Wednesday, October 01, 2008

what i learned from my parents divorce

my dad leaving my mom for another woman has definitely fucked me up in more ways than one. i know i've talked about all of this before, but it's not something that just goes away. it's not like you just forget it happened and casually move on. it just kind of lingers in the back of your head. and while there are times i don't let it in, there are times when i can't keep it out.

i realize how much my dad choosing to leave my mom when he did has affected my own marriage. i mean, my parents were a couple of years away from retiring when he left. and while my dad has apparently retired, my mom is still busting her ass everyday because now that he left her, she can't retire. she has to continue to work. she feels as if she doesn't have a choice financially.

a couple of years away from retirement. don't you think that if you've made it that far along together in life, you're marriage is probably pretty secure? wouldn't you think that all the potential cheating and leaving would have happened already, if it was going to happen at all? it has just made me feel like no matter what your age, or how many years you've been married, you can still lose it all. he can still walk away from the life you've built. he can still decide after all you've been through, and all you've already forgiven him for, that you're not enough for him. he can still leave. and while i type that- the "he can still leave" line, my hands are shaking and my eyes are welling up with tears. because i project to my own marriage. my own life. my own husband. and i hate that i feel like that. i hate that i think this way. but it's true. nothing is ever 100% secure. no one is guaranteed to stand by your side or stay with you forever. there are no guarantees in life. just because you're married and about to retire, doesn't mean that he won't find some stupid fucking cuntrag of a whore to leave you for. and just because you think that you're perfectly happy and you have all these retirement plans, doesn't mean he won't leave you for said whore, marry her stupid ass, and then live out those plans with her, instead of with you.

and fuck. that is in the back of my head. no matter how many times i tell myself that my husband is not my father. no matter how many times i try to convince myself- there is still the lingering feeling of "well, he is still a MAN..." as if that characteristic alone is enough to make him want to get up and leave one day. and then there's the issue of other women. you know, knowing how they are. knowing that there are those women out there who don't care if your husband is married or not. knowing that we, as women, know how easy it is to manipulate a man if we want too. knowing that my husband is strong enough, and respectable enough to tell them to fuck off. for now. but what happens if 10 years down the road, he's not getting what he wants from me, and he's frustrated, and someone comes along promising to fulfil his every desire and dream? what then? i know he loves how sassy and what a pain in the ass i am... now. but what if one day he's sick of my fucking attitude? what if one day he wants me to just appease him? HA.. that line made me laugh cause it's never going to happen.

listen, i don't want to live my life or my marriage scared. i don't want to project my fears onto my own marriage, but it's really, really hard. i truly feel that since my parents were at the age they were when he left, i'll NEVER feel secure. like i'll never 100% believe that boyfriend will never leave. it's like i will always be aware that it could happen at any time. he could leave at any time. he could find someone else he loves more than me, at any time. he could get up, walk away from everything we have together and go live his life with someone else....

i don't know how to make those feelings go away. i don't know how to push them out of my head completely. i'm not sure yet how to live my own marriage without having my parents marriage affect me. do you?


corrin said...

My husband isn't dealing with his parents divorce very well, either. But that might be because his dad left his mom for another man.

jennster said...

corrin- omg. wow. and yeah, that's a shocker and will probably do a number on your psyche.

Andie said...

I wish I had words of wisdom to offer you. But I can give you a great big virtual hug.


bejewell said...

My parents divorced a very long time ago... Maybe that's why I pretty much live my life under a veil of doubt. But you know, I'm not so sure that uncertainty and fear aren't GOOD things. I enjoy my life for what it is because I know it could all change on a dime. Life is WAY too full of surprises for any of us to think that we're scot-free. Makes you appreciate the little moments more, I think.

Of course, you've been hit with this a lot later in life than I was, so you're just now coming to terms with something I've understood since I was four. Nothing in life in certain.

Try not to dwell and focus instead on appreciating the moment. After you get past the shock of it all, you'll be okay. I promise.

In the meantime, sending lots of good vibes your way.

Neurotic Grad Student said...

Wow! I like the new background, but the comments are hard to read.

I feel like bejewell said it right. I love my husband and know he loves me, but I feel like I cherish our time together because it could be over at any second. Not necessarily because of divorce, but because of death or illness or stock market crashes.

Good karmic thoughts to you, your mother, and your father. (But maybe not to the woman he hooked up with!!)

Black Hockey Jesus said...

From a male perspective, you should have sex with him ALL the time.

[high fives your husband]

Anonymous said...

You should always cherish what you have today. If you continue you look at your marriage in a 'what if' frame of mind, you will only attract what it is you are actually fearing.

It's interesting that we could be hit by a bus at any time but we don't sit at home and worry about it. We have to live for the moment and think positively about our futures.

Someone told me to always come from a place of enjoying the abundance and good fortune of today and not from a place of lack or fearing that something will happen or not work out.

You can transcend your parents divorce by letting go of it. Obviously there was a reason for them to part and, if they had stayed together, at least one person would be compromising their feelings. A marriage is when TWO people want to be together.

