I saw this the other day and I both agree and disagree with it. On the one hand, any time a family is busted up, it IS in fact a tragedy. However, there's a lot of truth in the second statement. Children deserve happy parents, they deserve to know what a good and strong relationship is and how it works.
That said. Here we go . . .
1) It's HARD.
Here's the deal. I was the one to initiate my divorce. It was something that had been a long time in the making. I was done. D-O-N-E DONE.
However. The actual process was really, really hard. I can't imagine how much harder it would've been if I had not been the one to initiate our breakup. You are literally ending things with the person you promised to love, honor, and cherish "until death do us part." It made me feel like a complete and utter failure, especially since I had been married only five years. To put things in perspective: my great-grandparents were married 74 years, my grandparents 59, and my own parents (who did eventually divorce) 25! I felt like I failed my family and my children. And it was HARD. There's no other word for it and the caps are necessary.
2) It's emotionally taxing.
Perhaps I went into the whole thing a little naïve. I expected it to be emotional. What I didn't expect was just how emotional it was going to be. I guess this goes right along with the whole "it's hard" thing. But "hard" can encompass a lot of different things; I had no idea just exactly HOW emotionally taxing divorce would be. For instance, it was emotional just splitting up our assets. And I'm not talking the BIG assets like house and bank accounts. I'm talking about the smaller things like furniture and, "do you want the grill?" Those were things accumulated over the course of a marriage, things we bought together and, for whatever reason, it just made things even more real when it was time to disperse them amongst us.
3) If you have to do a parenting class, it will be one of the most depressing things you will ever sit through.
Yeah, so. In the state of Tennessee (and I think in most states) you have to do a parenting class if you have minor children. The one I went to lasted about three hours and was in a "discussion" type format. The instructor was very nice but I was not comfortable discussing one of the most personal things in my life (the actual details of my divorce/ the breakup of my marriage) with complete strangers. Honestly, I don't really feel like I learned a whole lot from the class -- my ex-husband and I get along fairly well. But I left it feeling super depressed. It was combination of the stories from other people in the class (the guy who sat next to me didn't have a parenting plan in place yet. His ex was being difficult and he could only see his children when he went to their schools to have lunch with them!) and the statistics of what happens to children from broken homes.
4) Kids are resilient.
Yeah, regardless of anything I heard in the parenting class I can definitely vouch for this one: kids are resilient. Yes, it's hard for them. It can be very hard for them. But they adapt and they learn and they come around. It's harder on certain kids. One of my children had a very tough time in the beginning; the other two weren't phased at all (a lot of this could have to do with age.)
5) Compromise is key. Compromise, compromise, compromise!
And actually it's the "compromise" thing that can make things so emotionally taxing. For example, I won't have my children this year on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. I won't get to see my children on Christmas on even years. And that breaks my heart. I'm going to be a complete and total mess come early morning of December 25th. But they need that time with their dad and, on odd years, they'll wake up with me on Christmas morning. We had to meet in the middle on that one and on practically every other holiday. And I'm lucky enough that he agreed to let me see them every year on their birthdays regardless of whose turn it is to have them.
6) If you can be amicable, you'll save yourself so much grief (and money!)
We literally sat down at the kitchen table and dispersed our assets. We did the same with our parenting plan. Yeah, we had to compromise on things. But we were able to amicably hammer out the agreement between ourselves which kept attorney fees to a minimum and saved us from mediation as well.
7) You'll feel judged.
You wouldn't think you would feel so much disdain given that we live in a world where so many marriages do end in divorce. But, yeah, it's there. The judgment. People who have never been through a divorce don't seem to understand that we're not all Kim Kardashian or Britney Spears. There were times - there still ARE times - when I see someone who has never gone through much grief or strife in their marriage say things about how they'd never divorce, marriage is forever, JUST WORK ON IT, YOU ASSHOLES. And I want to punch them. They have NO IDEA. Most people don't just wake up one morning and think, "Well, golly gee, that asshole let the toilet seat up again and didn't pick his socks up off the bedroom floor. Imma go get me one of them there divorces!" No. Things are much more complicated than that and if you've never been divorced, odds are you don't GET it.
8) I felt oddly conflicted over my name.
I have friends who have been through a divorce and went back to their maiden name. And I always thought, "why would you do that? Why wouldn't you want your name to stay the same as your kids?" Now that I'm on the other side . . . I get it. And I felt very conflicted on whether I wanted to keep my married name (a name that doesn't feel like "mine" but one I share with my children) or go back to the name I was given at birth. In the end, I decided to keep my married name. Mainly because it IS the same name as my children and, honestly, the thought of going through the hassle of changing everything back just didn't seem worth it. Plus I have a brother and he has two boys of his own: my maiden name will live on for a couple more generations at least.
9) Divorce changes the way you view marriage.
Meaning: while I could maybe entertain the thought of getting married again, going though the emotional turmoil of another divorce completely clouds how I view marriage. When my ex and I were discussing whether or not I'd change my name, he said something like "yeah, no use going through changing it when you'll just have to do it all again when you get remarried." Wait. What? Uhhhhh. We were in the middle of a divorce and the LAST thing in the world I was thinking about was getting remarried. Now that I'm in a happy relationship, the marriage question seems to come up a lot. People around us drop everything from little hints to out right saying things like, "y'all better hurry and put a ring on it!" Honestly, though, I have a committed relationship that's full of love and trust. We're not having any children together. Marriage isn't something I feel like I HAVE to have.
10) It really will be okay.
Even though it is emotionally taxing, I really do believe getting to the point of divorce is harder than the actual divorce. I remember telling a friend once that I felt guilty because I was more emotional about the ending of a relationship where I wasn't married than by my divorce . . . my divorce from a man that I was MARRIED to and had CHILDREN with. It didn't make sense. She told me, "that's because you don't just end a marriage. Once you're to the point of divorce, you know you've tried as hard as you possibly can, you know you've done everything." Solid advice and truth. And once you get to the point of divorce, you've gone through the hardest part. And when you keep that in mind, you know you'll be okay.