The Effects of my Parents’ Divorce on my Life

My biggest concern regarding my wedding day was if I was going to be able to have both of my parents at my wedding.

My parents got divorced when I was six years old, and I don’t remember having them in the same room since then. Growing up with divorced parents that didn’t talk to each other was, and still is very hard. I never had both of my parents celebrating my birthday with me at the same time. I never had the weekend getaways to the shore like my friends had.

I was raised by my mother, who did everything she possibly could to give me and my two sisters the love and affection that we needed, while playing the role of both mother and father to us. I did see my dad every other weekend but my mom was the one who was always there for us.

We learned how to deal with the fact that my parents were not friends, and that their relationship fully ended when they signed the divorce papers. We understood that the problems that they had were between the two of them, and not us. We understood that they both loved us with all their heart and that their relationship with us would never change. We got used to the situation.

It wasn’t until I got engaged and started planning my wedding that the effects of their divorce caught up to my life. I was planning the most important day of my life not knowing if the two most important people in my life would be there to celebrate with me. I didn’t want to have to pick between my mom or my dad. The thing is, I had to pick between the two of them my whole life. I chose if I wanted to spend Christmas with my mom or if I wanted to go to my dad’s house for the holiday. I chose if I wanted to have a birthday party with my mom or with my dad. But for my wedding day, I needed them both there. It was not an option for me to only have one parent attending my wedding.

My parents’ divorce was very contentious. There were fights and arguments, and me and my sister were in the middle of everything. We were in the center of our parent’s lives, and most of the time present during the ugly arguments. I remember listening to my parents’ fights behind my bedroom door, and I also remember the ugly phone calls. I remember the judge asking me questions about my parents and telling me I needed to choose between the two of them.

According to Children-and-Divorce.com “The consequences of a divorce for children are mostly that they have to move to a different home and sometimes to a different school and that they will not see and be with both their parents at the same time any more. In most of the cases they will live with their mother and they will see their father much less.” They argue that divorce does not affect children the way we expect it to, but being a child from divorce I do believe that children are affected by it.

Source:http://www.divorcestatistics.org/images/divorce-kids.jpg

I remember having nightmares after my parents’ divorce, and waking up crying at my grandma’s house. I remember resenting my dad for leaving us and feeling that he did not love me (I later understood that his love for me never changed), and I remember feeling like it was my fault. According to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry the feeling of guilt is common among children of divorce when they say that “Children often believe they have caused the conflict between their parents. Many children assume the responsibility for bringing their parents back together, causing them additional stress.”

Jann Gumbiner, who is a psychologist specialized in adolescent and child development believes that divorce can affect children later in life. She says that “Parental divorce affects children’s’ future relationships.” The divorce of my parents also changed the way I see relationships. I was very young when my parents got divorced but over the years I learned about why their marriage didn’t work, and what I learned made me realize what I want in a relationship. Their divorce made me want to have a marriage that will last a lifetime, and that the only way for it to happen is if I along with my husband work on it every single day. My parents did not work on their marriage, and that led to the end of it.

My last point brings me back to my wedding day. Like I mentioned at the beginning of my story, my parents who have been divorced for over 20 years would have to be together under the same roof to celebrate my marriage. Fortunately, everything went well and they were able to not only enjoy the celebration, but also to talk to each other. I could not believe how friendly they were towards each other, and how by the end of the day my dad was best friends with my mom’s new husband. Right before I walked down the aisle I told my parents that I wanted them both to walk with me. I was so nervous about it because I did not know how they would react to my request, but they were totally okay with it. I was able to have both of my parents walk me down the aisle, and that was for sure a moment that I will always treasure.

Sources:

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-teenage-mind/201110/divorce-hurts-children-even-grown-ones

http://www.children-and-divorce.com/effects-of-divorce-on-children.html

https://www.aacap.org/AACAP/Families_and_Youth/Facts_for_Families/FFF-Guide/Children-and-Divorce-001.aspx

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