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For Better or Worse...
addi Posted: Sat Mar 3 08:59:30 2007 Post | Quote in Reply  
  Jenn's post about her parents being separated and her mom moving to a cabin got me to thinking about divorces and their impact on each of us.
I'm curious to hear stories on your personal experiences dealing with your parents relationship growing up.
More precisely...
Did you go thru your parents divorcing as a child or teen?
If so, how did it affect you then?
If it was years ago do you find that it still affects your life today in some way?
If your parents are still together...did they having a strong loving relationship, or was it a case where they stuck it out, but fought constantly?
Lastly...how do you think the examples of a marriage relationship your parents set for you have molded your ideas on what love and marriage is for yourself?
Do you see their relationship as an example of what you want, or is it more that you want the opposite of what they have/had?


 
jennemmer Posted: Sat Mar 3 11:56:19 2007 Post | Quote in Reply  
  I was about 18 when my parents separated. I was old enough to realize that my parents were people too and independant enough that it wasn't too much of a transition to make. The hardest part was the fact that my mom moved out and so my Dad and I had to learn to relate on different terms. I had had the freedom to come and go more or less as I pleased, provided I made it home at night (barring a snowstorm that stranded me at a friends place, and then I'd have to call). My dad hadn't had to do much of the parenting and suddenly I had 10pm curfews and someone waiting up for me if I wasn't back by then.

Once we sorted out some of the details it worked out to my advantage in a way because it forced my dad and I to have more of a relationship than we'd had before. We went from being on good terms to actually being close.

I was really mad at my mom for a long time. I couldn't see any reason for her to leave. I hadn't even heard them argue in years. It was a combination of things I think: being in her 40s and realizing she still didn't know what she was doing with her life, a bit of empty nest syndrom, the fact that my dad was away for work a lot and that they had sort of been living separate lives for a while.
Regardless, I was angry that she would be so selfish. I would sometimes hear my dad crying through his bedroom door, though he would never talk about it.

I had been in a pretty long term relationship with a really decent guy, but it had almost gotten to the point where we were together because we were used to being together. There was nothing special about the relationship but there didn't seem to be a reason to break-up either. My parents separating made me stop and take a look at everything in my own life. Needless to say the relationship I was in didn't last.

It's hard to say how it is still affecting me. I'm willing to give the whole marriage thing a try inspite of the fact that my parent's didn't last, though I'm probably not going into it quite as naively as I might have otherwise. I sort of take my parents relationship as reminder not to take the other person or the relationship for granted and also as a reminder that relationships need to to be maintained, they don't just exist on their own.


 
Posted: Sun Mar 4 15:33:38 2007 Post | Quote in Reply  
  kind of weird to talk about, I guess.

Parents divorced when I was 17-18 (I'm 22), I tried to ignore it as much as possible (took on more shifts at work + booked myself a permanent office at the school library for studying after hours).

I chose to live with my father; one of my sisters (five years younger than me) lives full time with my mother, the other (three years younger than me) lives half/half between us. My mother lives about ten minutes away, other side of the same town. I want to say that it affects my sisters more than myself, but it's hard seeing things from an inside perspective.

If I had to identify things that affect me from the divorce, it's really the practical issues: living with my dad meant we got to keep my dog (yes! Max is adorable), but we lost the piano (oh shit, there goes 11 years of lessons), so on and so forth.

I've not lost touch with my youngest sister, by the way, even though we do not live together we see eachother a few times a week (easily more than I see either of my parents - including the one I live with).

The reason for the divorce was alcohol abuse.

As far as my own marriage plans go, I don't know how much this has had an affect on me. I want to say that being a Wedding Disc Jockey for the past five years has had more of an affect on my marriage-outlook than the divorce did,

but like I said,

kind of hard to remain unbiased from the inside.






This was wicked hard to write.


