Don’t lie to your kids you are staying in a bad marriage for their sake

british-flag     jahorina-zastava-srpska

Tolerating a bad marriage for your kids’ sake is the same as bombing for peace or fucking for virginity. Impossible. Contradictory. I don’t get it, what could be so bad about a civilised divorce that has not already happened ten times worse in a bad marriage?

It seems the problem is that, to Serbs, a civilised divorce has become an oxymoron, something that does not exist, invisible, almost a myth. A civilised divorce among the Serbs is like a draught. Everybody has heard of it but nobody has ever seen it. If you have divorced in a civilised manner, consider yourself hit. Either by draught or civility, in any case, you are not in your right mind.

If a marriage is bad, that already means that the kids are not ok. Your kids suffer much more than you because they feel everything, although you do not say anything to them. They feel so bad that a divorce cannot make things worse. For a long time they have not been able to understand how it is possible for you to say you love them while it is so obvious that you do not love each other. Aren’t your kids supposed to be the result of your love? They do not understand why you sleep in separate rooms, why you say it is nothing when you are asked why you are crying, why they must leave the room when you start quarrelling. They do not understand why you never kiss in front them, why you never hold each other’s hands and why you say bad things about each other. All this is more than enough to make them feel bad…

And if, out of your own selfishness, you worry that after the divorce your kids will fall under the influence of the other parent, or for the same reason, driven by cowardice, you decide to stay in that marriage, you should know that if you are a good person and a good parent, your kids will always love you and respect you whether you have been an ideal spouse or not. Because a good person knows how to love, a good parent can set an example how to love, and an ideal spouse does not exist. They will also realise that when they grow up.

Let your kids grow up slowly. Don’t steal their childhood from them by your quarrels. Have patience until they are mature enough to understand your behaviour. If you have raised your kids and taught them how to act with love – they will understand it. If you fear that – reconsider. Reconsider whether you have given them more love or more money, more hugs or more toys, more understanding or more false promises. If you have, they will know one day that the divorce came as the most beautiful present they could get from that bad marriage.

Divorces, of whatever kind they may be, civilised or not, have their expiry date. After that they become a repressed memory or a life lesson. They fade, wash away, evaporate, at least when it comes to pain, bitterness and resentment. Bad marriages that have no end generate sadness and fear. They run on arguments, tears and pain like a perpetuum mobile, moving through your life to infinity. Therefore, if there is something worse than a bad marriage and its end, then it’s those bad marriages that never end.

Translated from the Serbian by Svetlana Milivojević-Petrović