Anybody coparenting?


Wondering if anybody is staying in a marriage just to raise the kids (no emotional intimacy or sexual relationship with the spouse) with the only other option being divorce. My therapist gave it to me as an option.
Does it work for anyone?


Fancy title for “for better or worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, til death to us part”.

Read a study once (will dig around for it later) that said marriages where the couple stuck together during those worse/sickeness/poorer times when re-visited 7 years later, were happy in the marriage.

Sometimes we walk through the desert, remember, marriage is about commitment. Keep praying, keep walking, and God will be with you in the desert.


Hi Peony–welcome to CAF.:slight_smile:

I don’t know if I looked at is coparenting, but there were times in my marriage–back about 8 years ago, where both dh and I felt so distant–and almost like roomies raising kids together, than husband and wife. We separated–and I came to the realization that I had unreasonable expectations of marriage (not that you do, this was just true for me) and had some baggage from my childhood that I never dealt with, prior to marrying. I got some good Christian counseling, and both dh and I immersed ourselves back into our faith–and then we came back together–no longer as roomies but as husband and wife, devoted to the vows we took. It also helped when we had our marriage blessed in the Catholic Church–all those amazing graces showered down upon us. Marriage is a struggle at times–not unlike anything else in life. We sometimes struggle with our weight, with our jobs with child raising, but we have a notion that marriage should just be easy, and effortless…(I speak for myself).

Marriage has been the best refiner of character I think–for me. It has caused me to reach out to others–put myself last–and cling to God in ways I never knew possible. So, perhaps, you are just going through a rough patch–or perhaps you and your husband need something new and creative to ignite the spark that once drew you together…please search for what that something is–as you owe it to each other to be more than just…roomies.

I’ll keep you in my prayers.:console:


It works for the kids. They want their family intact. They don’t want to have to choose between you two. They don’t want to have to put up with your emotional or sexual entanglements while you’re dating. And frankly, they don’t care if you are blissfully happy or fulfilled, they need to you to be equal to the obligation you incurred when you had them.

I would say the same to a man asking this question.

As the victim of a mother who threw away a “good enough” marriage and put my brother and I through the disruption of our family, taking us two states away from a loving and involved father (who had no power in the courts to stop her), poisoning our minds against our father, being totally unavailable to parent us at the time of our greatest need due to having to work all the time and her own emotional maelstrom, inflicting her terrible choice of boyfriends on us, and then screwing up her life financially so badly that she had to return us to our father, I beg you not to leave your husband. As a daughter who had to listen her young, single, wild father’s escapades with dozens of women (in the bedroom right next to mine), I beg you not to break the marriage and make your kids have to watch either of you date.

Let’s be honest here. Most likely, your marriage is not beyond all hope. Most of them aren’t. If you are tempted to leave because you’re just “not happy,” not only is that selfish and horrible thing to do to your kids, but the research clearly shows you won’t be any happier if you divorce. Divorce is difficult, painful, and rarely solves anything. You will take the same attitudes and problems you have now with you, and they will sabotage any other relationship you have, if you let them. Just like they can only sabotage your marriage, if you let them.

What are the problems that seem unsolvable? Have you really done your best to make your marriage better? Exhausted all resources you can find? What is your husband’s main complaint, and have you honestly addressed it? I’m not saying this is all your fault… nothing in marriage is one-sided. But we women have a lot of power in our relationships. There aren’t too many guys out there who refuse sex… there are reasons the sexual spark in a marriage dies, and most of them are not medical, and are therefore fixable.

In the end though, if your marriage is peaceful but not passionate, if your kids feel secure and loved by both of you even though niether of you feels much loved by the other, then I think you should stick it out for your kids. The research also shows that most people who claim to be unhappily married, even extremely so, but stay married, say as little as five years later that they are glad they stayed and that the marriage got better. Something to think about.

Prayers… and good luck.


Wasn’t there also a study in the news a couple of years ago that basically said that children of unhappy, but intact marriages were “better off” than children of divorce? I don’t remember the details only the gist of the study, but I would consider that answering “yes” to your question of “does it work for anyone.” I’m not personally in that situation, and I imagine it must be very difficult. Prayers for you and your family.


in almost every marriage, healthy or not, there will be periods like this. as with every other challenge to marriage, you honor your vows and work through it, with or without professional help as circumstances dictate, and repair the damage by overt, deliberate gestures of love, especially when you don’t feel loving.


Sounds to me like this marriage needs some help. --that’s what worked for us. We were actually divorced, and got remarried (in the Church, finally) after going to Retrouvaille. Our kids are sure happier for it!


Located a couple of articles about this:

As always, our first place to look should be the Church -


Thanks for your responses!
Duskyjewel, I appreciate you expressing how you felt as a kid because my main concern is with my kids now, not my marriage.
You mentioned things in your post that I have worried about for my kids.
If I go thru with the divorce I’ll have to work fulltime (I’m very part time right now and am able to take care of their needs fairly well without having the time constraints that a full time job would put on me). I’d probably have to move and the kids are very well settled in this neighborhood with friends close by. Another loss for them :frowning: and my kids don’t do well with change.

Little background might be helpful…
Husband has had a porn/sex addiction since before our marriage. I’m been unhappy for almost 2 decades now but kept trying to make it work. I’m at the giving up stage. I’ve forgiven him for affairs (one during which I was pregnant—we practiced NFP). I’ve given him multiple chances to turn this around. We’ve been in counseling since the first affair. He knows what to do, he just can’t commit to it. He says he will but his actions are the opposite.
A few weeks ago I thought things were going okay, not great but tolerable, when my daughter found a porn movie downloaded on her computer. She thought it was her brother and went to my husband who admitted that he was the one who watched it. She (17yo) was distraught to find out that the father who has been teaching her chastity could look at people this way. She feels like I did after I found out about the affair. It’s so sad.

