Did that title catch your eye? God, I hope so, because that is what it was designed to do. It was meant to inspire people to click on and read this blog. However, I realize it could have a different effect. I’m sure there are some people who don’t have much in the way of curiosity. Those folks will read that blog title, think I must be the world’s most rotten bastard, and move on with their day. That’s fine.
To the rest of you, welcome to today’s blog!
Anyone who has been through a break-up (whether it was just someone you were dating, or a divorce) has heard the pearl of wisdom that, if there are children involved, you should never tell them THEY were the reason for the split. But let’s be honest: sometimes they can be.
There are two ways this can happen: directly and indirectly. Let me cover “indirectly” first, since that will be a shorter explanation. When it comes to “directly,” I have some examples (all from the same kid), and they are bound to knock you for a loop.
So what do I mean when I say kids can “indirectly” cause a break-up? It’s quite simple really: these are the break-ups caused by two adults disagreeing on how to raise the children, and both of them being too stubborn to budge or compromise.
When you have two adults who have strong differences of opinion on big issues, then it’s easy to see how the kids can’t be held accountable here. You could replace “kids” with ANYTHING, and it would lead to a split. Just think about it: imagine if two people have a difference of opinion on religion, or abortion, or whether Kirk or Picard made the better captain on Star Trek. Swap out “kids” for anything else, and it’s easy to see how you can’t blame them.
But what about this other category?
How can kids be directly responsible for a break-up? It depends on one thing: how much of a nightmare the child is.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not the kind of person who can tolerate kids only when they are well-behaved, but I bail if they whine. I do know guys like that, sadly. If you ask them why they dumped their girlfriend, they might say something like, “Aw, dude, we went to the grocery store, and that kid of hers started throwing a fit because he couldn’t get a Kit Kat at the checkout line.” These are the types of people who have apparently forgotten that THEY were a kid once, and they acted the same way.
I don’t run for the hills for the things that I expect. In fact, I don’t take off even if the child has some behavioral issues. (See my previous blog for an example of that.) However, there are certain things that I can’t handle, even though some have said that I have the patience of Job.
I have one prime example of what I mean here. As always, in seeking to protect the innocent, I will address this child by just her first initial, which was A. At first her behavior was nothing new to me, but as time went on, it felt like living with a bully.
For example, I recall getting up on a Saturday morning to use the bathroom. There was a knock at the door. I said, “I’ll be out in a minute.” The response was an angry, irritated bellow from A: “HURRY UP! I’M ABOUT TO PEE MY PANTS!”
Trying to reason with her, I said, “I understand, A, but I’m in mid-stream here.”
As you can guess, this wasn’t good enough. I had to get out of the bathroom NOW NOW NOW. Somehow, I was supposed to know she would wake up and have to pee. This was the basis of A’s problem: everyone and everything in this world existed to meet her needs. No one else mattered.
A didn’t need any reason to wreak havoc on our lives. She did it just because she felt like it, so you can probably imagine that, when my kids came over and did something that stuck in her craw (which of course could be anything…or even nothing), that this sent her acting up into the stratosphere.
Let me begin this next example by explaining that, when we went shopping, we would buy snacks that certain kids liked. In other words, certain foods in the house became “my” food that no one else was supposed to touch. From what I know of parenting, this is standard operating procedure.
Well, get a load of this. It was a Sunday afternoon, getting close to lunch time. A had been difficult all day, but I was dealing with it the best I could. I asked my boys what they wanted for lunch, and they both said sandwiches.
And do you know what our dear friend little Miss A chimed in with?
“You can’t use the bread. That’s mine.”
Un-fucking-real. In fact, it is so unreal that you probably don’t believe me, but I swear it’s true. Despite all the years I’ve been engaged in writing, I could NOT make that one up. (In case you’re wondering: my boys DID wind up eating sandwiches.)
However, I think my favorite example of her unreasonable behavior was the night we decided we were going to order out for dinner instead of cooking. A was indecisive about what she wanted to get. By the time she decided, the restaurant had closed, and I shit you not: she stood in the kitchen YELLING at her mother to go down there and tell them to open back up.
Welcome to the wild, wonderful world of A. What I mean is, YOU are welcome to it if you want it. As for me, I bailed almost two years ago.
Now that I have written all this out, I think my opinion on the matter is different now.
It isn’t fair of me to say A caused the break-up because she couldn’t help her behaviors. She had mental health issues, but she was a kid. Your average kid isn’t going to know what they can do to get these issues addressed. That falls on the parents. (Or in this case, the PARENT, because her dad was not around.)
A’s mom did start to do some things to cope with her daughter’s behavior, but she dragged her feet about it. By the time the process began, it was too little, too late for me. My ability to tolerate such behavior any further had been worn away, so I had to leave. Again, that’s not on A; that’s on me. It wasn’t her fault that I lacked the ability to hope there would be a light at the end of the tunnel, but for me that passage just went on for far too long. The light at the end was so small that it wasn’t even a tiny dot of illumination cutting through that darkness. However, I wasn’t as concerned about the harm being around such behavior was doing me; I was more concerned about what it was doing to my kids. I mean, imagine going over to see your dad for the weekend, and being stuck in a house where it’s like being around the schoolyard bully for three days. Not the most fun.
In conclusion, I’ve had a change of heart. Even in extreme cases like A, it can’t TRULY be said that the child is directly responsible for the break-up. If action had been taken to address her behaviors sooner, then things wouldn’t have been so bad. Like I said earlier, she was just a kid; it’s not like she had idea where to go for help.
Anyway, folks, there you have it: my argument for why kids CAN cause a break-up, followed by my rebuttal…of myself. I hope you enjoyed it and that you haven’t grown to hate me too much after reading this!