The experience of discovering your parents are divorcing is a unique one. For some, the idea of mum and dad splitting up is too upsetting to imagine. For others, it’s a sweet release from months spent listening to muffled arguments through carefully closed doors.
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It could even be a mixture of the two or something altogether different and sudden. Whatever the situation, one thing remains true regardless of circumstance: things get easier.
Time is a great healer and as we get older and wiser it gets easier to look back and appreciate not only the sacrifices the two most important people in your life made but the funny way things had a way of working out for the best in the end.
There were positives, like getting double the amount of Christmas and birthday presents from the two, often engaging in a space race-style war of one-upmanship you could play to your advantage.
That didn’t equal double the number of birthdays and Christmases though, with most of your time spent alternating between mum and dad, neither of whom was ever happy with the consolation prize of having you on Boxing Day.
Not that they always alternated responsibilities when it came to other important duties. Like bollocking you over some misdemeanour at school. Then they could find common ground.
Other than that, you had to keep them apart at all times with the delicate “handing over” best executed with little to no crossover between the pair.
That meant keeping to the strictest schedule possible. Mum’s on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Dad’s on Tuesdays and Thursdays with weekends alternating between the pair. Forever. Unless one of them decided to go on holiday, then all bets were off.
As well as memorising the schedule it was crucial to forget pretty much every comment one made about the other. Because even the friendliest of divorced parents made one or two comments.
Money will be a constant point of contention between them both. Because neither one will want to be paying more than the other.
But that can work to your advantage, when it comes to asking for things like pocket money or the latest pair of trainers. After all, if dad spent that much, your mum will too.
Then there are the small things, like how you end up telling pretty much every story touching on a major event in your life, twice.
But they’ll still confide a lot more in you than they used to. Which not only means more secrets but twice as many secrets. It’s almost too much for a teenage mind to take.
There may even be a moment when you realise your parents have a more active social life than you. Going out on dates, doing fun things when you’re not there. You almost get jealous.
And just wait until they do find the next Mr or Mrs Right because, if they do, there’s always the chance they’ll come with their own family baggage. Step brothers, step sisters and a host of complicated family ties to explain to friends.
But step parents can be a real blessing though. Despite what the movies suggest.
Some people in your life will feel bad for you but they shouldn’t.
Because whatever happens, both your parents go to great lengths to make one thing clear: they love you very much and if anything, having two separate parents means double the support network.
The whole thing can prove a blessing in disguise and a chance to develop an early sense of independence that can lead to great things later in life.
You’ll also learn a thing or two about relationships. It’s just a shame it had to happen then. Because it kind of sucks.