I Wish My Parents Had Divorced

I Wish My Parents Had Divorced

I love my parents. For the most part, they gave me a pleasant childhood. I mean, our family was HIGHLY dysfunctional, but as an adult, I believe they did the best with what they had and what they knew at the time. Both parents came to every spelling bee, ballgame, and dance recital. They are wonderful grandparents to my children. I earnestly believe my parents did what they thought was their best. But I earnestly wish they’d divorced.

I have memories of arguments growing up. I recall many times calling my grandparents crying to come get me because the yelling was scary to me. There was a physical aspect to their fights, which I wouldn’t call abuse, but I would certainly categorize as unacceptable. For instance, I’ve seen my mom throw stuff (socks, a book) at my dad. I have a vivid memory of my dad tossing a pot of soup into the sink in a fit of anger. I’m sure they were both justified in their anger – neither was a saint – but of course, I wish they’d have conducted themselves differently. They never laid a hand on each other, never laid a hand on us, but the yelling was terrifying. I’d never seen physical abuse, but I often wondered if their fights would escalate. They didn’t, but still, it was terrible.

By the time I was a teenager, I’d learned not to be bothered by the fighting. Well, that’s not technically true. I was bothered by it, but I’d become desensitized to the point that it no longer scared me. When I left home to go to college, I was largely at peace. I often thought about my parents arguing, figured they were still having those same fights, but I wasn’t living with it, so it was easy to box up that part of my life and push it aside to focus on myself. Eventually though, my parents’ yelling and fighting came back up for me as I entered my own relationships. I didn’t know how to disagree without yelling, but at the same time, I absolutely could not handle a partner yelling at me. I shut down when people scream. I’ve done a lot of work in therapy to make sure my husband and I don’t become my parents. I won’t say we never argue in front of the kids, but we don’t yell. We don’t make it scary.

My parents still fight. As an adult with my own family, it breaks my heart. Just because I’m grown doesn’t mean I’m not impacted. Even as a 36-year-old, that’s still my mommy and daddy screaming at each other. Divorce would have been tough, sure. Still, keeping our family whole at this cost isn’t worth it to me. They’ve been married for 45 years at this point. That’s a long time, but I don’t view it as an accomplishment. I don’t think it’s something to be proud of. I do believe there is love there, but love isn’t enough. The Beatles got it wrong. Love is not all you need. You need honesty, respect, communication, a desire for improvement. You need so much more than love. You need to choose marriage every day and in doing so, you need to do the work. You can’t just rely on love and the good times.

When my parents are happy, they are really happy. The good days are great. Those good days bring the little girl inside me hope, but my adult self knows it’s just a matter of time until the next fight. It’s not worth it to me. They don’t bring out the best in one another. They talk shit about each other to me, and being an adult doesn’t mean I can handle hearing it. I don’t want to hear these mean things spoken about my parents. They won’t do the work to change. They aren’t meant to be together, and I don’t appreciate that they “stuck it out for the kids.”

You often hear of children of divorced parents as coming from a “broken home.” Well, my parents are 45 years married, and I come from a broken home.


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