Marriage is through sickness and health, better and worse, richer and poorer -- well, only until you realize you've fallen out of love with the one person you thought you'd spend forever with.
When a couple gets divorced, there's a lot to take into consideration. Who keeps the house, who gets to keep the flat screen TV -- you know, the important things.
The plot thickens when that couple has children.
Who do they live with during the week, where are we meeting to drop off/pick them up, who are they spending Christmas Day with this year? It's exhausting for both the couple and their children.
Divorce is hard, but it's the children of divorce who feel it most. I know because I am one.
The sad part about this is, while they're trying to comprehend and come to terms with the divorce themselves, society puts them in a box -- just like the ones their dad is using to move out of Mom's house.
The stigma around children of divorce is universal. People "feel bad" for the children, labeling them as "spoiled," "misunderstood" and "lost," the second they find out their dear old mom and dad just couldn't make it work.
They throw around the terms "commitment issues," "daddy issues" and "victims," as if it won't have any affect on the child.
How does one expect kids of divorce to grow with confidence and live vibrant lives if people are constantly calling them victims? Why are the children being victimized and put at fault for something that was entirely out of their control?
The worst part about this is it makes the child(ren) second guess themselves (a lot) and they feel they aren't good enough to a point where it affects their entire lives.
My parents got divorced when I was around 9 years old. Ten years later, I still do not think their divorce defines me as an individual.
Because of their divorce, I've learned lessons in life that are far greater than those of my friends without divorced parents. I've learned the ins and outs of love: the good, the bad and the ugly.
I've learned the importance of family and relationships inside of a family dynamic, and I've learned about myself.
Because of their divorce, I was able to understand my experiences more clearly as I molded myself into the person I am today.
My parent's divorce is the last thing on a long list of things that define who I am. On second thought, my parent's divorce might not even make the cut.
Here are four stereotypes surrounding children of divorce that need to be dispelled:
1. Our view of love is damaged.
It's fair to say children of divorced parents are more likely to get a divorce of their own later in life.
But no one ever talks about those who didn't follow in their parents footsteps.
When it comes to love, I am still trying to figure out what exactly it is.
Because I was young when it happened, I wasn't really looking for love. Well, unless you want to count Craig, the guy in my fourth grade class whom I swore I was going to marry. (It didn't work out.)
Years later, as a hardworking college student, love still isn't the biggest thing crossing my mind. That's just a personal choice. For right now, I am so much better off being in love with my dog than a guy.
But because of my parents' divorce, I know exactly what love isn't, and I know what to avoid. I also learned (rather quickly), what it is I need, what I deserve and the tell-tale signs of someone who just isn't good for me.
I've learned how to love more and cherish the relationships I do have. I've opened my heart up and learned that not everyone will love you, no matter how hard you try. I've learned that "commitment issues" are only a thing if you make them a thing.
Just because we come from our parents does not mean we are going to make the same mistakes as them.
Learn to love harder, deeper and longer.
2. We struggle in our professional lives.
I was told by multiple people that I "may have a hard time in life, you know, like being successful."
Does this not sound idiotic?
Because I am a child of divorced parents, that means I won't be successful? Absolutely not. Why do people think just because a marriage fails, that the children will also be failures?
Can we please look at Justin Bieber, Jennifer Aniston, Justin Timberlake and Selena Gomez? They're all children of divorce, and their careers are looking pretty good from where I'm sitting.
My parents getting divorced had nothing to do with me achieving my goals as an individual, and I can argue about that until I am blue in the face.
It did, however, allow me to realize that not everything goes your way. As pessimistic at this sounds, the bright side of it is knowing if you really want something, you have to work for it and make it happen yourself.
3. Our family is broken.
I think my favorite stereotype is that children of divorced parents really don't understand the idea of family because well, theirs is all "f*cked up."
Families come in all shapes and sizes, and that's beautiful.
As my brother once put it, "just think of how many Christmas presents we're gonna get!!!"
And then this goes into the classic quip, "Well, you're not doing *insert task* right, but that's probably just because you were raised two different ways." Ignorance at its finest.
To my mom reading this, you did such a fabulous job raising all three of your children. I am so thankful for you.
Coming from a divorced family doesn't mean that I love and/or care about my family any less. If anything, I care about them even more.
People need to realize that the children of divorced parents haven't lost their ability to love and cherish others.
The children of divorced parents are just like any other child, except they had to deal with a traumatizing life experience, which should never be used against them.
4. We use the divorce as an excuse for our shortcomings.
This is one stereotype I must admit I have fed into.
Growing up, I did have some moments of, "Well, maybe if my parents were together this wouldn't have happened."
But then I learned that living my life clenching onto that excuse wouldn't get me anywhere, and it sure as hell wasn't going to fix any problems.
I learned to accept the divorce and used it to rise above all of the obstacles in my way. I became a better person and learned exactly what I want and need in life. I want to be in a place where I am happily independent, and rightfully so.
The greatest accomplishment of everything I went through during the divorce is I didn't let it eat me from the inside out. I grew into the person I am today without the emotional restraints I could have harbored myself with, had I let the divorce dictate my life and times.
Coming from a divorced family is difficult, but society needs to put a stop to victimizing the children of divorce. It doesn't help them cope, learn or grow.
To the children of divorced parents who are reading this: You are more than your parent's failure.