My parents’ divorce was like one of those never-ending melodramas. Hundreds of episodes all depicting the worst ways you could end a marriage—long-term affairs, a secret lover from the past, devious lies, a cougar transformation, and about 1001 meltdowns. I painstakingly witnessed each episode IRL during my impressionable teen years like a first-row spectator at an overdramatic theatre. Anyway, the damage had been done.
Parents’ Divorce Affected Me Subliminally
I thought I wouldn’t end up like my parents because I’m different. Hard-headed and stubborn, I considered myself a “strong independent woman who don’t need no man” during my younger years.
Each time I went to sleep crying and feeling woeful about my parents’ latest fight, I’d wake up feeling more determined than ever to set on my own path. A path that was different from my parents’
10-year-old me was confident that I’d have a good eye for boys in the future. 13-year-old me was so sure that my future marriage would work out differently. But 15-year-old me hit a little stumbling block when I realised that I had a thing for bad boys…
A Product Of My Parents’ Divorce
I was 18 when I fell in love for the first time, but it was under all the wrong circumstances. It was pretty ironic, actually. My own parents’ marriage ended in flames because of a “homewrecker”. Yet, here I am, helplessly, irrevocably falling for a friend’s boyfriend and driving a wedge between them.
When I sought solace by confiding in my mother, she harshly told me that I could’ve and should’ve controlled my feelings. That night, she looked at me the same way she looked whenever she talked about my dad’s mistress.
I’ll never forget what she said to me: “Infidelity is a default trait that runs in the family.”
I was dealt with two blows at once—getting my heart broken and becoming a disgrace. It was humiliating and demoralising when I was so confident that I’d turn out differently.
Life Of A Serial Swiper
After emerging out of the battle with a grave distrust of relationships and a crippling fear of recreating my parents’ history, my dating life for the next few years solely consisted of boys I met at the bar or on Tinder.
I was NOT ready to enter a serious relationship. But 20-year-old me wanted and desired attention from men, and I’d be lying if I said that it wasn’t an ego-booster.
Which was why f*ckboys were my ultimate picks — they were as afraid of commitment as I was.
For a long time, it was thrilling. I was completely unrestrained and constantly talking to multiple men at any point in time. When I no longer wanted to pursue whatever relationship I had with them, it was as easy as tapping “block” or “unmatch”. Yes, I was one of those people who just ghosted.
When my life as a serial swiper started to get draining, I decided it was time to open myself up to the idea of love. But my attraction for them would dissipate each time got serious in bringing the relationship to the next level. At the back of my mind, I guess I still equated committed relationships with my parents’ failed one, and I just couldn’t imagine surviving that disaster.
Was it fair to the completely decent men I was dating? No. Was it because I couldn’t bring myself to trust them? No. In true, “it’s not you, it’s me” fashion, I was the one with the commitment issues. At that time, I just couldn’t help it.
Happier And Healthier Relationships, But Still Anxious
It’s been five years since my first heartbreak and I’ve slowly come to terms with how much my parents’ divorce ACTUALLY affected me.
Every divorce is different — but one thing’s for sure: they are messy. As a child of divorce who witnessed first-hand the downfall of my parents’ marriage, I can only speak from my experience.
I won’t say I’m 100% healed from the trauma of my parents’ divorce, but neither will I continue to be a victim of it.
I will always be fearful of making the same mistakes as my parents. But I’ve come to have an upper hand over my fears and refuse to be confined by them.
The healing process has been slow, but I have since changed. I’m now in a healthy, committed relationship with someone I can wholeheartedly trust. My partner even got me to reconsider my thoughts on marriage—which is BIG.
After all, the past is merely a chapter that we need to learn from.