As the rate of divorce steadily increases, there is a gradual influx of people from separated homes. Once a taboo subject, divorce is now common; it’s actually more common than staying together “till death do you part.”
For fear of how it will affect their children, many people who went through divorce waited until their kids were at an age when the fallout wouldn’t be as detrimental. Every child is going to take divorce differently; some take it in stride, some constantly question it, some don’t accept it — the list goes on.
Being an offspring of a divorced family, I thought about what it is about the separation that can affect people so greatly. I say “people,” not “children,” because I believe that this applies to someone at any age.
Then something hit me the other day.
When children are younger, they are exposed to, for the most part, programs with “model” families — husband, wife, two or three kids, maybe a pet. As they grow up, they are taught about one day finding a husband or wife to spend their life with, have kids with and live happily ever after with.
And that, I believe, is why some people take divorce harder than others. Whether your parents divorce at age 7, 10, 15, 20 or 25, the separation of your parents signifies the end of the first true relationship you’ve ever known.
Growing up, you look up to your parents as role models — the people you want to be — you see a life that resembles one you might want to live one day. If you don’t want kids or a pet, surely you would at least desire the love and compassion of another individual for the rest of your life?
When your parents divorce, whether you realize it early in life, later in life, or if it stays buried in the depths of your subconscious forever, a part of you knows that no matter how much people may have loved one another at one point in their life, it can end.
We lose hope. We lose hope in the idea that two people can find each other out of the billions of others in this world and remain faithful to them for the rest of their days. “If my parents can’t do it, how could I?”
I think that divorce is the first great obstacle we face in life, if you are unfortunate enough to go through it. Coming from divorce can make you a cynical person or it can make you a more conscientious person.
It can make you that person who gives others the finger on Valentine’s Day and who develops into the Ebenezer Scrooge of love, or it can make you that person who is more aware of another’s feelings because you make the extra effort to pay attention.
You listen for not just what their favorite ice cream is, but what toppings they like. You listen for not just what their favorite song is, but the exact lyrics that make them go, “I love this part!” or into a mini jam session.
Little things. Subtle things. Things others may never consider thinking of.
There’s no way of telling how divorce is going to affect you, but in a lot of ways, it’s up to you to decide.