations.
With regard to child development, it is usually not parental differences that is harmful to children, but rather conflict between parents over their differences. Children can adapt to their parents’ differences but being drawn into their conflict is distressing and distracting.
Parents who are distressed over their differences are advised to determine if the differences are truly significant, or just annoying to themselves before raising objections. He or she should ask themselves a question “Is your concern child-focused or self-focused?”
If the child is distressed by parental differences and brings issue from one parent to the other, it can be advisable to redirect the child back to the other parent to discuss the issue directly, and not put yourself in the middle. In this process, the child will learn to communicate his or her concerns directly and the parents maintain a more appropriate boundary between themselves. This is in much the same way as one teacher wouldn’t take on the issues of another teacher, but would redirect the student to deal directly with the other teacher.
Given the opportunity most parents appreciate being able to manage their own relationship with their children without intrusion. If one parent looks unreasonable, it may be that they are just annoyed for having their style, expectations and structure dictated by the other parent.
Parents are advised to be certain parental differences are truly problematic, before discussing the issue with the other parent, do not assume anything. If difficulties continue, seek professional guidance from a life coach, a parenting coordinator or someone that has experience working with individuals raising a child in two separate homes, he or she can guide you through the process, help you identify what your concerns are and assist you in creating a plan to help alleviate the stress you are experiencing.
Kimberly S. Rogge-Rogers, is a Certified Divorce Coach and Parenting Coordinator. She specializes in Divorce mediation and Child-Centered Parenting Coordination for more information please contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Life Lessons: Let Your Children Learn from Yours
Bad things can happen to good people. Divorce is a prime example. Good people get divorced. Responsible people who are loving parents get caught in the decision to end a loveless marriage.
The consequences of that decision can either be life affirming or destroying, depending upon how each parent approaches this transition. Parents who are blinded by blame and anger are not likely to learn much through the experience. They see their former spouse as the total problem in their life and are convinced that getting rid of that problem through divorce will bring ultimate resolution. These parents are often self-righteous about the subject and give little thought to what part they may have played in the dissolution of the marriage and/or separation.
Parents at this level of awareness are not looking to grow through the divorce process. They are more likely to ultimately find another partner with whom they have similar challenges or battles and once again find themselves caught in the pain of an unhappy relationship.
There are others, however, for whom divorce can be a threshold into greater self-understanding and reflection. These parents don’t want to repeat the same mistake and want to be fully aware of any part they played in the failure of the marriage. Self-reflective people ask themselves questions and search within – often with the assistance of a professional counselor or therapist – to understand what they did or did not do and how it affected the connection with their spouse.
These reflective parents consider how they might have behaved differently in certain circumstances. They question their motives and actions to make sure they came from a place of clarity and good intentions. They replay difficult periods within the marriage to see what they can learn, improve, let go of or accept. They take responsibility for their behaviors and apologize for those that were counter-productive. They also forgive themselves for errors made in the past – and look toward being able to forgive their spouse in the same light.
These parents are honest with their children when discussing the divorce – to the age-appropriate degree that their children can understand. They remind their children that both Mom and Dad still, and always will, love them. And they remember their former spouse will always be a parent to their children and therefore speak about them with respect around the kids.
By applying what they learned from the dissolved marriage to their future relationships, these mature adults start the momentum to recreate new lives in a better, more fulfilling way. From this perspective, they see their former marriage as not a mistake, but rather a stepping-stone to a brighter future – both for themselves and for their children. When you choose to learn from your life lessons, they were never experienced in vain. Isn’t this a lesson you want to teach your children?