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You Asked: My Parents Marriage Is Falling Apart

Dear Sugar,

My mom and dad have been together for a long time. Over the years they have fought a lot, and after all my dad's sarcasm and rude remarks, my mom decided to move out. She wants a divorce although it's not official yet. I found out in January that my dad has been sleeping with another woman. He doesn't know I know, and my mom doesn't want me to tell him that I do.

I've been holding it in for months now, and I can't take it anymore. I'm depressed and losing a lot of weight. I've been crying so much lately, I feel like I'm a wreck. My academic and athletic skills have dropped tremendously and I'm beginning to hate my life. On top of all this, my dad doesn't seem to have a problem with what he's doing. My dad knows I'm sad, but doesn't really understand why. Whenever my mom talks to him, she ends up crying, and it hurts me so much. I have no idea what to do anymore. I want to be a kid again, when everything was normal and I was so innocent.

— Devastated by Divorce Diane

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Dear Devastated by Divorce Diane,

I'm so sorry to hear what you're going through. The separation and subsequent divorce of parents hurts at any age. It's a loss of a family and may elicit the symptoms of grief. What you describe sounds like the beginning of depression so I urge you to reach out to a therapist before things get worse. In the meantime, I think you need to open the lines of communication with your dad. I understand that your mom wants your knowledge of your dad's new love interest kept a secret, but frankly, I'm not sure that's what's right for you now.

While it may seem that you know the ins and outs of your parents marriage and unraveling relationship, I assure you, you do not. It's time to understand things from your father's point of view, too. Don't misconstrue this with choosing sides, which I recommend you avoid, but talking to your father will give him the opportunity to support you during this time. Perhaps his guilt-free nature regarding this woman isn't what it appears, or maybe it is. Either way, you won't know until you ask.

It's natural to want to disconnect from one or both parents, but you'll have a far easier time coping if you turn to them for help instead. Both of your parents love you and don't want to see you in pain. Let this be something you go through with each of them, not alone. Please do seek out professional help, and best of luck to you and your family.


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