Dealing with divorce is never a fun thing. I remember not knowing how to feel when I found out my mum and dad were splitting up. I’d lived in fear of it for so long that when it actually happened, I couldn’t believe it. I thought everything was going to change - that we were going to have to move, that I’d end up in a whole new area. It’s so easy to start panicking about all the possibilities, that stepping back from the situation and giving it a good look can really help.
However, a year on from my parent’s separation, and it feels like everyone is better for it. My mum is so much happier and that reflects on me and my siblings. I know my dad, who probably hurt the most out of everyone, is happier now too. I still see him, and he now has more time to focus on himself and spending time with his kids.
But how did I get there? How do you move on from a huge event?
A lot of it happened naturally. At first, there were a lot of tears and disbelief and I hated talking about it. I found it easier to lay under my duvet and pretend none of it had happened. But, I was eventually forced to live with it and while I struggled at first, going head on into the situation meant I had to deal with it. There’s no shame in taking time for yourself and healing, but remember you can’t ignore it forever. You have to face the music.
I also found that seeking support in my family helped. My mum was hurting too, as were my siblings. I found that talking to and relating to them took the edge off. To realise you’re not alone in the situation can really help. It created a kind of balance. My sister and I had very different approaches - I have a ‘mourn and then deal with it’ approach while she flat out refused to show emotion. Her forcing me to be less emotional and vice versa actually really helped. Even if you’re an only child or you can’t find support in a parent, I can guarantee will be at least one person, whether at school, work or online, who relates to your situation.
Another major thing I had to deal with was selfishness, and remembering I wasn’t the one hurting the most. It’s all good and well to feel sorry for yourself but I had to remember that none of the divorce was to do with me. I wasn’t the one leaving my partner nor was I the one being left. Whilst you should put yourself first, don’t forget your parents are hurting too. None of what they’ve done is to spite you, nor did they do it because of you. A divorce is something really personal between two people and whilst it’ll affect you, there’s nothing you can do. It can be a hard to swallow pill, but one you ultimately have to.
Lastly, I threw myself into other things to distract myself. That meant focusing way more on college, on my articles here at TWE and my friends. Your home life is important but there are ways to escape it. My own situation entailed that I had to live with both my parents under the same roof for about two months after their separation and I found that staying with a friend for a few nights was a huge relief. It’s not a bad idea to remove yourself from the situation and take a breather.
With that said, that doesn’t mean you should ignore it completely. As aforementioned, you do have to process it and deal with it in order to move on.
Patience is also super important. There will be lots of new things to adjust to - a new house, weekend visits, perhaps a new partner. Your whole life is being flipped upside down and no-one will expect you to be okay with it in a short space of time.
It wasn’t until recently that I realised how relationships are portrayed in the media. It’s clear, even to the youngest of people, that romantic feelings are the #1 device for pushing a plot and stirring things up. In a lot of cases, they’re extremely surrealistic (I’ve been waiting a year for someone to appear outside my window with a boombox). That aside, based off the circumstances, they’re pretty healthy for both (sometimes more) parties involved.
But what about the toxic relationships we see? The ones we don’t even realise are there? You’d be surprised to see how unhealthy some of them are.
One that springs to mind is Ross Geller and Rachel Green, two of the leading characters in everyone’s favourite sitcom (even if they haven’t seen it) - Friends. I say this with caution because it is controversial. At first, I was angered too by people jabs at one of TV’s most iconic couples.
But what about the facts?
Ross has been in love with Rachel since high school. It’s sweet at first; he’s supportive and patient and she’s finally found a guy! Alas, it’s not long before warning bells come. Without explaining 10 seasons worth of happenings, I’ll simplify it. They sabotage each other’s relationships, Ross expresses extreme jealousy to the point where it’s creepy and in the famous season finale, convinces Rachel to drop her dream job in Paris because he’s still in love with her. Even if they weren’t on a break.
You’re probably thinking ‘but it’s just a TV show!’ and ‘stop over analysing the details of my favourite sitcom!’
But, regardless of how loved the show is and how unreal the characters are, millions and millions of people tune in to watch it on TV and on Netflix every month. Toxicity being normalised on TV leads to it being normalised everywhere else. And that influences real life people in real life relationships.
Obviously, I’m not just going to single out Friends. I’ll take a jab at the Big Bang Theory too, just to make this fair.
Leonard and Penny - perhaps the Ross and Rachel of 21st century TV. I’ll admit that I didn’t think anything of this until one of my friends pointed it out. This, again, comes from both parties in the relationship. Penny is okay with drunkenly demanding sex from Leonard, but as soon as he does it, she’s suddenly not okay with it. I don’t think it’s okay in any situation but it’s the hypocrisy here that’s the main focus. Both sides face unhealthy jealousy and insecurity, that then turns into unnecessary guilt on the other person’s part.
And again, this is a well-loved couple in what has become the most matched sitcom of all time. That’s a few million people that might now think these kinds of things are normal, when they are not.
