So, you’re in love with a child of divorce, are you? There are few things you should probably know in order to prepare yourself.
By Andrea Zimmerman
Last updated on Nov 09, 2023
Photo: fizkes / Shutterstock
Loving a child of divorce comes with a few more complications, but I assure you: we’re worth it.
As long as you keep these factors in mind — and recognize, every child of divorce is different so not all will apply — you will have a solid chance of having a fantastic, long-lasting relationship (and more relatives than you could ever hope for.)
Here are 10 ways children of divorce love very differently.
1. We’re “eh” on the whole marriage thing.
We really want to believe in the institution of marriage but we’re tentative of making the same mistake our parents did, which means we might put it off longer or have more hesitations around it in general.
Personally, for me, I’d be just as content with a life partner, no marriage certificate necessary.
2. We really value stability.
Because most of us were raised being shuttled between two homes every other week or spending weekends at the other parent’s house, it’s important for us to have one — I repeat one — safe space with all our stuff under one roof.
That being said, in the case when we do have to jet off for a last-minute getaway, we are so prepared because basically: that was our childhood.
3. We may be over-attached to our stuff.
Again, since most of us grew up living in two different homes and packed bags to take to Mom or Dad, we’ve grown overly attached to our things because having our things with us represented home, not the roof over our head necessarily.
4. We do holidays a little differently, so bear with us.
We still split time (even as an adult!) between Mom and Dad which means that in addition to sharing time with your family for holidays, we also need to make sure that we’re making time for both sets of parents on our side. We know, it’s super-annoying, we’ve been doing it all our lives.
The upside: Double presents.
5. We have a “favorite” parent.
We love them both equally, of course, but yes, we like one more than the other, and no, we probably won’t tell you until you get to know us really well (although, in some cases, it’s blatantly obvious.)
6. We’re afraid of getting divorced, too.
Anytime one of those studies comes out that says that children of divorce are more likely to get divorced themselves, we panic for a second. Is divorce genetic? Pre-programmed somehow? GAH.
This confirms #1 — if we never get married, we’ll never have to get divorced. Problem solved.
7. We may be either super-monogamous or cheaters.
Especially if our parent’s divorce was caused by cheating. If that’s the example that was set, we either do a 180 to ensure we don’t cause the same hurt by being the most committed partner in the history of commitment or we accept it as the status quo and follow in our parents’ dysfunctional cheating footsteps. Hope for the former!
8. We’re super attached to our siblings.
Because they’re the only ones who really, truly understand what each other went through all the pain and the hurt and the not-ideal living situation. Because of this, we’re tight as hell and always there for each other.
9. We’re still working through our issues.
Yep, still. Only in later adult life, do kids of divorce really start to see the less-immediate effects that their parent’s separation caused them. (Unless you’ve been in therapy for years in which case, good for you.) For the rest of us, we only now make the connection between little habits/traits/opinions we have and hold — both good and bad — and how our parent’s divorce directly impacted them.
10. You have two sets of parents to impress.
And we’re so sorry about that.
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Andrea Zimmerman is the Deputy Editor at YourTango.