I got sucked into subscribing to Audible.com a few months ago, thinking I'd enjoy listening to audiobooks while I knitted in the evenings. Having the side job of teaching has made it rare that I knit in the evenings like I used to, and I've accumulated a few credits, so I was perusing the offerings the other day on Audible's site.
I made a good wish list that I will likely order from, but one book caught my eye. It's called "The Unexpected Legacy of Divorce - A 25 year Landmark Study". I haven't downloaded it, but that didn't keep it from making me blue the last couple of days. From the site:
"Wallerstein shows how adult children of divorce essentially view life differently from their peers in intact homes, and also sheds light on the question that so many parents confront: whether to stay unhappily married or to divorce. "
This has made me worry that my kid will be somehow damaged by my divorce, and that breaks my heart a bit. I should point out that I did not want to divorce, and while I was the one who filed the paperwork, my x was having an affair that he had no intention of ending, clearly stated that he had fallen out of love with me and had no interest in getting counseling. I still don't see how I could have done things differently.
But I still feel like we cheated Mr W out of something. As it is, x and I are in the same town, and Mr W goes back and forth without incident. His friends all get shuttled around by car anyway, so it's not like the only friends he has are at one house or the other. I would say that his needs are being met, and he's got two loving parents who take the job of parenting very seriously.
I read an interview with the author of the book, and my sense is that the damage comes in large part from children seeing their parents be so horrible to each other, and for a long time after the divorce. Kids also sometimes have to care for siblings or even their own parents, while the parents are recovering emotionally from a divorce. Reading this made me feel a little better. Even though I still have strong feelings about how the marriage ended, I try really hard to separate them from the duty of raising Mr W, and I think I've done a good job on that. So good a job that Mr W wonders periodically why we don't all just move back in together and be a family again.
But this has strengthened my resolve to model a good marriage for my kid. I may or may not end up with someone who has kids, but I want very badly to show Mr W how a marriage is supposed to work: the support, the give and take, that kind of stuff. I feel like I owe him that much.