My parents’ divorce happened when I was 16 and going through the ups and downs of being a teenager, dealing with the drama of friends and boys, and loving it one minute and hating it the next.
My dad traveled a lot for work so he would be gone across the world one month and then back home the next month. On this particular month he was gone.
I almost preferred our relationship when it was long distance because when he was home my parents fought a lot. It was clear that neither of them were very happy being around each other, and without them intending too, their resentment had an impact on my life. Dinnertime became a stressful event because they were forced to face each other and that meant an argument was sure to ensue. They would talk often about divorce so maybe that’s why I wasn’t so shocked when my mother eventually told me they were getting one.
She was sitting on the couch looking very upset, more upset than I had ever seen her, and I asked her what was wrong. She told me that they were getting a divorce and that she was sorry. I wasn’t very shocked, I was more upset that my mom seemed so shattered, and mad that my dad wasn’t there to witness the damage he caused. I blamed him.
I’m not sure why but something didn’t add up for me. I knew that they weren’t happy together and that she should be sad because a divorce is final, but there seemed to be something she wasn’t telling me. So I pushed on and said, “Why, what are you not telling me?”
She responded by saying she had agreed to my father’s request that he be the one to tell me. “TELL ME WHAT?” I was starting to get angry but was still conscious of my mom’s fragile state. Then she finally told me that my father had been having an affair. My face went hot, I began to cry, but more than sadness I felt an explosive rage erupt from inside me. He betrayed us, he betrayed ME. After that moment it’s a bit of a blur.
I remember my mother being sad and delicate, and me being so enraged and destructive. The other thing I remember is that my mother never once spoke poorly of my father to me. She never involved me in their process of separation; she simply kept me informed. Even when I cursed the woman my father was with and hated her with every piece of teen angst I could muster, my mother never contributed to my verbal assaults. She looked so delicate to me at first but I came to realize she was incredibly strong and classy.
I eventually was able to forgive my father and the woman who he later married. It took time, but with the civility that my parents shared and their common love for me, I was able to come out of it a stronger person. I became closer with my father than I had ever been when my parents were together because there was no longer the looming resentment that had hung over my family for so long.
I feel very grateful.