Social Question

Aesthetic_Mess's avatar

As one of the kids, how do you act when your parents seperate?

Asked by Aesthetic_Mess (7858 points ) January 24th, 2013

I think my parents are getting separated. My mother is living with me and my two sisters in New York, while my father is in North Carolina. Every argument has two sides, but a lot of the blame falls on my father for everything he did to my mother. My mother finally couldn’t take it anymore and left (that’s why she’s here).
My father hasn’t actually done anything to me. I do resent him a little because he hasn’t been like a traditional father to me. Aside from a few times, I always thought that it would make no difference if he were gone from my life.
The thing is that my mom thinks that I should talk to him because he didn’t do anything to me; I’m not the one fighting with him after all.
I don’t know what to say to him if he did call me (which he doesn’t). I was never close to him.
Have any of you ever been in this situation? How did you handle it?

I’m sorry if this is personal, but I can’t really talk to my family about this. They are all dealing with it and they don’t really talk to me about it. I’m the youngest of five kids, so what do I know right? I can’t help them, so I don’t talk to them about this.

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6 Answers

KNOWITALL's avatar

I’m an only child and met my father once in my entire life, so the only advice I can give is to try to remain on good terms just in case, and maybe after all this, try to get to know him as a person. You or even he may need a kidney or something someday, so no reason to burn bridges. Sorry for your situation.

janbb's avatar

My husband and I separated last year and it has been difficult for my sons to figure out how to relate to him (since he inititiated the separation.) Both of them are adults and I have decided that it is not my role to be in their relationship with him. I won’t say any more publicly about this since people who know us read this, but you can PM me if you’d like.

geeky_mama's avatar

I felt the same as you when my parents separated (at the time I was entering High School – so about 14~15 yrs. old). It took them a long time to actually get divorced and honestly, because my dad spent all his time working and very little time with us..I didn’t know him very well and didn’t feel very close to him. My sister and I mainly lived with my mom – and my dad moved out and got an apartment.

I went off for a study year abroad (my sophomore year) during the year that their divorce was finally finalized and missed both of their weddings (they each re-married pretty quickly after their divorce was finalized..probably because their divorce took so long..I think it took them nearly 3 yrs to divorce!) to my new step-parents.

While I was far away I decided to stop blaming my dad and be open minded..mainly because this one thought kept going through my mind:
‘These are my only parents. They may not be perfect – but they are all I’ve got.’

When I came back from Japan my Dad wanted me to spend time with him (and my new stepmom) and I decided that I’d be completely fair – just spend half my time with both parents. My sister continued to blame our dad..so it was really just me, and I just made it a rule that neither parent could bad-mouth the other to me. To be honest, after I stopped blaming my dad some things became clearer and I could see my Mom’s contributions to how their marriage failed, too. Basically, neither of them was blameless.

By then I was old enough to drive (and bought my own first car from babysitting money I’d saved up for year) and I could drive and stay at my Dad’s house for a week and then move back to my mom’s house for a week. I did this for most of my Junior year of high school.

I split my time with both my parents until my mom, probably experiencing some tension in her new marriage, started to get abusive. She said my behaviors/facial expressions and mannerisms reminded her too much of my dad and pissed her off.
Although I never would have imagined it when they first separated – it became clear to me that I needed to move in to my Dad’s house while I finished my senior year of high school (even though my mom’s house was closer to my school). I moved in and although my stepmom had never had kids before she was really patient and wonderful to me and I really got to know both her and my dad better.

So, based on my experience I’d just say – don’t close any doors.
Your dad is your only dad. It’s up to him to build a relationship with you. Try calling and reaching out half-way, maybe he’s mistakenly thinking that you don’t want a relationship with him. Then it’s up to him. If he wants to know what’s going on in your life – he should call and try to see you..but it’s also partially up to you to not push him away.
Even if things didn’t work out for your mom & your dad..it doesn’t mean your dad doesn’t love you..so give it a chance to evolve into a new relationship. Try not to blame, try not to take sides. It’s rarely just all one person (though, certainly it’s the case that one parent is more to blame then the other) when it’s the failure of a marriage, y’know?
Try to keep an open mind and not assign blame..and be firm about not talking about one parent with the other.
I’m hoping your situation ends up as positively as mine did.. I’m now very close to my dad (and my wonderful stepmom) and my mom.. It does get easier as time goes by and everything becomes less bitter & tense, too. So..hang in there.

burntbonez's avatar

Things about your story confuse me. Were you living on your own before your parents separated? Did your mom move out and move in with you? How old are you? Why were you living on your own (or are you)?

What was your relationship to your father like before your parents separated? Did you see him much? Talk to him?

SadieMartinPaul's avatar

My parents divorced not-once-but-twice. The first divorce happened when I was age 12; the second time, I was a young adult. In each incident, I was greatly relieved. My parents had a miserable relationship, and I lived in a constant state of fear and dread. It’s not healthy for a kid to skulk in the background, knowing that a verbal or physical altercation might erupt at any moment.

Carinaponcho's avatar

My parents got divorced when I was very young, so I chose to side with my mother and be angry at him. My boyfriend’s parents separated when he was a freshman in High School, and his response was to get very depressed for a while, then disconnect himself from his family. He’s slowly rebuilding relationships with both parents, and is much happier after taking some time to process the change.

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