It's the 21st century, and it’s no secret divorce is something the majority of our generation has dealt with on some level.
But I’ve discovered there’s a certain stigma placed around those with divorced parents or those with parents currently going through a divorce.
Speaking as one of these “kids of divorce,” I’ve been told I'm more likely to get a divorce, more emotionally screwed up than I realize and more likely to pick the wrong person because I didn’t grow up with happily married parents.
Yes, I’m a child whose parents divorced when she was quite young, but my life isn’t how others paint it to be.
I’m not emotionally damaged, repressed or detached in the slightest. And while, yes, this can happen, why are people so quick to judge us for having gone through a tough situation?
Divorce is tricky, and the effects of it can definitely take a toll on both parent and child. However, I don’t agree all children of divorce are doomed to some perpetual cycle of unhappiness.
To me, that’s like saying, “You grew up watching the episode of 'Friends' where Ross and Rachel broke up, so that means all your breakups are going to be just like theirs.”
See how ridiculous that sounds?
I'm tired of people believing being a child of divorce makes you weak, emotionally distant or angry.
We are not embodiments of the choices other people have made, and from where I stand, we're the ones you should want to fall in love with.
1. We've developed a thick skin.
I mean, when you think about it, how could we not have? Many of us who have divorced parents ended up in situations where we had one primary single parent and one weekend parent.
Speaking from experience, growing up in a (pretty much) single-parent home has only increased my resilience.
Single parents are the definition of strength, and they teach us how to strut through life confidently.
We’ve quickly learned that “strength” is not the absence of weaknesses, but the willingness and ability to carry on through turmoil despite weaknesses.
That “single-parent super strength” rubs off on us, and it shows us how to maneuver through life with the courage and adaptability needed to take on various situations, including relationships.
2. We're lovers.
This may sound odd because we didn't have an "example of true love." Well, love can come in many different forms.
It’s not always a public display of affection between husband and wife, or holding hands during a wedding anniversary.
Sometimes, it’s caring for your children so much that you’d rather undergo divorce than have them grow up in a home of estrangement.
Sometimes, it’s simply making sure you’re home every night to read them a story, or hold them when they have nightmares. Sometimes, it’s just a mutual respect between two people.
So, contrary to the stigma, children of divorce are able to love.
In my opinion, children who’ve grown up with divorced parents are arguably some of the most loving and romantic people you will ever encounter.
We have experienced many different forms of love, and we know what a broken relationship or unhealthy partnership looks like.
We’ve seen first-hand what infidelity, estrangement and secrets can do to a relationship, and you can bet we’re not going to let that happen to us.
This means our commitment level is at an all-time high.
3. We’re realistic.
We’re committed and want to fall in love so damn bad, but we’re not delusional.
We understand things don’t always end with a happy ending because, well, we’ve seen that play out with our parents.
Our expectations are very realistic. We want to fall in love, but we won't do everything our partners say, or spend every waking second with them.
We want relationships, but we won't lose ourselves in them. We’re romantic because we aspire for what we didn't see for majority of our lives, but we’re not going to cling to the first person who admires us.
My goal is not to glorify divorce, or downplay the effect that it has on all those who experience it.
Divorce can be a very hard situation to cope with, whether you’re the child in the situation, or the parent undergoing it.
To put it plainly, it sucks. But you know what? It sucks even worse being placed in a box as a result of it.
Stigmas exist for anything that lies outside some sort of historical norm. But all they do is alienate individuals and make them feel badly about their situations.
So, don’t believe anyone who tells you to “guard your heart” with that person because he or she has divorced parents, a broken home or some other familial situation.
Trust the person you see in front of you, not the idea you’ve conjured up because of his or her background.