The Kid Isn't Alright in Parents' Divorcing Situation

A father wants to divorce his wife, but he has concerns over his daughter's feelings.

Dear Lizzie,

I am 40 years old, and I have been married for five years. My wife and I have a beautiful 3-year-old daughter together.

Of those five years, three of them have been horrible. I stuck through it for four years, and the last three have been nothing but heartache and misery.

I’ve tried to continue and make it work, but I’m at a point where I am so tired and exhausted. The marriage is over.

One night, I met a very attractive woman. We went out on a date, but we didn’t do anything. We sat and talked for two hours—nothing physical.

My wife found out about it, and I finally came clean, and it solidified the end of my marriage.

The worst part is my daughter is stuck in the middle. She spends time away from me with her mother. We constantly take breaks, and she’s shuttled between us. It’s like we’re divorced anyway.

Should I save my marriage or should I end it? The past three years have drained me. I’d like to know what you think: Should I stay or should I go?

-- The Kid Isn’t Alright, Doylestown


Dear Kid,

This is just my advice, and if you would like to seek professional advice, go for it.

From my aspect of it, you’re breaking up constantly, and she’s constantly moving out and moving in. This situation is so confusing for your daughter.

I’m all about keeping it together, but you have to go through steps. If you’ve exhausted all those steps—for instance, marriage counseling and talking with a confidant at your church—and that’s all failed, then yes, it’s time to separate.

It will be better for your daughter; there will be no more arguing in front of her, and she will not see the sadness of her dad and her mom.

You got pushed to a point where you went out with another woman. You made the decision to go out with another woman, and maybe this woman is playing a small role in a big production.

If you look back in a couple years and say, “I went out with this woman, and it pushed it to happen,” then maybe it’s the best scenario right now.

People get married, and people have children, and some last, and some don’t. I’m just being realistic.

I hope that you have tried your best in saving the marriage, but more often than not, it’s best to just call it quits.

I remember when my mom and dad got divorced, and how the fighting stopped. My dad was no longer upset all the time, and there was no more screaming at him from my mom. It suddenly felt like I didn’t come from a divorced family. I was able to spend time with each, and it was great.

There are things to do to make it work for your daughter. If you two are amicable, and you have a working relationship with your ex-wife, go over for dinner and tuck your daughter in together. My dad did it with me, and it made it better.

You have to make things as normal as possible, but explain to your daughter what is happening, and how mom and dad get along so much better now.

Children aren’t stupid—they know what is going on. Let her know the situation: You couldn’t be 100 percent there for her the way it was before, but now you can be this way for her now.

Most importantly, you must explain to her that it has nothing to do with her. A lot of children look back on it and think it was their fault.

I don’t care if it’s years to come. You have to constantly reassure her it had nothing to do with her because it doesn’t.

My advice to both of you is the harder you make it, the harder it will be on the child.

Everything must be smoothly moved along. Some divorces can be horrible and dysfunctional.

I wish you and your current wife the best of luck with everything. My hope is everyone comes to a place of friendship and understanding.

Write to "Dear Lizzie" at dearlizziepatch@gmail.com. You may write anonymously.


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