Ione Stevens obtained her bachelor's degree in English in 2016. She is now a library assistant for Stratford University.
Before I dive head first into this article, I'd like to say that my understanding of life and love comes from my childhood experiences. I repeat, MY childhood experiences. However, I have found that being a child with divorced parents has created a connection with other children who have had the similar experiences. In no way am I degrading those who grew up with happily married parents, who are still together. I don't believe that my knowledge of life and love is greater or brighter than others.
I am simply sharing what I have learned.
As children, our parents constantly remind us that there are, at least, two versions of the truth. Neither is right nor wrong, it is just how we, as humans, perceive and understand situations.I was 16 years old when my parents separated. My mom and I moved in with a family friend for a while, until she could find something permanent. She busted her ass at work to make this happen for her and I. My brother stayed mostly with my dad. Looking back on my childhood memories I can recall good times, but to be completely honest, the not-so-good times are more vivid to remember. As a small child, you don't really notice or feel the need to pay attention to the bickering or the slammed doors. But as a teenager, it's really hard to ignore. In a way, I thought that this was normal. Parents fight sometimes, no big deal.
When the fights began to escalate, I quickly realized that it was a big deal. Something was wrong and they didn't know how to resolve it. The vibe in the home is tense and I'm left to wonder what on earth could be the reason for it. As a teenager, you tend to overthink irrationally and it scares you to imagine all the reasons why they could be fighting.
After my mom and I moved out and found a small home to rent, I lost almost all communication with my dad. It wasn't my mom's doing. If anything, she encouraged that I maintain a relationship with him. But, in a teenager's perspective, I thought I had to choose a side. So I chose Mom's. I believed that there had to be ONE bad guy and ONE good guy. They both couldn't have been in the wrong. Someone HAD to be right! A little over 3 years go by and I didn't try to communicate with my dad in any way. Our relationship suffered for so long and it wasn't until I had my heart severely broken, that I understood.
With my parents, no one was wrong and no one was right. Two people were hurt and two people fought. I needed someone to blame, so I blamed my dad. To this day, I regret it because I lost time with him.
My parents' divorce taught me that there are two sides to every story. It takes two to fight; two to love. But people are constantly changing. People fall out of love all the time and never really understand why. Sometimes it is out of our control and there's nothing we can do to prevent it from happening. We just accept it, work through it, and find a way to move on.
My high school boyfriend and I dated, on and off, for about 5 years. So, all throughout school, I didn't really date anyone else. As teenagers, he had a knack for ignoring me and I was clingy as hell. I'm not the least bit embarrassed or ashamed to admit that I was an awful girlfriend in high school. He was great at making friends and was always out with them. I was the girl who had a hard time making 'real' friends and mostly kept to myself. He was pretty much the only person I talked to outside of school and my family. We didn't get along all that well after the second year of dating, but I was a hormonal teenage girl. I thought we were 'forever' and that we'd 'always find our way'. After graduation, I realized that we weren't right for each other. It was time for me to move on, so I did.
My boyfriend AFTER I graduated high school was great at first. We connected on every level pretty well. But after feeling isolated from my family and close friends when I moved in with him, it was hard to be happy. There was so much I wanted to do, to accomplish before settling down. I knew that I wasn't the best version of myself with him. I wasn't capable of being the person he wanted me to be. So I left. It was one of the best decisions I ever made, simply because of where I am today.
I could continue on through my dating timeline, but what I'm trying to say is: Not All Love is Real Love. We can identify whether or not the person we are with is who we are meant to love.
The love we have is different, solely because we need to know the person through and through. We want to love every part of them. We have to trust you before we can even think about giving our hearts to you. We are observant and tend to watch out for any red flags that may pop up. Mostly, we're not afraid to express ourselves and what we want/need. If it's not real love, we won't string you along to create it.
I know you've heard this plenty, but I'm going to say it anyway. Communication is key! In any relationship, be it with a friend or a lover, you might as well exit if you fight more than you talk. I remember seeing my parents fight repeatedly and very little did I see them actually talk about the problems. Because I remembered this, I always found it better to talk it out versus shrugging it off or screaming nonsense.
However, I learned that not everyone will do this. Not everyone will choose to talk instead of fight. When someone would rather blow me up, then I usually back away and write them off. Some may say that I give up on people too soon. But really, I'm just choosing who I want to socialize with. We all have the right to decide who we invest our time in and if we don't 'click', well it was worth a shot. I'm all about taking chances and getting to know a person. But I can usually tell rather soon if our relationship will be a good or a bad one.
You grow up watching your parents bicker, yell, and cry. You see a side of them you never thought existed because in your eyes they're a team. And because they are married, you think they've got it all figured out. In reality, they don't and that's okay. None of us know what marriage is really like until we get married. There's an ugly side that no one tells us about. My parent's taught me that fighting doesn't resolve anything. It only makes the problems bigger and harder to overcome. So we learn to keep an open mind to the fact that we are all different. We become great problem solvers and communicators.
There are people who will never forgive their ex-spouse, no matter how much time has passed. But I have proof that it is possible for divorced parents to rise above their past and create a happy environment for the family. Today, I am married to a wonderful man. We are proud parents of an adventurous little boy, who loves his grandparents to pieces. My parents were not soulmates. They never got back together, BUT they forgave one another after years of moving on.
We all spend major holidays together, my husband's family included. My father walked me down the aisle and danced with me afterwards. Mom remarried to a wonderful man and Dad is getting married this summer to such a sweet woman. After so much time has passed, my parents can be in the same room with one another. They can have conversations without it taking a bad turn. Forgiveness goes a long way and it allows the family to grow in love. I personally believe all of this started with the birth of my son. He has a way of bringing the people he adores together, putting aside their differences, to share laughter and good times. It's truly amazing what the existence of such a little person can do to everyone around him.
In the end, it doesn't matter what brought our family back together. All that matters is that we forgave, we moved on, and we focused on what was most important.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.