Carolyn Hax: Their marriage is a B. Do they stay in there for the kids?

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Adapted from an online discussion.

Dear Caroline: If I had to rate my marriage, I would give it a B. I don’t want to have a B marriage, but I have toddlers. The thought of putting them through a divorce is like a punch in the gut. I am a child of divorced parents, and it blew up my childhood. If I jumped in front of a ball for my kids, then why shouldn’t I stay in a B marriage for them? It is a happy house; their dad is a wonderful man and father, he’s just not my wonderful man. Help me see through this.

B.: It’s a lot of what with not a lot of why.

Were there A-feelings before toddlers? Could they come back when you stop having toddlers (which is really, really hard)? Are there any obstacles that therapy could remove? And…well, I’m not comfortable with the whole “staying in a marriage for the kids” thing, although the potential trauma to your children is obviously factored into any decisions.

I don’t even have enough to guess if it’s a wait or release moment, so I’ll say therapy, solo, to help you with your vision.

Carolina: The “why” mostly relates to the relational conveyor belt of dating for X years, getting engaged, getting married…and my feeling all along like “that’s not the one, but that’s not either that one”. I love him, he loves me, but we don’t have that little spark.

Ignoring that doubt now seems insane, although I will never regret our marriage, both for what I have learned throughout it and for my children, who are brilliant and wonderful and amaze me every day. . We’re in marriage counseling, and I’m still in individual counseling. What I don’t think counseling can cure is that little voice in my head that says, “Not your person, not your person, not your person.

B again: Useful, thanks.

Maybe you two aren’t meant for each other – again, I can’t know. But I hope you will also consider: Perhaps there is no “your person” for any of us. It may be up to each of us alone to make our life “our own”, and not to sweep the room in search of better deals. Maybe your framing is outdated and it’s time for new expectations.

This clearly goes against the other advice I have given. However, if things aren’t working as they are and the idea of ​​leaving isn’t working either, break the frame. Decide that he is your person as much as anyone can belong to anyone, so live all-in.

· What is a B-marriage, anyway? What’s missing and what’s not working? Be careful not to judge your marriage by a fantasy vision of what marriage should be like.

· My husband is absolutely MY person. But still, in 20 years, our grades have ranged from an A-plus-plus-plus to a total F-minus. Getting married and raising a family is super hard.

I was in a B relationship for years and am now in an A marriage. But I realized it wasn’t the other person that made it a B, it was the choices I made regarding the relationship. I decided that I would make this wedding the one I wanted. And looking back, I think I could have done that with Girlfriend B. As long as you respect yourself and the other person is kind, generous, and committed to you, I think you can go a long way to a A by deciding that this person is “right” for you.

Long way, not all the way, yes. Thanks.

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