The Negative Affects of Divorce Last For Years
My parents separated when I was 11, and divorced when I was 12. Their marriage leading up to the separation was very difficult. My mom found out about my dad's affair with his secretary and my dad drank often and would become violent. He even chased my mom out into the yard pointing a rifle at her in front of me and my siblings.
Soon after that incident, I came home from school one afternoon, was told by my mom to get into the car and then we left, driving several hours to my new home in another state. Not given any prior notice that we were moving, I didn't have the opportunity to tell my friends goodbye, nor my dad goodbye. And in return, my dad never said goodbye to me.
For several weeks after moving to my new home, I cried everyday at school. I was one unhappy young girl.
As I grew up, my dad and I lived several hundred miles apart, which meant we only saw each other twice a year. And we talked on the phone for a very few minutes each week. This is certainly no way to have a relationship with your father. My parents' divorce took place in the mid-70s, and this was a time before the divorce rate became as high as it is now. So I was the only one in my group of friends whose parents were divorced, which was very embarrassing for me.
As I continued to grow up, I was always envious of my friends who had both of their parents in their home. While my girlfriends complained about their dads not liking the boys they dated, I secretly wished that I had such a problem, but knew I never would since my dad didn't live in the same state as me, let alone the same house.
Several months after I graduated from high school, I met the boy who would later become my husband. We dated for a few years and then set a date for our wedding. I called my dad to let him know I was getting married and when I told him the date of the wedding, his response was that he wasn't planning on coming up to visit around that time of the year. So he didn't come to the wedding because it was an inconvenience for him.
Both of my parents soon remarried after their divorce. They continued on with their lives, after turning mine upside down. It wasn't until I became a mom that I realized how selfish of a man my dad was. He did only what the law required him to do in financially supporting me and my siblings. He wasn't around to see me grow up. He didn't know my friends. He didn't know my teachers. He didn't know how I spent my afternoons. He didn't know when I was happy. He didn't know when I was sad. And even though he regularly told me that he loved me (at the end of our weekly 5 minute telephone calls), actions speak louder than words. And his actions certainly didn't express love.
But I'm not going to put all of the blame on my dad. I know my mom wasn't an easy person to live with and I can understand the fact that a man (or a woman) who once loved each other can fall out of love. But once those two people bring a child into the world, I believe it's that mom and dad's responsibility to love and protect that child until that child becomes an adult.
So, here I am now, a middle-aged woman with an adult child of my own and I am still feeling the hurt and pain from my parents' selfish actions 40 years ago. My dad has been dead for several years and my mom is in her 80s. I regret not talking to my dad about the divorce once I became an adult. I would have loved to hear him tell me that he's sorry for the pain he caused me. But for some reason I can't bring myself to talk to my mom about it either. I'd love to be able to be honest with her and share with her how their divorce negatively impacted my life. And I would also love to hear her say those the two words of "I'm sorry". But I really don't believe that she would understand.
Neither my mom nor my dad came from a divorced family, and I believe unless you have experienced it, you can't understand the pain. To end this story on a happy note, I do want to share that I have been happily married for 30 years. My husband is also from a divorced family and when we married so long ago we made a vow to each other that we would never put our child(ren) through what we had to endured.