This article first appeared on DivorcedMoms.com
I didn't want a divorce. In fact, I would have done anything within my power to save my marriage and keep my family intact. Over the years, I've taken some grief for that attitude from those who haven't been in my situation and are rather flippant about how they would react if they had been in my situation.
It's easy to ask, "Why would you want to remain married to a man who no longer wanted to be married to you?" Especially when it is not your man or marriage that is in danger. I loved my husband, our children, the family we had built and our history together. I can think of no better reason to try and stave off a divorce, can you?
Below are the reasons I did everything I could to save my marriage:
1. My children
My children deserved the best life had to offer, they didn't deserve the negative impact of a divorce. An intact family is the best for all children. My children were too good to be left by their father. They deserved to grow up knowing their father would fight to keep their family intact, not walk away from their family. I promised both my children when they were born that I would do what needed to be done to keep them from physical and emotional harm. As their mother, I felt it my responsibility to give them an intact family.
And I didn't want my children to lose the example of parents who worked together to solve a problem. I didn't want them to learn to take the easy way out and maybe one day do the same in their own marriages.
2. I loved my husband
And I believe he loved me. We had our problems, but at no time did my ex behave toward me in any manner that would cause me to question his love for me. Granted we had problems and he did things that irritated me, but I'm a strong believer in "til death do us part" and in the absence of abuse or addiction, feel anyone who has made those vows should put the health of a marriage and spousal relationship first.
The love I felt for him drove me to put his needs and our relationship before anything. When he paced the floor and said, "If it weren't so cliché, I'd say I was having a midlife crisis," I knew he was in trouble. The man I loved was in crisis. A crisis that was causing him to behave badly toward me but I loved him in sickness and in health and to this day wish he had given me the opportunity to support him the way he had supported me during my past depression.
At the time, I hurt for him as much as I did for our children and myself. My hands were tied, I was losing something precious to me. Something that would cost me immeasurable pain and I knew that he would one day regret his decision to divorce and feel the same pain. And in the end, he did.
3. I feared the collateral damage
I liked my life the way it was and I knew with a divorce life would change drastically. I adored my in-laws, his brothers, and their wives. I knew that once we were divorced those relationships would change, that we would become strangers. They were a part of a family that I valued and I couldn't fathom how painful it would be without them in my life. Once the divorce was final, I lost contact with his side of the family. No phone calls, no visits. Not even an interest in our children. When he left, they went with him.
4. The loss of our plans and goals
Things that I thought were set in stone would disappear if we divorced. Where we had planned to retire to, the home we were going to build and grow old together in, where our children would finish high school. College plans for our children, talks we had had about one day being grandparents together. It would all go up in smoke.
What life was going to look life 10 and 20 years down the road was wiped clean with my divorce and at the age of 47, I was left with a blank slate to fill in. Although it has been many years and I've made new plans, I still fill the sting of not getting my plan A. With divorce, I'm not sure one ever fully heals from some losses.
5. I knew that the statistics were against us
First marriages have about a 45 percent chance of being successful. Second marriages only have a 25 percent chances of lasting. Third marriages even less.
If he or I remarried, our chances of another divorce were high and I didn't understand throwing away a first marriage in favor of moving on to a second or third that have even less chance of survival. I've chosen not to remarry, he remarried 4 years after our divorce. His second marriage also ended in divorce. He has recently remarried for a third time. He is a textbook example of what can happen when one engages in serial marriage.
I'd rather be alone than remarry and take the chance of ever experiencing another divorce!