Nance Confer

I am one of those "childless by default" women,

**Better than the other way around. Having children should be an affirmative decision, not the default position.



Oh I practically cheered when my parents divorced (I was 7 or 8 at the time). I hate people who go around advocating that couples with problems stay together "for the children." Kicking my asshole father out was the best thing my mother ever did for me (well... maybe not, she's a pretty awesome mom on a lot of accounts. but it's up there) whereas half the children of married couples I know WISH their parents would divorce. Divorce is not a problem: bad marriages are a problem. Divorce is the solution.

The Happy Feminist

I should have noted that my parents just celebrated their 36th wedding anniversary. It is most upsetting to think my mother might have stuck it out on my account.

My husband, by the way, was really happy when his parents got divorced when he was 12.


All of the studies that say that children turn out better when the parents stay together compare the children of divorced parents to happily married ones. And these studies are the ones used to promote pro-marriage policies. As a social scientist, this irritates me deeply.


All I read was that HappyF is a pervert who liked first date sex.

Ok, well, maybe a little more than that.

As far as I can remember, the studies show that children with parents who are happy are the most happy. It didnt matter whether the parents were divorced, married, worked long hours or 9-5. The critical factor was whether that parent was happy.


I want to read more on your pre-marital sexual dallyings, and so does everyone else, they just won’t come right out and say it. What the hell does “primarily positive” mean anyway? Did you discover the Hitachi magic wand, do the kangaroo shuffle, pull your pubococcygeus, what?! Did you see a million stars in the sky above icy water, beyond a soft beach, where you’d buried the symbol of the change you’d remember forever? Heh. Primarily positive, right.


As a kid (around age 8-9), I also wanted my parents to get divorced. There was always a lot of yelling/verbal abuse and my mom was afraid of my father. So it was obviously in our best interest to not live with him.

They finally divorced when I was in 6th grade. I remember a telling a classmate about it, and him expressing pity for me. I promptly told him not to feel bad, that I was happy with the decision. I think (in addition to living through our horrible family environment) it really helped to have grown up reading about female characters who also had divorced parents (like the Baby-Sitters Club books). It sounds funny, but they made divorce more acceptable and less of a stigma.


As an adolescent I wanted my parents to get divorced too. Not because I wanted one of them out of the house or because they were abusive to each other but because they were spending all their time and energy making vague gestures towards divorce without ever getting there. My mother moved out four or five times in the time between when I was about 13 and when I left for college. I ended up wishing that they'd just get it over with already.


My parents had seperated twice before I was seven, but got back together each time, with a couple more brief and informal seperations later, only to finally divorce when I was a teenager. I cried when they finally made a firm decision, and my first choice certainly would have been for us to be the happy family that we every once in a while had been. But sweet God was it a relief to have them in seperate houses at last, and more of one when I went off to college, stopped moving between their houses, and was out of the crossfire at last. I desperately hope it wasn't for my sake that they kept their claws in each other for so long honestly trying but generally failing to keep their little girl from hearing all the screaming or being subjected to long rants about how horrible her other parent was.

I have no doubt that a HAPPILY married stable family is about the best environment for most kids. It ain't like kids don't pick up on the difference between happy and miserable, folks. I want to scream whenever I hear the phrase "staying together for the children's sake". No doubt I should; it might help some well-meaning parent to actually do the best thing for a child in a position much like mine.

The Happy Feminist

Right on, dragonsmilk!

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