It’s not as though these TV shows don’t have healthy relationships. Monica and Chandler is a good example of a relationship of equals. The same goes for Amy and Sheldon.
But these are secondary storylines. Chandler and Monica don’t come about till season four, whilst Ross and Rachel were fuelled from episode one. It was the same in Big Bang, Leonard and Penny become the main plotline in literally the first five minutes of the series, whilst Amy and Sheldon make a slow start in season three.
It’s the unhealthy relationships that become the backbone of the plotlines and friendship group. It’s the jealousy and the arguments that fuel views and provoke reactions from fans. People will always be more interested in Ross and Rachel’s lack-of-communication break up than Monica and Chandler’s solid relationship.
But is that not Hollywood? Going for the most interesting storyline for views and reactions, regardless of how badly influential it is on the young minds of cinema goers and TV watchers.
And, you can argue that these people aren’t real. Their just characters, right? And yes, they are! They are entirely fictional.
But the problems caused by the normalisation of these character’s unhealthy relationships? Not so much.
Being bullied is, without a doubt, one of the most difficult experiences I have dealt with thus far in my life - I dealt with it for longer than I should have because I didn’t have the courage to tell somebody. I was nervous - constantly asking myself is this really bullying? What if they’re just messing around? What if I’m making a mountain out of a molehill and blowing it out of proportion?
I dealt with it for two years and by the time it was sorted, I was so badly affected that I’m still not completely over it to this day. If I’d spoken up earlier it might have not been the case. Speaking up is extremely important, and I cannot encourage you to do it enough.
It will seem scary at first - I was terrified about what the bullies would do if they found out I was telling someone. The thing is, once their name is taken down and the school are aware, the process of sorting it out will be effective immediately. Their will be very minimal time between you telling the school and the bully being called in/dealt with, and chances are they won’t get a chance to say anything.
You also might feel like your case isn’t serious enough to be considered proper bullying. I didn’t actually tell anyone until one of my teachers told me it was bullying.
The definition of bullying - according to the UK government website - is;
defined as behaviour that is:
I also remember feeling really worried about the whole process - what would happen? What would they do to stop it? In my scenario, I was moved from the classes which the perpetrator and a notice was sent out to the members of staff to keep an eye on interactions between us and to not put us in the same groups or in adjacent seats. It might mean that some things in your day-to-day life change like the aforementioned, but it’ll be for the best and for a positive outcome.
But what about the actual talking part? The bit where you actually have to explain and going into detail about what’s going on? I found that writing down a list of specific incidents beforehand was very helpful, and that having a close friend sat with me also gave me extra confidence.
It will seem scary, but it’ll be worth it.
Sometimes we need to do things out of our comfort zones in order to solve problems, but it will be much better in the long run.
I’ve dealt with homesickness since I was pretty young. I remember being nine years old on a school trip and crying every night because I missed my bed (among other things obviously, but mainly my bed). I’m sixteen now and was away from home recently and I felt the exact same.
It’s strange though, because I’m a pretty independent person and when I am at home, I stick to myself and stay in my room most the time - but they may be the exact reason I get homesick. Being forced into a new place without warning and having routine torn away can really mess with your head.
I don’t go away that often, only to sleepovers at my friends’ which never prove a problem in terms of feeling homesick. I find it’s when I’m with new people, or people I’m not as close with. I also found I felt a lot worse when I further away from home too.
I have learned how to handle it, however. I know I’ll never go out of my way to cure it because I rarely go away from home for long periods of time, and won’t be doing so for the foreseeable future. However, there are a couple things I’ve figured out in case I do.
It’s also crucial to remember that being homesick isn’t anything to be embarrassed about. It affects every gender and every age group and it’s completely human. But, it’s also important to not let it limit you in terms of having fun, going new places and meeting new people. You may feel out of your comfort zone but it’s worth it sometimes.
Moving on can be difficult. It’s hard to leave people behind, even if you’ve fallen out, because there’s still parts of you that remember the times before then. Every friendship has it’s ups and downs but sometimes the ups make it hard to move on, even if the person is truly hurting you and mistreating you.
It’s important to remember exactly why it is you need to move on - for example, it might be because the person was abusive or toxic, or maybe you just grew apart. I’ve been in both those situations and it hurt both times, but I learnt that it’s important to pull through and leave them behind.
I know I felt like I was a bad person for doing it. Even when someone was a complete asshole to me and used me, I would still stick around out of fear of being as bad as them, or out of fear of hurting them. But putting yourself before them doesn’t make you a bad person. It doesn’t make you selfish, it just means you’re doing something for yourself to ensure happiness.
There’s also the part where you might feel yourself falling back a bit - picking up your phone to message them, or remembering a good time you had and wanting to go back. I think that part is more about self control. In one situation, I blocked them on every social media because I knew I’d end falling back into a really toxic friendship otherwise.
In fact, it took me multiple attempts to move on. I would always fall back and always end up being the one who got hurt. Maybe it was me being too forgiving or just giving too many chances, but it’s taught me how important moving on really is.
