The “Divorce Generation” is referencing Generation X born between 1965 and 1980. A 2011 article in the Wall Street Journal: “The Divorce Generation” discusses the impacts of being raised in a time where if you were not a product from a divorced family, you had a very dear friend that was. The question asked to our generation, as opposed to my parents are “When Did Your Parents Get Divorced?”as opposed to “Where Were You During D-Day?” or “When Kennedy Was Shot or Nixon Resigned?”.
While reading the article at length, I reflect on the impact that divorce had on my life as a young girl and how it has impacted my decisions as an adult and my approach to marriage and family. As much as I like to think that I have Teflon thick skin, I will say divorce impacted me in a major way, when reflecting on my life til now. Yeah I am quick to brag that I didn’t cry when my father moved out of our house, and rolled my eyes at my mother as she forced me to meet with a therapist to discuss my thoughts on my parent’s separation. I was still with the cool kids at school, and was just dealing with puberty. I didn’t have time to waste an hour of my day to talk to with a complete stranger about random thoughts I was not thinking about. As a child on my parent’s divorce: Neither parent I blamed individually, but collectively I blamed them for not working through their differences.
However, as a budding teenager, I was a bit lost. I looked for acceptance from the wrong places, my peers and boys. Maybe I was missing out of the daily love and guidance from my father. I will say my mother did her best to provide that and more, but you can’t tell an adolescent pre-Madonna anything. I was right all of the time. Until, I was bullied, chastised and endured adolescent heartbreak. I learned everything the hard way in search for daddy’s love.
Now as an adult, my goal in marriage was to not make the past mistakes my parents did, by divorcing. As it was a view of “failure” in my eyes. “Divorce Was Not An Option”. This statement runs true, as noted in the article aforementioned above, divorce rates are at an all time low. Speaking to peers, there are two extremes….they are married and are doing everything to keep the marriage going, as they do not want to reciprocate their parents decisions. Some are happily succeeding while others are miserably succeeding, and have not yet threw in the towel. Or, the other extreme: they fear marriage all together and are a perpetual bachelor and bachelorette, viewing marriage as a death sentence.
After 10,000 hard lessons in love , I thought I finally got it right. I found my happily ever after and was walking down the aisle. Not in the traditional way, but the new-age planned Vegas way. What a great time! Despite how I said my vows, love was giving me an honest chance at life. I was to be a wife and will soon be a mother. Uphold a household, and build an empire. Cater to my husband and ensure my children are healthy and have the entire world of opportunity at their feet. I was striving to be the most perfect wife that I could be. I was determined not to make the same mistakes that my parents made. Divorce was not an option!
However, that same mindset allowed me to remain in a relationship that was not catering to my self-worth and internal growth as a woman and mother. The negative stigma on divorce, took precedence on me being truly happy and fulfilled with myself. A marriage that I allowed to exist maybe 5 to 6 years longer than it should have, could have ended earlier with both of us seeking what our heart truly desires. The idea of “failure”, not being a good wife, being an awful mother, selfish for seeking your own happiness over the greater of “family”, family disapproval and society standards leached at my soul.
I reflected back on my parent’s lives. Towards the end of their marriage they were not happy. They were putting forth their best effort in seeking their independence and regain their spirits after being mentally broken down by marriage. There weren’t examples or books to tell them how to do it the right way. Well there isn’t any “real” right way. They were just trying to mend their own hearts and continue to love us as well. Their approach was made with effort, however it needed some tweaking.
Maybe they could have been better at communicating their position with me as a young, precocious pre-teen. Maybe I would have not endured life lessons on my own and have tried to swallow an entire bottle of Tylenol with Codeine. Maybe their hearts would have not been broken as they stared at me in bewilderment as tears drop from their eyes at the hospital wondering what happened or is going on with their precious child. If they only knew…they were dealing with their own life issues. I didn’t want to add more drama to their lives.
A product from the “Divorce Generation” , the feminist movement of independence and rivalry of living a “happily” single life as opposed to an “unhappily married life”, has flashed through my eyes as a child that now views it through adult lenses.
I was raised watching classic 80’s and 90’s movies such as “The War of The Roses” and “Mrs. Doubtfire”, as divorce became mainstream so did the movies of the non-traditional family. I have observed couples experiment with this “divorce” concept for some time, from my own parents and parents of my peers. I have watched and learned from past approaches that were successful and not. So as a product of the “Divorce Generation” I am sensitive on how my children views the opposite sex, love, sex, marriage, divorce and outlook on life. Open communication is necessary, and the approach is even more paramount.
So instead of aiming not to repeat the common mistakes of divorced families in the 80’s and 90’s by staying married, I aim to tackle this life hiccup as an opportunity with a positive outlook and not dwell in the negative and remain bitter. Outcome of staying married or not, should not be a view of success, but embracing happiness and letting those dear to you feel the radiance of your happiness should be of utmost importance.
Are You A Divorce Generation Baby? If So Are You A Byproduct of Divorce? And How Has That Impacted Your Approach To Marriage and Love?