Tired of Not Knowing Whether to Stay or Go? Do Both!

At worst, indecision is a killer. At best, it’s exhausting.

Because getting a divorce would impact you—and those around you—for the rest of your days, it’s understandable that you’d want to think it through as much as possible. There’s also a lot to consider: how the kids will handle the breakup, how you and your spouse will do, who will live where, what finances will look like, what others will think, what the future will hold and so much more.

Although leaving any relationship can be challenging, for those couples with kids, the decision to stay or go often feels like a moral dilemma: stay and model a not-so-good or even bad relationship; leave and negatively impact the kids’ lives. For this reason, some people never move away from the “thinking about leaving” phase. In fact, I’ve seen people remain undecided for years. Even decades.

Read more: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/contemplating-divorce/201703/tired-not-knowing-whether-stay-or-go-why-not-do-both

CBC Radio Interview on ‘Parenting Marriage’

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I was so thrilled to participate in this interview with Piya Chattopadhyay for her CBC Radio Show, “Out in the Open.”  Click the link below to listen as I talk about how the Parenting Marriage came to be and how it can benefit a couple considering divorce.

Click Here for my Parenting Marriage interview on CBC Radio!

How Well-Meaning Parents Harm Their Kids By Staying in a Bad Marriage

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Divorce isn’t the worst thing that parents can do to kids. Fighting terribly and subjecting them to your vitriolic hatred toward each other is the worst. Staying married in such a state is actually worse for kids than if you actually got divorced.

I’ve seen many people divorce and, because they handled their emotions well, the children also did well.  On the contrary, I’ve also witnessed couples do significant damage to their kids by staying in an unhealthy relationship and trying to “make it work.”

But, because it is also true that a two-parent households typically have some significant advantages over separate, single-parent homes, it’s worth asking: What if you could stay for the kids and lead your own life—possibly even having outside romantic relationships?

I know what you’re thinking: People do this already; it’s called an affair. I’m well aware that romantic affairs go on illicitly, but what I’m suggesting is that this can also happen in an above-board, respectful kind of way.

It’s called a Parenting Marriage and more and more couples are turning to this option as a way to “stay for the kids” without staying stuck in a bad relationship. As spouses, you basically change your job description from lover, best friend, and co-parent to co-parent first and foremost, friends maybe, and lovers no longer.

During the past six years, I’ve helped dozens of couples across the U.S. transition from their traditional marriage to this non-traditional variation on the theme. Many find it surprisingly workable. Of course, it’s complicated and each couple must have clear agreements in place, but it can be done if you follow a few simple guidelines.

Want to know more?  Check out my 3-Part Series on How to Create Your Own Parenting Marriage or contact me directly .

One Woman’s Reaction After Trying a Parenting Marriage

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Earlier this year, a woman contacted Susan and laid out the facts:

My husband cheated on me. We have kids together. I don’t know what to do. I hate his guts right now but I need his help in running the household.  What do I do?

The knee-jerk reaction when someone cheats on you is to want to kick the “no-good so and so” out.  But that’s not always practical or feasible.

Letting him or her stay may feel like you’re letting them get away with something. You feel they should be punished and should have consequences. Yet your world is upside down and your emotions will take you on the ride of your life. This is definitely not the time to make any major decisions (and you may want to avoid even the smaller decisions until you feel better and more calm). 

This woman saw an article Susan had written about Parenting Marriages and she decided to put the concept to the test and it was the perfect emergency solution for her. Here’s what she said about it:

“[Shifting] to a parenting marriage allow[ed] time for introspection…I don’t know, maybe it’s not healthy, but I haven’t felt this good since it happened. It removed the shame and the fear of a possible divorce when I’m not even sure that’s what I want. Really, it’s strange, by putting a label on it from romantic marriage to parenting marriage, it removed the pressure I was feeling to just ‘get over it’ and allows me the time I need to heal from this.”

A Parenting Marriage arrangement doesn’t change the fact that your marriage is in limbo, it gives you a sense of structure when all you feel around you is chaos; it gives you a sense of control when everything feels out of your control; it is grounding.

It’s OK to Stay for the Kids

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If you are one of the many thousands who are unhappily married and you really don’t want to get divorced because you have children, here’s something you should know: There’s another option worth looking into and this one may be one that can help you stay “for the kids,” but have a separate life too. It’s called a Parenting Marriage and it’s all about staying married to raise kids together.

Terminating the family unit when the love is gone can be likened to selling your house after an earthquake puts a crack in the foundation. You can do away with the problem and start over in a different place, or you can reconstruct.

A ParentingMarriage takes away the parts of the relationship that no longer work (most often this is the sexual aspect, but it could be social and financial aspects as well), and keeps the parts that are working and builds on those.

Want to know more? Check out my 3-Part Series on How to Create Your Own Parenting Marriage or contact me directly .