Divorce Hits Home
By Sara Griffiths
Features and Entertainment Editor
You’re a teenager. If you have a boyfriend or girlfriend of over two years you’re probably in a small minority. But you know one day you’ll want to have a longer-lasting relationship-even get married. But maybe your parents are divorced, or your friends’ parents are. So how do you make a relationship last? Is a lasting marriage even possible anymore?
I may not be able to tell you how you can make marriage last. Or how to find true love, or even if love exists, or how to achieve happiness. I can tell you however, that whether single, in a relationship, divorced, widowed or happily married, you’ll never be alone.
Fact: 50 percent of first marriages, 67 percent of second and 74 percent of third marriages end in divorce, according to Jennifer Baker of the Forest Institute of Professional Psychology in Springfield, MO.(From http://www.divorcerate.org/)
Fact: If 50 percent of all first marriages end in divorce then 50 percent of all first marriages don’t end in divorce.
This may seem obvious, but it’s a matter of is this cup half-full or half-empty. People go around telling you that half of every marriage ends in divorce, but they never tell you that you still have a 50 percent chance of keeping your marriage intact. I’m not going to sugar-coat these statistics. They’re not really all that pleasing. On the other hand, divorce doesn’t mean that you’re life must fall apart.
Sophomore Ali St. Amour’s parents divorced when she was just 4. She lives with just her mom now. “Switching on and off made it hard for me because I hated having two separate homes and I hated being away from my mom,” she says. St. Amour admits divorce made life more difficult. “I felt like my life was never going to be normal, and nothing was going to be good anymore,” she says.
Junior Rachel Klink’s parents divorced when she was 5. Klink admits she doesn’t remember much before the divorce because she was so young when it happened. “I just remember the subject being really touchy all through elementary school but now I’m used to it and couldn’t care less about their relationship. I think I felt like we were falling apart,” she says.” Unlike St. Amour, Klink does switch between her mom’s and her dad’s house: “I switch everyday and every other weekend so it makes it difficult to do stuff because you always have to plan way in advance for homework, textbooks, certain clothes (for sports or something, etc). It also makes it complicated to make plans, especially since my mom lives out of the district.”
Freshman Gus Weinstein admits he’s okay with his parent’s divorce, which occurred when he was 8; “I feel fine with divorced parents,” he says. He even says their divorce has not had a huge impact on the way he views relationships. “I was young so I didn't really understand what was going on,” he says of his feelings at the time of the divorce. Weinstein, like Klink, says he switches between both parents and admits it’s not bad, as his parents still get along.
Junior Mina Huckins’ parents divorced when she was only a few months old. She takes their divorce as something she can learn from; “It makes me realize what things I don’t want.” Huckins does switch between her parents houses and says this definitely has its positives and negatives. “Switching makes things so complicated sometimes. It’s annoying to pack up my things to bring back and forth, but switching’s also nice sometimes because if I get sick of one parent, it’s nice to get a break and go to the other parent,” she says. She admits, though, distance can be a difficulty especially when her mom lived in Buffalo, as well as now, as her mother is closer, but still out of the district. “It makes it difficult because it’s tough going back and forth, especially when the two parents live far away. It’s also hard when my parents are trying to plan vacations. Sometimes I have to choose and I don’t like doing that.”
In the classic tale “Cinderella,” step-families look like a living nightmare. St. Amour admits she’s not a huge fan of her step mom and also says, “I have two step-siblings and it’s tough because now you have to share your parent with more kids who aren’t even theirs.” Huckins on the other hand, has a very close and positive relationship with her stepmom and stepsisters and says, “Having a stepmom is really great because I've known her since I was about 3, and she cares for me… I can count on her just like I could for my real mom.” She adds, “I don’t have any full siblings. I have a stepbrother though, and two half sisters. I consider my half sisters just like full sisters; the only difference is that I don’t always live with them. It’s awkward with my stepbrother, though. We don’t talk a lot and I barely ever see him.”
For Klink, she has had a stepmom, but they’ve since divorced and now both of her parents have significant others. “It is a little awkward for me because I know they aren’t my parent and they never will be and so sometimes I have trouble accepting them,” she says. She also admits that while she may not always get along with her brother, when they do have a fight, it’s not awkward; however, occasionally it is awkward when she has an issue with her mom’s boyfriend’s son, noting that she really just doesn’t know how to act.
Having divorced parents does not guarantee mishaps in your own relationships. “I’ve seen many relationships fail and it just proves that fairy tales just screw with kids’ perception of how life is going to be and you just know that nothing lasts forever,” Klink says. “Sometimes it makes it hard to trust people and know they are sincere with you,” St. Amour adds.
Both Klink and St. Amour advise anyone to remember that though it is inevitably a hard time, it’s not your fault. “It might cause challenges, but God has a plan for everyone and everything happens for a reason and it does help to talk to others and share how you’re feeling,” Klink adds.
Huckins says that divorce can help you be prepared; “I’d say that I know it’s tough, but it’s not all bad. Having two different homes is something that can be so nice, and you get two different ways of being brought up and two different ways of looking at things. It makes you a well-rounded person, and by having divorced parents you can learn things early that a lot of people might not learn until later in life. You'll be prepared.” She adds, “In the long run it really won’t be that bad. Divorce happens, and when it does, it’s better that you have two happier parents on their own than parents that are trying to make something work that’s just not working. Both of your houses will be happier.”
St. Amour advises that, “For kids that are going though it don’t let your parents say they know what it is like unless they have divorced parents, because they have no idea what it’s like. It’s one of the hardest times in my life. It changed me forever.”