Things Children Of Divorce And Those From Happy Families Don’t Agree On
If you come from a divorced family, then to you, there are two types of people in this world: children of divorce, and children of happy, intact families. The latter do not realize that the two groups are separate, or that they exist at all. But that’s because their bubble hasn’t been burst—and they are very fortunate. For the rest of us, our bubbles were burst a long time ago, and after standing around shaking in fear for a while, wondering if anyone was going to patch our bubble back up, we stepped out of the bubble and decidedly joined the other group. And we never looked back. Until we grew up and started making friends who still live in the bubble. So sometimes we go visit their world, or wave at it, but we are sharply clear on the fact that we aren’t a part of that anymore. And for that reason, there are some things that children of divorce and those of happy homes never see eye to eye on.
Taking big leaps early
Children of divorce tend to take relationships slooooowly. So when our buddies tell us they’re moving in with a guy they’ve been dating for three months we’re thinking, “Do you just want to usher in a breakup?”
Being sensitive about prenups
Children from happy families can feel uncomfortable around prenups—they’re sentimental, and feel that prenups are bad luck. Children of divorce have been on the other side of a prenup and don’t waste time being emotional about getting these finalized.
Finding the holidays “relaxing”
Children from happy families get to relax during the holidays—they go home, and their parents cater to them like they’re kids again. Children of divorce do not get to relax during the holidays—they go home and cater to their parents’ needs, schedules, and emotional outbursts.
Having parents who live for you
If your parents are still together, they can focus on you. They take an interest in your work, love life and so on. They visit you. They live for you. As for those of us with divorced parents, well, our parents touch base but they’re pretty busy dating, going on journeys of self-discovery, and doing other things divorced people need to do.
Believing your parents are nearly gods
If you come from a happy home, your parents seem so strong. They have kept up their marriage, and their family, for years. It’s quite a feat. If you come from divorced parents, you’ve seen your parents act absolutely ridiculous, childish, and downright evil. You love them, but you take their advice and opinions with a grain of salt because you’ve seen their uglier sides.
Planning a wedding as exciting
Planning a wedding can be exciting when your parents are together. But when they’re divorced, you often just want to elope so you don’t have to deal with the endless politics from beginning to end of a wedding. You know your parents will make the planning, and the big day, a nightmare.
When you come from a happy home, you see having children as an opportunity to keep that love train running. When you come from divorced parents, you are extremely timid about the idea of having kids. Do you really want to bring them into a family of divorced grandparents? And are you going to wind up causing your kids pain the way your parents caused you pain?
Having total faith in a relationship
The way secret agents sleep with one eye open is similar to how children of divorce date with three eyes open. We are always analyzing and re-analyzing our relationships, keenly aware of any loose screws as if it’s a machine that could break down at any moment. We can’t just blindly enjoy our relationships the way kids from happy families can.
Believing your parents are emotionally intelligent
Kids from happy families ask their parents for advice on matters of the heart, friendship, and other emotional issues. Children of divorce know that their parents can be just as confused and downright incorrect in their thinking on these matters as anybody else and don’t see them as emotional geniuses.
Children of divorce just see therapists more than those of happy families. And after a while, we don’t just see therapy as something needed during times of crisis (as kids from happy families might)—we see it as regular maintenance.
Having a parent as a best friend
It can happen. And, in some cases (a-la “Gilmore Girls”) having divorced parents makes you especially close to one parent. But that often only happens if only one of your parents is still in your life. For those with both divorced parents in their lives, having one be a best friend rarely occurs.
Loving and needing to have a social life
Staying home on Friday nights and having a small friend group is fine for people from happy families—they feel that they have a great support group and social life through their families. Children from divorced parents tend to be a bit more social because they cannot rely on their family to be their support group or social life.
Hanging with your family is fun
There isn’t really time for it to be fun when your parents are divorced. You can’t throw back a few glasses of wine with mom when you have to drive to dad’s house in 45 minutes. Plus, there’s just a strained vibe in the room when the parent you’re hanging with knows you’re going to see their sex soon.
It’s okay to be distant from siblings
Children from happy families can afford to have strained relationships with their siblings—they have their parents as the glue that will hold this thing together no matter way. Kids from divorced families need to have good relationships with their siblings. Siblings are the only solid ground they have in the ever-shifting universe of family.
The marriage/family is the end all/be all
When you come from a happy, loving, supportive family, you see family as the nucleus of life. You can focus a lot of your energy on getting married and having a family of your own. When you come from divorced parents, you are forced to create other nuclei—like your career and social life—and don’t see family as the end all/be all to life.