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Destined for Divorce?

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Guest blogger Mom-On-the-Edge, who is trying to save her marriage, is back. This time, she examines the divorce cycle, and asks: Is it genetic?

My parents got divorced before I turned 1. My mom got divorced again when I was in high school. Was I destined to repeat history? Was divorce somehow embedded in my genes?

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The bitter insults determined to cut to the core, the slamming doors, the alarming silence as they avoided each other while sitting in the same room. I wasn't privy to any of it. I was there, but I wasn't. Merely months old, I was like a witness who later suffered from amnesia. But, I suffered. Or, did I?

My parents moved one town apart. We lived with my mom on the weekdays. My dad got us weekends, holidays and summers. I had two houses, two sets of friends, two parents who loved me. I knew no different and besides constantly having to pack, I felt no worse for the wear.

In fact, I felt balanced. My mom marched against wearing fur, my dad owned two fur coats. (It was the '70s ...) My mom, sister and I shared one bedroom in her small apartment. My dad lived in a large colonial house. I was so well-adjusted that when other families in town fell apart, teachers would send their students to come talk to me. And, I was only in first grade! I had become the poster child for post-divorce contentment.

But studies show that growing up in a divorced family greatly increases the odds that you will end your own marriage. It's called the divorce cycle. As children we learn our relationship skills and marital commitment from our parents. So, the answer is yes AND no. Yes, I could be destined to repeat history. No, it's not in my genes.


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4 comments so far | Post a comment now
barbie June 16, 2008, 12:14 PM

I don’t think the divorce cycle is genetic but is a learned life experience. My parents never divorced but I always told them they should, I am now 40yrs old and they still are at it, sometimes I have thought it has been holding me back in parts of my life, everything would be clearer when they sorted themselves out. Anyway I am married now for the second time and I thought after making one mistake and learning from the experience of my parents that this time would be ok, because my husband and i thought we couldn’t go through divorce again and very sadly I find myself again at a crossroads contemplating divorce again but this time there is a child involved. And now I feel my mum would say,”see it is not such a option now with a child involved” and I think it is an option still but a heart breaking one that if I decide to make I don’t know if I will recover but the alternative is I will end up living the life of my parents that I ran away from and swore I would never be like them !

Zak June 17, 2008, 3:45 AM

My parents divorced right after I was born so I can’t rem them together. My dad went into the Army and was overseas, my mom worked 3rd for years, so my grandparents raised me. I grew up in a perfect loving family, I seen my mom on her off days, and my grandparents were always there for me and loved me a great deal. I never seen anyone fight or fuss. So when I got married it was so diff then I thought it would be. She grew up in a family who abused her and drank all the time. She couldn’t deal with my way of life and wanted to fuss all the time. So now I find myself seperated with 2 children and looking back on life try’n to figure out what I done wrong with the whole deal. I love my kids but maybe I should have looked at the way she was brought up and her family.

jamillah May 1, 2009, 11:43 PM

i sooooooo do NOT want to go thru what my parents have… they’re still together but GOD do I think they should quickly part ways. I agree that watching your parents suffer and endure a life together when they clearly don’t want to for WHATEVER reason (be it convenience or kids) seriously affects the quality of their children’s lives and their ability to make decisions and to ultimately be successful and happy… They’re to blame for under or lack of acheivement.. but certainly.. it affects the children (good, bad or indifferent). Watching them just strengthens my resolve to dump just about everything i’ve ever been taught to believe, esp. religiously about marriage and committment.. Ijust want to find my own way and make it work… One thing I know for sure… if you’re used to abuse.. even tho you may say I don’t want it… its what youre going to be attracted to.. its whats going to be familiar… that’s just the way it is.. and vice versa…. so you have to go against yourself to truly have what it is you think you want.. most times its going to be what doesn’t FEEL right.

jamillah May 1, 2009, 11:47 PM

i meant to say parents are NOT totally to blame for under or lack of acheievement.. but certainly… the home enviornment they allow their children to grow in.. be it good or bad or indifferent.. most certainly affects their abilities to make decisions, etc…


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