We can’t help worrying how divorce and parenting will impact our children. Sure, research shows that about 80-percent of children of divorce adjust well and show no lasting negative affects on their happiness or well-being, success or relationships. Yet it’s hard to believe that when your own kids are involved because you need to start thinking about parenting them sharing times with your ex-spouse.
Many people I spoke to for my book, Splitopia, said they stuck it out in a bad marriage for years, even after they’d given up on change, because they didn’t want to expose their children to divorce. When my husband and I announced our intention to split in 2012, I was surprised by the doom-and-gloom forecasts of some of our friends. I set out to discover the truth about today’s divorce. Here’s an essay I wrote for The New York Times about our intention to restructure our relationship in a better way, just without the marriage part.
What I’ve seen from my own experience, as well as from talking to about 200 couples in positive, post-marriage relationships and to grown children of divorce is that how we do it matters. The miserable stories we hear are not about divorce, per se, but rather about parents who continue to fight for years or even decades after divorce, often dragging the kids into the middle of it. These are notdivorce stories; they are bad divorce stories. And they don’t have to be ours.
By Wendy Paris