How to Deal With Your Parents’ Divorce

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Dealing with your parents' divorce is never easy, no matter what age you are. And while you may not have to worry about some of the issues that can arise during childhood, such as custody battles, moving, or coordinating after-school pickups, having to deal with your parents' divorce during adulthood comes with its own unique set of challenges and obstacles. If you're struggling or trying to make sense of your parents' divorce at their age, there are steps you can take right now to deal with and overcome these overpowering issues.

1. Reach Out for Support

Even though you're now older and wiser, dealing with parents who are divorcing doesn't spare you from the wide range of feelings and emotions that children experience when their parents divorce. If you're feeling sad, confused, hurt, guilty, or angry about the situation, it's important that you reach out to close friends, siblings, and other supportive people in your life who can help you work through these emotions and tackle them head-on.

Many children often meet with therapists when their parents get divorced, and being older doesn't mean that you shouldn't reach out to trained professionals to help you work through your emotions. You'll get through this, so don't be afraid to widen your support system to help you in the process.

2. Don't Let It Ruin Your Vision of Your Childhood

When your parents divorce when you're older, it's not uncommon to look back at your childhood and carefully review every wonderful memory in search of clues of your parents' unhappiness. However, you shouldn't let their divorce jade or cast a negative shadow on the times that you spent as a family while growing up, and you shouldn't try to scrutinize and pinpoint evidence of your parents' discontentment. Even if your parents are divorcing, you should still treasure those happy moments and let them bring you joy. Happy childhood memories don't dissolve when your parents' marriage does.

3. Set Boundaries With Your Parents

As an adult, your parents may treat you more like a friend and confidant rather than as their child, and this means that they may individually turn to you to help deal with their grief, vent and lament about the other. If you find yourself having to listen to each of your parents complain, name call, and insult each other, you should speak up and put an end to this kind of behavior.

You need to remind them that you're still their child, and that you won't be put in a situation where you have to choose sides or speak ill about one of your parents to the other to appease their needs. They should still play a parental role and make sure that you're coping with the situation and dealing with your own whirlwind of emotions during this challenging time.

4. Don't Let It Ruin Your View of Relationships in General

If you're dealing with your parents' divorce as an adult, it's not uncommon that this kind of news start to influence how you view relationships in general. You may wonder how such a seemingly strong and happy relationship can simply crumble after all these years. However, every relationship is different, and just because your parents' relationship is now ending doesn't mean that your current or future relationships won't work out for the long haul. Don't let their ending marriage negatively impact your view of dating and relationships. Staying positive and optimistic is the grown-up thing to do. 

5. Understand That It Takes Time to Get Used to the New Normal

When you're dealing with your parents' divorce, you should recognize that it'll take time for you to get used to the new reality. It may be strange to split up during the holidays, see your parents living in different homes or even watch them date other people, and you won't suddenly feel OK with the situation overnight. By taking it day by day and understanding that there'll be highs as well as lows, you'll be better able to make sense of their divorce and settle into this new chapter of your life.