Q: Dr. Hurd, Is it proper to stay together for the benefit of your children? I’m considering divorce of my wife, but worry about the kids.

A: No, not just for your children. If you are literally doing it ONLY for your children, then you are going to resent them and hurt their self-esteem and also show them a poor model for a marital relationship. At the same time, you owe it both to your children and yourself to make absolutely sure that you have tried everything to make your marriage happier—and, once you run out of ideas and/or it becomes clear nothing is working, then you need to start talking with your wife about rationally separating. Expect her to be resistant and somewhat emotional at first (assuming she doesn’t yet agree divorce is warranted or desirable), but ultimately, as Aristotle wrote, “A is A” and she will have to accept the reality of what’s happening and would serve her own and the kids’ interests better by working with you than paying a lawyer to do it very inefficiently and inhumanely through a family court system.

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