Don’t stay for the sake of the kids

By: Natasha Archary



Whether you’re married with kids or you share children with your long-term partner, there comes a point in life where you may find yourself at loggerheads. The relationship isn’t what it used to be. One or both of you may be taking the other for granted, communication wanes, lack of respect becomes the norm and you’re constantly arguing or having heated spats.


If this is your reality and it’s happening with the kids present, you need to ask yourself one very important and sobering question: “Do I stay for the sake of the kids?”


The answer may not be what you’re expecting and to be fair, not every situation can be managed the same way. But if a toxic environment and a loveless relationship is what you display to the children, it may be time to call it quits. Mothers have an innate need to protect their children. It’s a quality ingrained in their DNA from the birth of their precious babies. Leaving a destructive relationship however, may not be easy for many moms who stay in toxic environments because they feel there’s no way out.


Read: Endurance is not a virtue in relationships


Signs of a toxic relationship


  • Communication

You’re not discussing issues that arise as it happens, when it happens. You both sweep things under the rug to keep the peace but when it all becomes too much for either one of you, you blow your top. You keep things from each other, stop disclosing important developments or arragements. You’re basically just tolerating one another.


  • Verbal, emotional, physical abuse

Abuse in any form is unacceptable. No one is expected to tolerate it and no one should. If you are in an abusive relationship, it’s not doing you, your partner or your children any good by sticking it out. Abusive relationships just follow an endless cycle…calm, abuse, apology and repeat.


  • Disrespect

Neither party feels the need to explain whereabouts, social interactions and both fail to disclose important info. There’s a blatant disrespect about what you do, what your interests are, what you want to do and vice versa. Respect is the foundation of a good relationship, if it’s lacking any attempts to build a sustainable partnership is null and void.


  • Infidelity

There is nothing that spells toxic relationship more than a cheating spouse. A cheat has something innately flawed within that compels them to continue on a path of destructive and hurtful behaviour. They don’t see anything wrong with their actions and expect you to tolerate the behaviour and will probably tell you that you won’t find better than them. Not true, you deserve more.

  • Love lost

It pains you to admit it, but you no longer find yourself in love with your partner anymore. Yes, you will always love them but there’s a huge difference between loving and being in love. You have fallen out of love with them and realise this may have happened a long time ago.


Having children together will always be the bond that ties you together but this doesn’t guarantee a lifetime together and that’s what many couples fail to realise. You are not the same people you were when you first got together and started a family. Your priorities may have changed, you’ve both done some growing and may now aim for different objectives.


Staying together for the sake of the kids means that you’re putting your relationship under further strain. It will begin to show as the walls of an unstable foundation come crashing down around you, with the kids witnessing it all. You owe it to them, your partner and yourself to aim for a more stable home environment. If this means separating or divorcing then so be it.


No, divorce isn’t pretty. And we would all like to believe in the fallacy of forever but the reality is that we are not guaranteed an eternity together. It’s just not practical. With more marriages ending in divorce within the four-year mark in South Africa, it’s perfectly okay to accept that some things are just out of our control.


As a parent, you strive to provide all the necessities for your little ones. A loving home is always high on that list of priorities. Two parents who are big enough to accept that you no longer work as a couple but still do everything to cater to the needs of the child is a bigger achievement than many can attest to. You can raise children together, but this doesn’t mean you have to BE together.


Read: Learning to co-parent with your ex


We place far too many pressures on ourselves: to get married by 30, have kids before 35, buy a house before 40…we should not be pressured into staying in a loveless marriage or relationship. Life is way too short to deny yourself true happiness.


Ten years down the line, would you want your kids to know that they were the reason you stuck it out. That you were unhappy, trapped in a rut all those years? That you chose their “stability” over your self-worth and dignity? Or would you want to tell them how you were scared but you knew you had to take control of your life and make a decision that was in their best interest and yours?


Gone are the days where the stigma of divorce stains a family name. If a woman chooses to leave a toxic relationship and wants to rebuild her life, then who are we as a society to judge her? And rebuild, you will!

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