I was in fifth grade when my world was forever changed. My father told my brother and I, “Mommy and Daddy are going to get a divorce.” I’ll never forget the day. Ben and I cried so hard. It was awful. The explanation was even more hard to hear. “Mom and dad don’t love each other anymore.” That’s all it took. It only took my parents to never love each other ever again for my life to be forever changed.
I have the two best parents anyone could ever ask for. Married or divorced. Maybe because they’ve been such extraordinary parents being divorced makes me think I am even more lucky than most people. My parents have always been there for me in monumental points in my life. They were there when I left for boot camp. There were there when I ran a half-marathon. They were there when I threw myself a party for getting out of the Coast Guard. They’ve always been there, just like how a parent should be.
I’ll never understand how two people can have children, build a beautiful home, forge incredible memories, for it all to be torn apart. I’ll never understand how people that have had children no longer love each other. Simply put, I’ll never understand.
Sure I could ask questions. However, that will open Pandora’s Box so to speak. There could be details that I truly don’t want to know about my parents. How would I feel if one cheated on the other? Could I possibly understand the context for such infidelity? What’s the first thing that happens to us when we are in a situation that we feel like we aren’t being appreciated? We go and find someone that appreciates us. That may lead to cheating, whether it be sexual, or simply someone who gives us the attention we are longing for. Who knows what.
When it comes to my parents, I have been a son of divorced parents longer than I have known them married at this point in my life. I’ll forever know them as divorced, rather than married. I know this sounds like a woe is me kind of post, and maybe it is in some ways, but in others, it is a longing for understanding as a young man. As a young man who is trying to forge his own path in adulthood, and to learn from the mistakes of his parents like so many before me have done.
The major question for me is: How can I learn from the mistakes of my parents, when I know so little of what truly happened?
Do I just blindly trust that love has an expiration date? Best by 2040 runs through my mind. Do I trust that no matter what happens between two people, there may very well be an end, and it is not death? How do I now throw myself into a world, where I should be in a relationship, loving someone, hoping to have a future with them, but can not fathom the thought of “tying myself down?” How do I love?
I know plenty of people with divorced parents and they have found their way of coping with the pain its caused them. Some are now successful business men with families of their own, chosing to blindly trust love. Others are 19 year olds in the Coast Guard, being role models for their younger siblings, equally confused about love. I know people who married young and are already divorced. I know the whole spectrum of those who have loved, or have been harmed by love. There is not a stereotypical mold that fits the bill for someone who will be divorced or who will be a product of divorce. No one is immune.
I keep finding myself wondering why and what happened so many years later. I keep wondering if I will find love, seeing as I have had only nothing but broken relationship after broken relationship. The most recent one being the most heart breaking I’ve ever felt. Failure after failure essentially. Meeting incredible women, to only realize like my parents the love ran out, or was never there to be established. Sometimes it is like the song by Dave Matthews Band, “Say Goodbye” where for just one night we are lovers, and other times its like the song, “Break Free,” where I’ll drink the poison as long as the cup is filled, until the cup is filled no more. Then what? What happens next Dave? How am I supposed to act? What am I supposed to be?
Either way, as a young man, I’ll forever be longing. Longing for answers I don’t want, and longing for something for myself I am terribly afraid of.