As many couples find out the hard way, the spark that led to them falling in love and getting married doesn’t always last forever.
Should you find yourself in such a scenario, you typically have three options:
- Work on repairing the relationship.
- File for divorce.
- Give a marital partnership or co-parenting a try.
While splitting up is difficult for any couple, it’s much harder when kids are in the picture because of the way they might respond to the situation. It’s not uncommon, for example, for some children to think that they themselves are the reason their parents are getting divorced.
To be sure, divorce is definitely warranted in some cases — particularly if you’re keen on dissolving legal bonds with your spouse. If you simply can’t get along with your partner any longer, you may be better off divorcing so that you don’t expose your kids to chronic conflict, which can have disastrous effects on their development.
That said, a clear-cut divorce isn’t always the best option. To give their children the love and support they need to grow up to be healthy, contributing members of society, more and more couples are embracing alternative approaches to parenthood.
Should We Stay Together? Lifestyle Alternatives to Divorce
According to the New York Times, divorce rates have been on a downward trend of late. On one hand, this is due to the uncertainty of the pandemic, as couples decide to weather the storm together. On the other, it’s because more and more parents are pursuing more modern types of relationships, including marital partnerships and co-parenting agreements.
Also known as a parenting marriage, a marital partnership is a non-romantic marriage where the parents stay together and live as a family for the sake of their children. Also known as a parenting marriage (a concept developed by Susan Pease Gadoua, LCSW), a marital partnership is a non-romantic marriage where the parents stay together and live as a family for the sake of their children. From the outside, a parenting marriage looks exactly the same as a traditional marriage. When you’re in a parenting marriage, you still go out to dinner and the movies together as a family, for example.
Though they are difficult for both spouses, marital partnerships deliver a number of benefits to children. Not only do they ensure kids have a consistent, stable upbringing, but they also ensure that both parents are present during important activities and events.
Of course, living with someone you’re no longer in love with doesn’t necessarily appeal to everyone. Depending on the circumstances leading to the split, it might not even be worth it to even try.
In these circumstances, it’s still possible to maintain a healthy, civil relationship with your spouse after a divorce by embracing a concept called co-parenting, which is also known as platonic parenting.
Like the name suggests, platonic parenting is the process of two parents coming together amicably to raise their kids together. While parents might get legally divorced and live in different places, they both raise their kids together, seeing each other often in both public and private settings. This provides the stability and continuity kids need to lead healthy lives.
Co-parenting is not without its challenges. Chief among them is the fact that co-parents need to be respectful to each other at all times and never disparage their ex in front of their kids. But with the right approach to co-parenting, you can teach your kids great lessons about constructive problem-solving and how to communicate effectively while also reducing the stress and anxiety that would result from a more significant split.
What Do Kids Really Need from Their Parents?
At the end of the day, whether you decide to work on your marriage, try a parenting marriage, or become co-parents ultimately is not all that important. What matters most is that you are able to give your kids the childhood they deserve.
Whatever approach you take, it’s important to keep your kids safe, listen to them and spend time with them, and provide affection, order, and consistency. You also need to set and enforce limits, understand how your children spend their free time, and stay on top of any medical and mental health concerns.
If you’re in a hard place in your relationship and don’t know what to do, all hope isn’t lost. Talking to a therapist can help you figure out the best path forward. The right therapist will be able to help you determine what you want, what aligns with your values, and how to make it happen in a healthy way that doesn’t hurt your children.
© Copyright 2021 GoodTherapy.org. All rights reserved. Permission to publish granted by GoodTherapy
Please fill out all required fields to submit your message.
Please confirm that you are human.