Divorce

I have often wondered if it is easier for a child or an adult to go through the divorce of his or her parents. While at first glance it would seem that it’s a simple answer, I went through it as an adult, so I have no point of reference for a child going through it. While I do know some children that are affected by it, I have no way of knowing what it is that they are truly feeling.

The biggest issue I had stemming from my parents divorce was that I lost my sense of family. I had moved to a whole new country, and the family structure I had come to know growing up -grandma, grandpa, cousins and aunts- had been removed from my life due to geographical distance. Then when my parents divorced I lost the only sense of family I had left. I guess what I rationalize about divorce is how used you are to something, and then not having it… I had a family my whole life and it was gone in just one day.

What was worse is that, even though I was an adult and I should have never felt rejected because of the situation, that is exactly what happened. Rejection, which had been one of the biggest demons in my life, became the biggest one of them all, destroying in its path my sense of self and my personal desires. In the coming years it became stronger and stronger to the point it got a hold of me, and it was close to suffocating me.

Children will often blame themselves for their parents’ leaving, and while the movies always show the parent saying “It’s not your fault,” I am not sure that is enough to convince a child in real life.

The divorce of my parents truly shaped some of the future to come for me, even more than I could have expected. I was so desperate to regain the sense of family, that I did everything I could to recapture it, often participating in relationships that were destructive simply in order not to feel rejected again. While my first marriage did not feel solely because of this, I do think I entered that and other relationships simply because I wanted to have a family again. I was desperate to feel that way, I was desperate to be home again.

My parents have not acted like adults during the whole process. Even now, they both keep their aggressive and passive-aggressive personalities that ultimately torn them apart. Having to choose who you spend Christmas or birthdays with has been a nightmare. While the grown ups in the situation have been able to rationalize the situation, I know that my niece has had a hard time reconciling why grandpa and grandma don’t speak to each other.

I wish I had the answer to this situation, and while it seems than an “amicable” divorce is the answer, pain is sometimes so deep that not even the love for a child can mend those wounds as it should. It is easy for people to say, “put your child before you,” or in this case your grandkids, but we do not know what it is like to be in the situation. Can you imagine what it is like to be in the same room with a person that causes pain so emotional that you feel it physically?

I believe that one of the causes for divorce is unrealistic expectations. We enter relationships not seeing the person in front of us, but rather what we want to see. Many times we are surprised when this person “changes” who they are. Maybe they were that person to begin with but we failed to see it, or we chose to ignore it. Marriage requires love and the ability to accept people for who they are, not who we expect them to be.

They say time heals all wounds; I wish this was true for everyone. Some people choose to leave their wounds open as reminders of their pain. Letting wounds heal on their own at times does not work either. I think we all need to be proactive at healing wounds and accepting everything that we cannot change about our lives.

I had an epiphany the day I realized that I was living for other’s happiness instead of my own. It was hard to swallow since it was a piece of advice I always liked to trow around, “if you are not happy yourself, you can never make someone else happy.” I had chosen to do all I could to regain the sense of family I had lost with disastrous results to both my self esteem and well being.

I started to heal, little by little and then I met the woman of my life. I finally met someone that not only makes me happy, but likes me exactly how I am. Our goal is to support each other in any endeavor and make sure that we are both our own person and our relationship is the point of compromise, not who we are as people.

This principle can be applied to any relationship, even that of two people that are divorced but still share kids. Civility and courtesy while in the presence of their kids should be something that can be accomplished for their children’s sake. However hard that is to accomplish, I think that should be the responsibility of parents that once called each other husband and wife.

3 Responses to Divorce

  1. One of the first things I thought about when my ex-husband decided to call it quits was “I’m glad we didn’t have children.” It’s hard for them, it’s hard for the parents.

    A child may understand that mommy and daddy aren’t together anymore, but sometimes they won’t grasp the concept of both parents not being there for them, especially during holidays and such.

    I cannot even start to imagine how it feels, I was lucky enough to grow up in a loving family, with a couple of parents who only saw the world through each other’s eyes.

    But I’ve been through divorce. Ugly issue, if there is one of the parts being mean or a coward (in my case). No divorce is pretty, there may be the “amicable” ones, but there is always indescribable pain, for both sides. The one who decides to leave for whatever reason, because they cannot take it anymore. And the one that is left because there is always a sense of injustice.

    It’s difficult to judge when it isn’t us. But then you go through it, and you finally get it.

  2. When we were growing up, we knew when our parents weren’t happy. But we also knew that, for them, divorce was never an option. That mindset followed through with myself and both my wife and I. We know we love each other, and that when times get bad, divorce isn’t an option. You have to trudge through the crappy times, to get to get back to the good times.

    Obviously, if there someone was being physically or emotionally abused, that would change things.

    I think it helps kids to know that sometimes parents fight. Sometimes moms and dads won’t want to be in the same room together but that’s normal. It’s normal for people to disagree and fight, what matters is how it’s dealt with in the end.

    That said, I do think sometimes people get married for the wrong reasons and their spirits simply aren’t compatible. I don’t think divorce should be looked down upon, but I do think it should be a last-resort option.

  3. This is a very good post, Logtar.

    I spent the latter part of my high school years bracing for what I figured would be their divorce as soon as I left for college, but it never came to pass. I believe that for the most part parents ought to stay together for the kids (absent abuse).

    I believe that the part where marriages go wrong is long, long before the divorce and I think that’s where the partners are most culpable. I don’t have any advice for people that are in a miserable marriage except not to let the marriage get miserable in the first place. It seems that within most couples I know that have divorced, both partners made a series of decisions that carried the relationship past the point of no return.

    I don’t know of a single marriage that has failed wherein it was (a) completely unsalvageable and (b) completely unavoidable. In cases where the relationship was just inherently that bad it’s seemed pretty obvious from the outset that things were not going to turn out well. It’s usually a matter of people marrying for the wrong reason. I’m honestly of the mind that love is a rotten reason to get married. It’s necessary, but not sufficient. What we perceive to be love is intertwined with so many things of mixed goodness (affection and compassion, but also neediness or escape) and we’re too wrapped up in it to even begin to dissect it. I love my wife a great deal. I have also loved people that I’ve been with in the past. The difference isn’t how much I love, but whether or not the love was conducive to spending the rest of my life with her.

    Anyhow, enough of my sermonizing. Your thoughts were very touching and thought-provoking, Logtar. Thank you for sharing them.

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