I come from a family where divorce WAS actually the answer. And it wasn't an abusive relationship, it was just a better choice for both parties involved. And in the end, for the kids too. So I guess that's a bit of my perspective. I will still be there for my kids every single day. That's who I am most accountable to at the moment.
This is what I suspected when you mentioned your parent's divorce. It was presented to you as an option in a so-so marriage, i.e., it wasn't abusive.
My husband and I didn't see that in our upbringing. Both of us have parents who are married to their first spouses, one for 47 years and the other for 44.
They had lots of ups and downs. All marriages have this. They had moments of boredom and being trapped. My husband's dad and mom married at 20 and had kids at 21. He often told my husband that was a mistake he shouldn't repeat.
My mom had to travel with my dad moving every few years to various countries, entirely uprooting everything and making new friends each time. It sounds more glamorous than it is (I was there).
My husband and I hit a wall after having two young kids. It was very hard for my husband to understand he couldn't do what he wanted any more without first consulting how it would impact me. That I couldn't play babysitter to our own children so he could get free time, and never allow the same for me.
I had no family and friends nearby. It was horribly hard. The way I handled it was not to have an affair--it was to take out all of my problems on my husband in a self-indulgent, self-centered way.
Then I had a severe leg injury that required 3 surgeries.
Just before that (unbeknownst to me) my husband began a long-term emotional affair.
It took these life events to stop seeing the world as something that was supposed to make me happy. I had to find happiness in the world as it presently existed. Being happy to wash the dishes because we had food to eat that made the dishes dirty and running water to clean them. Being glad that my kids need me because extremely soon they will not hardly need me at all.
Do you know what I said the week before I hurt my leg--from which I may never fully recover? I told my kids' preschool director (at a point of total exhaustion and ennui), "It can't get any worse, can it?" And I will never forget her words--said with no irony at all--"bite your tongue."
But here is something my husband and I said to each other before our problems, and we still say it today. Love is a Decision. It isn't a feeling. Do you believe this to be true?