Having Kids Won't Kill Your Marriage, But It Makes Divorce Very Hard

Love & Learn 13

divorceThere are a lot of wonderful things that happen after you get married. Sometimes there's a honeymoon, maybe some nesting, a new kind of closeness, bonding in a different way now that you are hitched. It's usually all beautiful. Just like the months experienced after you have a baby. Sure there is insomnia and moments you are terrified and wonder how in the world are you going to keep this baby alive, but it's all quickly replaced by the wonderment of parenthood and that sweet look on baby's face.

Then you learn about couples having trouble and getting divorced after having a baby. Maybe it's happening to you. It tears the whole first comes love, then comes marriage, then comes baby in a baby carriage fairy tale to shreds. There is pain and hurt and so many whys and why nots and a sadness almost too strong to bear. But it happens. And we learn to deal ... just like this celebrity couple divorcing just seven months after they welcomed a baby.

The Trophy Wife actress Malin Akerman has been married to Roberto Zincone since 2007. They had a baby this April and Akerman gushed about her son Sebastian and husband saying, "[Motherhood is] amazing, the biggest love you have ever felt in your life. I go to my husband, 'I still love you, just this little one a little more.'" Now, they are getting divorced just months after welcoming a son.

It's heartbreaking to know these two have ended their relationship. Those words, they just hang there. They once meant so much. Now they are just a reminder of that love that is no longer there. Kind of like the wedding ring. The wedding dress. The wedding album. The photos of the two of you smiling at your kid's birthday. The photos from when you first brought baby home from the hospital. They are all there -- these reminders of a love that is no longer there in the same way that it once was. I'm living this now. Learning how to be with my ex and co-parent with him. A new normal forms. Divorce isn't easy -- it's harder than marriage.

So many people have guessed that having kids is one of the reasons my ex and I couldn't make it as a couple. Having kids isn't an easy thing -- we have twins who are nearly 4. But I just cannot blame parenthood on my divorce. It's like blaming my children and they are most certainly not responsible. So many couples make it work even after kids -- it's a whole different thing, with different responsibilities, but kids don't kill a marriage. If the marriage ends, it clearly wasn't strong enough to survive the ups and downs and all the challenges. And that's why it's so hard to go through divorce when you have children. There are these living reminders of incredible times in your life, when you were happy, when you were excited about the future, when you were thinking about the forever. And divorcing can almost feel like you are letting your children down. The words you hear from others "I feel so sad for the kids" hurt more than you ever thought possible. You feel this deep pain that because your marriage didn't work out, you are hurting your children. No parent wants that.

Divorce, whether you have kids or not, is hard, it's painful, it's so difficult. But the more intertwined you are with your spouse -- either by owning a pet together, a home, length of marriage, amount of years together, or having children together -- all of that adds so much more to the complexity of the relationship ending. Divorce when you have kids is hard -- your ex will always remain in your life, you will see him, have to talk to him about money, perhaps even spend holidays together. And maybe all of that no matter how challenging it can be in the beginning is a good thing. You don't get married only to divorce and never see that person again -- that person you thought was your forever. My ex will always be my forever because we had kids together. We are eternally tied, organically, spiritually, through our incredible children. And I'm thankful for that. My marriage wasn't a waste of time -- we had amazing times together before and after children. And now, divorced, we will continue to do so as parents. Just in a new way. Getting along is hard sometimes, but worth it. Things that come easy in life are sometimes taken for granted. Hard work gives you strength, perspective, and even happiness. It's not only worth it to get along for the kids, but for yourselves.

How have you survived divorce? Does it hurt when people 'blame the kids' on your divorce?


Image via lee wakeo/Flickr

divorce, exes, marriage, single moms, motherhood


To add a comment, please log in with

Use Your CafeMom Profile

Join CafeMom or Log in to your CafeMom account. CafeMom members can keep track of their comments.

Join CafeMom or Log in to your CafeMom account. CafeMom members can keep track of their comments.

Comment As a Guest

Guest comments are moderated and will not appear immediately.

Patie... Patience909

This makes me sad divorce shouldn't even be an option in a marriage unless one cheated. You may go through hard times with your spouse but you just have to hold on  . You vow till death do you part that shouldn't be taken lightly. 

Charles Mooney

Though divorce is not the technical term I have survived it is the same discourse. in the wake of said displacement I have learned more about myself than i have ever imagined. I wanted to hate and degrade and desired suffrage and loss and pain, but I quickly realized that I truly did not care for any of these things for that is my son's mother. She is as much a part of him as I am, I found after intense and in depth introspection I did not want any negativity for him to have to overcome. I want, I need her to be successful to give that boy a model of a person that he should admire and respect. As parents having to raise children from a distance of the other we must first realize and release all and any selfishness that we may hold in defense of our pain. The child/children are not responsible for it and should not have to suffer for it.

