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How to deal with a parents’ divorce in your 20s?

How to deal with a parents’ divorce in your 20s?

Dealing with the divorce of our parents can be challenging at any point in life. It can be especially heartbreaking and confusing if it happens during our childhood. But it can also be difficult to accept if it comes as an unexpected surprise later in life.

Being adults doesn’t make us immune to sad life events; such as the divorce and separation of the two people that we care about the most. This is why witnessing a parents divorce in your 20s can be just as terrifying, confusing, and devastating.

Not only does such a thing turn upside down everything you ever knew and believed about love, marriage, and family; but it also means that a dark and difficult period just started for every member of the family.

Both the parents and kids will need to find coping mechanisms and go through their own healing journey until they’re capable of adapting to this life-altering change. So how can you cope with a parents’ divorce in your 20s?

Few steps to cope with a parents’ divorce in your 20s:

1. Be prepared for the inevitable changes:

If your parents’ relationship always brought you comfort, stability and a sense of security then be ready for that to change. Perhaps even if you don’t live with them anymore you always associated their relationship and marriage with stability and the compass that help you feel grounded and safe.

If this is the case, you need to prepare for the fact that there is going to be a drastic shift in that dynamic. Now that your parents have decided to go ahead and divorce, everything they built together will have to be divided in two. And, you will have to start viewing them as two separate entities and individuals because the opinion of one of them will no longer mean that the other thinks the same or agrees.

It may be hard to adapt to all the sudden changes at first, but you need to think about your parents’ perspective. They weren’t happy with each other anymore and if they had let the situation drag on for longer, it could cause irreparable damage to your relationship with them too. This way, they will have a chance to heal and start anew with less stress and arguing or negativity and you can still enjoy having them in your life, just separately.

2. Be mindful that your parents aren’t angry at you but with each other:

As much as your parents try to deal with the divorce in a civilized and respectable manner, it’s never a pleasant or easy time. Things might get out of control occasionally leading to more arguments and disagreements.

With this happening, you and any siblings you have will inevitably get caught in the middle. If neither of you is careful, you will say things to each other that you can never take back and that you will regret later. However, it doesn’t have to be this way. You need to remember that the reason for your parents’ divorce, is not and cannot be you or any of your siblings. Hence, try to not side with one parent over the one or be aggressive and rude to any of them.

Ultimately, they are the ones who hurt each other to the point where they decided to separate and you had zero involvement in it so you have to give them space to deal with it without involving you much.

Therefore, if your parents seem angry with you or act differently when they are with you, you need to remind yourself that they’re going through a very hard period of time and that things will eventually get better. Also, try to think that their behavior is only temporary and that they don’t blame you for anything nor did they change their opinion about you.

3. Try to maintain your relationship with each parent:

As we said in the point above, it’s normal for your relationship with your parents to be strained during the divorce process. It could happen that one or both of your parents tried to pull you to their side to get your support and turn you against the other parent, but that’s not fair for anyone involved. The most you can do is act as a mediator if your parents ask for your help, but without taking sides.

Instead, you could focus on nurturing the relationship you have with each parent separately by supporting them both. You are going to spend more time with them individually so it is a good idea to start strengthening your relationships with each one alone. Besides, both of your parents will need emotional support during this time, but being their child, you are the best person to help them out.

4. Don’t hesitate to share your feelings with your parents:

You are probably aware that, sometimes, during hard times, you end up learning a lot of meaningful new things that can serve you better later in life. Difficult times can also have a silver lining as they inevitably always bring people together and closer. In the end, there’s always something good that comes from a bad thing and that can happen with your parents’ divorce.

If growing up, your parents always tried to teach you that it’s okay to share your feelings and thoughts with them, this next step will be much easier. But even if you find it hard to sometimes open up to your parents, this is a good time to start.

A divorce not only creates distance between the couple who is separating but it can also create distance between the couple and the people around them. If you choose not to talk with your parents about how this situation is making you feel or share your thoughts with them then you can easily drift apart.

In fact, it will be very easy to let your relationship with them deteriorate by simply not engaging much with them and leaving them to their busy and very emotional schedules. But, what you could do instead is to try and reach out and connect with them separately. You could ask your parents how they are handling everything and then tell them that you would like to be heard too.

5. Seek help from your close friends:

Being able to open up with your parents during their divorce process is a great way to strengthen your relationship with them and avoid having regrets in the future. However, sometimes it’s not enough and you need to receive support from your own circle and outside of your family.

If you have close friends with whom you feel comfortable enough to share intimate details about your life, don’t hesitate to share these with them. Letting other people you can trust know how things are going with you can help keep you away from getting affected too negatively or having to absorb the entire load of negativity alone. 

You need to remember that just because what’s happening is related to your family, it doesn’t mean that you can’t rely on a close friend during this hard time. So pick a friend that is not a fake and make sure it’s someone who reciprocates your efforts and cares about you a lot and then decide let them support you emotionally.

By not being part of the family, your friends’ first priority will be to assure your well-being firstly without worriying about anything else. Plus, they can also give you a new perspective about your parents’ divorce that can help you better deal with it.

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