There is a good argument out there about parents who have experienced infidelity. The argument centers around staying married for the kids’ sake. If that is the ONLY reason you’re staying, then you will be better off divorced. But, your kids may not fare so well.
Studies indicate that there are lifelong consequences for kids who experience their parents getting a divorce.
- Children from divorced homes suffer academically. They experience high levels of behavioral problems. Their grades suffer, and they are less likely to graduate from high school.
- Kids whose parents divorce are substantially more likely to be incarcerated for committing a crime as a juvenile.
- Because the custodial parent’s income drops substantially after a divorce, children in divorced homes are almost five times more likely to live in poverty than are children with married parents.
- Teens from divorced homes are much more likely to engage in drug and alcohol use, as well as sexual intercourse than are those from intact families.
- Children from divorced homes experience illness more frequently and recover from sickness more slowly.6 They are also more likely to suffer child abuse.
- Children of divorced parents suffer more frequently from symptoms of psychological distress.
- And the emotional scars of divorce last into adulthood.
So parents who are considering divorce are statistically likely to put their kiddos through these things. Some kids don’t experience these but the probability increases.
The Wallerstein study shows that the effects of divorce can last 25 years! Yep. You read that correctly. (the linked article above has all of the references linked)
“Contrary to what we have long thought, the major impact of divorce does not occur during childhood or adolescence. Rather, it rises in adulthood as serious romantic relationships move center stage . . . Anxiety leads many [adult children of divorce] into making bad choices in relationships, giving up hastily when problems arise, or avoiding relationships altogether.”
Wallerstein adds that the problems are compounded by parents who go on to marry another spouse. Feelings of abandonment and confusion are added because of the parent’s desperate attempt to get their own needs met. The driving force for divorced parents is the loneliness that makes people kind of crazy.
The desperation for a single parent to find someone who will love and accept them causes them to almost forget about their first family.
“Children never get over divorce. It is a great loss that is in their lives forever. It is like a grief that is never over. All special events, such as holidays, plays, sports, graduations, marriages, births of children, etc., bring up the loss created by divorce as well as the family relationship conflicts that result from the ‘extended family’ celebrating any event.”
The article goes on to say that parents should take a LONG PAUSE before pursuing divorce. That’s what I am doing now. I am pausing. Though Allie is remorseful and apologetic, I am still triggered every day, every hour by thoughts. I am wrestling with the decision of staying or leaving after discovering her second affair.