Darcy Nestler

I have been through a divorce with kids.  We had kids before the marriage and got married because of the kids.  It was a terrible relationship to begin with and marriage made it worse.  Divorce was absolutely my last resort.  I don't think it should be taken as lightly as our society makes it.  I think part of the reason for so many divorces after kids is because the kids are put first.  That is not how it is supposed to be.  Spouses come first (well, God comes first, then spouses, if you are a believer), THEN kids are second.  Husbands and wives no longer making each other a priority is what kills a marriage.

nekoy... nekoyukidoll

My sister is going through a divorce right now and it's hard since she wants to be the nice ex but her soon-to-be ex husband doesn't make the best choices and it worries us that he'll put my nephew in jeopardy or try and gain custody by not giving him back (they're still married so he could get away with it and her lawyer even suggested not letting him have him overnight or solo visits yet). She's letting him have him for thanksgiving and we hope it goes fine. Personally, I think he's playing the pity card since his other two girls don't see him (one accused him of molesting him and the other parroted what the oldest told her so he wants to sign his rights over) and he's trying to make her feel bad for him.

the4m... the4mutts

Divorce wasnt hard on my 3 oldest kids. It was the best thing, and they were so young at the time ( 5, 2, and 5months) That they adapted quickly. Its hardest on them now that they're older. They feel like they have to choose one parent over the other. Its dad's day, they miss dad, but want to be home with mom too.

Luckily, my ex and I are still VERY close, he was even happy for me getting married recently. So when the kids just really dont want to leave home, he lets them stay. Or when they want an extra night with dad, we make it happen. We have a routine schedule, but nothing court ordered, and we change it up when the need arises.

I also have a 4th child, belonging to my husband and I. Sometimes he misses his siblings, or they miss him, so my ex will bring him along for the evening, and even had him spend the night a few times.

If you werent in an abusive marriage, or have some extenuating circumstances, there is no reason that you cant both suck it up, and make it work for the kids.

Michele Zipp

Thanks the4mutts. I really enjoy your comments on this topic. Very helpful and insightful. :)

Nelli... NellieAthome

I am a child of divorce. I can say quite legitimately that my parents would have stayed married if I had not been born. Even their counselor said so. Their divorce came after 22 years of marriage when I was 11. They were two people with entirely different life goals that did not come to the forefront until after I was born at which point it became obvious that they both ultimately wanted different things from life.

Divorce was a welcome thing for my family - it stopped the arguements, it meant I grew up in a calm house instead of a simmering tender box of misery ready to explode at any moment. Trust me, even when they did not argue and put on a good front the misery was there simmering under the surface and poisoning everything, everyday.

I am sorry the4mutts since I agree with so much of what you say on The Stir,, but one thing to consider when you have kids is that it is not always best to "soldier on for the kids" and it places an unfair burden of guilt on the kids that will take them years to deal with as adults, if they ever manage to do so.  Personally, it is not a burden I would want to place on my kids.I speak as the kid who suffered through the "make it work for the kid"  period and thrived in the atmosphere of two parents apart and happy. I truthfully wish my parents had divorced much sooner than they did.

Nelli... NellieAthome

Patience909 - I am so sorry you have no empathy or understanding of why there are many legitimate reasons for divorce other than cheating.

I am appalled that you seem to think people should stay in abusive relationships whether the abuse is physical or emotional..

I am  equally appalled that you seem to think that any divorce for any reason means the vows were "taken lightly".

Further I am appalled that you think exposing children to misery all through their growing up years is preferable to divorce. Miserable parents is emotional torture for the kids involved.

I am appalled by the arrogance that is expressed in your post towards those who have chosen a path that you have not.  That lack of empathy and tolerance is a large part of what is wrong with America today.

krist... kristennoel10

Kids don't cause divorce, but parents not teaching and disciplining their children can lead to divorce. When children run the parents and the home, the marriage will most definitely suffer and perhaps even crumble under the stress of dysfunctional parent-child relationships.

There are many reasons for divorce. In my case, I married very young, had been extremely sheltered, and married an older man at the urging of misinformed parents.

My ex was emotionally abusive and neglectful to me and my kids, but I stayed because I was terrified of divorce and what would happen to me and my children. However, after 12 years of marriage, I became very ill. Specialists performed every conceivable test in an effort to find an explanation. To my ex's chagrin, the doctors diagnosed my condition as a result of extreme physiological distress.

After taking very dangerous medications to what would happen to me control my illness, I decided my health and life were more important than staying with a sick man.

I went through a very painful divorce, filled with fear, guilt, and confusion. Friendships were destroyed, family relationships strained. I don't think the pain will ever completely disappear, and I will always wonder why things happened the way they did. Divorce is awful and worse when kids are involved.

wamom223 wamom223

You know Michelle I think you think most divorced mom's feel like you and you are worried about falling into the same mistakes other divorced mom's have fallen into but the sad fact is not all feel like you.  Some aren't worried about the kids as much as they are themselves.  I know one mom that complained that when people said 'its so hard on the kids' she wanted to say 'what about me.'  Needless to say her poor kids have been used as pawn for almost five years before she finally realized how much she was hurting them.  You aren't doing that, you are saying and doing what I wish my mom would have done (and I'm totally crying writing this because I didn't know how true it was until I wrote it.)  

1-10 of 13 comments 12 Last