What was it like to get divorced with children

Family facade: "I'm only staying because of the children"

When a family breaks up, you often hear the sentence: "I would never have thought that with them, everything always worked out well." Outwardly, yes. But inside the system had usually been ailing for quite a while. Exact numbers of how many families the beautiful appearance is nothing other than a facade do not exist and cannot exist at all. Because there are many reasons why parents stay together even though love has fallen by the wayside.

The expectations of a couple, especially parents, are extremely high these days. Everything should be perfect. The parents both work, the children well-off and well supported, the home always neat, the whole thing combined with a lot of love, patience and understanding and crowned by two or three fulfilling sex a week. Or at least a month. Almost an impossibility.

In order to keep the balance here, you first need to understand that there are times when one thing or the other automatically falls by the wayside. "You have to get through these waves of happiness and unhappiness", explains the qualified psychologist Ulrich Gerth. "It is important to keep a balance between being a couple and being a parent, and you also have to make sure that you don't miss out on yourself. The whole thing ideally in a social environment that supports you."

Facades can crumble

However, that rarely works, as the divorce rates prove. A woman describes her relationship in a forum in a similar way to many others: "He loves the nest at home, the children, the woman is practical, takes care of the household, raises the children, earns money too, and she's okay for the man's physical well-being too. But the kick is missing. " Xinr, the woman’s forum name, is frustrated because her husband cheated on her.

"The situation is that if I split up with the children for a variety of reasons, a hell of a lot, damn much too much, if not everything would lose. I'm just realistic about that. My personal happiness is not that important and how long I can hold out? Let's see. But I now know that many women hold out. "

Fear of separation

Long gone are the days when women were dependent on their husbands. One thinks. Yet even today many women are in some way dependent on their husbands. It has been proven that single parents, mostly mothers, are at risk of poverty and social exclusion at an above-average rate. No wonder, then, that many fear the path of separation. It has a lot to do with their self-esteem. But it also depends on the professional training and the realistic chances on the job market.

Social status plays a role

But even if you trust yourself to cope with the situation on your own, there are other aspects that make women and men hesitate to take the decisive step: The fear of change, but also the fear of losing social status and maybe also a standard of living that you would have liked to have offered your children. "We live in a district that is characterized by families. There are actually only houses, no apartments," explains 37-year-old Jenny, who has now lived with her husband like brother and sister for years.

"So if I were to separate from my husband, it would mean for the children that they would have to get away from here, that I would tear them from the circle of their friends, who are so important to them. And I just can't get that Heart." And the hotel manager adds: "Quite apart from the fact that my working hours alone with the children would be really difficult: I could barely afford a socially subsidized apartment with my earnings, and those are only available in areas that I go to with my children I don't want to move. So I'll stay with my husband for now. "

Separate internally

The arrangement seems simpler to many than it is in reality over a long period of time. "For such a constellation you have to have separated so much internally that you let the other live your life," explains the psychotherapist Christa Roth-Sackenheim from Andernach. Respect and respect for one another are a must. It becomes easier when the ex-couple still has common goals, such as bringing up the child.

According to the Federal Statistical Office in Wiesbaden, almost 170,000 marriages were divorced in 2013, with underage children involved in just under half - a total of around 136,000 new children of divorce. The average marriage lasted just under 15 years. How many divorced parents continue to live under one roof after the separation is unknown.

Reasons of reason, raising children, finances, the house

"I only know such a constellation as a temporary solution," says Eva Becker, chairwoman of the family law working group in the German Lawyers' Association. "For reasons of reason, you are staying together for a few more months because questions about finances or childcare still have to be clarified." But even that only works as long as there is a common basis.

"The smaller the children, the more sensible it is for both parents to be easily accessible," explains Roth-Sackenheim. After all, the two of them will stay in their usual role as parents. She advises explaining this arrangement as simply as possible, especially to small children: "Dad would rather sleep one floor lower, but he's with you."

Documenting the will to separate for a divorce

Attorney Eva Becker points out a completely different problem: If you want to get a divorce, you have to live separately from bed and table. This means, among other things: no eating together, everyone does their own shopping. "Documenting this willingness to separate is difficult when you're still living together." If both agree, it usually goes smoothly. But if one of them wants to wipe out the other, all he has to do is state that they regularly cooked together and sat in front of the television in the year of separation - and the divorce would shake.

Fear of losing children

The fear of not having the children around every day in the event of a separation or divorce can also be a reason for maintaining the family facade. As with the 42-year-old Manfred: "Actually it is no longer possible with my wife and me. We have tried again and again to work on our relationship, but we can no longer find a green branch. The respect for each other is slowly disappearing, the injuries The arguments go deeper and deeper. Actually, we should split up. But the idea that I come to an empty apartment in the evening, that I can no longer romp with my children every day, that I no longer notice every developmental step, especially our little ones, it's unbearable for me. Even more unbearable, so to speak, than the situation now. "

Sometimes there is also the fear of manipulation of the children by the ex-partner or of a dispute over custody. And in the worst case, the fear of not being able to adequately protect the children from verbal or physical violence.

It becomes difficult when respect has fallen by the wayside

Many couples still stay together today "because of the children". "It's not necessarily the worst thing to want to stay together because of the children," says Ulrich Gerth. "If you look at the history and other cultures of our world today, then that is nothing extraordinary. But there is a decisive difference whether only love is gone or also respect for one another. There are many couples who first separate when the children are out of the house. That is definitely an option for a life plan that both parents can cope with. But it does not work by itself, it requires conscious effort. "

There are numerous constellations here, some of which are actually really successful. The most important ingredient: treating each other with respect.

Is it good for the kids?

Whether it is good for the children when mum and dad live together after their separation depends on how harmoniously this half-life goes together. If everything works well, what was once love can eventually become a stable friendship.

Getting help can save children from harm

However, if there is permanent conflict out of dissatisfaction, if there are more arguments than normal, if there is a lack of respect or if there is even some form of violence, then it is time to seek help. Family counseling would be a possible first point of contact, as would the online counseling of the Federal Conference for Educational Advice (bke).

In such positions you can find support if, for example, what the educational advisor warns of the most occurs: "You mustn't put the children under pressure. They mustn't get the feeling that the parents only stay together when you behave accordingly. "Because children can suffer more emotional damage in such a situation than in a separation, which - even if it always leaves traces - does not necessarily have to have negative effects on child development.

Provided that it is fair, the children do not get caught between the fronts, but both parents try and take care of themselves. In a situation that has been muddled for years, this is often only possible with accompanying help. But there is no shame in making use of it. On the contrary: it is the chance for the children to come out of the separation psychologically without any injuries.

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  • Subjects:
  • Parents,
  • Family and work,
  • Relationship crisis,
  • Psychology,
  • Children,
  • Separation,
  • Family,
  • Family law,
  • Divorce,
  • Single parent,
  • care