Staying as a couple for the children: how far should the compromise go?

Having a child is the greatest happiness in the world, but for some couples it can become a “prison” that prevents them from separating. Should we stay as a couple for the children? Ginevra Uguccioni, couples therapist, gives us the keys to relieve guilt.


There are those who can no longer stand each other, those who simply no longer want to go towards the other, and who no longer find the motivation to fight for this couple who were nevertheless so dear to them… To separate or not, that is the question. And when you have children, it takes a whole different turn, because responsibility and guilt often go hand in hand. “We loved each other like crazy. We had two amazing children. But the weight of years, of everyday life … got the better of our couple. I want to experience something else, to free myself from this life full of constraints. But how could I do this to my children? It’s impossible “. The cry of the heart of Virginie, 41, is common on therapists’ couches.

The married couple to the parental couple

The conjugal couple is made up of two individuals who meet. On the arrival of the first child, the couple also take on the role of parental couple. We are no longer just a woman and a man, we become mom and dad, we take a new place. Many couples distinguish between the two, and believe that the conjugal couple should be abandoned in favor of the parental couple. “But the latter is not negative! On the other hand, it implies new responsibilities and a new solidarity in the face of family life. However, the conjugal couple should not be erased, ”explains Ginevra Uguccioni.

At first, it is quite normal for parents to be absorbed in their new role. Baby’s first years are like a tsunami. It is an upheaval, between the lack of sleep, the place that the child takes … You have to be relieved of your guilt even if you abandon your relationship a little. On the other hand, it’s when he fails to regain his balance, even after a few years, that this becomes problematic.

The child as the main reason for staying together

Sometimes breaking up a couple comes with so much hardship and questioning that it’s best to stay together. The important thing is to be aware that there is a problem and to try to improve things. “The main reasons patients give in my practice for not separating are fear of hurting children, money and the image they will send back to the family. There is also, although less often admitted, the fear of being alone. These reasons become an insurmountable mountain when there is no deep conflict within the couple. They end up telling each other that they prefer to stay together, ”admits the therapist. “Generally speaking, couples who stay together are couples who work despite everything, in which there is no particular disagreement despite the weariness. They organize themselves like a small business, share the tasks and there is no disruption in communication. On the front, everything seems to be going well. It remains to be seen whether they are happy … “, she adds.

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