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Experts Explain Why A Toxic Marriage Is Worse For The Children Than Divorce

Mark Andrew

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Sure, divorce is not – and should not be – the answer to every marital problem. Challenges and differences are normal in every relationship and, as many strong couples would attest, it is possible to find solutions to most concerns without putting an end to the legal union.

Still, it is an undeniable fact that divorce can be absolutely necessary, especially for marriages that are beyond saving. Ask marriage experts and they’d readily tell you that divorce can literally and figuratively be a lifesaver, not only for the couple involved but also for their children.

Take it from psychotherapist Sean Grover who was once approached by a family for counseling. As he sat down to meet with them, he was eventually shocked by the young daughter’s unusual request.

He wrote in a PsychologyToday article:

“Zoe, a shaggy-haired thirteen-year-old with sad eyes, glares at me, arms folded and jaw set; a therapy hostage if I ever saw one. Parents exert their executive power when it comes to therapy, so I don’t expect Zoe to cooperate, especially during our first tumultuous session. To kids like Zoe, therapy is an insult.

“Zoe, however, offers me a deal: ‘I’ll be in therapy with you only if you promise one thing. I want you to convince my parents to get divorced.’ I was flabbergasted by her request, but it opened my eyes to something I had never considered—the positive side of divorce.”

Apparently, her parents’ crumbling marriage was badly affecting Zoe – emotionally, mentally, and even physically.

“Zoe suffered ongoing humiliation in public, in school, and in front of her friends due to her parents’ combative relationship. The verbal abuse she witnessed her mother suffer at the hands of her father never let up. As a result, Zoe struggled with ongoing headaches, depression, and weight problems.


“After meeting with her parents and witnessing their sneering contempt for each other, I understood Zoe’s request. If I could barely stand them for 30 minutes, what must it be like to live with them?”

Fortunately, things changed for the better after the couple decided to go separate ways.

“Within a year after her parent’s divorce, Zoe’s depression lifted: She went from failing school to placing on the honor role. She also had her first boyfriend and became socially outgoing. In fact, I was amazed at how much better life became for everyone.”

So yes, divorce can bring positive effects to people’s lives. In fact, a HolisticLiving article likewise shares how some experts have warned that children of unhappy couples tend to suffer from chronic tension, unstable sense of self, fear of intimacy, and mood problems, among others.

The site tells us:

“Everyone has different ways of raising their children, and you’ll find as many different opinions as there are parents. What most experts will agree on however, is that a marriage with combating parents can be disastrous for the well-being of the children. It’s important to not only do what’s best for your children, but also for yourself and your partner even if that means separation. Consult a counselor to figure out what is best for you and your family.”

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