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Adult (or teenage) children of divorcing parents

(11 Posts)
TrillianAstrahasaJOB Fri 03-Jul-09 20:05:40

Not sure how to phrase the title. I mean please come talk to me if you were an adult or an older teenager when your parents divorced.

DP's parents are probably going to get divorced. They've been married over 30 years, not visibly unhappily, but they've been more co-existing rather than actually living together for a while. They don't fight, but they don't interact very much either.

DP is worried about how his dad will cope (it's his mum's idea) because his dad is old, antisocial (not grumpy, just doesn't seek out human interaction therefore doesn't really have friends) and probably a bit further along the Asperger's spectrum than most people. He's also worried about his little sister who is only 16 and lives at home so will be both physically and emotionally more affected by it.

I don't really know what to do/say, just hoped it would be useful for me and DP to hear your stories.

nevergoogledragonbutter Fri 03-Jul-09 20:13:49

My parents split when i was 18 after a 30 year marriage.

I knew for a long time that they hated each other were unhappy and so in a way I was relieved.

Sounds like his mum has had enough of his ways, and is entitled to have her own life.

He'll be fine. He might prefer to be by himself.

My brother was 16 and living at home, and it was hard on him to be there listening to the arguments etc. I think it's important you let her know that she can has a place to go if she needs it.

Your/his parents happiness is not your responsibility.

TrillianAstrahasaJOB Fri 03-Jul-09 20:18:03

"Your/his parents happiness is not your responsibility."

I know, meant I didn't know what to say to DP or to his sister. She is coming to visit soon anyway I hope. I don't know if she will have seen it coming at all, as far as I know there haven't been any arguments, just drifting apart.

nevergoogledragonbutter Fri 03-Jul-09 20:21:05

My friend's parents split around the same time as mine. Her's never argued and she found it harder to deal with as it came out of the blue.

Just ask them if they are feeling ok about it all, over a listening ear or distraction, whichever suits them.

TrillianAstrahasaJOB Fri 03-Jul-09 20:26:45

Thanks. I know there's no magic answer, but I feel as if haven't tried hard enough if I don't ask MN what to do - even in situations where I know there is nothing I can really do.

TrillianAstrahasaJOB Fri 03-Jul-09 20:34:15

I'd still like to hear more stories - ideally about how everyone is better off now but happy endings are not mandatory.

MildredRoper Fri 03-Jul-09 20:36:28

Mine split when I was 19 after 25 or more years of marriage, and it sounds a very similar situation.

My dad had very few friends, didn't go out much and is a bit along the Asbergers spectrum as well, but honestly it was the making of him. He started to go out more. He found a new partner and is much happier.

The other thing was that we continued to function as a family in much the same way that we had when they lived in the same house. Because they'd been living separate lives anyway, it wasn't actually that big a change ifswim.

Having said that, I was prepared for it happening but was still quite upset when it did so your dh and sil might have confused feelings about it. All you can do is what you are doing and be understanding that it is an emotional time of readjustment for them all as a family. See if you or DH can give sil a chance to talk about it.

littlerach Fri 03-Jul-09 20:43:16

My parent split up about the same time I announced I was pg with dd1 hmm

But they had never really been happy, my dad rarely intracted with us as a family, and I often wished they would divorce when I was younger.

Both are much happier now; I worried about my dad at first as he seemd really incapable of looking afetr himself, but then figured he was a grown up and so he had to grin

Both have remarried. I am v close to my step dad and think the world of him.
I don't see my dad much, but then even when he was at home and with mum, he wasn't often actually there.

lizziemun Fri 03-Jul-09 21:54:15

I was 22 when my parents separated (28 when they divoirced).

We were shocked when they did separate because they seemed to be getting on better then when were growing up. I can remember sitting in my bed at about 14 wishing dad would just go so we could be happy.

Although my was different in the fact dad was having an affair. And their marriage ended quite badly as mum made dad take ownership of all the probelms he caused. Although he tried to blame her (working ft, 3 teenage children. She didn't drive so he drove her on the odd occasion she went out without him.)

Dad then dropped out of our lives when he married the women he was having the affait with for about 12yrs. He only got back in contact when he found out he was dying.

Mum on the other hand has never found or wanted anyone else. She was 13yrs when she me him. 18 when they married and only 43 when he left. Once she got over the shock and anger she has got on with her life and is happy.

FouxDuFaFa Sat 04-Jul-09 11:50:54

I was 22 when my parents divorced and my sister was 16.

My mum had put up with some terrible behaviour from my dad for many years, so I was pleased when she finally decided she'd had enough. It wasn't an amicable divorce.

I had moved out of home by then, so the main impact on me was supporting my mum emotionally. She is a very private person, so I was really the only person she felt she could talk to. That was quite hard going.

For my sister, I think it was an upheaval emotionally and practically. She moved with my mum to a new house a few miles away. My mum encouraged my dad to come to visit my sister, but in fact his visits dwindled to nothing in quite a short time. None of us have any contact with him now.
Personally, I think my sister didn't achieve as well at college as she might have done because she was understandably preoccupied a lot of the time.

From my point of view, I appreciated it when people acknowledged that it was difficult for me even though I was older.
From my sister's point of view, I think my parents could have given her more time and put their differences aside to give her some attention and support.

HTH, if you have any questions, I'm happy to answer if I can

FouxDuFaFa Sat 04-Jul-09 11:54:41

I meant to say my parents could have given her more time because it's difficult enough being sixteen with college pressures, teenage angst and everything else, without family problems on top.

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