 
FN Posted: Sun Mar 4 16:07:19 2007 Post | Quote in Reply  
  CriminalSaint said:
>I want to say that being a Wedding Disc Jockey for the past five years has had more of an affect on my marriage-outlook than the divorce did

Haha

How did those parties change your view on marriage


 
libra Posted: Sun Mar 4 16:38:08 2007 Post | Quote in Reply  
  My parents are still together.
What's funny is that I think they fought a lot more when I was a kid than they did when I was a teen and now. I guess maybe there was a different stress level there when my brother and I were younger.
My parents have definitely shown me very opposing ideas about love and marriage. I think they demonstrated a very unhealthy way of arguing, and they still don't argue very well. I think I've learned from that.
They also showed me that you don't give up just because you're a little angry.
They definitely didn't ruin my ideas about marriage, but I think I learned a lot about what not to do from them.
I think one of the interesting things that came out of my family as a whole is that I don't really mind people arguing as much as other people. My boyfriend hates fighting, and he hates watching or having people close to him fight. But I don't think I'm like that. He kind of interprets a fight as possibly leading to a break up--he worries that us fighting is a bad sign. I don't think that way. I think that even though there's a fight happening, things will be fine eventually, and that I still want to stay together even though I know we will argue at times.

I don't know if that's a good thing or a bad thing...


 
beetlebum Posted: Sun Mar 4 16:49:59 2007 Post | Quote in Reply  
  CriminalSaint said:
>kind of weird to talk about, I guess.
>
yeah, i've tried three times in earnest to write here, but i just can't. it's too personal and too messy, what happened. and i'm sure it screwed me up, but i really, really hate admitting that... because being able to intellectually recognize it makes me feel as though i was some sort of emotional weakling.



 
Posted: Sun Mar 4 16:51:06 2007 Post | Quote in Reply  
  Christophe said:
>CriminalSaint said:
>>I want to say that being a Wedding Disc Jockey for the past five years has had more of an affect on my marriage-outlook than the divorce did
>
>Haha
>
>How did those parties change your view on marriage

I actually blogged about it here:
http://philrenaud.com/210


 
beetlebum Posted: Sun Mar 4 16:51:40 2007 Post | Quote in Reply  
  beetlebum said:
>CriminalSaint said:
>>kind of weird to talk about, I guess.
>>
>yeah, i've tried three times in earnest to write here, but i just can't. it's too personal and too messy, what happened. and i'm sure it screwed me up, but i really, really hate admitting that... because being able to intellectually recognize it makes me feel as though i was some sort of emotional weakling.
>

that made no sense. but i'm too tired to clarify. :D


 
jennemmer Posted: Sun Mar 4 17:22:43 2007 Post | Quote in Reply  
  beetlebum said:

>yeah, i've tried three times in earnest to write here, but i just can't. it's too personal and too messy, what happened. and i'm sure it screwed me up, but i really, really hate admitting that... because being able to intellectually recognize it makes me feel as though i was some sort of emotional weakling.

I've talked and thought mine out over and over to the point where I have a story that comes out factual and straight and conveys most of what I can make sense of. I don't know whether it is good or bad that my way of dealing with the messy parts has been to write them out of the story slowly. I am hoping that it means the messy parts are less and less relevant with time...

(I'm not sure that is relevant as a response or that it makes any more sense ;)


 
beetlebum Posted: Sun Mar 4 17:31:54 2007 Post | Quote in Reply  
  jennemmer said:
>beetlebum said:
>
>>yeah, i've tried three times in earnest to write here, but i just can't. it's too personal and too messy, what happened. and i'm sure it screwed me up, but i really, really hate admitting that... because being able to intellectually recognize it makes me feel as though i was some sort of emotional weakling.
>
>I've talked and thought mine out over and over to the point where I have a story that comes out factual and straight and conveys most of what I can make sense of. I don't know whether it is good or bad that my way of dealing with the messy parts has been to write them out of the story slowly. I am hoping that it means the messy parts are less and less relevant with time...
>
>(I'm not sure that is relevant as a response or that it makes any more sense ;)

no, that's true. i definitely shrug it off when people ask. i think i just don't like talking about the messy parts, not because i would get emotional, but because i don't really want that life experience to define who i am. at least not to other people. does that make sense?

but i can give the facts devoid of emotion for sure:

i was 13, my sister was 7.

the main contributing factor was alcohol abuse, but it always goes deeper than that, doesn't it.


 
addi Posted: Sun Mar 4 18:12:14 2007 Post | Quote in Reply  
  thanks for sharing peoples...I was beginning to wonder if it was just one of those threads meant to fade quickly and quietly...with a whimper.
I understand for some it's not an easy thing to think about. I can appreciate that.

