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.
Teenagers With Experience is an organisation created to provide teenagers with a platform to share and help others from their own experiences while also educating others on different topics. We aim to provide a safe space to all teenagers around the world and support others. You can contact us via email, social media or our contact form found on our home page.