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Divorce and Grown Children

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posted on Apr, 5 2012 @ 10:04 PM
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First some background. About five years ago my then wife had a midlife crisis and left me for another man. We had been together almost 25 years and had raised three kids. The divorce finalized, we moved to new places and whatever pain we experienced has been gone for awhile. Heck, I forgave her and the other man (who by the way dumped her almost immediately after she filed for the divorce). All of our children were over 18 and when the eldest got married we both attended and there was no problem and that was during the divorce.

While the divorce was going on, two of my children were still living at home with us and witnessed the other man picking up my ex-wife. While the divorce was going on, two of my children chose to not say anything or get involved. In fact, all three of my kids sort of got me to date. Later one of them said she had changed her mind and that I shouldn't date for five years. I don't know why she changed her mind.

Recently, I have come to understand that the one that didn't want me to date feels that her whole life has been a lie. I believe it is because she thought we were a family and now feels that we are not. I don't feel the same way. Whatever my ex-wife did in secret, what we did together was still real. We really did raise three children and we really did have family night and we really did travel together and share Christmas and the holidays. We really were a family and we always will be. My ex-wife will always be my children's mother and the time we spent together was mostly good, I mean there were very few arguments. No matter what, that is the family that we raised and we will always be family.

Now here is the problem. I have healed and adjusted, the ex has healed and adjusted; but, we had families to fall back on. I still have my siblings and cousins, I never went without family and the same is true for the ex; but, the kids sort of feel like they no longer have a family unit. Really, just one of my kids. Here is my question, how do I let my kids know that what we had was real and that we are still a family, a broken one to be sure; but it is and will always be the family that my children grew up in. I figure that part of it will require that I discuss the matter with my ex-wife.

What I am looking for is thoughts from people who were adults when their parents divorced and what can or could have been done to reassure my daughter that WE are still we even if my ex-wife and I are apart. I think divorce is a terrible thing and I had tried to reconcile; but, it didn't happen and that is just the way it is. Thanks for anything you may be able to say that I might find useful. By the way, the advice will be seen as nothing more, I am really just looking for ideas. Peace.




posted on Apr, 5 2012 @ 10:35 PM
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reply to post by AQuestion
 


Recently, I have come to understand that the one that didn't want me to date feels that her whole life has been a lie. I believe it is because she thought we were a family and now feels that we are not. I don't feel the same way. Whatever my ex-wife did in secret, what we did together was still real.

My parents divorced after 44 years of marriage. People I tell that to wonder what couldn't be worked out in all that time? The answer is that my parents were living in denial in regards to their love for each other. You said it yourself: secret and public relationship. You guys were lying to yourselves, each other and the kids. Thats why she said what she did. Instead of denying her feelings on the issue, try asking for her opinion about it.

Sorry for the direct abruptness and opening cans of worms, just you asked for it. Difficult subject for me.



posted on Apr, 5 2012 @ 10:41 PM
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reply to post by intrptr
 


Dear intrptr,



You said it yourself: secret and public relationship. You guys were lying to yourselves, each other and the kids. Thats why she said what she did. Instead of denying her feelings on the issue, try asking for her opinion about it. Sorry for the direct abruptness and opening cans of worms, just you asked for it. Difficult subject for me.


I think you missed what I did say. I didn't know she was cheating on me, for me it was real. The life you lead is the life you had. We never know each other perfectly, there is always the unknown. How could I have lied to myself when I didn't know what she was doing and neither did my kids until after she asked for the divorce.

