Sunday, June 22, 2014

the divorce

This is a topic that I've longed to write about for months, but never had the guts to. It's something really difficult to write about because you can't pick and choose who reads it, whereas when you tell someone, you choose who to tell. But here I am, writing about it, because I can't keep hurting like this.

Here it is: my parents are getting a divorce. I'm 21 years old, and my parents are splitting up for good. My mom filed after Christmas, and now all that's left is to sign the papers and get it approved by the judge. For the past 6 months, I have been in either a conscious or sub-conscious state of turmoil. It's hard to have your parents split up, but it's about 1,000 times harder when you're older because then they feel obligated to tell you everything, from how they're feeling to how terrible the other person is to every little detail of the proceedings. Something's I ask, but most of it I just don't even want to know, and yet they tell me anyway. And nothing hurts more than one parent attacking the other. Nothing.

People try so hard to empathize. The problem is, it's so different having your parents divorce when you're young. They sit you down and tell you everything is going to be alright and that it's not you, it's them. They might get remarried and you'll get step-parents and step-siblings and two Christmases doesn't feel like a big deal. You graduate high school and college with everyone sitting together because by then, everyone is happy with their lives again and there's no more pure hatred to ruin your big day. You get married and they're both there and everything is great, albeit a little awkwardness, but everyone makes the day about you still.

But when you're 21, they don't even bother. My mom told me over margaritas because my dad didn't see the point in all of us sitting down and telling my brother and I. It would be weird for my parents to remarry, and I would never consider them parental figures in any way. I'm graduating in 6 months and my parents will sit on opposite ends of a large basketball stadium because my dad can't be anywhere near my mom for a couple years, he says. I don't know who will take me out to dinner, but I'll have to pick who does. Then I'll get married down the road and everything will be super awkward because there's still this lingering animosity hanging around between sides of the family. They will bicker about who is responsible for paying for what, but they'll do it through me because they won't talk to each other.

Is it even worth having a wedding at that point? Is it even worth getting married at all? The likelihood of my own marriage ending in divorce has skyrocketed now, so what's left for me? A future full of the torment of listening to one parent diss the other for years to come? Awkward family obligations? Always having to mediate between parents when it comes to reaching agreements?

The hardest part, though, is never knowing who's lying and who's telling the truth. I have heard both sides to many stories, and each time, I've been left feeling confused. One parent says this, the other says that, and the stories never match up. Who am I supposed to believe? They tell me don't pick sides, but I can't help it when both sides are different all the time. I can't be impartial when one parent says spiteful things about the other and the other doesn't retaliate. But they're both my parents and I love them and I know they both love me. I just wish I could decipher truth from fiction more easily.

My dad told me, "We're gonna finish this while you're in Spain, you won't worry about it over there." Hate to be the bearer of bad news, but your problems don't say goodbye to you at check-in like my dad did. They follow you wherever you go. Whatever you do, they're there, creeping up on you when you least expect it. I'm thousands of miles away and I still can't help but cry when I think about how everyone has handled this divorce, how I feel like family is made up of individual people and not a group of them anymore. Everyone is supposed to choose a side except me. I'm just meant to always be torn into pieces I guess.

I hope I haven't pointed fingers at anyone or put anyone in a bad light with this post. The people who I've talked to know all of what's going on, and I'm thankful for their continuous support through this. I want to heal, but I know it will take time. I know my parents will be happier after time, too. I feel better after writing about this, and I hope someone else in a similar situation can feel better, too, knowing they're not alone.


  1. You are extremely brave for voicing your feelings on such an important and personal topic. There are many people who have shared the same experiences as you and by telling your story, hopefully those will feel better about your situation. I'm sorry for what your going through but just stay strong and positive for a happy future. :)

  2. This is an incredible post. It sounds like you are not trying to blame anyone but it is a big change. Thanks for writing about it because this might help someone going through the same thing. Stay brave!

    -the Preppy Student

  3. Some say that it’s much easier for adults to handle their parent's divorce, because they are old enough to understand the situation. But with your story, people will realize that no matter the age of the children, they will still end up confused and traumatized from the experience. It’s never easy, and no one can imagine or tell what you’re been going through. But I hope in time, you’ll able to overcome the pain and find peace once again.

    Joanne Krueger @ Kurtz & Blum