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My husband and I are considering a separation.I do not want to separate or divorce, but things do need to change in some ways in our marriage. We have a 16 year old daughter who is very close to Dad. She wants us to divorce, I think to give her a new life. She wants to live with her Dad. She never wants to talk to me, says she hates me, saya its going to be so much better without me. I feel like the bigest obstacle to a recovery for my husband and myself is our own daughter.
Hi, I'm sorry to delay getting back to you and truly sorry to hear about your difficulties. I'm raising two girls alone, my husband having left me nearly four years ago for another woman and so I write to you from experience and from my heart. Generally, I don't believe in divorce but, in my case, I had no choice when my husband left me. (You haven't mentioned the specific problems at home so I have no idea if they relate to domestic abuse, alcohol or drug abuse, etc. If so, you should seek professional help in addition to anything I'm suggesting below and I urge you to seek it as soon as possible.)
Generally speaking, however, for too many years, I think our society has been lulled into believing it's easier to give up on a difficult problem rather than try and fix what may be wrong. Marriage vows are not taken as seriously as they should be because people believe they always have an "out," perpetually believing that the grass is greener -- a better life and happiness are out "there" somewhere. But they're not. Life on the other side, going through separation and divorce, is a nightmare. And the only place happiness and contentment come from is within.
It sounds like you're clear about what you want and what needs to be done -- you don't want to walk out on your marriage, but things need to change. That's great. Focus on that for now and how you're going to go about achieving that. Talk with a therapist, counselor, pastor, friends and, in the end, listen to your heart and start taking steps to accomplish your goal based on what feels right in your heart. Obviously do not let yourself be walked on but, before you do anything, before every conversation you have with your husband and daughter, take a moment to breathe, set an intention to have patience, and then fill your heart with the love and compassion you obviously have for your husband and child.
I too have a 16 year old daughter. My situation is not as you describe with yours, however. Nevertheless, a 16 year old is still a 16 year old, in my view. That means at times headstrong, searching for independence, narcissistic and playing off mommy vs. daddy. At that age, sometimes girls get to be "daddy's girls," too, and mom is often the one doling out the discipline. If you believe as you say that your daughter is a big obstacle to your marriage and that she wants to live with dad, you and your husband are obviously not on the same page when it comes to raising her. "Good cop, bad cop" won't work here. You need to be on the same page. As the years go on, hopefully your daughter will learn, too, and you will help show her, that problems don't get "fixed" by walking away from them. The biggest example she will have for her future is the one you and your husband set. Too many couples believe that what's wrong in their marriage can be fixed by finding somebody else to replace the mate they already have; statistics show, however, that second marriages are more doomed than the first. It sounds like your daughter wants a divorce because she thinks that will fix whatever is wrong. Life doesn't work that way and fixing what's wrong starts in the heart, with each person looking within. Show her that giving up and walking away, at least without trying everything possible first, is not the answer to solving difficult problems.
I truly believe there's no obstacle you can't overcome if you and your husband are willing to work together. Unfortunately, I didn't have a mate who felt the same way. I don't know if you believe in prayer or not, but I do. Even if you don't, I'll pray on this end for you and your family. What I'm suggesting is not easy so while it sounds like a good plan, I know you have a difficult road in front of you. I do promise, however, that giving it your best will leave you with fewer regrets and make you a stronger, more courageous person. Each difficulty you solve will give you the strength and joy to face the next one. I wish you all the best.
Posted On 2006-10-06 10:42:37
It's not up to your daughter to decide whether or not this marriage is going to survive. It's unfortunate that she's so hostile toward you and that's something you definitely want to get some help dealing with. Because whether or not you and your husband remain married, you and she will forever be mother and daughter. But it seems to me that your top priority at this point is to work on the "changes" you and your husband need in your marriage. Those are issues between you that are infecting the harmony of the marriage. It's not your daughter who is the "biggest obstacle". She may be a symptom of what's not working between you and your husband... but she's not the problem. My best advice is for you and your husband to get an appointment with a licensed marriage and family therapist and begin the work that your family desperately needs. Good luck! In friendship, Annie Fox
Posted On 2006-09-05 21:26:29
Being pulled between the two most important things in your life is a difficult situation. The first thing to do is to talk to your husband. The two of you need to decide what is best for your marriage. Please remember that the union between the two of you is between the two of you. While what is best for your children is very important, do not let your daughter's desire for a "new life" be your deciding factor as to end your marriage or not. Talk with your husband and try to seek couple's counseling. At some point, your counseling sessions will involve your daughter. At that time, the three of you can work towards some betterment of your relationship. It appears that she is interested in living with dad for her own reasons. She is sixteen years old and most sixteen year olds think about themselves. Do not let this offend you. Take the first step by talking with you husband about counseling and perhaps making a list of what needs to be worked on to begin to make a better marriage. In the meantime, please let you daughter know that you and her father will decide what is best for everyone. Good Luck.
Posted On 2006-09-05 07:55:56