I don't mind the abruptness, heck, at least you made an effort to answer me. Nobody else has and I have to believe there are more children of divorce on this site. Peace.



posted on Apr, 5 2012 @ 10:54 PM
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reply to post by intrptr
 


Kids need to know that parents divorce each other not their children. I'm not sure what your daughter means when she says she feels like her whole life has been a lie. Sounds like she has some painful feelings she needs to deal with so she can move on. Is she willing to get counseling (individual or with parent(s))? If not, maybe you can try to have a heart-to-heart talk if she is receptive. Really sounds like she wants to share. Hope you can help her.



posted on Apr, 5 2012 @ 11:00 PM
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my parents split up when i was 18, same year my nana died of bone cancer, she ended up cheating on my dad with another woman, and my dad started dating and sleeping with women off eharmony. My mom tried hiding the fact that she was involved with a woman and lied about it, while my dad started paying a lot more attention to finding himself a new partner than he did at all with me. It got pretty bad to the point where no grocery shopping was done and ended up only having rice and egg noodles to eat for a few months, and i would dread the nights he would go on dates because i knew it would be a night i would not be able to sleep due to paper thin walls in a town house, so eventually i started tapping into his vast selection of alcohol to deal with my feelings or more like to just forget about them and numb myself, one night while he was out i had a few friends over to drink, he unexpectedly came home with his now wife, started shouting at me, and throwing things all over the place, then his now wife insisted on him calling the police on me. the next day he dropped me off at my moms house with a garbage bag of clothes and left. its been 5 years since then and had been spiraling downwards until i hit rock bottom and wound up in a psych ward, and after close examination of me for over a month there they came to the conclusion i had developed borderline personality disorder, and it has and is my greatest pitfall at times its exceptionally hard for me to differentiate what is real and what is not, to the brink of feeling like i'm constantly in a bad dream. but yeah to answer your question, not saying you did or did not do anything of a negative nature but i feel that if parents split up they should wait a at least a year or two to let the dust settle instead of jumping right back in, also i really feel the dramatic shift in priorities of my parents was greatly at fault....very personal stuff but hope its helps some even if just a bit. best of luck to ya but in my opinion once the damage is done theres no going back, either learn to bare the pain more effectively or keep spiraling like me.
edit on 5-4-2012 by IndigoAquarius because: forgot something



posted on Apr, 5 2012 @ 11:02 PM
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reply to post by AQuestion
 


Recently, I have come to understand that the one that didn't want me to date feels that her whole life has been a lie.

Ask her. This is the big question that brought you here right? Are you looking for absolution or are you willing to listen to what she has to say? Instead of deciding what you think she means... ask her. That is the hardest thing you will ever do. I don't know you and your family, just responding to what you bring. I mean no harm, this is gotta be tough subject.



posted on Apr, 5 2012 @ 11:03 PM
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edit on 5-4-2012 by lacrimosa because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 5 2012 @ 11:06 PM
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reply to post by sad_eyed_lady
 


Dear sad_eyed_lady,



If not, maybe you can try to have a heart-to-heart talk if she is receptive. Really sounds like she wants to share. Hope you can help her.


I have attempted to discuss the matter with her but she will not. I think she wants to share; but, also thinks that we can undue what has happened.



posted on Apr, 5 2012 @ 11:10 PM
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reply to post by IndigoAquarius
 

Wow. So no matter how old they are the kids are obviously deeply affected by their parents decision to separate. Maybe IndigoAquarius has had a tougher time than most... so sorry about that plunge. Thanks for baring your pain.

That always helps.



posted on Apr, 5 2012 @ 11:11 PM
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reply to post by IndigoAquarius
 


Dear IndigoAquarius,



but yeah to answer your question, not saying you did or did not do anything of a negative nature but i feel that if parents split up they should wait a at least a year or two to let the dust settle instead of jumping right back in, also i really feel the dramatic shift in priorities of my parents was greatly at fault....very personal stuff but hope its helps some even if just a bit. best of luck to ya but in my opinion once the damage is done theres no going back, either learn to bare the pain more effectively or keep spiraling like me.


