the big D, and I don’t mean dallas


April 4, 2012 by Heather

I’ve said before that I would not blog about my parents’ divorce out of respect for them and out of respect for my own personal feelings regarding the situation.  Besides, this is a light-hearted blog and why would I want to get into something so deep anyway?

Because it sucks, that’s why.  And because it’s been two and a half years and I’ve kept my mouth relatively shut about it.  And because my heart is heavy, and I hate it when people use that phrase.

This is the most passive aggressive thing you’ll probably ever read.

Divorce creates a ripple effect.  One tiny (or not-so-tiny) drop in a pool and then it just radiates from there into the lives of so many around it, whether you like it or not.  My son won’t be able to understand what my childhood was like when I tell him stories about my own mom & dad, because he will never know a world where that relationship exists.  I’m still not even sure what to do with those childhood memories.  I’m so very grateful to have them locked away in a special place, but it’s like they have their own separate category now – the way things were before the you-know-what hit the fan.  It’s sometimes confusing to think about because a big part of those memories is now no more, and because of that it skews the rest.

It brings out the crazies.  Being a rather non-confrontational person (believe it or not), I generally try to keep my own personal crazies inside.  And by crazies I mean the ugly side that comes out when you’ve been hurt and you just kind of explode ugliness all over the place.  However, not everyone is able to keep their crazies suppressed, which can lead to lots of unwanted drama and anger.  So hear me when I say this:  Chill the hell out, everyone.  Just chill out, and let it be.  Because things will never be the same, not even close.  Pick your battles, be nice (even if it’s fake), and let time continue do its thing.

Divorce affects ALL of the children involved, not just the ones living at home.  This might be one of the biggest misunderstandings of them all, in my opinion.  I understand that the ones at home are in the thickest part of it, the day-to-day, and are therefore subjected to it regularly.  In a way though, that gets them more used to it.  It slowly becomes their normal, whether that’s a good or bad thing.  For the kids who are grown and perhaps married and out of the house, it takes a whole lot longer for it to get that way.  In fact, it may never get that way, and that’s ok.  “Going home” will never mean what it used to mean, it will never feel the way it used to feel, and it will take a lot more planning and logistics in order to see everyone and not ruffle any feathers in the process.

Being an adult when your parents split up also means that you may become the sounding board for various feelings and/or points of view.  It means you are more likely to play monkey in the middle, because everyone is so concerned about the kids living at home that they forget that you too are still their child and still need a lot of parenting yourself.

Being an adult when your parents both get remarried means that you will have a possibly-infinite struggle with the words “step-mom” and “step-dad.”  All parties involved should understand why you instead use the title “my dad’s wife,” or “my mom’s husband.”  Maybe someday it will be different.  It is also weird, as an adult, to see your parents behave in new and different mid-life-crisis-type ways.  This is weird even if your parents are still married to each other.  However, it is even weirder when they are married to other people.

Look, I get it.  You weren’t happy before, and now you are.  Good.  Great.  Keep being happy.  Just stop acting like a bunch of angry teenagers who can’t have a civilized adult conversation to save their lives.  Because honestly, I’m tired of feeling like the grown up.

And yes, I am cranky.  But you would be too if you woke up to no less than 20 dog turds all over your house and your dishwasher didn’t work and the bathtub didn’t drain and a pimple the size of Texas manifested itself on your cheek during the night.

I am going to call my sister and then bake this.  Two things that make any day better:  Hannah and carbs.



15 thoughts on “the big D, and I don’t mean dallas

  1. Sarah says:

    (((HUGS))) Thank you for being so open. It is hard to expose that layer beneith all the happy, puppies and rainbow stuff on a blog. While my parents are not divorced, Bs are and we feel the affect of that all the time. Every birthday, holiday, get together. It sucks. B was also an adult when his parents seperated and then divorced. It is different as an adult and I’m just proud of you for being a voice for those out there who aren’t ready to.

  2. Sarah says:

    I miss you too!!

