Living Through My Parents' Divorce

The first thing I thought when I found out was "it's not possible, it has to be a joke". It was hard for me to understand what was happening because my mind was elsewhere. Here's my story of how I learned my parents no longer wanted to be together.
Living Through My Parents' Divorce

Last update: 04 February, 2023

Knowing that your parents have stopped loving each other can be really hard. In my house, we were always a particularly united family. We were a team that all rowed together as one, both in good times and bad. In fact, we never failed to do so.

You may have noticed that I’m speaking in the past tense. That’s because my family is now living apart. So, in this article, I’m going to talk about living through my parents’ divorce.

My parents’ separation happened at the worst of times. You might think that divorce is bad at any time. However, in my case, a month before the separation, I found out that a close relative had been diagnosed with cancer. He required emergency surgery. Also, a short time before, my grandmother had had a stroke. All in all, it amounted to an annus horribilis, a ‘horrible year’ in Latin.

depressed teenager
Every divorce implies emotional management by not only the protagonists but also their children.

The moment that I knew

I bitterly remember the day my father told my mother that their relationship had come to an end. It was on January 6th. In many countries, this is the day of the Three Kings, a night full of magic in which the kings bring gifts to the little ones (and also the older ones). That year, my gift from Kings was a piece of coal wrapped in a thin piece of paper that said “Goodbye”. It was from my father. He left home that day and never came back.

I never look at anyone else’s cell phone. However, on this occasion I did. It was my father’s. You can call it coincidence or destiny but, on the morning of January 6 of that year, I looked at a WhatsApp from my father and read a message that took my breath away: “I can’t take it anymore, we’ve come to the end.”

Hopefully, I asked my father if there was a chance they could try again, but his decision was already made.

I still had a hard time believing the message, so I decided to invite him for coffee and confessed that I’d looked at his phone. He told me that the message I’d read was true and I felt breathless again. I was overcome with emotion.

I told my father that if he felt that his relationship with mom could no longer continue, I understood and I supported his decision. Doing so was extremely hard, but I sensed that he needed my support.

I got stuck

Imagine a one-liter bottle. Now, think of pouring one liter of water into it, all at once. It’s impossible. In my case, a multitude of drops of water had gathered that I was trying to process at the same time: my grandmother’s stroke, the serious illness of a family member, an exam I was due to take shortly, and, to top it off, my parent’s divorce.

The exam I was preparing for was really tough. In fact, I’d been studying for it for a whole year and it was in two weeks’ time.

When I found out about my parents’ divorce, I became mentally blocked. My brain was in overdrive from the intensity of the emotions I was feeling. However, talking about it with my parents helped me understand things and moderate the intensity of my feelings.

I had a hard time digesting the intensity of the information. In reality, my life had taken a 180-degree turn. My parents’ divorce meant putting my exam aside and working through all the other stuff there was to deal with.

I sat the exam though and, despite not doing too well, I’m proud of what I did achieve at such a difficult time.

My father is an extraordinary person, like my mother. Although they no longer loved each other, they shared the same house until each of our new family units was able to support itself financially.

Couple turning their backs
A divorce is an event that generates a great deal of impact on the lives of parents and children. Doing it well implies trying to minimize the collateral damage that it may entail.

My life today

Currently, I live with my mother and my sister. I see my father every week. Sometimes he also drops by with chocolates and pastries when he can. So, there are some good things that happen to balance out the bad.

Something that’s helped me a lot is understanding that every process and every problem, no matter how intense, long, or unpleasant it may be, has a beginning and end. It’s certainly been useful to me on my journey. After all, when you believe that you’re surrounded by a multitude of problems that are besieging you and preventing you from breathing, being certain that, at some point, they’ll come to an end gives you peace and calms you down.

That January, a myth vanished, a relationship that had lasted for more than 30 years ended. However, it wasn’t the end, but the beginning of a new stage. In fact, sometimes, I think we all need to rethink, change, and run away to find ourselves again.

I don’t blame either of my parents. I feel at peace with the decision they made and I think they feel that way too. In my opinion, looking for blame in divorce is common but useless.

When the desire, love, and joint plans of a couple come to an end, no matter how much they might wish it, it’s simply not possible to consciously choose to desire or love. Therefore, it’s better to bring the relationship to an end and make way for something new.

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How a Separation or Divorce Affects a Child
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  • Palacios Gaona, C.A. &: Pérez Sarmiento, D.M. (2021). Divorcio y su repercusión en las relaciones familiares: una revisión bibliográfica. [Título profesional, Universidad Católica de Cuenca]. Repositorio digital de la Universidad Católica de Cuenca.
  • Serrano, J. A. (2006). Impacto psicológico del divorcio sobre los niños [en línea]. Revista de Psicología, 2(3). Disponible en: https://repositorio.uca.edu.ar/handle/123456789/6130

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