I did wait to date and have still only been with one woman in my life. When I did date it was with the support and at the insistence of all of my children. I stopped dating quite a while ago even though I have had many opportunities and my children all know it. I hate to say it; but, ladies in their 40s and 50s still appreciate a gentleman who is not all about getting into bed. Divorce has not changed me, I am still a family man.



posted on Apr, 5 2012 @ 11:18 PM
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Honestly, the kids are grown, you both have re-adjusted, life goes on. For the one child with issues, (there will always be a black sheep in the herd, you know), get them into therapy or counseling to help with the separation anxiety. Nothing's perfect, but it seems like you guys worked through everything reasonably well. Kudos.

I'll also guess the one with issues is a female, and she was the middle child. A few hours of counseling will help her immensely.



posted on Apr, 5 2012 @ 11:18 PM
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reply to post by intrptr
 


Dear intrptr,



Wow. So no matter how old they are the kids are obviously deeply affected by their parents decision to separate.


Nobody ever expected us to divorce. Oddly, enough, when I told people my wife was divorcing me, everyone asked if she had cheated on me and nobody ever asked if I was cheating on her. I will tell you the truth, when my ex-wife asked for the divorce, she took the kids out to eat and they all asked her if she was cheating on me.

To your point. I have come to the conclusion that divorce is never final and that it doesn't matter how old kids are when their parents divorce, there is still an effect. In response to something you said, I did not decide to separate, I wanted to reconcile and get counseling. The decision was unilaterally made by my ex-wife who believed she was going to marry the other man, the same one that dumped her when she filed for divorce (which by the way is fairly common as I have discovered). Peace.



posted on Apr, 5 2012 @ 11:29 PM
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Originally posted by Druid42
Honestly, the kids are grown, you both have re-adjusted, life goes on. For the one child with issues, (there will always be a black sheep in the herd, you know), get them into therapy or counseling to help with the separation anxiety. Nothing's perfect, but it seems like you guys worked through everything reasonably well. Kudos.

I'll also guess the one with issues is a female, and she was the middle child. A few hours of counseling will help her immensely.


Dear Druid42,

She is female and the middle daughter and an adult, I cannot get her into therapy or anything else. As for the ex and I, she got into some trouble, asked for my help and I showed her how to fix the situation and that was in the middle of the divorce. She is and always will be the mother of my children. I don't believe my ex has any ill will towards me and I don't have any hate left in my heart, that all went away when I almost died a couple of years back. I am just trying to figure out how to help my kids. As for the ex, she lost her job and I sent her information on where she could get the same job at a better pay. We don't communicate often; but, there is no more animosity. Peace.



posted on Apr, 5 2012 @ 11:33 PM
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reply to post by AQuestion
 


Thanks for the replies. The situation my parents had was different. Funny thing is they decided to divorce as a result of counseling. The consensus was that there was no love in the relationship and why stay together??
But then the resentment began with both of them using the kids as conduits for their communication. With unresolved issues that has been trying as well. Kids don't get it.

Different reasoning in the olden days. If you got married them vows say forever right? Thats silly now? So why do the kids have trouble with it? Dunno.

Perfect love is supposed to be forever? Maybe that is dated too. Or being human, we are imperfect, so need more forgiveness for others I guess. Still would ask you to listen to your daughter. There is resentment there you two need to work out (like me and my father). Good luck...



posted on Apr, 5 2012 @ 11:34 PM
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I'm going to weigh in on this because I think it is an important topic.


I think anyone saying "it wasn't real love" about the OP's relationship and years of family life together would be wrong. People can fall in love and out of love. Love is not something you *HAVE*, its something you *DO*. People have to "make" love: I don't mean sexually (though that's part of it), I mean they have to put effort in to keeping a relationship going. Even the most solid relationships will fall apart if people stop putting in the effort. I firmly believe this. So the happiness the OP's family had before for many years was genuine and was not faked. It can't be said that the family was "living a lie." What happend was, what was once genuine simply ceased to function.

This does not mean everthing is OK, though.

My parents divorced after almost 30 years of marriage. It was because my father had an affair with a much younger woman, who later dumped him. The divorce happened when I was an adult, not a child.

