Love Me, Please Don't Leave Me: How My Parents' Divorce Shaped My Ability To Love

Almost eight years later and I can still feel that sinking feeling in my chest. I came home to a hallway filled with boxes and was told that we were leaving my Dad. I was shocked, hurt, scared, angry and my sixteen-year-old self just could not understand how or why it was happening. It would take almost six years to fully understand why, but even then it did not make it any easier nor did it fix the hurt I’d felt for so long.

Divorce is something I wish I never had to go through. Even though I was not the one getting divorced, I was directly affected by it, and in my opinion, more so than my parents were. In a country where about 40-50% of marriages end in divorce, I am sure I am not the only child of divorce to feel this way. It’s a hard pill to swallow and can negatively affect children in so many ways. One of those ways, at least for me, was the hindering of my ability to love.

Witnessing your parents fall out of love and fight constantly is traumatizing, at any age. The recurring questions for me were, “How can you just wake up one day, after 18 years and two children, and decide you don’t love that person anymore?” and the even scarier follow-up - “How can I be sure that won’t happen to me?”

Because of that second question, I am terrified of love. I didn’t have my first boyfriend until I was 21 and I had absolutely no clue how to go about it. But that wasn’t the biggest problem. The issue was that I felt the need to be perfect. An impossible feat, I know, but my thought process was that if I did my make-up and looked pretty all the time, dressed fashionably, worked hard, got good grades, stayed quiet but friendly and tried my hardest to never put myself in uncomfortable or embarrassing situations, there would be no reason for my significant other to leave me.

But in the end, even after trying to be my best self, it still wasn’t enough and he left me.

Now, this isn’t meant to be a sap-story, but the sad point I am trying to make is that even after seeing this method fail, I still can’t seem to let that mindset go. I don’t know what else could possibly prevent the “falling-out-of-love-part” of my relationships - and it scares me to death.

The irony of it all is that I am still the biggest hopeless romantic you will ever meet. I live for it all and as I sit on my couch watching romantic movies or reading romantic poetry, there is nothing in the world I’d rather have than that experience. Surprisingly, I haven’t given up hope completely, but this also makes things extremely complicated. A fear of love and a love for love cannot coexist, so what do I do?

My next problem is with trust. This is a common problem in so many relationships, and I am not saying it is only due to having divorced parents, but having trust issues along with a fear of love makes it that much worse. And it all goes back to that fear of my significant other falling out of love.

When in a relationship, I am constantly worried about whether someone better will come along, steal my boyfriend’s heart and be the reason for my relationship’s demise. This is terrible, I know, but I can’t help it. It is a fear that is always in the back of my mind. At the same time, I am not the person to be hostile about it. I am always very quiet and I let my fears silently fill my head, creating self-doubt, which is inarguably worse.

It was hard and disappointing to see my parents fall out of love. And because I grew up in two different houses, with each parent alone, unhappy and angry, I couldn’t help but fear that my love would meet the same fate.

But even though I had to grow up with a failed love as my example, I always try to stay positive. I look around me, and see so many happy relationships and so many different kinds of love. This world is overflowing with it. And I’m not sure of much of anything, but I can only hope that one day I will have someone to love in my own way and that I won’t have to be perfect to make him stay.

I hope that with time and the right person, I will be able to heal and let love in.   

Source: 1 2 3