Family dynamics set the foundation for how we navigate relationships in our adulthood. It is by watching our parents’ relationship with each other, and our own relationship with them, that we learn about love and connection. So, if the marriage between one’s parents doesn’t work out, it is bound to leave an impact. While all the aspects of one’s life are affected by the parents’ divorce, the most lasting effects are perhaps on how children view romantic relationships.
Children of divorce find it difficult to open up and trust. They have learnt to be self-sufficient. This is both a good and a bad thing. Where it hurts them, is that they find it difficult to open up to someone. Trust is severed especially when they have been witness to conflict and any sort of breach of trust between their parents.
Marriage is not the end goal for them. For many of us, marriage is a milestone we work hard to reach. Not so much for children who come from homes where parents are divorced. They are okay if it happens, and they are okay if it doesn’t. If the parents’ divorce has been rife with conflict, then the kids are likely to not want to get married at all.
They are okay with divorce. It’s not something that is a taboo for them, or something that scares them. That said, it can go either way. Either they can embrace divorce as one of the realities of life, or grow to be so averse to the idea that they stick through even when they shouldn’t.
They find it difficult to relinquish control. They have been too accustomed to be in charge of things. This, combined with their lack of trust in others and the knowledge that things can fall apart any time, makes it challenging for them to let go, and let someone take care of them.
They fear abandonment. This can play out differently for different people. Some may become too controlling, needy, and clingy because they are scared that their partner will leave. Others might withdraw and sabotage the relationship, so that they are the ones who leave, and are not left behind.
They are not sure how to love. We learn how to be in a relationship by watching our parents. Children of divorce lack a good model of a loving relationship. So, they need to spend a lot of time learning the ropes when it comes to a nurturing, fulfilling relationship.