Dare I go there?…. might as well….DIVORCE

Back in high school I had mixed emotions about my parents being one of the very few in the town who were still married. On one hand I came from a nuclear family with not as much drama as some of my friends with divorced families. On the other hand, I had a much stricter life, couldn’t get away with anything, and was jealous of the multiple birthdays and Christmas’ divorced kids had. 

Fast forward a few years to me as an adult with a developed brain and 5 years of post-graduate education in Marriage and Family Studies under my belt, I didn’t look at it quite the same way. In other words, Family, is such an important part of the growth and development on a child and I am thankful that my parents were stable enough to get through those crucial years as hard as it was. BUT, people grow apart once their children “leave the nest”. They are left there staring at each other thinking NOW WHAT? They had focused so intensely on raising good children that when that one common ground was gone, they had nothing to share together except the reality of what was left; bitterness, resentment and even anger. Suddenly the “If Only I had of…”‘s start invading their minds or “If I didn’t get married I could have…”…might be a thought process. Or perhaps they look at each other and no longer see that same person they fell in love with multiple years ago. Or worse; were they even IN LOVE when they got married, or was it out of convenience and limited time?…this is what I thought until it happened to me.

Fast forward a few more years and here I am right back to where I was ten years ago; I have such mixed emotions about my parents separation. On one hand my life would be so much easier and less stressful if my parents were together. I wouldn’t have to feel like I’m picking sides, family dinners would include everyone, I wouldn’t have to worry about planning a wedding and who would attend and who wouldn’t, would there be conflict, or having a child and wondering if both grandparents would be actively involved. On the other hand…..I know that my parents marriage was unhealthy, and I have known that since I was very very young. I wish there was no trace of infidelity and that their separation had been laid back and friendly, but this isn’t a perfect world.  I know my mom is in a better head space right now, she gets to live how she wants, I feel sadness for her that after 25 years of cooking cleaning, and dealing with craziness, all she tried to stay sane for has crumbled at her feet, but at the same time she has a new-found respect for herself because of this process. She has become her own idea of a feminist and is quite happy living under her own set of non-existent rules, and that I am thankful for.

My dad is a different kind of  happy, his happiness stems from staying preoccupied with adventures and “things” he didn’t do while married. His accumulation of  “friends” and clothes seems to have grown since leaving my family home, but I think he is trying to live his life without regrets from this point on. 

Heres where its gonna get a litttlllee bit taboo, and I’m ok with that.

DATING can be very different depending on the type of separation/divorce the parents go through. I have a gut feeling that my Mom is quite enjoying her surroundings as they are and a man would just come and mess that all up. My dad on the other hand has been with a few women since leaving the house and seems to enjoy the dating world. BUT, given the circumstances around HOW their marriage ended, for my sister and I, ” parental dating”  has become a very traumatic thing. AND I would like to CLARIFY for those who have said “No matter who my parents date, their daughters will never approve” WRONG, you people are wrong!! Has anyone once asked us why we feel the way we feel? or have you just whispered that we’re being unreasonable behind our backs? For that matter how many of my family members have asked us if we’re even ok, or need emotional support during our family break down???? VERY FEW!!!!! so before judging us on our reaction to this brand new life, put yourself in OUR shoes. My sister and I have talked about it, and we feel we have a right to approve or disapprove just as both our parents did while we were dating. To expect your children to accept a women (or man)  who could have potentially been the catalyst to the break down of your family is OUT of the QUESTION. To ask your children to approve of a women (or man) who is everything you have raised  your children NOT TO BE  is also OUT of the question. So, that leaves the women (or men) who are respectable, kind, caring, nurturing (and non gold diggers..opps, did I say that?).  Someone who is willing to go out of their way recognize what the presence of them being in your life represents to your children, who is empathetic, and offers support as well as respectful to your former spouse, someone who realizes that not only are they dating you, but dating your children as well ( i know it sounds weird).

