“Firsts” often have an impact on our lives and potentially define who we are. For example, relationships. The first relationship that I witnessed was between my parents, who taught me what kind of relationship I do not want with a prospective partner.
Maybe it came from not realizing due to childhood ignorance and oblivion, but I did not realize how bad the fighting between my parents was until we moved to the Boston suburbs from Winnipeg, Canada when I was six. Hearing my parents yelling at each other was an occurrence as regular as my family’s weekly Mexican Food Monday and Pizza Tuesday.
When I was twelve just at the end of sixth grade, my parents separated, I was so relieved at the time but heartbroken. Little did I know, their divorce only opened a new chapter in a tumultuous relationship, not the end of a story. In June 2016, at mine and my twin’s Weston High School graduation, we had to take turns gravitating between the two because they did not want to be near each other.
I may have moved away to attend university in Canada, but their relationship sticks with me like gum to my knotty hair, as I am now afraid of entering a romantic relationship that will crash and burn as hard as my parents’ one did. I have had a few “firsts” – first kiss, first date – but I am scared to enter a serious relationship because the first one I ever knew ended in fights almost every night. Their fights have led me to become pessimistic when it comes to the dating scene at McGill University, where I attend school. I am convinced that if a guy flirts with me at a bar that he only wants to sleep with me, or if a stranger asks me out on the street after briefly chat he is only interested in my looks and not my personality.
I know that I need to let go of my past in order to embrace my future if I ever want to fall in love or start a family of my own with a partner. But erasing nineteen years is difficult. Despite my desires, I do not have a time turner, so I cannot go back and change what happened.
In reflection, I know I need to let my guard down. The biggest obstacle in me finding and pursuing a serious romantic relationship is myself, my fear. I also need to make sure that if I have kids, they do not have harmful “firsts” that ruin their outlook on aspects of life.
But, also, shame on my parents for fighting in front of my brother and me, shame on all the parents who argue in front of their kids. I was affected, and I am certain that I am not the only one.
Parents and adults, in general, need to realize the effect their behavior has on children. Without a doubt, I do not think that it is beneficial for fighting parents to stay together if their turmoil negatively affects their children’s emotional and physical wellbeing. However, they do have the power to initiate a cordial relationship with one another, so their children are not tasked with the emotional labor of handling their parents’ arguing.
My parents might have split up, but I am not splitting from hope.