  3. ohbygolly says:

    Okay, I really should have your number on hand…I just think you would be a good venting friend. haha, we have the same thoughts at times, and I really wouldn’t mind it when you told me to “just chill the hell out.” =) Okay, I have a goal to see you before you birth a baby. I do not have much time.—-Go!—–

  4. Robin says:

    I know death isn’t the same as divorce. There are some striking similarities! I NEVER refer to my Dad’s wife as my step-mom. She wasn’t around for any of my raising. I hate that Blaine will never know my mom. He doesn’t have any idea what our family dynamic was like when Mom was alive. I had to explain to my dad that he couldn’t expect me to love his new wife as much as he does. He got a new wife, I didn’t get a new mother. I was 32 when Mom died. It’s still weird. Thanks for your blog. I’m sorry about the “D”. You have my sympathy because it is like experiencing a death.

  5. I was young when my mom and father got a divorce, so when my mom remarried my “dad” it created our family dynamic instead of splitting one in two. However, my father is now trying to pull me to another side and be “dad” now that I’m an adult even though it’s too late and Dad will always be “dad” because he participated in raising me. So it’s like I’m getting the same affect as you are now only WAY delayed :-/ It is frustrating. And it definitely hurts. My father wasn’t around or part of my life at all because he immediately remarried and had his boys. Now suddenly (since he’s divorced again) he wants “the family dynamic” and I’ve since moved on. But how do you just say “no” to blood? So we have a facebook relationship and that’s about it. The whole thing has caused me to only get a very distant relationship with that side of my family (who have tried to keep a relationship with me), but again they live far away and we don’t keep in touch as we should because that connecting factor just isn’t there. I couldn’t imagine already having all that connection all my life and it suddenly being split in half after starting my own family. I agree with the other comment it IS like a death. And I think you opening up and saying something will help all adults watching their parents split open up themselves. Good for you!

    • That is a tough and awkward situation you are in. And you can only do so much, you know?

      • Oh yes definitely…and seeing him for the first time in 15 years at 18 years old…MEGA AWKWARD. Because he’s all like “Oh I’ve missed you you look great blah blah blah…” hugs tears yada yada (and all of this in front of the rest of that side of the family who for the most part understand what I’m feeling, but there’s still that sense of obligation?)…and I just hug back thinking I’m speechless/thoughtless…don’t have any clue how to feel at all. Yeah…weird…

  6. Melanie says:

    It’s funny, when Ira and I got married, my parents cautioned me that his parents were divorced. I was a little headstrong though, and thought (and told them) that it didn’t mean *we* would ever get one. Now I know what they meant. I have been shocked at how much his parent’s divorce has had a direct influence on mine and Ira’s life as a married couple, and it makes me angry at them. I’ll try not to write a novel… I don’t mean “influence” as in we fight all the time. It’s actually quite the opposite. Instead, it is the leftover issues that we still have to work through. The step-parents, the visits home, the feeling of being caught in a tug-of-war, and the triangle effect (to break out a family systems term from Dr. Gregory).

    • Oh how right you are! It causes all sorts of new and awkward dilemmas. I think my parents’ divorce has actually brought me and Andrew closer, thank goodness. I’m sure it would be easy for the opposite to happen. It definitely affects things, that’s for sure.

  7. Caitlin says:

    I’m glad you shared this. My dad moved out when I was in college and I know what you mean about it being more “easily” accepted by the kids still living at home. It still seems weird that my parents aren’t together anymore and I have to deal with a lot of bitterness on my mom’s part. Neither of my parents have remarried, but there have been several times that I’ve wanted to tell one or both of them to grow up and move on. 😦

  8. Alyson says:

    I stalk your blog sometimes — Anyway, you couldn’t have said it better. Amen to childish parents, Amen to growing up…and I’m so glad I’m not the only person that feels like the only grown up in the family (at times). 8 years later, I can’t say it gets better… but it gets easier or you just quit caring!

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