Life Without Baby

Filling the silence in the motherhood discussion

Free to be Happy July 29, 2011

It came as no great surprise when friends announced recently that they were getting a divorce. They’d been emotionally separated for years and a new job for one had made them physically separated, too. It was hard to see why they’d ever gotten together in the first place, as they always seemed mismatched. But they had kids, and the kids were the reason they’d stayed together.

Fifteen years ago, when I told friends I was leaving my first husband, no one was surprised, and more than one said, “Thank goodness you didn’t have kids together.”

Even now I’m unable to have children with Mr. Fab, I’m still grateful that I didn’t have to drag kids through what would have been a much messier divorce than it was. But how many people do you know who’ve stayed in unhappy marriages because of the kids?

I’m not suggesting being childfree makes it easy to flit around relationships without having to commit, but not having the responsibility for other young lives offers a kind of freedom to find happiness for ourselves.

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5 Responses to “Free to be Happy”

  1. Jen Says:

    I have a friend, who I have known for the past 10 years, who is in a very unhappy marriage with a 7 year old child and this has been going since her child was born and they wed (around the same time) and now she is at her breaking point of wanting out of the marriage. They don’t even share the same bedroom for over the past 2 years and the communication between them is gone basically. They have always had seperate bank accounts since they were together almost 6 years before getting married and continued it that way (which I personally don’t agree with once you are married) and her hubby is filing for bankruptcy and she has no idea where all his money has gone because she doesn’t have access to his account(s) and they have nothing “visible” to show for it like a brand new kitchen or new bathrooms or new vehicles or exotic vacations. I can’t even imagine how much damage this has done to her daughter in the sense of what she will grow up thinking a marriage is suppose to be because this is all she has known. I have told her, she needs to move on and get out of this marriage for her own sake and for her daughter. Children are so impressionable in this prime years, I fear the damage has already been done.

  2. You’re so right. I had an abusive first marriage, and because I only had myself (and 2 cats) to look after the ‘getting out’ was relatively easy. A dear friend is a single mum and she stays in touch with her vile ex-husband because their son wants to see him. He was too young to see what a bad man his dad really is, and what he put her through, which is a blessing. I think he’ll eventually make his own mind up about his dad.

    I’m about to celebrate my 2nd anniversary with my lovely husband. I can truly say that, even if we never have children, I don’t regret anything about our life together.

  3. Mali Says:

    You’re so right. After a few wobbly years over a decade ago, I now take time to ensure our relationship is on track. Because I can. And I’m very thankful for that. I’ve watched a friend go through a divorce over the last few years and I know that much of the pain for her was seeing her children go through pain too. That said, the rules and discipline around child access means that they see more of their father now than they ever did when he was married and living at home. Men!

  4. Lara Says:

    I find so annoying those couples staying together “for the kids”! It’s obvious that with kids, divorcing becomes much harder but couples staying together “for the kids” are lying to themselves: they stay together because they are too scared to deal with their mistakes and they disguise their lack of courage behind a sacrifice for the kids. But here is what the kids really get out of that “sacrifice” (on top of culpability for being the cause of their parents’ misery): the skill to keep a doomed miserable union dragging for years…

  5. Kelly Says:

    My husband and I are in the midst of a separation right now, and as I fill out the separation agreement all I can think of is how relieved I am that we don’t have a child custody battle to go through. And knowing myself, I would have stayed with him had we been fertile. I’m so glad I don’t have to stay.


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