You and your husband obviously want to be together, so you should just enjoy that today.

Sending good vibes to you and your family.

I'm Still Me said...

My parents had a shitty marriage and growing up I always felt responsible for it. Neither have a good ability to take responsibility for their own part, but my father in particular is an asshole. I don't speak with him anymore.

I, on the other hand, have a wonderful man and I am not afraid of it becoming my parent's marriage. We work hard. I have done a LOT of work over the past year with a counselor to let go of my anger towards my dad in how he treated (and still was treating) me and others. The counseling has improved my marriage because it improved me.

jenboglass said...

Here I was all excited to come over and compliment you for calling me a hooker. I loved it, but this is not the time.

I have always had a special place in my heart for older children/adults who go through the divorce of their parents. People just seem to think since you're an adult that you can cope with it. It's messed up.

I know that scary feeling you have about nothing ever being 100%. you just have to tell yourself that it's an irrational thought, but you're allowed to have it.

Erica Ortiz said...

Maybe you're looking at it wrong. Maybe instead of using that memory as a projected fear and making it negative, you can use it as a positive and always remember to cherish him and never take him for granted.

We ALL have the choice to be there, or not. Not just men. We ALL choose to stay, and to stand by our vows each and every day. You just as easily could wake up 10 years from now and decide that its YOU that wants to start over somewhere else.

But, you can use that thought to make every day a day that you recognize that you're both in this together, and to never take him for granted.

Live every day like its on purpose.

Anonymous said...

Try not base what they did on your own experiences. My mom divorced my dad years ago, and she sold the ring he gave her of 20 years to and it gave her some closure. Nothings perfect but they are not you!

Kristabella said...

I wish I could offer you some assvice, but I have nothing. My dad was an asshole so I have a hard time trusting people in general. So I'm hoping someone gives you a magic cure.

But I think you KNOW deep down that your hubby is not your father and he loves you. And sometimes you just have to go on blind faith.

darkfairymomma said...

My parents split up when I was 10 (dad is still married to the "other woman") and it's still hard sometimes. I know that lingering feeling of waiting for the other shoe to drop and it's caused some tough times between me and my husband. But, luckily, he usually indulges me in some extra reassurances during those times until the cloud lifts. I just have to be thankful for what I have, remind myself that people are brought into our lives for a reason, and remember that life is a constant learning experience.

Lots of well wishes for you and your family

MJ said...

My mom cheated on my dad with a married man. For 10 years until he left his wife. 10 years that we knew the entire time that my mom had cheated on my dad and was cheating with a married man. It sucked. I had lots of issues. The only thing that worked for me was facing the issue head on and letting the people that hurt me know it was not okay. Too often we take on those burdens as kids, but our parents should know what they put us through when they fail us.

Also, talk about it openly with boyfriend but never punish him for the sins of your parents. Creating trust can sometimes be as easy as breaking a bad habit - catch yourself when making a mistake and rectify it right then. It soon becomes a good habit and you start to forget the bad past.

Denise said...

You know I've heard tell that adult children of divorce have a harder time with it then young kids, this is why I imagine, cause you've grown up believing that it will work till the wheels fall off and sometimes is just doesn't. But you can learn from it, that you are not your Mother or your Father and just because you are their child or he is just a Man doesn't mean it's gonna end up like that. Not all Men are weak pigs. Though sometimes it would seem that way, some of them are actually loyal even with their pig like tendencies.

Short and Fat said...

It's a divorce. Deal.

Is your dad a child molester? Did he beat you or your mother? Probably not.

Did he help make sure you had a roof, an education, maybe a car and maybe paid for college.

Odds are he did plenty of crap for you.

But go ahead, pin your insecurity on him. That's probably seems reasonable.

FYI: You are not his friend, you're his kid. You don't know nearly what you think you know about his relationship with your mother, nor are you entitled to.

Heinous said...

Keep communicating with your husband. That's what keeps it going. Blind faith is pretty awesome, but it's a rough time when it's shaken up like this.

SLynnRo said...

My sister-in-laws parents are divorcing. She is 34. I think it would almost be harder as an adult to deal with than as a child.

Anonymous said...

Hey jenn! I deleted my blog -nicebeginnings-
You know, I can relate.. I am not sure that it evers leaves your mind- I just bought a new car on Monday- I only wanted it in my name (even if the interest rate would be better if we put it in both names) I wanted it to be MINE- no one could take it away- EVER. These are the things that are now different in my life. Always protecting myself even though I love my husband with all my heart.

norcalgirl28 said...

As you are afraid of what might happen because of your past, please remember that his parents are still married and this is the example he is looking at. My bet is that he is going to look at his own parents and realize that marriage is sacred and stay with you for the rest of his life. As everyone says anything could happen but we can't spend our lives living in fear. I know that is easier said than done, but this is my two cents. Plus, I really, really hope that you have not just scared the crap out of your sister-in-law!! Now my other half would probably be right there with you as he has never ever gotten over his parents divorce and that was over forty years ago. AND we all know how old he is!!! So I guess there is no cut and dried solution but I am going to go with the people who say cherish each day.

sheila said...

