31 May 7 Things Your Dad Wants You To Know About Divorce
Divorce is hard. That may be the biggest understatement of the century, of course, as anyone who has seen or been in one can tell you. But it is true in a big way, too: there are so many emotions involved, so many people that can get hurt, and so much that can go horribly wrong, that divorces are never easy.
And talking about divorce isn’t easy, either. Even for families that usually communicate well and can talk about anything, there can be some seriously awkwardness and tension during a divorce that it can be hard to express yourself like normal. The dynamics between people just change so much so quickly during a divorce that it can be hard to figure out how to talk about feelings.
But rest assured, your parents do care about you. Even if they can’t always express themselves well either, they are thinking about you and have some things they want you to hear, and some things that you should try hard to understand. Here are the seven things about divorce that your dad wants you to know.
1. Both of Your Parents Love You Very Much
If your parents didn’t love you a lot, all of the stress and confusion in a divorce wouldn’t hurt so much. No matter what happens between them and how the divorce affects your relationship with either your mom or your dad, both of your parents love you relentlessly. Some part of who they are is defined by how much they love you, and this will never change: as their child, both your mom and dad will never be able to stop loving you, divorced or otherwise.
Of course, your dad has a hard time telling you this. It may be hard for him to acknowledge your fear or doubt. Or he may not be able to say it because he is worried he will get too emotional and make things harder for you. But in any case, you should know that both of your parents love you very much.
2. Anything You Are Feeling is Okay
Most likely, you will be feeling a lot of emotions during a divorce that you have never felt before, or don’t fully recognize. That’s ok. The truth is the process of divorce makes everyone feel different. Not even your brothers or sisters or parents will understand what you are going through completely. And that is okay. In fact, absolutely anything you are feeling during a divorce is okay.
Stressed? That’s okay. It’s even expected. Feel like too much is happening, too fast? There is nothing wrong with feeling that way, and both of your parents probably agree. No matter what you are feeling, it’s okay, and you shouldn’t worry too much about feeling some “right” way. There is no right and wrong where your emotions are concerned, and the last thing you should do is question or set aside the way you feel right now. Your dad wants you to know this, even if he doesn’t do a good job of telling you.
3. It Isn’t About You
This is a huge cliché where divorce is concerned, but it is also true. Your parents are getting divorced for too many reasons to name. Maybe their marriage was rushed in the first place, or maybe they just grew apart as the years passed by. The potential reasons are endless, but one thing that will never be on that list is your name. As your parents deal with a lot of emotions and hardship during their divorce, they may forget to remind you this, but it isn’t about you.
Sometimes it can be harder to believe this than others. Maybe you hear your parents arguing a lot, and your name comes up. Or you hear your mother or father venting to a friend over the phone about a problem you helped cause, and you feel like you have done something to stress their marriage. But trust us; your role in causing all of this is non-existant. Your parents are dealing with some complicated issues as a couple that has nothing to do with you or the rest of your family. No matter what it sometimes feels like, you are not to blame for their divorce or relationship issues.
Your dad definitely wants you to know this, even if he hasn’t gotten the chance to tell you in person yet. Again, he might be afraid to acknowledge these feelings, and would rather pretend everything is ok. Regardless, your dad wants you to know that it isn’t your fault and isn’t about you.
4. Both of Your Parents Want What’s Best For You
Your may hear your parents arguing about things like custody, visitation rights, and other issues that will have a big impact on your life. And you probably feel like it’s wrong for them to be fighting over you and your future. But in reality, your parents probably aren’t just trying to score some relationship victory or “win” the divorce. They are only debating your future so intensely because they both care about you a lot and want what’s best for you.
So why the arguing? Your parents are probably having a hard time agreeing on anything during their divorce, and agreeing on what’s best for you may be hardest of all. Again, this is only such a hard thing for your parents to tackle because of how much they care about you. They both have strong ideas about what will be healthiest for you, but they both want you to succeed and have the best life you can. And your dad wants you to know this, especially as divorce proceedings heat up, and emotions fly high.
5. Life Goes On
As your parent’s marriage ends, it might feel like the world is ending too. But if you keep your chin up and focus on the future, you will see pretty quickly that life goes on. Your parents will both try hard to spend as much time with you as possible, and will do everything they can to make sure that you are happy with changing arrangements. Some of your routines will have to change, and some things will feel very different, but overall you will still be able to live mostly the same as before, with the same friends and activities and hobbies.
Your dad may feel like he can’t talk with you about the future too much because the future is so uncertain. Yes, life is going to be different. But you will adapt and grow and still keep living it. Your dad wishes he could tell you this in the right way, even if divorce is making it hard to communicate. Life goes on, even after a divorce and the big changes that come with, and your dad wants you to know this.
6. Marriage Can Be Beautiful
Long before you parents started going through a divorce, you probably had very different ideas about marriage. You saw your parents happy, and felt the love of a close family. As divorce strains things and causes stress, your opinion of marriage may sour with your parent’s relationship.
But just as it can lead to pain and hardship, marriage can lead to love, happiness, and a lot of beauty. Not every marriage ends in divorce, and even marriages that lead to separation have long stretches of beauty and love before things end. Even as your father worries about a million other things, he wants you to know that not every marriage is bad and it is still a perfectly normal and healthy thing to look for the right marriage some day.
7. You Aren’t Defined By Divorce
As you get older, you will notice more and more of your friends with divorced parents. It can be easy to think about yourself as a check in a box: either a person with parents who are together or not. But don’t define yourself so easily.
There are a million things that make you “you” that have nothing to do with your parent’s separation. Maybe you are an athlete, or a student, or someone’s best friend, or an artist. However you think of yourself and define who you are, your parents marriage doesn’t have to be part of that identity unless you want it to. Which is fine too, but not necessary. How you define yourself is up to you, and isn’t automatically decided just because your parents get separated.
Your father knows all of this, and wants you to know it too. He sees you doing so many things, from your hobbies to your academics, and sees you as a lot more than just the daughter of a divorced couple. Even if he can’t think of the right way to tell you this, your father wants you to know that you aren’t defined by divorce. You will have your whole life to decide how you want to define yourself, and your dad wants you to know that that doesn’t have to have anything to do with his divorce.