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Old 03-12-2019, 09:36 PM #1
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Default Divorce timing thoughts?

Wife and I have planned to divorce after our 16 yo high school junior goes to college. Reasoning is that we are in a low conflict marriage and disrupting child’s home before then creates more harm than benefit for the child. Now, I am thinking the better course would be to separate the Spring before child graduates from high school so child has the benefit of supportive friends and a period of adjustment before college. Child is a “good kid” without any particular needs or challenges who is pretty much going to be extremely hurt no matter when the divorce happens.
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Old 03-13-2019, 03:10 PM #2
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Smile Re: Divorce timing thoughts?

Hello JimW: Thank you for bringing your concern here to PC. I see this is your first post. So... welcome to PsychCentral. One additional forum, here on PC, that may be of interest to you would be the relationships & communication forum. Here's a link:

https://forums.psychcentral.com/rela...communication/

I don't think your concern is one I would be able to address knowledgeably. Hopefully there will be other members who will have some insights they can offer. In the meantime, though, here are links to 7 articles, from Psych Central's archives, on the subject of divorce & the impact of divorce on children that may be of interest:

Are You Ready For Divorce? 8 Questions You Should Answer

Want a Divorce? Stop the Emotional Yo-Yo and Be Clear About It

The Differences in Divorce for Men and Women

Extremities: The Pain and Promise of Divorce

https://psychcentral.com/lib/kids-an...-tough-issues/

https://psychcentral.com/news/2008/0...eens/1766.html

https://psychcentral.com/blog/the-ps...dult-children/

I hope you find PC to be of benefit.
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Old 03-13-2019, 03:45 PM #3
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Default Re: Divorce timing thoughts?

Hello JimW23,

I am so sorry that you and your wife are in this painful situation. I don't think there's ever a "good" or "better" time for a child's parents to get divorced. However, there is substantial research indicating that, overall, children are healthier in the long-term when two unhappy parents divorce rather than staying together "for the children's sake."

I think what could make a difference to your child's response is not when the divorce occurs but how. By that I mean, thoughtful discussions from you and your wife with your child...based on research-recommended communication tips. For example, emphasizing that the divorce was not caused or triggered by your child in any way (children tend to assume that). And by proceeding with the divorce process with full responsibility on both sides (you and your wife) that you will make it as peaceful as possible and not go to war with each other. People often assume a peaceful divorce at the beginning but the stress and confusion often trigger some very challenging behaviors and interactions. Each of you respecting your child's relationship with the other parent and not trying to influence it in any way could be invaluable. Basically making peace, respect, and healthy boundaries the top priorities for all three of you.

Personally, I think the sooner we can live our most authentic lives, the better for ourselves and our loved ones. You mentioned that you are not in a high-conflict marriage. I'm not exactly sure what you mean by that. It is certainly good if you two aren't openly fighting all the time. That said, when a husband and wife live together and don't actually want to be...well your child very well could be picking up on some level of tension or unhappiness already. So I don't think delaying the inevitable would necessarily be helpful.

Would you or your wife consider talking with a therapist? They have done a lot of research and know the most helpful ways to communicate the end of a marriage to a child. As I said, I believe the how is more important than the when.

These of course are just my thoughts from a place of care and regard for all three of you. You may not agree.

Peace and hope to you, your wife, and your child.
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Old 03-13-2019, 08:53 PM #4
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Default Re: Divorce timing thoughts?

I like what was said about living an authentic life.

I wonder how the child would feel at the thought of being "sacrificed" over? Could it breed future resentment? Does life after the child becomes an adult wind up looking more like a mid life crisis?

Sometimes good intentions pave a bitter path...
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Old 03-15-2019, 05:56 AM #5
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Default Re: Divorce timing thoughts?

I agree with SilverTrees about the importance of communicating with your son. Only your son can tell you how he feels and what would be better for him. Perhaps he can't tell that directly but gradually through a process of small chats where you open up with him (without saying more than he is ready for) and he feels able to open up with you.

Perhaps ask other adult friends for support so that you can talk to your son in a receptive rather than an too-emotional or too-distant manner.

I also think that the most important thing for children is to know that they have a HOME, rather than a series of temporary accommodations. The biggest harm that I've seen done to children was in the second/ third stage after the divorce when children deal with their parents having new partners: where children are passed between two new families. Their parents used the children to express jealousy, one-up, compete with, or attack the other parent. I think that it's a priority for children to have a HOME even if that means compromise for each parent's emotional and relational lives. You can find ways to give children stability and to let them know that their needs are important. For example, one friend and her second husband maintain separate living spaces for their children from previous marriages, until the children are grown. It's their way of saying that children get choices too.

That's the point where children can be completely destabalised.
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