My parents divorced when I was little. I think most of my teen years and things I did were a direct result of that.

So it's only natural when you are going through it as an adult for the first time, it would affect your ADULT life.

With that said, it's a grieving process and you need to grieve. You need to express your doubts to your hubby, and listen to what his take is. Then you have to NOT keep asking. Don't harp.

It's just like when someone dies, you have to mentally DEAL with it. Eventually your mind will let itself heal.

This too shall pass. Go watch a tape of your wedding, or look at photos and enjoy those happy memories. You are NOT your mother and he is NOT your father.

There is nothing really that your husband can say to reassure will have to come to that conclusion yourself. Sometimes things last sometimes they don't. And sometimes when they don't, it's because something wonderful is waiting in the wings that you just can't see yet.

Good luck.

Issas Crazy World said...

Nope, I don't. But I do know that everyone is different and all I can do is believe. Believe in the man I married. Nick is not my dad, nor is he his, although his is awesome. Thankfully for me, my husband knows no different than being raised by parents who still adore each other 33 years later.

I'm sure your mom believed in your dad and that's just so sad. But you still have to just know boyfriend will be the same crazy man you married 50 years from now. We can only deal with the present, not the future.

Hugs to you my friend.

Chris said...

First, you cannot live your life by the "what ifs". You just can't! You have to just enjoy everyday and live in the moment!
What your father did sucks, there is no doubt about it. However, boyfriend isn't father. Don't project that on him because people WILL live up to your expectations. I promise you they will. Even your kids will.
I speak from experience. Trust me.
ENJOY your own life for what it is. Do not allow yourself to get caught up in what happened to your parents. There are 2 sides to every story. Whatever the story is....there are always 2 sides. You are you and not your parents.
Shit, this is turning into a novel. Sorry,didn't mean for it to.
I found out that my hubs after 28 years of mariage had done some awful shitty things to me. I was all set to pack my shit up and get the hell out. Then he got cancer. Cancer everywhere...change in plans. I'm still somewhat bitter, but I held true to my vows and my ass is still here. It has been a nightmare and almost 4 years of it. BUT, and a big ass but at that! I am still here trying to not dump on the guy because 2 wrongs do not make a right.
I get up everyday and try to enjoy my own life. So there you have it! Shit happens and sometimes there isn't a damn thing you can do!
So enjoy your beautiful hubs and child and make your own life. That's my assvice and I'm sticking to it! Sheesh.....I am a bore, sorry!

Issas Crazy World said...

Dear Short and Fat, you're an asshat. Go piss somewhere else. When someone writes a post about something that happened to them, something that changed them for life and hurt them, the last thing they need is some asshat coming around and spitting on them. You don't know what you're talking about and obviously you don't know what this did to Jenn. Shoo fly.

jennster said...

short and fat:
i'm trying to deal. dur. that's why i blog about it jackass.

never said my dad didn't do plenty for me growing up. would never say that. he did. A LOT. point is, you have someone built up in your mind as being a stand up, honest person- then things are revealed to you and you're forced to see them for who they really are (and it's not pretty). that's the hard part. dealing with that reality.

but sure, i'll go ahead and pin my fears about nothing lasting or being forever on him leaving and cheating (among other things) after 30 years of marriage. i know, i'm totally irrational and unreasonable. what an ungrateful bitch i am.

you're right about being his kid and not being entitled to know everything about the relationship he had with my mother. hell, i know things now that i NEVER wanted to know before. i think that as you age and your parents age, you do have more of a friendship as you can finally know one another as adults and have conversations as parents that you couldn't have had prior. as kids, you're so used to the pressure being on you when it comes to letting down your parents. you rarely think that the shoe will be on the other foot and you'll be the one disappointed.

to everyone else:
you are awesome and wise and thoughtful and amazing. thank you.

Anonymous said...

i've been married for almost 7 years and just found out that my husband cheated on me years ago. i sort of had a feeling that he did but didn't truly know for sure. and since i had that feeling for years in the back of my head i slowly worked through them on my own and forgave him for it long before i actually knew for sure. now that it's out in the open we're working to fix things and i'm working to get to the point where i'm not constantly thinking about what he did. it's going to be a long point is that yes men can do things like this but it doesn't make them ALL bad men. i believe my husband is a great man and a great father who made a huge mistake once long ago and i would rather work through this with him than live my life without him. your mother's situation is different because he just up and left. but i totally can relate to the feelings of betrayal. i feel for you because i live in that state now where i constantly wonder and never know 100%. and maybe i never will. but i have to have faith that we will get to that point again because the alternative is far more scary. i guess my big point to this all is that i never wondered until he gave me a reason to. so if your husband has never given you a reason to and things are great like they seem i think you can put those feelings aside and just enjoy your marriage and life together. you owe that yourself.

Anonymous said...

Jenn, Chris is not your father. I have always seen something special between you two. I don't think Chris would ever leave you, especially for another woman! Have faith that not everyone has that particular character flaw. Chris is perfect for you and you are perfect for him. You've got a good one so don't worry.