My parents long-time marriage might be ending:(.. Help..advice? — The Bump
November 2011 Moms

My parents long-time marriage might be ending:(.. Help..advice?

Hi bumpies.  Life overall has had many blessings since our LO came around, and thank god for him!  He continues to be the most amazing, sweet, funny (and fast paced) toddler!  I am normally so private, but I just had to share this with you and please give me any input or words of encouragement you might have and feel free to PM me too.

The past year we have definitely had some crazy challenges and every time I think we've overcome an insanely stressful time something else hits.  This summer my dad confided in me while we happened to be visiting from out of town that he was very unhappy with how things have been with my mom, who he has been with for over 30 years.  My family is very close knit and this is very uncharasteric of my dad to be so frank and has never talked bad to me about my mom but I think he was at his wits end and I happened to be there and I get the feeling he has been thinking about it for some time.  There are no major issues here (ie cheating/gambling/etc), but my mom is a very passionate and can be very argumentative, and he is a quiet and conflict AVOIDER and after a lifetime of this he sounded like he's emotionally exhausted.  But he wasn't really strongly vocalizing any of this to her and she's been this way overall for a while and got comfortable with how she was towards him.  And he was telling me that if she did not start changing he might leave, and that he hadn't told her about any of his work stresses or about this and I couldn't tell anyone (um..... that is a LOT of burden).  At first, I thought he was venting... but everything keeps spiraling out of control quickly!!!  My mom found out a few weeks later about his unhappiness and figuring out he may have been venting to people (not from me) and they have been arguing big time ever since.  And now that it seems the issue is "out in the open" I am suddenly constantly put in the middle with the he said/she said moments.  And being a best friend and confidant for my younger sister.  My mom felt like her whole world is suddenly collapsing and feels like this is coming from nowhere- she definitely assumed she would grow old with him and our family unit was forever, but my dad seems like he's totally checked out and "staying" for a bit and he's started going to independent counseling, but mainly because my sister and I begged him to talk to someone.  There has been NO marriage counseling together, and to be honest, every time we talk to my dad the feeling that I get is that he doesn't even want to save it.  Although I cannot even imagine, he is planning next steps of possibly moving and being done with the marriage. I literally have to pretend that this whole scene is a movie or something but I cannot wrap my brain around it being me.

We are are that family that has big holiday traditions, girls weekend to the beach, family vacations all together, and now it is horrible going crazy.  None of my friends are in this boat really, and I've been doing some research to look for any sort of community to feel like I'm not alone in this process, so any ideas would be great.  I know that it's between my parents, and I am definitely being put in some uncomfortable positions by my dad's conversations over the past few months- I've told them both that they need to talk/communicate and work it out together.  I know all of the probably "appropriate" things to say like not to get me involved, etc etc, and I also know that it was not appropriate for him to tell his kids before even telling my mom, and now to be putting us in akward positions.  But I am secretly terrified that if I don't have any insight into how things might be going... it's just possibly going to altered forever.  And terrified that my assumption of my LO's growing up with his grandparents will be drastically different, and my husband whose parents went through a messy divorce when he was young is really frustrated at the whole situation, especially for how much it affects me and he knows understands long term how it could be super messy.  It all sucks in every way.  Between the talks and vents, plus working fulltime and having an insanely active toddler and life.. it is so much. 

Please send hugs, and any and all advice, it's needed!:)  Thanks bumpies. 

Re: My parents long-time marriage might be ending:(.. Help..advice?

  • I'm really sorry that your family is going through all of that right now. I hope your parents can work through their problems & save their marriage. I wish you all peace as things are resolved.
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    flipflops01
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  • Wow...that's pretty heavy. My parents have what I call an "Emotional Divorce". My father is the same way as yours with avoiding conflict, and my mother thinks she needs to know everything and spreads her opinion all over the place. My father doesn't believe in divorce (although I think it would be easier if they did get one).

    It seems like there's a lot of bitterness going on between your parents, and you can't let that get you down. I have no advice beyond what you are already doing. No one can make your father stay, but perhaps if he does move out and your parents try to find their individuality again, they could try to restart as a couple at that point. Remind your mom that even an old dog needs to learn new tricks to be noticed like a puppy. (Not that I'm calling your mom an old dog.) I hope the situation settles down soon and there's a happy ending for all!

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  • No real advice, but I have been there with the parent sharing stuff that I wish they wouldn't....my mother has let me know in various ways over the years that she and my father have not had "marital relations" in forever.  Ugh.

    I don't know if my parents are quite "emotionally divorced" but they definitely have their issues.  (Everyone does.)  I really don't think they are going to get a divorce - I think it's a we can tolerate living together better than we could tolerate living apart sort of thing.

    I think it is definitely a good thing that your father is going to counseling!  Even if it is just individual for now.  Would your mom go to therapy (individual), too?  (Oh, I wish I could get my mom to therapy!)  That might help both of them.  Or maybe a starting point to get them eventually into couples therapy.

    I'm sorry you are in the middle of this.  This is something your parents have to work out on their own and unfortunately, there is nothing you or your sister can do so putting you in the middle of it is nothing but harmful.

    FWIW re: your LO:  it sounds like he already has one set of divorced grandparents so I know what YOU envisioned for him will be different, but he will know it just as it is.  My grandparents divorced when I was like in 2nd grade or something and I was basically not told about it.  I think I overheard my parents talking about it once and that's how I figured it out, but other than that, I'm not sure I was ever told directly.  My grandfather had been *mostly* out of the picture for awhile (we would see him very rarely) but then I just never saw him again.  It was WEIRD.  Anyway....it's a long story, but my point of that is probably just to be as open as appropriate with LO.  At this age, he probably doesn't know a lot, but by 2nd grade, someone should have explained to me what was going on (I think).
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  • Thank you for sharing.  I agree and think it could be a very good thing if they  both ended up splitting apart for a few months while going to counseling and working on stuff individually a bit and get perspective, but we shall see. ..
  • flipflops01flipflops01 member
    edited August 2013
    and thank you girls for your sharing and words of comfort.  Much appreciated!  Are there any good books that you read or articles on subject?  I am finding although that routine exercise has actually been really helpful!!  And an ocassional glass of wine before bed, ha!
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