Carolyn Lagattuta

My Parents' Separation Scared Me Out Of Ever Having A Serious Relationship

Kids aren't as resilient as you think.

My parents aren't together anymore. They split up when I was in the fourth grade. If we look at this situation from a glass half full perspective, then in that aspect, I guess I'm lucky to have had parents who were together for the majority of my childhood.

However, I was surrounded by friends who lived in two-parent households. They all had at least one sibling.

I, on the other hand, am an only child. So, growing up, I lived with my mom. I still saw my dad regularly.

As I got older, I wasn't oblivious to the fact that both parents were dating. I once found a condom in my dad's bathroom, and I don't think I've been the same since.

But regardless, seeing my parents in relationships that would inevitably fail took a toll on young me. This would eventually open up a Pandora's box of issues that I would have with relationships.

I don't want to give anyone the impression that my parents never loved one another. They did at one point in time, and I'm sure they will always love each other as much as two people who've had a child together can.

They are great parents. I love them dearly, and they did the best that they could.

I went to a great school, and never wanted for anything. But for some reason, my skeptical attitude about love only got worse as I got older. I know my parents' relationship (or lack thereof) had nothing to do with me.

My parents should date and be happy. I hope that they remarry. But what if neither of them finds anyone? I start to wonder if I should even try.

I'm cynical when it comes to relationships. Sure, I believe in love. But I have my doubts when it comes to whether or not I will ever get married. I've never seen an adult relationship not end in divorce, or come about as a result of a previous divorce.

My parents were never married, so that takes divorce off the table. But that doesn't mean their separation hurts any less.

My aunts, uncles, grandparents and cousins have all been in relationships that have ended in divorce. I have grown up seeing this happen time after time. It scares me.

I'm so scared, I've almost reached a point of never wanting to get married myself. Thousands of people get divorced. But they find a way to deal with the pain and help their children deal with their pain.

But for me, that pain is still there. I don't foresee it going away any time soon.

Both my parents have dated. My other family members have remarried. But, there is a voice that always asks me, "How long will this relationship last?"

In case you haven't guessed, I've never had a serious relationship. The one moment when I almost did, I panicked and ended things before they became “official.”

Maybe my outlook on relationships will change over time. Perhaps when I meet the right person, all my cynicism will go flying out the window.

But, I doubt it.

The strange thing is, I want to have a husband and kids one day. But unlike some of my other friends – who seem to handle being in a relationship so effortlessly – I don't know if I could. That alone terrifies me.

Growing up, I would have never thought that watching relationship after relationship fail would impact me in the way that it has. But kids are observant, and they notice everything, even the things you try to protect them from.