What screws us up most in life is the picture in our head of how it is supposed to be.
My parents met when they were young and going through a training course in the military. They hit it off pretty quickly as they both enjoyed adventure, parachuting, pushing their limits, dancing, partying, and trying new things. They followed all the right steps; they became friends for about a year, became official and dated for a year, lived together for three years and then finally married. They bought a house and continued with their lives together for an additional three years before I was born. So why after 30 years of marriage did none of that help? They literally took 8+ years to get to know each other before committing themselves to marriage and now they are getting divorced.
I’m 27 this year, and I’m just starting to go through this process with my parents, and it is quite different dealing with them as individuals rather than as a couple. I’m not a little girl being told not to worry about things and that mommy and daddy still love me and that everything will work out for the best. I’m being thrown into the middle with no holds bars. My mum won’t stop crying in front of me and telling me all of my dad’s faults and how awful he has been to her. My dad hasn’t even discussed anything with me in relation to the divorce or my mum, he’s just completely closed himself off and has started seeing someone new (it’s only been a few weeks since the official break up). No one is comforting me at all, it’s completely the other way around. My parents need me to help direct them and tell them I love them, that things will be alright, and things like that. My mom has been asking me to help her create a new resume and to find a new place to live an hour away from me. I feel like I’ve become the “parent” and they’re just lost little kids who can’t think straight.
It’s a weird feeling to see something you thought was rock solid just liquify in front of your eyes. It really scares me that I’m in a 3 year old relationship right now and that even if we date for another 5 years and things get better between us and we marry, it won’t keep us safe from divorcing. Marriage itself seems like a saboteur of love; you love someone so much that you bind yourself to that person and after getting married something shifts and marriage becomes a chore and a negative aura hangs over you that you have to try and live with… until you can’t.
I understand that people change over time but I don’t understand why people change separately and not together. Circumstances change, so you both change with it; I think that’s how it should be, but obviously easier said than done. My mother is a free spirit who now loves the arts and reading, her adventurous side changed from taking risks to being an introvert. My dad on the other hand is a free spirit who goes out of his way to follow his passions, but he doesn’t commit to those goals once he has it or gets close to it, and then he’s off and onto the next thing.
They took little trips together here and there and they both decided to work together, get the same matching cars, volunteer together, and basically do everything together. So the fact is that they started changing to have some alone time and that became their goals until they had no use for each other at all. Why was it so hard for them to find different individual interests earlier in life that the other could support? Instead my mom writes poems and does crafts which my dad could care less about and he has never supported this little passion of hers. And my mother has always supported my dad with everything he did, but she didn’t mean it. She did it because she felt she had to, or that if she did that then they could maybe spend even more time together. She didn’t genuinely feel happy for my dad for following his passions; maybe she envied him, but in the end I know she full heartedly resents him for it.
I love my parents to death, they have always been there for me and I’ve always had them look out for me and my best interests; there’s nothing they wouldn’t do for me. I know they love me and they’ve shown it time and again so I’m very grateful for that; I was very fortunate in the parent lottery.
What I’m having a hard time with is having my mother cut my dad down into a huge asshole and my dad showing me that he doesn’t care about hurting my mum by dating already. My dad has kept in touch with me otherwise, he might not be talking about any of the drama, but he has gone out of his way to make sure I wished my mom a happy mother’s day and to ask about my day and about things going on with me. He hasn’t talked about anything regarding the divorce but he also hasn’t bad mouthed my mum either. I love both of them equally and I don’t like that I have to see them in a new light; which is that they aren’t the nicest of people. It breaks my heart to think of them as anything less than good, honest, loving people. Because of all this, my perception on everything has changed and I feel like being alone is inevitable. That even if I find my true love and we settle into a life together, that won’t mean I won’t have to restart my life over at 55 because we end up hating each other.
I watch shows and movies where the grandparents are in their late 70’s and still gaze at each other, hold hands, have a beautiful home, have a fixed but comfortable income, have loving family members who come over for holidays and special occasions; and all I can think about is how my parents will never have that. They have to start from square one by themselves, and figure out how they are going to support their new life financially. From now on, they’ll have to share or trade off holidays and visits with me and that’s how it’s going to have to work. I’m also anticipating many more conversations about how awful the other one is for years to come. They’ve been together for well over 30 years so I’m sure there’s a lot of dirt I have yet to find out about. When I broke up with my ex-boyfriend of a couple years, it took me almost the same amount of time to start seriously dating again. I know that they are going to be in for a long road ahead and I just think this whole situation is just so sad and devastating.
I think this would almost be easier had they divorced when I was younger. I wouldn’t be treated like a sounding board who has to nod along to stories about how crappy of a person the other one is. I wouldn’t have to listen and watch my mom cry her eyes out. I wouldn’t have to know that my dad has already moved on. I wouldn’t have to help my mom find an apartment and a job while keeping it secret from my dad. I wouldn’t have to deal with their personal relationship details good or bad. I would also have a lot more time to process the situation so that when I was an adult I would already know how to approach the idea of marriage.
I have no clue right now, as of this moment in my life, relationships themselves just seem like a bad idea that are full of nothing but impending hate. I might not feel the full effects yet but I’m sure it’s coming. Everyone just ends up hating everyone and I’d much rather just live in a little cave by myself then have to hate and be hated. It’s just all so defeating… Why try?