A lot of people say it's better to wait until the children are grown to divorce because it will be easier on them. Maybe, maybe not, I can't say. But I can say that nothing was "easy" for me about the divorce, even though I was an adult who had grown up and moved out, no longer dependent on my parents for support. Still, the anger that I felt towards my father was immense, for what he did to my mother. Essentially, he destroyed our family. Moreover, he dumped the responsibility for caring for my mother (emotionally and financially) onto me and my sister, which created an unfair burden for us as twentysomethings starting out in the world. But the worst thing was my dad's stupid smug attitude of how he deserved this and he was starting out on a great adventure with his new slutwife, blah blah blah. His smugness and arrogance destroyed the relationship I had with my father.

I haven't spoken to my father in over a decade and I doubt I will ever again.

Divorce is horrible, if it can be avoided in most cases it should. There are cases where divorce is better than staying together, I believe that. But simply tossing your partner of many years over your shoulder like a crumpled-up tin can is wrong. THe media perpetrates the lie that this is OK - it is not. It destroys families, whenever it happens.

I'm sorry for the OP because it sounds like its the wife's fault, not his. I wish I could offer more reassurance but I can't. The wounds that have been inflicted in my case were too deep and there is no putting humpty-dumpty back together now. Like I said above, the sense of family was REAL at the time, but its gone now and its not coming back. The only lesson I can draw from this is that if couples want to continue to have a family they better think twice about divorcing because yes, it does wreck families, whenver it happens in a family's time together.

Sorry I can't be more upbeat or encouraging about this.


edit on 4/5/2012 by TheXoor because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 5 2012 @ 11:46 PM
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reply to post by intrptr
 


Dear intrptr,



The situation my parents had was different. Funny thing is they decided to divorce as a result of counseling. The consensus was that there was no love in the relationship and why stay together?? But then the resentment began with both of them using the kids as conduits for their communication. With unresolved issues that has been trying as well. Kids don't get it.


Yes, in my generation, marriage was still for life. Neither my ex-wife nor I use the kids to make communications because the kids are all grown. We will ask the kids about each other because, well, because we are a family even if we are apart. My ex and I did not spend 25 years together hating each other. There was no abuse and we did not have a dramatic life together, sort of old school 50s type marriage. I didn't go out with the boys and most of our time was spent as a family. I will not say that there was no love, I suffered some health problems, my wife thought I was going to die and didn't want to be held back. It was not a bad marriage, it just ended badly. She was a child of divorce and thought that in this world it was all about you, I thought it was all about commitment and loyalty. I wish you luck in your journey because divorce is never final, it effects everyone who is involved in your lives. Peace.



posted on Apr, 5 2012 @ 11:50 PM
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reply to post by AQuestion
 


well that makes you a far better man than my father. Might not mean much but your children are very lucky to have you as a father, cheers to you for being a decent human being mate! and i mean that in a non sarcastic way.



posted on Apr, 5 2012 @ 11:52 PM
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reply to post by AQuestion
 





and the middle daughter


I got that right, so I can offer you a tidbit.

I was a middle child as well. Similar situation.

Your child is begging for YOUR attention, and wants CLOSURE. What you DON'T have is the ability to give it to her. Why not?

Throughout all the proceedings, you've tried to cover all your bases. You didn't. You missed one.

You need to take her out to dinner, JUST YOU AND HER. You don't have to talk about anything that she doesn't wants to, because as you've stated, she doesn't want to talk about it. Just BE THERE. That is what she is missing.

I'll take it you are elderly, if your kids are grown, so spend a bit of extra time with this one loved one. Send her an email, if you can't take her to dinner. If you can afford it, have a dozen roses sent to her place of employment, and have it signed, your loving father. Step outside the bounds, and make her feel SPECIAL. That's all she needs to open the lines of communication again with you. If not a dozen roses, a simple floral arrangement works, and you can order it online for about 14 dollars. Make sure she gets it while she is at work, and make sure it says, "your loving father". It will shock her into needing to express herself, to thank you, and then you guys can get back on the road that a normal loving father and daughter share.

