Dear Liz, I need your help. I’ve read some of your comments on a being in a loveless marriage and being with the wrong person. I have both worlds, and it gets complicated. I’m in my third marriage with the same man I’ve known for 24 years. We have two girls, ages 13 and 11, who are both wonderful, smart, funny and my joy! They are the only good that has come out of my relationship with their father. Our recent marriage occurred two years ago after being divorced for six years. It was a marriage of convenience as I was not doing well financially, had lost my job and wanted more for our girls. Looking back now, it was one of the worst mistakes I’ve made. My husband has always been controlling and I thought things would be different this time, but he is showing his colors very bright. I know I must get out of this relationship once again and, this time, find a therapist to help me on my journey to a new path. My question to you concerns my daughters, who love their father very much and would like to see us stay married. What can I do to help with their pain of having their parents’ divorce again?
Hi in Kansas, thank you for writing, I hope I can help. It would be impossible for me not to ask you the one, most important question there is to ask here. Are you sure? Three times married to the same man is tough for even me to wrap my head around. I can’t imagine the roller coaster for your kids. The single most important element to this equation is going to be the commitment you make to your decision to end this marriage right now. The weighing of a loveless, controlled marriage against another divorce from the same man is obviously a tough one. But I suggest weighing this in ways you never have. Are you okay financially to do it, and mean it? Are you okay emotionally to come up against a strong, controlling ex? Are you sure that this is the right thing to do, and the right time to do it? Making a well thought out, responsible and committed decision is obviously not what you experienced in your past. You want to make it a different process this time.
For your girls, my feeling is the greatest way to help ease the pain of the innocent children who become so impacted by the choices we make is to remain grounded and confident through the situation. Children are most influenced by our authentic stand. They are like animals and can read our level of security in a situation. If you do your work here, and commit to yourself and your life, your girls will feel that sense of security and your confidence in the fact that this is the right thing to do. Accomplishing this will save your children from, first, the fear that can set in, and then the pain. Change is never easy, even if you’ve done it before. Your girls are not ideal ages for this transition, however, the other side– being in a family with a controlling and loveless set of parents — is not the answer either. Remind yourself of that in order to navigate your life where you think it will be the healthiest and best for yourself and your girls. Imagine that, if you didn’t leave him, your girls would suffer less pain. The long-term view for your family is where your mind should land. Change is obviously difficult but, done with the kind of thought and commitment you are going to give it this time, it can guarantee a better experience with far less pain for all of you!
Hang in- keep the faith and great things for you guys!