I could write pages about how my father leaving us 4 kids when I was 7 affected me, but I'll spare ya'll from that nightmare.
I'll just say it had a profound affect on my childhood (I don't look fondly back on my childhood days and miss them).
I have moved on for sure, but I'm also sure that many of the emotional scars from that experience are still with me in some form even now.

I'ts probably why I'm such a posting slut here : )


 
misszero Posted: Sun Mar 4 18:37:26 2007 Post | Quote in Reply  
  my parents set a pretty high ideal re: marriage for me. They have a good relationship. they bicker and disagree, but I can't remember them ever fighting. They have and do, I'm sure, but i just don
't think they want to do it in front of me or my siblings. Since i moved out of home I've seen them more as people, and got to know them better that way. I think it was letting go of a lot of my teen angst, haha . I think that both of them want to be with the other, but also they both come from families with no divorce. One of my uncles got divorced in the 80's and he's still fucked up. (kinda cool, but fucked in the head.) its weird. man. I need like 2 more days to think about this before i could post the perfect post about this. Now i'm not going to get any work done. damn. this is why i miss gt so much :( (the making me think about important stuff part, not the 'really helps me to procrastinate' part)


 
Ahriman Posted: Mon Mar 5 03:50:29 2007 Post | Quote in Reply  
  My parents divorced when I was 6. I basically grew up between the yelling and screaming. Neither ever laid a hand on my sisters but I definitely got the full brunt of their anger for each other. At age 7, I was ignored and completely disconnected from the modern world. I found myself reading many books. My mentors became Homer, Dickens, Wells, etc. Thus my perception of the divine became more and more...apparent...which led me to become an atheist and an avid outdoorsman. I'd fall asleep in the barn on the hay or in the row boat by the pond many nights just to avoid going in to the house. Once my parents were divorced, my mom basically partied all the time with her friends at the house and my dad got an apartment and kept to his work. The multiple "uncles" I had to deal with at my moms and the obscure visits to my dads left me feeling cold. I never once cried throughout my entire childhood. Apparently it eventually frightened my parents and grandparents because I would slice my arm open or full down a flight of stairs and simply get up and keep going. Crying never seemed to be of any use to me. It felt weak. Strength was what the trees taught me. Around age 10, the custody battle went under full swing. I found myself being swung back and forth from one "home" to another. Life was hell. My feelings for humanity lessened every year. Nature became my love. The quiet. The tranquility. The beauty.

My experience with my parents relationship led me to one conclusion: ignore everything everyone else does and just be who you are. If I were to stick to example, I'd be a chainsmoking alcoholic with a violence streak.

Nothing that has happened to me in the past has any effect on me now because I live for what I see. For what I smell. For what I taste, hear, feel. The world is a beautiful place. It might as well be appreciated.

Love and marriage are two seperate things for me. Love is a feeling and marriage is a binding legal agreement. Feelings are what help you decide what you should. Documents are what force you to do things. Marriage is like a diamond. It only means something if you make it so. Cause come on, it's a shiny rock. However, Love is like an old pair of shoes. It fits, it's comfortable, it's a part of you and you will make every future choice based around it. You fit into the shoes and the shoes fit onto you.


 
Mark Posted: Mon Mar 5 04:19:03 2007 Post | Quote in Reply  
  In 1999 my parents told me that they were going to divorce, I was fifteen years old at that time. They where struggling with their marriage for a few years already and in the end it didn’t work out. It took more than half a year before my mom moved out and the divorce became official, creating kind of a f*cked up situation at home (and I became sixteen years old, now that was a happy birthday…). Still stayed there though, trying to ignore everything it did to me.

