Dating a child of divorce
Kasey Edwards said it best in The Huffington Post: “Watching the family home and assets being packed up and fought over shatters your world, no matter how old you are.It was as if my safety net in life had gone.” I realize now that my first sentence contains a half-truth.
Divorce for an adult child is many things, but easy isn’t one of them.Logical, grounded conversations are all you can handle emotionally.You see your relationship as half empty instead of half full.There is clear-cut advice for dealing with a child’s reaction to divorce. I wish that I had a dollar for every time I was treated as a confidant and not a daughter or wanted to plug my ears during my parents’ uncomfortable over-sharing of personal and financial issues.Make it clear that divorce is not the child’s fault. One of the most confusing parts of the process was that some people whose parents had split when they were very young were eager to tell me that I shouldn’t be grieving in the same way, because I was older.My parents never “told me” that they were getting a divorce.
There was no formal announcement made together, as is suggested with younger children.
Your parents showed you how true that can be and now the permanent default is suspicion and distrust. Your unstable family unit either taught you to be heavily dependent on people or to learn to live without them.
As a child of divorce, you figured that your parents don’t love you enough to stay together so you took that and figured out a way to never get hurt again. Fights, even over simple things like keeping the counter clean, can be incredibly stressful for you.
It’s realizing that certain memories are now off limits—you can no longer talk to your parents about how they loved watching you bop along to “In The Summertime” by Mungo Jerry on long car rides or the time they bought you that red princess hat at Disney World.
It’s blocking out chunks of your childhood because it’s easier to try and forget than to address the memories’ new meaning, or lack thereof.
The solution is to either be overly anxious or avoidant about love. It just reminds you of all the times your parents fought while you listened in tears from behind your bedroom door.