My husband, or should I say soon to be ex had wanted to move out of the house the month my daughter was graduating from high school. I asked him to stay until we dropped her off at college. I was at a loss for words, how could he even think of destroying this important time for her? All of the years she spent studying to get good grades, not to mention the PSAT, SATs and AP tests. Now he wanted to leave at the time in her life that we had all waited and hoped for. It should have been so happy. I had read that a father’s relationship with his daughter is important in building strong, confident women that make it in this world and I wanted her to be one of them.
Of course this meant that he would be leaving his son right before his son began high school. I often wonder if I made the right decision. I feel as though I sacrificed one child’s happiness for another.
My daughter seems pretty unaffected by the divorce; she is in college and away from any ensuing drama. Until she comes home, then as long as nothing is brought up she seems fine, or pretends to be fine. She doesn’t have a boyfriend. Is this a side effect of the divorce? Should I be worried?
My son on the other hand has had a really horrible year and he feels that his dad abandoned him. I have told him that his dad didn’t leave him, his dad left me, but his reply is always the same, “No, mom he left both of us!” Maybe it would have been better to let their dad go when he wanted. Then my son would have had his sister to commiserate with.
Looking back at my own childhood, I was raised by my mom after my own father left us when I was eight years old. I only saw him once after that, when he took my younger brother and I to the zoo. That was the last time we ever saw him. I didn’t miss having a father growing up but I don’t think my brother ever got over it. He is 52 and still lives at home with our mother. Yep, pretty sure he didn’t.
As an adult child of divorce, I believe my own parent’s divorce may have compelled me to pick men who were emotionally unavailable. No touchy feelie guy for me. Give me dark and somber. I thought the man I married would be a great dad. He belonged to an intact large family, even his aunts and uncles and cousins were all married. It turns out even large intact families are dysfunctional.
My hopefully soon to be ex was the longest relationship of my life, and it seemed fun at first but he was never really supportive even when it came down to important issues. Now he says, “You know I don’t like conflict!” Conflict? He was a total control freak! A good example was the time I was held up at gunpoint. He really didn’t seem interested. When I would try to discuss important matters he wouldn’t listen, he only gave orders. It was ok as long as we both had our own lives, but the marriage broke down after we had children. He was never affectionate, not even with the kids. I guess that I was able to live with it because I didn’t grow up with any father let alone an affectionate one and I didn’t learn to negotiate important life decisions because I had no example growing up to teach me how important this was.
I didn’t know he was a narcissist until we started down the road to divorce. Then it all made sense.
I believe divorce affects everyone involved. It is like a huge ocean wave, so powerful that it sucks in and pushes everything in its path. It’s currents and ripples in the aftermath are endless.
It is too early to tell how the divorce will ultimately affect my children as adults. I give them as much affection as they can stand, and constantly tell them how much they are cherished and loved. I would never have put them through this but again it wasn’t my decision to make. I feel the best advice I can give them is to marry the person that makes them the best person they can be, and if they don’t feel that way when they are with their special someone then they are with the wrong person.
How will you minimize the lasting effects of divorce on your children?