5 Things Being A Child Of Divorce Teaches You About Relationships, Like Sometimes Love Just Isn't Enough
Being a child of divorce irreparably changes the way you view relationships — and sometimes for the better. As a first grader in a Christian elementary school, I was the only kid without married parents. My teachers made snide remarks to my mother, and chastised me for missing school so my father could visit his out-of-state girlfriend. Although it would seem that I had been marked with a scarlet "D" by everyone around me, I nonetheless emerged with the last laugh.
Don't get me wrong — dealing with divorce is never easy on a child (and some situations are harder than others), but once I accepted my situation, I figured out that a major upside to my parents' divorce was learning hard truths about relationships early on. I didn't get to grow up seeing my mom and dad model the perfect marriage built on care, respect and steamy hot sex, but I did get to witness the trying dating process and eventually attend both of my parents' weddings, bearing witness to new beginnings. It wasn't all sunshine and roses, but life isn't either, so I'm glad I was privy to the tough truths behind relationship fictions.
Here are five things being a child of divorce can teach you about relationships:
1. Sometimes Love Isn't Enough To Make A Relationship Work
Although my parents did, at some point, love each other madly, love does not a relationship make. Hollywood rom-coms tend to paint a picture of romance that's driven by passionate emotional ties alone, but there are a lot of other things required for a successful partnership like, say, lifestyle compatibility.
2. Failed Relationships Don't Make You A Failure
It's hard not to conflate relationship failures with personal failings, but if I learned anything from watching my folks split, it's that it wasn't a reflection of some defect in them.
3. Being Single And Happy Is Way Better Than Being Partnered And Miserable
I had a lot of friends with parents who stayed together for "the kids," but made it very known that they hated each other. Going over to their houses and witnessing moody looks and screaming matches reminded me that my folks did the right thing by getting the hell away from each other. I learned then that there is nothing wrong with being single, especially when your other option is partnered misery.
4. Couples Counseling Is A Crap Shoot
Therapy is not a cure-all, but can work for some couples. That said, there are certain relationships that aren't salvageable — or just not worth saving.
4. Breakups Can Be The Best Thing That Ever Happened To You
When all signs point to splitsville, the next move is dealing with the fallout. After the initial post-breakup misery subsides, however, the relief that comes next can be pure ecstasy. I saw it on my parents faces as a kid, and I've definitely experienced it for myself.
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