Watching divorce happen can be weird from several perspectives, whether you are a child in the middle of your parents’ messy separation or you’re an adult getting a divorce from your spouse. However, watching your parents’ divorce when you are an adult is a bizarre experience; you are not used to seeing your parents legally, physically and emotionally separate from one another.
According to the American Psychological Association, around 50% of marriages in the U.S. are expected to end in divorce. Knowing this statistic, people are still confident about getting married. They think the statistics will apply to other marriages and not their own.
Unfortunately, this is not always the case, and even the most perfect marriages are not guaranteed success — even if both parties love each other. The fact of the matter is that divorce is simply the risk you must be willing to take when you commit the rest of your life to another person. But what if you’re a third party, like the child of two divorcing parents?
Things get a little more complicated when children are in the middle of a divorce. The kids do not have a say in whether their parents get divorced or not. They do not have control over what happens to them after the divorce, such as living arrangements.
My parents have never seemed like the typical married couple I saw in the media or in my peers’ families; I only saw them as partners in the big project of raising three kids. Seeing them go through a divorce over the last few years was not a huge surprise either, since I am not sure if they ever truly loved each other romantically outside of raising their kids together.
The weird and uncomfortable part of their divorce was watching them fight like children when I was supposed to be the child in the middle of their messy situation, not the adult having to mediate their conflicts.
Moments like these are so ordinary in this country, and yet there is no natural way to prepare children for them. We just have to hope that they will understand that this is the right thing to do — even when they may not have seen it coming.
That is why it is so weird seeing these things occur as an adult when you are living on your own and taking care of yourself in every aspect, but you still feel like the child in the middle of an uncontrollable situation; you just have to watch it happen.
All we can do as their children is learn not to recreate our parents’ mistakes and hope we turn out all right in the end.