You two have a lot of words you need to share, and you have to be the "dad". My clever tricks always work. No need to thank me.

Best of luck.



posted on Apr, 6 2012 @ 12:06 AM
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reply to post by Druid42
 


This is really good advice.

Do what Druid42 says.



posted on Apr, 6 2012 @ 12:08 AM
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Originally posted by TheXoor

I think anyone saying "it wasn't real love" about the OP's relationship and years of family life together would be wrong. People can fall in love and out of love. Love is not something you *HAVE*, its something you *DO*. My parents divorced after almost 30 years of marriage. It was because my father had an affair with a much younger woman, who later dumped him. The divorce happened when I was an adult, not a child.

But I can say that nothing was "easy" for me about the divorce, even though I was an adult who had grown up and moved out, no longer dependent on my parents for support. Still, the anger that I felt towards my father was immense, for what he did to my mother. Essentially, he destroyed our family. Moreover, he dumped the responsibility for caring for my mother (emotionally and financially) onto me and my sister, which created an unfair burden for us as twentysomethings starting out in the world.
I haven't spoken to my father in over a decade and I doubt I will ever again.

Divorce is horrible, if it can be avoided in most cases it should. There are cases where divorce is better than staying together, I believe that. But simply tossing your partner of many years over your shoulder like a disposbal can is wrong. THe media perpetrates the lie that this is OK - it is not. It destroys families, whenever it happens.

I'm sorry for the OP because it sounds like its the wife's fault, not his. I wish I could offer more reassurance but I can't. The wounds that have been inflicted in my case were too deep and there is no putting humpty-dumpty back together now. Like I said above, the sense of family was REAL at the time, but its gone now and its not coming back. The only lesson I can draw from this is that if couples want to continue to have a family they better think twice about divorcing because yes, it does wreck families, whenver it happens in a family's time together.

Sorry I can't be more upbeat or encouraging about this.


edit on 4/5/2012 by TheXoor because: (no reason given)


Dear TheXoor,

I am so sorry for your pain and appreciate your comments. You spoke the truth, it doesn't matter how old you are, divorce is just bad and cheating is just bad. I will not say I was perfect, I don't know anyone who is. Still, I never cheated on my wife and forgive her for cheating on me. We can say that my ex cheated on me or on the family; but, nothing can change what happened. She could repent (I believe she has); but, she cannot undue what she has done or re-marriage us.

I will tell you a true story. As I said earlier, two of my children still lived with me during the divorce. The ex did for awhile and then when the house went upside down on the mortgage she moved out. I was at work one day and the ex came by the house and wanted to use the washing machine. She started washing the dishes in the sink even though she wasn't living there and told my youngest that she wished she could go back. She was gone by the time I got home. She knew she made a mistake and knew what she did was wrong; but, she didn't know how to make it right. A number of years ago, I found out after the divorce, my ex-wife had talked to my brother and told him that it was the only time in her life she wasn't selfish, that she thought about others (and please I don't want anyone to judge her, the thread is about dealing with my kids). My ex was raised to think about herself first and foremost, marriage requires more and I am not blaming her, she is the child of divorce too.

As for the ex, I live in California, they gave me all of the debt (including credit card debt for trips she took with the other man), half my retirement and $2,000 a month. I appreciate your comment about fault; but, in the end it wasn't the kids fault and we are still family, even the ex. Your father did wrong, he is still your father. He is the only one you will ever have. I have many young men (30s) and others who refer to me as father (even a lesbian does). None of them really connected with their own fathers. I hope you can find some common ground with yours, I have asked my children to do the same with their mother. Divorce is just ugly; but, I hope you remember when you were a family and that is what I want my children to remember. Peace.





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