My parents were divorced when I was 10, and it was far from a pleasant situation. I wouldn’t say that it was the worst divorce imaginable, especially after watching several child abduction episodes on Dr. Phil, but I am still dealing with the aftermath of the divorce today as an adult.
We’ve all heard the statistic before that 50 percent of marriages end in divorce. I did a little digging, and it looks like that statistic is hard to pin down since divorce rates in the US appear to be decreasing, while marriage rates are also decreasing.
I do know that a good number of my friends’ parents were divorced when I was in school in the 90s. If I had to make a rough guess, the 50 percent estimate seems pretty accurate to me. Many of the divorce situations that I observed looked similar to my own—parents trying hard to make it work but still struggling with their own personal demons and bitterness.
Twenty years later, and I’m still dealing with a rocky relationship with my dad. I’ve had to work through many issues with both of my parents after the divorce, but my dad, in my opinion, was the one that did the most damage. My sister had a completely different experience and feels more positive toward her relationship with my dad.
It got me thinking. I know both of my parents probably had good intentions to shield us from the divorce, but that simply did not happen. We heard negative things about both parents on each side of the fence—sometimes as deliberate as bashing the other parent and sometimes just a blatant bad attitude detected toward the other parent.
No one is perfect, and breakups are never easy. I’ve heard of such things as “amicable divorces,” and I’ve seen the plot lines play out on TV sitcoms. But I don’t believe that these fantasy divorce situations are real. I’m not divorced as an adult, but I saw divorce firsthand as a child. I don’t see how it is possible to end a marriage with kids in the mix without poisoning the well—against one parent or the other.
(photo: Getty Images)