It just feels like the last straw for me. The kids love their dad and I feel like if we were divorced I’d have no control over what they may see porn wise or girlfriend wise at his place besides the fact I’d be less available to them with working more.

I have no inclination to date as I see men with sex addiction everywhere now. It’s hard for them not to be in this society. Even the Christian men. I read somewhere that porn is the Christian man’s drug of choice.

I’ve gotten to the point where I can empathize that my husband has to deal with this addiction but I don’t want to be vulnerable or intimate with a man who can’t stop lying and get real.

It’s about my kids now.


*Apparently we posted around the same time and after reading what you just wrote, I can see that my experience probably isn’t much help to you. I’ll go ahead and leave just in case it can give someone else hope. *

For what it’s worth, I’ve been married almost 15 years. Years 4-8 were really, really rough. My husband was never home and started drinking after being sober for 10 years and gambling. I pretty much hated him (but still loved him if that makes sense). Everyone and I mean EVERYONE told me to get a divorce. People at my church, my mother, my friends, people at Al-ANON. People lost a lot of respect for me for staying with him, telling me he’d never change, etc. I lost a lot of friends by staying with him (even though he never abused me or the kids, had an affair etc). There were times when I wanted to leave him and even wished he was dead, but I toughed it out because I seeing how ugly my parent’s divorce was and what my brother and I went through NO WAY was I going to put my kids through that (except for abuse or cheating).

Anyway, I stuck it out and we are best friends again and now have a little girl who is the light of our life. If we had divorced she wouldn’t even exist. My older kids are happy, healthy, well grounded, good students etc. I don’t know if they would be if we had gotten divorced. It’s not perfect but I’m willing to be it’s a million times better than it would be living in an apartment, trying to single parent. Oh and I have a great group of friends now too. :thumbsup:


We did Retrouvaille two years ago. It helped but more change on his part came when he started attending SA groups.


More info explains things better - it is more than just not being happy.

That said, there are groups out there that will help you in a Catholic way.

One is called True Knights. Does he have a Confessor/Spiritual Advisor?

Many prayers for you.


I given him so many resources it’s not funny. Both Catholic and Christian. He’s had a spiritual advisor since the affair. I started going to S-Anon when he started SA. As much as I want him to turn it around, I can’t do it for him.


Praying for you, Peony.

You are right that the culture is against you and your husband. It’s so sad. Satan is luring him down this awful path, and you and your kids are right in the way.

I think, like you, I would rather have my husband close by where I could sort of keep an eye on things. I would probably freak out every time they went over to his house otherwise.

Hang in there. Talk to a priest and pray, pray, pray. God will get you and your kids through this.


I’ve had a lot of years of marriage, and we have had valleys and mountains. Addiction is not one of the battles we have fought, so, I can only suggest you stick to prayer and those who have been there.


I tried it for about 10 years.

It didn’t work for me.

Finally, after 3 years of my children’s dad sleeping on the couch in the living room, and virtually no loving communication, (I talked, he wouldn’t), I had to ask myself, “Is this the picture of a Christian marriage that I want to give my children?”

Divorce isn’t the only option.
You can have a legal separation and continue to pray for a reconciliation.

(I tried that too) :o


I ask myself the same question. I think at this point I could live with him as friends, not sure he could. It’s so hard to know what is the right thing to do and the stakes couldn’t be higher. I’ve thought about seperation but don’t think I could really commit myself to him again. I can’t stand his lying anymore.


Oh, Peony, I am so sorry. I am not sure my comments apply to your situation.

You have reached the point where your husband’s porn addiction and refusal to give it up, and his infidelity, have now damaged one of your children. Honestly, that could be as bad as me having to listen to my dad and his women. :frowning:

I don’t know what to tell you…


You are blessed to have a therapist that will even talk of the idea!

The common wisdom these days that “it is better to split unlike in the old days when people stayed miserable together…” Well it just doesn’t seem to hold up.

Understand when you ask “Does it work for anyone?” that is pretty qualitative and subjective… Does it work better than say, mom and dad splitting up? Is living with the other parent of your children better or worse than even an amicable divorce where dad moves out, mom struggles financially “trying to do it all” and dad sees them every other weekend and maybe just has the state collect support money out of his check…?

I mean when people think this is a bad idea, I am always wondering “As opposed to what?”

Now I will qualify and I know that abandonment, and addictions and mental disorders force some people’s hands… That happens.

But all things being equal, both parents living under the same roof - even if down the hall from each other in seperate bedrooms - is a nobler sacrifice that is an advantage to raising children that outweighs parents splitting and sometimes going into mutually assured poverty, less involvement and formation of children, and the artificial replication of households. (No, when dad gets a two bedroom apartment after a divorce and puts makes one room a “kids room” that is not the creation of a second home. The heartbreaking stories of a lot of my friends can tell us that.)

So I echo the advice of some others here - give it a shot and you may even find that a few years on, if you both worked hard to be civil and put the children first - you may end up being best friends and lovers as husband and wife again.

It takes a lot of prayer and sacrifice, no doubt. But everything worth having does.

Please understand, I am only offering the advice that I can not knowing the situation. Remember, a lot of this hinges on things we don’t or can’t know. I will not tell you that “I am right, do what I say” but for what it is worth, giving this a shot may be something worth considering.


I think everything here that ASimpleSinner has said is great.

Don’t overlook this KEY word, however, "BOTH."
It takes TWO people to make that kind of arrangement work.
It takes TWO people to have a Sacramental marriage.

If ONE of them is not willing to make it work, it won’t succeed.

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