Both being kind of controlling they both wanted me and my brother (three years older) to choose. Mind games where played. This is what absolutely shouldn’t be happening when people divorce… taking the fight to the children. Anyway, after making clear that we wouldn’t make any choice, both my brother and I stayed with my dad since he stayed in the house we always lived in. My mother lived somewhere else in town.

After a year though my dad also moved, but he moved to a other town. Although not far away (no place is ever far away when living in the Netherlands :) both my brother and I decided to live with my mother so we could stay in our hometown.

I know it all affected me greatly, but can’t really tell in what way anymore. More things have happened to alter my view on relationships and marriage and can’t tell which situation created which viewpoint. I do still believe that a successful relationship and marriage can happen.

And I like Ahriman’s metaphors with the diamond and the shoes.


 
addi Posted: Mon Mar 5 07:32:38 2007 Post | Quote in Reply  
  Mark said:

>And I like Ahriman’s metaphors with the diamond and the shoes.

yup...nicely put.

Man..this is really interesting and touching to read for me (I'm a softy..I admit it). Some of the stories divulged here I knew a little about, but there's been a lot said I didn't know.

One of the things I find interesting is that decades ago when my parents divorced it was still the exception. I tried as best I could as a child to hide the fact because I was ashamed of it.
Now (especially noticed this as a teacher) it's almost become the exception that both parents are still together and comfortable sharing their "old shoes".

I see a major evolution over the past years in the institution of marriage.


 
Cherry_Moon Posted: Mon Mar 5 22:29:22 2007 Post | Quote in Reply  
  I've had three sets of parents.

My birth parents really shouldn't be considered human beings much less parents. But it has effected the last 11 years of my life. They weren't legally married I believe. My mom was the niece of my "dad" so I have no clue what that make me and my little bro Travis. I learned that sometimes an abused woman can't break the cycle until the abuser just dies. So I got a very wifebeater relationship model from them. He use to just whale into her.

my foster parents were pretty standoffish to each other. the husband was so unbelieveably henpecked that he just kinda was a lump on the lay-z boy 95% of the time.

and my adopted parents. they have been together for over 20 years and have a really great relationship. they really take care of each other when things get bad. My dad in recent years has kinda disappeared. He use to be sweet, funny, witty, and just a great daddy. But now he's kinda quiet, somber, easy to frustrate, henpecked, and really a shadow of what he was. My mom has become more ocd, militant, very judgemental, old fashion cold, and standoffish. They are good to each other and best friends.

My mom told me that I knew I had a keeper when I could both be great friends with the man (of course she believes in equal rights. but she is completely convinced i'm straight.) and be incredibly in love.


 
choke Posted: Thu Mar 8 17:37:38 2007 Post | Quote in Reply  
  My parents weren't ever married, in fact I'm pretty sure they weren't in a relationship at all and I know they didn't spend more than a couple weeks together. It's all a little bit scandalous, really. The worst moment of my life I think was when I was about 8 years old my mother sat me down to ask me who I thought the man who came to take me to McDonalds from time to time was. In show and tell at school I used to just call him my uncle. I seriously had no idea and she told me he was my dad. Then she told me I could cry if I wanted to. I didn't, but I wanted to.

I used to not like him much because my mum and stepdad don't and I thought my stepdad wouldn't love me anymore if I was nice to this 'new' dad. In fact I wasn't sure if he had ever loved me at all because I wasn't 'real' and I lived in an agony over this. I never brought up the situation because I wanted to pretend it didn't exist, that maybe if I didn't mention it or go to see him maybe they'd forget and I could be a real part of their family again. I didn't even feel like I was allowed to play with my siblings anymore... Can you imagine this?

Of course things change and you grow up. My dad and I have an okay (if a little awkward) relationship and I go see him regularly. He is quite obnoxious but some people just are and I have accepted we are related and I try to be a good daughter to everyone without taking sides.

But I definately, definately would be devastated if my mum and my stepdad ever got divorced. I would model my relationship off of theirs, certainly not the other one. She definately got it right this time and our house and our life is a good one.

