I had a rough marriage. I was scared. I was lost. I didn’t feel happy. I’ve been keeping the feelings about the moment I decided to separate from my husband to myself for a long time. I finally decided it was time to open up about the moment I decided to leave in hopes that I can help other parents who are going through the same thing. Am i nervous to be judged for my decisions, YES! But I also know I’m not the only one who has experienced this dilemma and I want to help others know you’re not alone. So… here’s my story:


After many years of therapy, hardships, not getting alone, fighting, and pure unhappiness. I made a decision to do better for my children and remove us from that toxic situation. I fought for our marriage with everything in me but my husband didn’t put in the same effort. It was the same thing, day after day. The final straw was seeing our kids run to their room in tears because “mommy” and “daddy” were fighting… again! It was in that moment that I realized my kids deserve better than this. They deserve a healthy atmosphere full of love and happy times. So, that is the moment I made the final decision to split with my husband. GASP! I experienced a moment of panic! It started to sink in that I would no longer be raising my children with their father. I was in pure panic over what everyone around me would think because i made the decision to break up our family.

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I thought that because I was the one deciding to leave, I would be seen as the problem and the reason it didn’t work out. I tried my best, I really did. I wanted to have a happy family together, it just wasn’t working. So, I had to do what is best for my kids and myself. I had to separate from my husband. And just as I thought, I was bombarded with the ever dreaded questions soon after our separation.


“Did you try to make it work, Like really try?”

“Don’t you think it would be better for your kids to have both parents at home?”

“Are you sure this is the best option, why not try counseling?”

“What about the kids, is this what they want?”


This is exactly what I feared. I froze. I thought everyone turned against me. How in the world do I respond to these questions as I’m going through the most difficult time in my life? How do I not take these questions personally? There were a lot of thoughts racing through my head but I had to remember my friends and family are just trying to help. They want what is best for the kids, just like I do.


Trying to address these questions has been difficult. I can’t help but feel judged and alone, however, I do my best to address their concerns with respect because I know they just want what is best for us. Let’s dig into some of the difficult questions I had to answer.


“Did you try to make it work, Like really try?”


OF COURSE WE TRIED! But there are relationships that just don’t work out. The only reason anyone is giving you flack rather than being supportive is because they know the child’s time, affection and energy will be split between two or more homes. Trying to make a relationship work isn’t the best solution if you feel there is no growth, support, love, or understanding in the relationship. Being a couple in any relationship takes a lot of work. If both sides aren’t willing to do what is necessary to keep the relationship healthy, there is no option other than go their own ways for the sake of the child. The child should grow up in a home with love, support, and happiness… not fighting and unhappy parents.


“Don’t you think it would be better for your kids to have both parents at home?”


Most people don’t understand what it is like for a parent and child to live in a split home, All they can see is that the parents will no longer be in the same house. I can tell you first hand that it is unhealthy to be around someone who cares more about himself than me or his two children. My ex was emotionally damaging and physically exhausting to be around. The best decision I made for my boys was to take us out of that scenario. Try to imagine how much damage it can cause your child as they watch their parents yell and scream at each other, day after day. There is no question that it is much healthier for my two boys to live in two homes, without screaming parents, than in one home with a ton of fighting and unhappy parents!


“Are you sure this is the best option, why not try counseling?”


Counseling is a wonderful resource to explore, one that has helped keep many families together. But, what if you want to go to counseling but your significant other is unwilling? What if you tried counseling and it didn’t help or even made matters worse? For one reason or another, counseling is not always a good option for everyone. In order to work, both people need to want their relationship to work, and many people are unable to make that commitment.


“What about the kids, is this what they want?


This is the question that hurts and aggravates me the most. OF COURSE the children want their parents to stay together. This is the only time I will say that my kids will not get what they want. They may never understand why their parents decided not to live together, and if they do they may not understand until they are much older. When I was just two years old, my mother divorced my father. At the time, I didn’t understand why nor did I agree with it. What I do remember is that I wanted her to be with my “daddy” so much that I would scream at the top of my lungs. Looking back, I know it was crazy of me to do that, but at the time it seemed normal. As I got older and saw the loving, nurturing, and caring relationship my mother had with my step dad. It was then that I truly understood why she chose not to live with my father. He was a good man, but he drank a lot and wasn’t reliable in the way that my step dad is.

My biological dad also didn’t take into account what my mother needed. Rather, he was too focused on what he wanted and needed.  It’s a sad story, but when I was five years old my dad disappeared. I saw him only two more times before he died. I was about thirteen years old when that happened and I remember how sad it made me. At just three years of age, I didn’t know what was best for me, but I know now that my mother knew what was best for us both.


As parents, we all make mistakes. Separation should be a last resort, a decision made after careful thought about the consequences of both staying together and living apart. I accept that I am responsible for the life, good and bad, that my children live and will always do my absolute best to give them the life they deserve. That is why I made the decision to make a happy family environment from what was once a toxic family environment. To this day, i stand firmly in the belief that I made the right decision for all of us.



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About Grace McSpadden

Grace McSpaddenGrace McSpadden is a novelist and film Producer living in Los Angeles. She grew up in a mixed family feeling close with her two step siblings, half sibling, and brother. She has the utmost respect for what her mother and step dad taught her about family. Newly married, Grace found love with a man who adores her two boys from a previous relationship. Together they do their best to keep a loving and happy home with their children and little pug Dude. Grace is currently in the process of getting her first book published while working out as often as possible and talking non-stop about Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings and Star Wars.

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