- Love is not always enough.
I have no doubt that somewhere 25 years ago my parents were dating but I learned that it was not enough to make them happy on their own. Even now, I get a glimpse of their love when they talk BUT their inability to trust or communicate effectively ends up being their downfall. Love is essential to any good relationship, but apart from these two, it is not enough.
- Your children will likely learn more about self-esteem when you divorce.
Couples often find themselves aware that their relationship cannot be repaired but they tell each other that they have cheated on the children. Your children are not stupid and they know what is going on. Over time, trying to make them work for them shows that unhappiness in a relationship is acceptable. This is especially true of parents who have difficulty keeping their problems behind closed doors (like mine). While it can be painful to separate and your family to be separated between two homes, it makes for a more healthy conversation with the home. I would rather be separated between two happy homes than go with another unhappy one.
- Your partner will not change so stop thinking you can “fix it”.
I think my parents spent a lot of energy hoping that they would wake up one day after a nightmare and someone would suddenly be the one they wanted. The truth is, my dad will always be exactly the same and my mom will always be what she is and sadly they just don’t get along. If my parents had seen this before, they would have saved themselves from the pain of facing each other and us as children, the grief of seeing their plight. I’ve learned to accept that you can’t redefine a person.
- You can’t control everything.
I have to admit that this upsets me. I wish we could have the power to manage our relationship but the relationship that controls you is the only one you have. What I learned most from reading this is watching my parents’ relationship continue that if you give yourself time to focus on yourself, your interests and other things that make you happy, you gain 10x more relationships than trying to control it.
- Learn to talk openly about your feelings.
Of course there were many things my parents felt anxious about but because they never talked about them clearly and quickly, simple conversations turned into heated arguments. This has taught me that even the most sensitive conversations can be held in a calm manner if you know your tone and deal with someone’s concerns very quickly.
- Apologizing is powerful.
Honestly saying, “I’m sorry” carries a lot of value. If you are determined to see that you are wrong you are sending two messages: 1. You are self-aware (side note: too many people do not have this) 2. You understand what your important partner you are trying to communicate with and your important one will appreciate!
- Follow your stomach.
If you feel that something is wrong, it may be. If you are deep inside looking for something, why spend so much time trying to figure out why? Although I was guilty of needing a concrete answer before worrying about something, seeing my parents go through whatever they were going through showed me that even though sometimes the answers are not as clear as the day, the feeling you get in your tummy is a reason.
- Learn to keep conversations private.
When I was growing up, I saw my parents involve other adults or us as children, at the wrong time in a conversation or conversation in which we had no business to be a part of it all. Be aware that there are some things you can only resolve between the two of you. Adding additional ideas from other “adults” can make the situation worse and ultimately darken your true thoughts. Uhm, hello, follow YOUR guts.
- Appreciate small things.
I would like to think that this is self-explanatory but when I think my parents have failed in this section here are more details: hugging, kissing, cooking, bringing home flowers at random, etc. Then I say thank you!
- You can teach your children to love you no matter what problems you face in your failed relationship.
My mother did an amazing job on this. There is no doubt that both my parents were dragging each other in different ways and I hold a grudge about being involved in it sometimes but more importantly, I don’t let their issues or my issues and relationships affect the way I love them care. When I was old enough to understand the depths of my parents’ arguments, have a positive attitude or was old enough to take sides, my mother always made the point that without my thoughts on the matter, my parents were my parents (parents who loved me no matter how much they hated each other) and that was something I would never change.
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