Children of divorced parents know all too well how much divorce sucks. Spoiler alert: it sucks. Bad.
Divorce teaches us the hard lesson of how marriage can break into pieces like glass. We enter relationships wanting them to last long, knowing at the same time, they probably won’t. It’s a rather depressing way to look at it, but when we’ve spent our childhood and adolescent years watching our parents fall apart, we can’t help but look at romantic love from a different perspective:
1. Commitment is key for us. We know first hand that vows aren’t set in stone and actions speak louder than words. This is why commitment is very important for us. Cute nicknames and promises are empty and bounce off easily. Commitment is a show, not tell type of thing. At the same time, however…
2. It can also be scary for us. The thought of being with someone for a long time can be a little terrifying. It means that “happily ever after” might be a real thing and we can’t help but feel unsure about it.
3. We take communication very seriously. Children of divorce have seen first hand how lack of communication can damage a relationship. We’ve heard our parents talk shitty about one another behind each other’s back in an attempt to make each other look bad, which is why when we enter relationships, the first thing we look for is how good of a communicator the person is. Words like “I’m fine” or “it’s nothing” send us over the edge. We value honesty and will push our partners to tell the truth no matter how harsh it is.
4. We try to be optimistic. Our parents have told us that they will always love each other, but it just wasn’t meant to be. We can’t help but think that we’ll always love our partners no matter what happens and that we’ll be able to work it out in the end.
5. We’re also cynical about it. At the same time, however, we can’t help but sometimes believe that love just never lasts. That no matter what we do, people will eventually get bored and move on to the next one.
6. We’re always questioning things. Trust is a difficult thing for us because we’ll always question the things our partners do. We can’t help but over-think text messages, passive-aggressive statements, or even the most harmless critiques.
7. We’re very aware. In addition, children of divorce are quite cautious when entering relationships. We try to be as observant as we can, searching for any red flags that could potentially cause a disaster.
8. We’ll love unconditionally. We’ll try to give our partners all the love we can as a way to keep that flame alive because we want it to last.
9. We freely give comfort. Since children of divorce are used to giving our parents comfort during their moments of pain, we’ll do the same for our partners. Little things like highly affectionate cuddling, buying ginger ale whenever our lovers get indigestion, or sending early morning texts are ways we remind the ones we love just how much they mean to us.
10. Abandonment is our worst nightmare. We’ve seen one of our parents walk out the door without returning and couldn’t help but feel abandoned. This is why abandonment is such a frightening thing for us. We tend to be a bit clingy to our partners because we can’t help but imagine the day they’ll disappear. It’s also why…
11. We prepare ourselves for it. Children of divorce will prepare themselves for the worst because we don’t want to go through the intense heartbreak that comes with abandonment. We want to allow some room for hope in order to override the pain.
12. We pay more attention to flaws…especially on the first date. We’ll look for any potential flaws that may get in the way of our relationships. We almost treat it like a military strategy, in fact.
13. We’re heavily guarded. We’ve seen our parents in their most vulnerable states as a result of the fights they’ve had and promised ourselves to never be in that state. We guard our hearts and bodies as a way to protect them from any potential pain they might face. We can’t help but shut a large part of ourselves from our partners because we don’t want to show our weaknesses. As a result…
14. We’re hard to love. We can a bit difficult to love because we tend to be guarded. We’re afraid to let people into our lives just like that because we don’t want to get hurt like our parents did. However, we will make the effort because we’ll always hope that it will work out in the end.
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