Many parents may believe that it is best to wait until their children are out of the house to move forward with a divorce. Since their children are older, the thinking is that they will be able to handle it better.
As a college student who has gone through this, I found it very difficult to deal with even at my age.
I was about to be a freshman in college when things fell apart. I took the news very hard for a number of reasons.
When the separation initially happened, there was a lost sense of “home” for me. Going home was and still is not something that I look forward to anymore. There is no happiness and there is always tension in the house.
Now, I rarely go home.
As a result of the separation, I knew my parents would eventually move into different places, but I was not prepared to have to choose where I would live during the summer or on breaks.
Having to choose between parents is one of the hardest things a child can do because you don’t want to hurt either of them.
To me, the hardest thing to deal with was coping with the fact that if my parents had just stayed together, I wouldn’t have to choose between either of them. I had a lot of anger towards them because they didn’t realize how much it hurt me.
Another difficult part is knowing, even after I have grown accustomed to not seeing my parents together, that they will meet new people and start new relationships.
There is a strong expectation put on me that I will have to meet these new people and act happy for my parents, when in reality, it makes me sad to see them with new people.
On top of all of this, I still have to deal with schoolwork and all of the other stresses that come with being a college student.
Parents may wait until their kids are in college to divorce because they think that the child might be old enough and mature enough to handle it better, but that is simply not the case.
As a college student, with the amount of stress that we already have from starting a new life on our own, dealing with a divorce on top of all of that can be detrimental to our mental and physical health.
And as personal as the issue is for me, it is also important to understand that this affects many people my age.
As the CDC reported in 2012, roughly half of marriages end within 20 years, when most children are reaching college age.
Although you cannot stop divorce, there are ways we can better deal with the situation.
Talking to our parents and explaining how we feel about the situation may make them better understand where we are coming from.
Confiding with friends and giving yourself the time and space you need to process what is happening is crucial to the coping process.
It may seem hard now, but give yourself the time you need and things will improve.
Lauren Merrill, a sophomore journalism major from Chapel Hill, is an opinion writer.