 I also believe that timing is essential when deciding to invite someone new into you’re life, and although there is not an exact date and time that someone can give you, the grieving process needs to over 100% before new partners are brought into the picture. Would you go out and get a new puppy right after your dog of 12 years passes (and no ‘old dog’ isn’t reference to ANYONE, it’s just a comparison)…the point is everyone needs time to grieve and some people take longer, but to force something that is going to be resisted 1000 times harder before the grieving is over, is just asking for trouble. 

As a parent, if you are newly single, please keep in mind that your children observe EVERYTHING you do, no matter what their age. To raise your children with such strict rules but then say “Do as I say, not as I do” is not very good parenting at all!!!…

Marriage used to be a goal I strived for, but now, I look at my 25 years of life and think, WHY? So I can turn out like that? So one day in the pit of my gut I just know my husband is spending his time with someone else? Someone who has never washed his dirty underware, or looked after him when he was sick, has never been there to deal with the repercussions of a bad day at work, or who has never known what hard times with a high standard of living even means?? For someone to reap the benefits of my blood sweat and tears only to feel like I was handed the short end of the stick. . . . . really makes me question marriage…….. A wedding though, that’s another story!! I’ve been planning my wedding for a long time, and even if I married myself, I’d be okay with that!! 🙂

Now I know this post is going to rub some people the wrong way, and for those who know my family and seem to feel the need to add fuel to our fire…, why? Do you not think that we have gone through enough that you really must “Tattle” ? Cause really, if I didn’t want people to read what I write on my blog, I wouldn’t have started a blog in the first place.

My real HOPE, is that somewhere out there I have reached out to an adult child who is experiencing the same grief as I am, and can realize that his/her messed up family isn’t the only one. . . . I also hope that aunts, uncles, and cousins of those who are experiencing the same thing I have will take their time to offer support, because watching your family fall apart isn’t easy, and the family members who still hold the same roles are they always did are very important to the process of recovering. 

Divorces sucks! And even though my parents aren’t legally divorced, the results of their settlement and separation isn’t far off. 

To the children whose parents are dating….keep in mind, that they will date, but it’s when and whom they become serious with that is what hurts the most! Especially if they choose someone who would enjoy your parent more if he/she wasn’t inconvenienced with children!! 

Parents; know that your children never asked for this. And if you’re the victim of infidelity and say “I didn’t ask for this either” , just remember it was you’re choice to marry, you’re choice to bring a child into this world. Your children had no say in the matter. So don’t forget to be the best support system for them!! Because no matter how bad YOU hurt, THEY hurt just as bad or worse. PLEASE don’t forget THAT!

 

Thanks

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Miranda
    Apr 11, 2012 @ 15:42:59

    Wow Ashley, good luck with your difficult situation. My parent’s split 25 years in too, sounds like the same reasons. That seems to be a really bad time, I guess everyone’s really settled into their roles, then the midlife crisis’s hit and suddenly it seems a lot easier to walk away than to change and adapt together. My mom didn’t just lose a husband, she also lost a son because my oldest brother sided with my father and now hardly talks to her. The more conflict the parents create (bad-mouthing their ex in front of the kids, making the kids feel guilty about spending any time with the other parent, lying ir exaggerating the details or reasons for separation, choosing a partner that is inappropriate, or getting their kids to hate the new partner), the bigger fallout there will be for everyone. I hope your family finds some peace soon.

    Reply

  2. JACKIE INGLIS
    Apr 11, 2012 @ 17:46:38

    WOW WOW WOW
    You know what honey,,,for what ever reason you wrote ALL this,,,I am PROUD!!!You have looked at all the angles,,wieghed everything and went to “big people world” and had your say.,,,,and no matter what might be said YOU have a right to have your say. My only hope is that through all this you knew that no matter what Uncle dave and I were there not only for your Mom but also for you and Taylor. I should have made it more clear,,I think in life we are all guilty of assuming that the people we care the most about know how much we love them. well,,,,better late than never,,”what ever or when ever you guys need us you can believe we are there for you” Luv Ya To The Moon

    Reply

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