Sunday, January 9, 2011


I'm an Adult Child of Divorce - an ACOD. Though my parents' divorce isn't finalized (they're waiting on a judge's decree), they have been separated for two and a half years.  In that time, not a whole lot had changed.  Yes, my mom moved out into an apartment and then bought a house.  But really, they spent a lot of time together.  Probably 3 out of 5 times I called my mom on her cell phone, I'd hear my dad in the background.

At Thanksgiving, I invited my family to a New Year's party I knew we'd be having.  My dad said he'd have a "house guest" over and wouldn't be able to come.  He was very vague with pronouns.  A friend was coming.  They'd be here for two weeks.  They were from Ireland.

When I called my dad the other day to see if he'd come to dinner at our house with my mom so that we could exchange gifts left from Christmas, he said "Bernadette's still here, she'd be coming too."  It kind of knocked me for a loop.  My mom, understandably, bowed out and we saw her this morning.  I didn't think I could handle some strange woman in my house who (I believe, though I might be wrong because I was never given a name) was the one who broke up my parents' marriage.

I'm still really angry with my dad for the divorce.  For so many years, he treated my mother poorly.  I don't mean leaving dirty clothes on the floor and not appreciating the work she did.  I mean yelling at her, cursing her out, even refusing to speak with her for three days because she put her hair in a french braid not just once, but on at least two occasions.  Of Valentine's Day and anniversaries, he'd scoff and say they were made up by the greeting card companies.  I remember their anniversary in 2001, the day before 9/11, my mom made my dad's coffee and put an anniversary card on top of the cup.  He dumped the card without reading it, took the coffee and left for work without a word to her. 

We ended up meeting my dad and his "friend" at a local diner.  It was the strangest thing I've ever been through. My dad was a completely changed person with this other lady.  He held her door open, helped her take off her coat, read her menu to her when she forgot her glasses.  He was genuinely excited for what was going on in her life.  Why wasn't my mom good enough for the same treatment?  With my mom, she wasn't even worth going to counseling to try to work things out.

All in all, Bernadette was a nice enough lady.  Things said during the course of the dinner insinuates that she's sticking around for a while (though she does still live in Ireland).

Right now I'm struggling with the fact that are very few resources for an adult dealing with parents divorcing.  Many of the support networks I've found deal with custody issues, absent parents, and parents' SOs disciplining kids.  There's very little out there for people who are still blindsided by the sudden loss of family.  Being an ACOD, I felt for a long time like I have no family. 

The last year with *B* has helped that out a lot.  I feel like I have a little seed of a family started now.  Though it may not be a mature family, it provides some hope and comfort.  In light of the problems my parents have had, we are being proactive in our relationship to make sure that we don't make the same mistakes and ameliorate the ones we do make.

It is my hope that eventually, everything will settle into normalcy.  I would like each of my parents to find someone to be happy with, though I'd secretly prefer it to be my mom first rather than my dad.  I'd like to know what holidays and birthdays are going to be like with this new kind of life rather than fear the attitude of the year.

Any ACODs out there?  How does it all work out?  Does it ever get easy?


  1. while my parents divorced when I was only 4; my grandparents divorced when I was older. (mom's parents).

    Totally not the same situation as yours of course. I rarely saw my granddad anyways even when they were together.

    However, I also saw how crappy he treated my grandma when he was around.

    And I can say it messed up their kids and we grandkids had to also deal with it all.

    Thankfully, my grandmother is a strong individual who just kept on doing things that made her happy -rebuilding her life on her terms. Never did remarry. But she is happy. Granddad did remarry; but his wife was never really accepted. Which is kinda sad in it's own way, after all she made him happy and we all should have been more accepting of that. I learned that lesson and realized the same about my dad and his new wife. I intensely dislike her and her actions but I knew she made my dad happy so I simply bowed out of his life; not completely but mostly. I was not going to expose my children to her. But my dad and I did build a reasonably good relationship without her in it. Lot's of emails and phone calls.

    I hope the best for you. Your dads new lady friend just may make him a better person. I had to come to grip with the fact the my mom was "not good enough" for my dad and someone who I think is evil was.... totally strange and backwards... but then not much about my family is "normal" anyways, lol!

    We can only control our own actions. Just do your best to help others be their best.

    take care

  2. I will grant you that she was at least a nice person. She's the type of person you can't help but like. Thank you for the encouragement :o)

  3. sorry, I don't have any words of wisdom, just a {{{hug}}} from across the country. :)