|Divorce: The Big Questions
What exactly is divorce?
When two people get married, they're making a promise to stay together forever, and in most cases, start a family. But sometimes a marriage that starts out great can turn bad over time. The husband and wife can become so unhappy that the only way to make things better is to end the marriage and start living apart. They're admitting that they can't keep that promise they made. Even though splitting up is very painful and hard to do, they've decided that staying together would be even more difficult and painful.
Do hard times always end in divorce?
No marriage is perfect, and most husbands and wives go through tough times. The world can be a difficult place, and there are all kinds of reasons why parents get mad at each other or start arguing. Most of the time, moms and dads find a way to work through the problem, and things get better. So if you hear shouting or sense tension, don't automatically assume that divorce is on the way.
If the arguments last a long time and your parents can't find a way to make things better, they might decide that getting a divorce is the best thing, or the only thing, to do. At some point, they'll have to tell you what's going on, and they'll talk to you about their plans to divorce. If this happens, you have to understand that things are serious. You can't pretend it's not going to happen, and you can't just wish it away.
Some people are actually relieved when they hear their parents are divorcing, because the fighting, tension, and general unhappiness has gone on for a while. They might actually feel guilty that they're not upset! But if you know that a divorce will make everyone happier, being glad that it's finally happening is also a normal reaction.
Is divorce forever?
Have you ever had a bad argument with your best friend, and told him or her that you never wanted to be friends again? Then you made up a few days later and were even closer from that point on? Unfortunately, divorce doesn't work like this. When a mom and dad are at the point where they think divorce is the answer, they are past the point of just making up and forgetting their arguments. They have probably tried many, many times to make up, but just can't find a way to do it.
It's perfectly normal for you to want your parents to get back together. Many kids going though a divorce wish for this at some point. But when you cling to the hope that your parents will make up or get remarried, it can make things worse. Things usually go much better if you understand that your parent's decision to divorce is a permanent one. From there, you can move on and find ways to deal with your new life, instead of wishing for your old one back.
Shouldn't they stay together just for my sake?
Life is tough, even when you're living with both of your parents. You might not want to have to face living with one parent, or dividing your time between two different households. It may be hard for you to see this, but sometimes having one happy parent, or two parents who are separate but happy, is a lot better than having two completely miserable parents.
Am I to blame?
Can I fix things?
A person is not a failure because her parents are divorcing, or because she can't find a way to make everything all better between them. Her one and only job is this: to try to find a way to be happy and healthy even though her parents are splitting up.
Facts about Divorce in the U.S.