When Your Parents Fall Out of Love

By Kelly A. Harris 

Recently my friend  — we’ll call her Mia — called me for advice.

Her parents were getting divorced after 36 years of marriage.

Remarkably, I’m her only friend whose parents are divorced.

Mia is 14 years older than me. She was assigned to be my mentor through a program when I was in high school. I love her dearly. I’ve never seen her so shaken—stunned.

“My parents never fought,” she said.

When your parents wait until you're an adult to divorce.
How do you cope when  your parents wait until you’re an adult to divorce?

“They are too old for this shit. They need each other,” she said, sipping rum and Coke.

My friend’s parents have been notorious for trying to find her a husband.

She’s still single.

“So why did they want me to get married so badly, huh?

“I know they are grown. I know I shouldn’t care so much, but I do. Do they really expect me to make separate trips to see them on holidays?”

Yes, I said.

My parents divorced after 18 years.

I was in 6th grade. I knew things were shaky in the house, but I didn’t know a resolution for it would be divorce.  I had no real concept of divorce other than it being preached against in church. I was scared of God and this new family structure. Despite my parents’ relationship problems, there were good times—vacations, Christmas traditions and dancing in the living room.  I was a daddy’s girl who suddenly felt I had to take a side.

I struggled with acne, puberty, a new way of living, scheduled visits with my father while fending off peer pressure and touchy boys in middle school.

I was a girl with no esteem trying to navigate an abundance of change. I consider my parents’ divorce my first relationship break-up.

So what should I do?” my friend asked.

Nothing.

Remember how annoyed you felt when your parents were always trying to fix your singleness?

You can’t fix your parents’ divorce.

What’s not working probably hasn’t worked for years.

Be grateful for the good times.

Give your parents the same unconditional love you’ve so often needed.

Kelly Harris is the editor and founder of BrassyBrown.com

 How has your parents’ marriage or divorce impacted you?

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