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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

To see DearSugar's answer,


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.


Join The Conversation
peachy-thing11 peachy-thing11 8 years
I'm sorry this is happening to you. I feel the same with my parents all though they are still together I feel they are drifting apart. I have tried soo hard to keep them together and it feels like nothing works. I hope you get better, and in time things will get better.
fiesty fiesty 8 years
Over the years they have fought a lot, and after all my dad's sarcasm and rude remarks, my mom decided to move out. From the opening statements you make it seems like you half expected this to happen. You should let your faher know you have know he is being unfaithful to your mom. Then when then are both together let them know you have had enough of their bickering around you if they cannot be civil when you are around, they need not be around you. It is time parents starting setting examples for their children to follow.
joesbabygirl joesbabygirl 8 years
I dont know what to say. I'm sorry
AujahAcorn AujahAcorn 9 years
"I want to be a kid again, when everything was normal and I was so innocent." I second that. I am so sorry you are going threw this. I think everyone gave good advise. Good luck and know this... Things will ALWAYS get better. always.
JaimeLeah526 JaimeLeah526 9 years
You shouldn't have to pretend you don't know what is going on. Tell your Dad that you know. He'll want to be there for you and maybe he'll be able to explain things to you that your Mom can't. I went through this when I was 17 and I know what it's like. I was very depressed too. You should speak to someone who can help even if it's just a guidance counselor or someone on campus. They can help you understand that it's not your fault and that you don't have to pick sides or keep your feelings to yourself. Good luck with everything.
linb linb 9 years
Some others have said this but it is worth repeating: Don't get in the middle of your parents' divorce. If they start to talk about the other one, let them know that you don't want to hear it. I have two siblings - my brother sided with my mom, and for a while he did not talk with my dad. My sister sided with my dad, and wouldn't talk to my mom. And I was the neutral party. I let them know that I don't care about what was going on. It had nothing to do with me. And of us three kids, I have the best relationship with both parents. They've always been wonderful to me, and that's all that matters.
ella1978 ella1978 9 years
My parents split up after 32 years of marriage. They always fought as well. They got together when they were very young, and just grew apart. The thing that I still have to try hard to do is stay out of their business. Yes they are my parents, and I love them both dearly, and that won't ever change, but I can't control the way they choose to live their lives. Just like how you wouldn't want your parents telling you as an adult what to do with your life. I understand how hard it is, and the added complexity of the affair can only be making it harder. You need to get yourself in the right place with both of your parents individually. Make sure you spend time with both of them one-on-one. Learn to forgive them for their mistakes, and love them for who they are. Then REFUSE to get yourself in the middle of their problems... don't let one of them vent to you about the other. Don't let them try to say bad things about the other. As hard as it is, you have to learn to have a new relationship with them. One that is different than before.. but it can be better than before. Best of luck.
xoxoxx xoxoxx 9 years
I had no problems when my mum divorced my ex-step father, because he was a crazy as hell drug user. In your case, though, I see that you really love your family, and I can understand why your upset. I think talking to your father will not only help heal the wounds, but will help you see things from his view as well. Yes, his verbal abuse was wrong, but there are details that you don't know. Maybe he will help you gain insight into the downfall of the relationship. Tell him about your depression and just explain how you feel - he needs to know so he can help his baby girl. Talking to your mom wouldn't be a bad idea, either. xx
taylortnt12 taylortnt12 9 years
i feel so bad that you are going through this. i hope everything turns out ok. i understand the way your feeling.
ladychaos ladychaos 9 years
I know how you feel, I'm going through the same situation right now, and I'm in the middle of it because I live at home with my parents. The reason for their divorce is a bit different, but its still alot to deal with. I've found to take my emotions and pour them into an outlet. I go to the gym weekly, and I keep myself over-involved so I don't have time to dwell on the issues. But still they do affect how much I focus and I have seen a slip in my grades.
Lavinie Lavinie 9 years
i'm sorry that your going through this - i know it can be difficult. growing up - i knew more of my parents' marital problems than i ever asked for. i was my mom's best friend and she would tell me what was going on between them - even if i didn't want to hear it - i was who she vented to- and once you hear one side's story - you can't help but choose a parent. but you have to realize - and this took many years for me to realize -- is that their marriage - is THEIR MARRIAGE. this has nothing to do with you - and the love they have for you is totally separate than what they are going through. you can talk to your dad and let him know how your feeling and all - but at the end of the day - you need to be strong and walk away from this problem and just be there to support both of them in whatever decision they make with their relationship. i don't know how to say this - but i went through a very similar situation - and the only way i learned to accept and let go of sadness/resentment/anger at a parent etc.. is when i realized that my parents are regular people that have relationship problems like any other of my friends and their respective someones. and i'm just they're child that they both love - but i had no business having such a big opinion about things. tell your dad if your feeling hurt and sad - but realize - he might have betrayed your mom - but not you - they still love you but this is about their relationship. i hope this helps and be strong
luxington luxington 9 years
Divorce isn't always bad. I was so happy when my parents decided to separate, they are happier and get along much better now. Don't take it personally, this is between your parents. They love you the same as they always have, I promise.
lickety-split lickety-split 9 years
your mom doesn't get to control what you say to your dad anymore than you get to control where your mom lives, tell your dad you know he is seeing someone if you want too, and that it hurts you. botteling up emotions and not telling your dad what is bothering her is probably why your parents relationship is where it is. who are you protecting and why? there is freedom in truth.
ShePirate2010 ShePirate2010 9 years
Aww hunnie!! :( thats not in the lord....he will make things ok..... :)
K-is-For-Kait K-is-For-Kait 9 years
It's hard to deal with divorces because it's something you can't have control over. As much as it hurts, you can't let this ruin your own life. The first thing you have to do is talk: To your parents, to your friends, to a professional.. whoever you need to talk to in order to make sure you are happy. Also, make it clear that you don't want to take part in your parents' issues. Don't let one parent turn you against the other, which is kind of what seems to be happening with your mom telling you opinion-altering info about your dad and acting like a victim despite the fact that she is the one that left him. Put your foot down and say that you don't want to be an active part of it. She too needs to talk to someone about her issues, but that someone shouldn't be you.
sugar-n-spice sugar-n-spice 9 years
Get a therapist! the sooner the better! Sometimes the guys in our life can be a little dense... be patient with your parents... Luv!
GlowingMoon GlowingMoon 9 years
I regret what you're going through. I suggest counseling to help you cope with this situation. Try to understand that the marriage problems is between your Dad and Mom. It's not really about you. However, I do understand how upsetting it is to see your loved ones upset.
Eilonwy Eilonwy 9 years
I am so sorry you are going through this. It must be extremely difficult, and I completely understand why you are so distressed.Do what is comfortable for you. Approach your father, if you truly think it would be best. This is such a difficult situation. I would recommend you seek counseling if your wellbeing continues on this downward trend. You don't deserve to suffer like you are now: your weight loss and other symptoms are concerning. I know they are your parents; but, ultimately they will be the ones to decide their fate and the future of their relationship (if any). This is not your fault. You can't change them or the past.Whatever the outcome, you need to look after yourself.
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