The only lesson I would really take away from it all is that stuff happens and you adapt to it, but be careful what you say to your kids, you can destroy them with a word without even realizing it.


Wow... I agree that was weird. I haven't thought about my reaction to that in ages... Ever, really. Not from an examination point of view. I wonder if it's good to think about or not? I certainly felt better before I started. But then maybe it was good on a more subconscious level.

I used to be really callous about the whole situation, it's easy to outline the facts but I don't think I ever thought about the effects. I told my friends when I was younger and one of them called my mum a slut. The same girl used to tell me 'I was acting like my dad' when she was angry at me. I don't think we were really friends. So much more is said when you're kids though. I guess you just don't think.


 
addi Posted: Thu Mar 8 17:52:45 2007 Post | Quote in Reply  
  thanks, tiff. that was interesting (and touching) to read.

It's interesting to remember how we think of things like this as children, and how our perceptions change as adults.


 
FN Posted: Thu Mar 8 18:56:54 2007 Post | Quote in Reply  
  My parents' divorce influenced me in several ways, both good and bad.

In spite of everything I've seen and lived through, I'm hoping I'll run into a girl who figures out how to handle me and who will not just know but "feel" how she can calm my mind down when it needs to be sedated. It makes sense to me. Whatever.

When I do get together with that girl I can see myself growing old with her.


I've thought about what I'd write here, but this is all I want to say about it.


 
addi Posted: Thu Mar 8 19:50:44 2007 Post | Quote in Reply  
  Christophe said:

>When I do get together with that girl I can see myself growing old with her.


I hope that too for you, Christophe. If you have to grow old it's a great thing to do it with someone you love.


 
Cherry_Moon Posted: Thu Mar 8 20:27:38 2007 Post | Quote in Reply  
  addi said:
>If you have to grow old it's a great thing to do it with someone you love.

I second that! I hope I live to be a hundred with Puckster.


 
sweet p Posted: Thu Mar 8 23:59:44 2007 Post | Quote in Reply  
  i tried to write an answer to this post but i couldn't explain anything the way i wantedto. i have thought about this many times and i always have many answers.
i can admit to some of the influences my parents' divorce has had on me [good or bad] if they are asked specifically, but there are some that i think i may still have burried within me.

i was pretty much born a little off-beat so it becomes difficult to pinpoint which weird things are results of the divorce. sometimes i don't have any feelings towards the situation at all. other times i feel like a lot of my life is based around the one incident and its results.

at the time of my parents' divorce, i kept a journal. the only mention of it in the entire book is in an entry 2 months after they told me. there are only three sentences [in a long entry about other things] and they say : my father doesn't live here anymore. when i found out he was leaving, it was really sad. now i just don't know what it is.

i think it's hard to have your heart broken for the first time, by your parents. sometimes i think it has made me a superwoman and nothing can compare. other times i feel as though it has made everything so much harder - almost as if every new heart break is a painful reminder, in addition to the specific situation. to this day i cannot say for sure if i'm just really resilient or just really repressive.


 
beetlebum Posted: Fri Mar 9 04:41:24 2007 Post | Quote in Reply  
  sweet p said:

>
>i think it's hard to have your heart broken for the first time, by your parents. sometimes i think it has made me a superwoman and nothing can compare. other times i feel as though it has made everything so much harder - almost as if every new heart break is a painful reminder, in addition to the specific situation. to this day i cannot say for sure if i'm just really resilient or just really repressive.

yeah... wow. exactly.


 
addi Posted: Fri Mar 9 06:32:18 2007 Post | Quote in Reply  
  It's a difficult thing to admit to myself, but I know that going through it as a child amplified the hurt anytime I feel rejected by someone, or have to say goodbye to someone I care about deeply.
my reactions to situations like this aren't in the "normal" range of understandable feelings...they tend to fall in "why the hell does this hurt so bad" range of feelings.

Christophe talked about the good and the bad to come from it. I definately feel that as well. Going through it made me a much more sensitive and understanding person to the pain of others. On the other hand that same strength can be a curse...knowing that in some situations it's much healthier to have a tough skin who cares attitude.


 



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