A good relationship takes two, like a good bowl of mac and cheese takes two kinds of cheese to taste good. No matter who or where you are, relationships can be hard, and sometimes kids happen, planned or a surprise. To me, there is never a mistake made; a beautiful being can come from two people. In that time of love and their souls being intertwined, a miracle is made.
People grow and change; at times they grow together and other times they grow apart. Not every relationship is different just like every person is different. You cannot expect the same outcome from a similar situation from different people. Life happens we learn and change as time goes on.
But not everyone is meant to be together in a relationship. I have seen it a million times over, two people have children, and they discover just how different from each other they actually are. Maybe over time they grew apart. Maybe what was cute about each other at first turned into annoying ticks. No matter the reason, sometimes people just are not meant to be together. If kids get involved, it gets a little tricky.
Now I am not saying this is exactly what happens every time, and I am not saying if you disagree with your partner that you should break up. Sometimes all a couple can do is argue and fight -- maybe it doesn’t get physical, but it does get intense. Every couple has an argument here or there. But then there are couples who ONLY fight, and that is not healthy for ANYONE.
Relationships referred to as "toxic" or "gaslighted" are not healthy at all -- it always ends up bad. It hits a point in time when two people just do not belong together. So many times I have seen that the couple just keeps trying over and over and over. But in the end, all they do is hurt each other.
With that said, if children are involved, everything changes. Instead of being just about the two partners, it has to be about the children. What they do affects the children. From personal experience, my parents ended up getting a divorce; they fell out of love, grew in different directions and fought a lot. But they hit a point where they sat down as adults and agreed the best thing for me and my sister was to get a divorce and move on with life. They agreed that they were no longer meant for each other and that all they were doing was traumatizing the kids.
Quite often, one partner discovers just how much the arguing is affecting the children and tries to fix or end it. This goes back to the fact that not every relationship is the same; everyone handles things differently. Either way, one partner or both of them believe that just because they have children together, they must stay together forever.
I do understand where they are coming from; my mom grew up as a single parent, but my dad chose to not be a part of our lives anymore. But in all reality, this is the 21st century; divorce and separation are socially accepted. It has been proven, and I have seen it with my own eyes, just how much less the children suffer after everything settles down from separation.
Sometimes, in order to stay together, the partner that believes they have to try and use the kids as leverage. Saying things such as, "if we aren't together, you cannot see the kids" or "they don't need you; I will find them a new parent," is very petty in my opinion.
I believe that once you have children, they come first no matter what is going on in life or in a relationship. Just because the other person is the parent of that child too does not mean the both of them belong together. If the relationship is "toxic," then why put those miracles through all of that unnecessary stress?
Be adults about the whole situation and move on separate paths while holding the hands of your children together. It is a lot more complicated than that because everyone does react differently. But that is what my mom always told me: once you have children, your dreams are put on hold and they become the top priority.