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Parents Don’t Always Choose Your Side After the Split; 5 Ways to Cope

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HOUSTON (FOX 26) -

When a divorce happens, it is traumatic for everyone including the parents of the couple who split. There is an assumption that your parents will take your side, which means supporting you and letting go of the ex.  This doesn't always happen though.

In fact, what happens many times is parents continue supporting and interacting with the ex especially if the divorce was initiated and thought to be more the fault of their own child. Parents are usually concerned with the grandchildren, and are naturally more involved with supporting the child's needs before their own child or the ex. What further complicates the matter is if the parents were close to the daughter or son-in-law. They may openly state to their child, "I didn't divorce your ex, you did, and I am going to maintain my relationship with them." This can cause further friction and complication for the biological child. However, for the grandchild it may help when grandparents are supportive of both their mom and dad after the divorce.

Before couples divorce they should be aware that relationships change. Talking to their parents openly prior to the divorce can help everyone cope better after a divorce.  Feelings of betrayal by friends and family are common after a divorce, and research has shown that self-esteem is negatively affected in couples that divorce. Couples don't think divorces through clearly. This is largely due to the influence of one of the partners by a third party who is involved and invested in their own self-interests, influencing one member of the couple. Families take sides and friends take sides, and it is common to lose as many as 40% of your friends due their feeling awkward or uncomfortable. The thought of losing the support of your mom or dad after a divorce can lead to anger and resentment, especially if you believe you were in the right.

 

When you begin the mindset that you were right to divorce and you want to be perceived as right by your parents, and that means they always take your side exclusively, you set yourself up for misery going through a divorce and for years after. These five coping suggestions can help you make the best of a painful decision, and provide you with a healthier mindset post divorce.

 

  1. Get a mediator when going through a divorce. Mediators don't try to keep you together, and they aren't counselors. Sometimes they are lawyers, but their focus is to help you divorce with the least friction possible. 
  2. Give up mandating or controlling who can or cannot care about your ex. It's pointless and leaves you feeling miserable, controlling and angry. You will lose everyone you care about and hurt your children further.
  3. Focus on your children's well being. When you focus on your children and your own well being, you will understand that hating or talking about your ex helps no one, and harms everyone.
  4. Set appropriate boundaries. Explain to those you love most that when they do run into your ex or if they see or hear something your ex said, they should keep it to themselves. You need time to heal and to make a life without your ex.
  5. Don't take it personally. Mom and/or dad's support of your ex doesn't mean they will run out or not love you. Being self-focused and emotionally bruised after a divorce is common. As a general rule, don't take anything personally, most of the time most things are not about you.

 

Divorce is common and it is expensive. It rips families, children and friends apart when it is not dealt with effectively. Talking about your reasons for divorcing and being open with mom and dad prior to a divorce can help them adjust and to be supportive to the grandchildren as well as the couple after a divorce. Expecting blood to be thicker than water and assuming they will take your side just because you are their blood is not only unrealistic, but adds additional pain and suffering to an already painful situation. –Mary Jo Rapini

 

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