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My parents divorced...and it gets worse!
DEAR DIARY, October 2007, by Nada Adams
My Parents DIVORCED
...and it gets worse!
My parents got divorced a few months ago. It was a long time coming, they always fought and didn’t get along, but it still sucked that my Dad moved out. So to my shock and surprise, my Mom went out on a DATE last night! Can you believe it? I feel awful and I can’t even talk to her. Shouldn’t she wait for at least a year or two? Shouldn’t she be sad and grieving? I can’t believe she’s out having fun and my Dad is probably lonely at his new apartment. Please tell me how I can convince my Mom that what she’s doing is WRONG!
~ Signed, It’s too soon, 16
Dear It’s Too Soon,
I’m sorry to hear of your pain and loss! Even though you knew the divorce was a long time coming, I’m sure that having finality is still very painful for everyone involved. The pain and anger you are feeling is not only normal but also very likely shared by both your parents, whether they show it or not.
Sadly, divorce affects close to half of all marriages. Depending on the circumstances, rather than to remain in an unhealthy or abusive relationship, divorce can be the better option. From fear of the unknown, many couples would rather stay in a draining, stressful and unhealthy relationship even though their new life may potentially be more rewarding and successful. It takes a lot of courage for couples to go their separate ways and often times the grieving happens before the divorce.
Let’s talk about you Mom dating. Divorce affects everyone differently. Some people grieve the loss of their relationship in obvious ways by showing sadness, depression and shedding many tears, while other people may appear to cut their losses quickly and seem unaffected, excited and even joyous by their new-found freedom. You said yourself that your parents “always fought and didn’t get along”. Is it possible that your Mom was very sad and grieving during and just after the divorce? There’s a saying, “Seek to understand before being understood.” Try to understand how she may be feeling right now. My intuitive hunch regarding your mother’s date is her need to feel special, attractive and deserving of love and attention, after not feeling that way for a long time.
Even though she did go on a date, it doesn’t necessarily mean she is ready to move on or that she isn’t still grieving (that’s only your assumption). And thinking that Dad is home lonely in his new apartment is also your assumption. He might be dating too. Your thoughts around this are only your fears speaking. Remember, our fears are not facts. 95% of what we fear never becomes reality. Your Mom may very well be hiding her sadness from you in her efforts to protect you from seeing her pain. Always be willing to see and understand both sides.
I’ve been a single parent for 11 years. My divorce was the best thing for my son and I. Was it easy? Definitely NOT! In the process of all my pain, I learned tremendous compassion and developed into a powerful Life Coach. I’m sharing this with you because I want you to be inspired to make something of your life and know that, even with your pain and hardship, you are learning and living on purpose, even if you can’t see the benefit right now.
In this time of growth for you and your family, I support you to speak your truth, your feelings, using ‘I’ sentences and not saying ‘you’ when addressing your parents. Speak to your parents individually about how you feel regarding the divorce. Tell your Mom how you feel not having your Dad home with you and share your fears and concerns. Always speak your truth even if it’s not what your parents want to hear. If you want a healthy relationship with Mom, then be willing to speak your feelings and share with her. Don’t wait for her to open up to you. Set the stage, have courage and be the one to begin the process of healing for both of you. Remember as you grow older, your relationship with your mother will change into a great friendship if you invest the time and effort.
The bottom line is: you are half your mother and half your father. It’s not wise to choose nor do you want to choose between your parents. Stay as neutral as possible in your dealing with each of them (without judgement; without making them feel wrong). Continue to love them both and most importantly love yourself first!
If there is one message I want to send to children of divorce it’s this: You are NOT responsible for the breakup of your parents and there is NOTHING you could done to keep your parents together, absolutely nothing.”