In recent years, divorce seems to be something that to some has become more common. As unfortunate as it may be, there are a plethora of issues that can lead to the end of a relationship. Divorce impacts every member of a family differently. Although the two parties separating take a big hit, at times, the effect it has on the children is greater.
I was a child who had to deal with divorce and I carried many of my feelings and fears from that time into adulthood. I was around 12 when my parents split up. We all sat down for that dreaded family meeting when the news was given. I knew this was a difficult time for myself as well as my siblings. Thankfully, if there was any real drama or craziness that took place during that time, my parents were gracious enough to shield it from us. Or, I could have just not been paying that close attention trying to live my best child life. I was sad because over the years I always saw good and things in my parents’ relationship. Also, being the youngest, I was literally like my father’s shadow and I knew this was going to be a big change for our family.
Also from 32 Letter:
I was always a good kid. Never really got into trouble and always did well in school. After my parents split, I began to second guess a lot of things. I knew it wasn’t mine or my siblings’ faults but questioned if there was anything we could have done or not done that would have helped. Although I know I had many willing to listen, I never shared my feelings about my parents’ divorce with anyone. I just assumed I would get over it as I got older. That was a grave mistake.
Coming into an adulthood, I had major trust issues and fears when it came to relationships. In college, I was in a mildly tumultuous on and off again relationship. We loved each other a lot but, in hindsight, I realized some of my behaviors were intended to sabotage that relationship. I always kept him at a safe distance. I thought if things did end, that would make it easier for me to deal with it and move on. After college, I just became an appeaser. Not speaking up for myself and going along with whatever in relationships with friends, family and potential suitors just to avoid any conflicts or lose people.
At 25, I married my first love. We had known each other since we were kids and dated in high school. We were both raised by our mothers after their relationships ended and wanted different outcomes for ourselves and possible children. We decided because of the past, divorce wasn’t going to be an option for us. Therefore, we went through a mountain of struggles that I didn’t understand the reasoning behind until years later. I stayed in a toxic situation entirely too long to prevent what was inevitable because I thought love should have been enough. In the end, although we initially talked about taking divorce off the table and trying to work it out, he decided to be with the woman whom he impregnated because unlike in his past, he wanted his children to be raised with both of their parents in the home. Although I was hurt by that at the time, I understood why he felt that way.
Years later after I ended another bad relationship, I surprisingly found out I was going to be a parent, I knew that things needed to change. I was going to be responsible for a whole human being and needed to get myself right first. This wouldn’t be a relationship I could be distant in or leave when it got too bad to deal with anymore. Let me tell you what my saving grace was…therapy, therapy, and more therapy! It’s a common misconception that those of us in the Black community don’t take part in this practice. Many of us do and have ultimately seen the benefits. I go to church and I pray consistently but, I also know that I have a part to play in my well being and take the actions necessary for it.
I would never encourage anyone to suffer in a toxic relationship, but I definitely urge people to do the necessary work before and during the marriage. Don’t rush into it, get to know your partner well and be willing to get help if you ever need it. Most people do not go into a marriage expecting divorce but things happen. For those with children, make sure if things go that route, sit and talk with your children as much as you can. If they don’t want to talk to you, find someone who they will be comfortable with. For many, it’s easier to talk to a stranger about your feelings than a friend or family member. Do the best you can to help them with that difficult transition. That event in their life can very well decide how they handle their own adult relationships in the future.