“I have a lot of issues that I feel stem from or were exacerbated by my parents’ divorce. I really didn’t know how to have a healthy relationship with a man. I either pick the wrong one to fall for or push the good ones away out of fear of rejection. I never got to see or observe my parents getting along with each other or another partner. What goes on in a household with two parents who are partners? How do they interact daily and solve problems together?
– Emily, age 32
When I (Terry) first began the research for this book, I embarked upon a journey which took me somewhere I never intended to go – into the hearts and minds of women who are a lot like me. Since I carried around baggage from my parents’ divorce for decades, I became passionate about helping other women overcome the legacy of divorce. I believe it’s never too late to mend from the past and enjoy healthier intimate relationships, and I want to show you how to do this. At first, my goal was to understand the epidemic of divorce and to figure out how to help women get past the pain of their parents’ breakup. What I didn’t realize until recently, was that in the process of growing up and trying to survive, I build a wall around myself. Competent-at-a-cost, I took pride in my ability to adjust to new situations, but also lived with self-doubt, fractured trust, pessimism about love, and broken-hearted self-reliance. But no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t hide from my past.
Only recently am I coming to terms with the fact that, at age twenty-three, I married too young and picked a partner who was utterly wrong for me. My first husband gave me financial security but was unable to give me the intimacy I craved and needed to survive in the marriage. For reasons that are clearer to me now, I fully participated in a relationship that was doomed from the start. Like many daughters of divorce, I found it easier to ignore my feelings of uneasiness and red flags because I desperately wanted love and was unconsciously hoping that my ex-husband would help me to resolve my ghosts from the past.
I’ve come to learn that sweeping things under the rug and hoping nobody will discover them never works. Yet it wasn’t until I cracked through the surface of my own past that I realized my view of life and particularly my concepts of love and marriage were forever altered by my parents’ divorce some fifty years ago.
I’d love to read your comments on this page. Be sure to order our new book “Daughters of Divorce: Overcome The Legacy of Your Parents’ Breakup and Enjoy a Happy, Long-Lasting Relationship.”