You have to look at it the same way you might look at solving a problem - look at the pros and look at the cons, and you might find that the cons outweigh the pros. You might see that they’re more rude than they are kind.
It’s about remembering all of the person and not just the bits you want to - you could say they’re mean to me but they’ve been my friend for so long. It’s important to realise that the them treating you shittily cannot be made up for by anything.
A friendship is about being there for someone and treating them well. There’s always gonna be arguments and falling out in any friendship but them making you feel bad and mistreating you isn’t a friendship, and it’s vital to know that.
It might hurt and you might miss them for a while, but it’s important to realise that your long term happiness and confidence is far more important than someone who hurts you.
I am no stranger to meeting many of my friends through social media - in the twenty first century, it is so easy to find people who have stuff in common with you and build a friendship as a result of it. You can talk to them over many platforms such as Facebook, Snapchat etc and also video call on Skype and Ooovoo.
But there will come a time where you may be able to meet. I’ve met one of my internet friends at a concert and it was amazing, but I was also really careful. When we’re kids, we’re told all about internet safety and how we shouldn’t share too much information - but is it different as a teenager?
If you’re meeting an internet friend, it’s always good to video call them first. This means you can see them sort of in person, and you’ll know if they’re using a fake profile picture, or lying about their age.
You also shouldn’t go alone - this might seem like something you’d be told in primary school, but it’s actually a really serious thing. If you’re meeting somewhere and you’re alone, only to find out the person is in fact not who they say they are, then it could be a potentially dangerous situation.
You also be careful about where you meet - if they suggest a secluded place such as a park near their house, there’s a chance it could be empty. Building on the last thing I said about being alone and discovering the person has been lying could be a threatening situation. If you live near a shopping center or even have the ability to go to the nearest city center, then that is the much safer alternative.
Lastly - make you sure know what they look like! The video call is always a very good way to do this, but if you’re planning on meeting somebody who’s only profile pictures are avatars, it might be worth asking for a selfie just so you know who you’re looking for.
This is not me implying that meeting internet friends is a dangerous idea, because I have met one of mine before and it was wonderful, and I very much wish I could meet all of them. But there are always going to be cases where someone is being catfished, lied to or mislead when it comes to people over the internet and it’s important to take measures that ensure you are not one of the few who has to deal with being hurt over the internet.
I’ve had the fair share of arguments in my lifetime. Some were seemingly pathetic and mediocre ones in primary school, leading up to much bigger and more serious ones in senior school. Half the friends I had in year seven I don’t even speak to anymore.
And I’ve learnt that falling out with people is one of the hardest things you’ll deal with in senior school. It can be over anything from relationships to crushes to spreading rumours – It’s all stressful and not a great experience, but it can be sorted.
The first thing you need to remember is that you shouldn’t make the argument or the fall out the focus of everything – I let it overtake my life on one occasion and I forgot about my true friends and my schoolwork. In fact, when you focus more on other things, you won’t spend as much time overthinking the issue.
Another thing to remember is that it doesn’t mean your friendship is over. Arguments will happen all the time in life, whether it be with friends or family or a partner. It does happen and it does suck, but it’s natural. Don’t assume you’ll never be friends again – Take some time and cool off, think about it and chances are, you might begin to miss each other and start over.
But if it’s a case where they’ve mistreated you or hurt you and you have no intention of reinitiating your friendship, I learnt the best way is to just do it. It’s like ripping off a band aid – It’ll hurt, but at the end of the day, it might be worth it. If the person has truly hurt you, moving on is the best way forward. Don’t make a big thing of it, because it doesn’t have to be. Someone who I thought was my best friend began bullying me, but they disguised it behind friendship. We eventually fell out and rather than trying to make things up with them, I just left it. It hurt for a while, but the pain of moving on is much less than the pain of staying with a friend who mistreats you.
I also found that it’s best not to get any other people involved. This can blow things out of proportion and get more people involved and start more arguments than necessary. If it’s between you and one other, try to keep it that way. This means less people get angry and it will be dealt with sooner rather than later.
You must also try and see from their point of view – They might have a reason for arguing with you, and sometimes you need to stop for a second and think about why they’ve acted the way they have. It’s in human nature to defend yourself, whether your point is valid or not. So, before you get angry or begin to get upset, remember that they’re human and probably feel the same way that you do. Stay calm and rational and see it from both sides.
Also, try and carry on as normal. If they’re in your classes or the same group as you at school, don’t make it obvious that you’ve fallen out. If you need to talk to them because of a lesson, do so in a polite way and treat them as an acquaintance or a stranger rather than someone you’re feeling negatively about. This way, you can avoid starting any further conflict.
Lastly – give it time and agree to disagree. It might be that week’s pass and you forget why you’re mad, or the thing you fell out over may begin to seem stupid as you miss them. Sometimes the best thing to do is to forgive and forget, because you can’t always come to an agreement on everything. The thing you’re arguing about isn’t always worth as much as your friendship.