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life of a divorced mother

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The funny thing about the parent-child dynamic is that, in so many ways, it gets flipped on its head eventually. When parents are elderly, it is us, their children, who take care of them, making sure they are safe, making sure people don’t take advantage of them, making sure they eat right, and all of the same things they did for us when we were little. But that dynamic can get flipped upside down a little earlier in life if your parents get divorced. I know that I, personally, felt very worried and protective of my mother while she was going through a divorce, for years after, and still today. I realize, of course, that both of my parents went through that divorce, but for some reason I think we all feel a little more protective of our mothers after that event. Here are the ways I worried about mine.

life of a divorced mother

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The dating world

I hated the thought of my mom going out into the dating world, and having to tell strange men her story. I particularly hated that she needed to, in any way, prove to someone that she was interesting, fun, or beautiful. She had been through hell. I didn’t want her proving herself to anyone.

life of a divorced mother

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Relationships

Dating and relationships are two different animals. I worried about my mom getting into a new serious relationship after her divorce. I worried about her finding men who wanted to take advantage of her fragile state. There are a lot of men who do target divorced women, believing they are easier to control and manipulate.

life of a divorced mother

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Financial scams

My mom got the house in the divorce. She got quite a nice settlement, too. How could I not worry that some man would just go after her for her money? She didn’t need that, after all she’d been through. And, also, to be quite blunt: I didn’t want some con artist bleeding her bank accounts of what was meant to be mine and my sister’s inheritance.

life of a divorced mother

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Oh, and my dad is with a gold digger

Funny enough, my dad is with someone who is with him for his money and I don’t feel that bad for him. I think he knows it and he is just okay with the arrangement. Perhaps men are more comfortable knowing it is a transactional relationship. But, I know my mom. I know she wants true companionship. And I know how manipulative men can be when they want something—especially money.

life of a divorced mother

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Being alone

It was just so sad for me to think of my mom first having her children leave for college and then going through a divorce. She had given so much of herself for so long to her spouse and her children, and then there she was in that house alone.

life of a divorced mother

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Her concerns about me

I know that my mom did and perhaps still does worry that the divorce messed me up. I hate to think that she carries that guilt. I am fine. In fact, I believe that event made me strong and smart.

life of a divorced woman

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Her regrets

Unfortunately, sometimes my mom still talks about the past and about how things would’ve been different if she had only done this small thing, or if this one event had not happened. It makes me sad that she dwells on the past like that. In fact, I believe her divorce was an opportunity for her to grow tremendously. I worry about her thinking that it was just a terrible failure, rather than a tremendous lesson and even…blessing.

life of a divorced woman

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Vanity insecurities

It is not easy for people middle-aged or older to date but we all know the truth. It is especially difficult for women of that age to date because men their age want women who are young. And they can get them. My mom is so gorgeous and intelligent, so I hated hearing her worry about her age and her desirability. I hated that she felt she had wasted her best years on my dad.

life of a divorced woman

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Her social life

A lot of my mother’s social life revolved around my father. They had a lot of couples friends, but I don’t think my mom made enough personal friends just as an individual. My dad didn’t either, but I think a social circle is especially important to women.

life of a divorced woman

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People talking

My dad cheated. But, the interesting thing is, when a woman gets cheated on, people talk mostly about her. They talk about how they feel bad for her. Perhaps they talk about what she may have done that provoked the cheating. I hate thinking anyone speaks that way about her.

life of a divorced woman

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My dad actually doesn’t care

Here’s another ironic difference in my parents’ post-divorce experiences: my dad is the one who cheated and he doesn’t care what people say. He feels like, “Hey, that’s the past, and now we’ve all moved onto our new lives.” Because he’s in a new relationship, he feels his infidelity doesn’t stain his reputation anymore. But my mom will always feel like the woman who was cheated on.

life of a divorced woman

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Taking care of the house

In many ways, my dad took care of the house. Whether he personally fixed things, or he found the right people to hire, he handled it. Now I worry about contractors taking advantage of my mom. I know that sometimes people believe they can financially take advantage of women like that.

life of a divorced woman

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I check on her a lot

I call my mom several times a week, whereas I call my dad maybe twice a month. I just worry about my mom having moments of loneliness, and I hope to catch those and interrupt those.

life of a divorced woman

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Going to extremes for vanity

I know my mom has already had a little bit of work done, and I don’t think she would have if she were not divorced. When you literally grow old with someone, you always look young to them. But when you get a divorce in your 50s, you don’t get that luxury. I don’t want her going under the knife. I don’t even want her thinking she needs to.

life of a divorced woman

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Her fears that I regret

I don’t wish my parents were still together. I would never want them to get back together. But, I know my mom wishes for my sake that I had an intact family. She thinks she let me down. Or she just thinks the situation is sad for me. I wish she knew my life is happy and vibrant and I wouldn’t change a thing.

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