Last January, my mom told me that my dad had told her he wanted a divorce and had moved out the night before. It happened three days before their twenty-seventh anniversary. She was sobbing when she told me, of course, and she said she didn’t know why. He said that he just didn’t think they had any of the same interests anymore.
I was living in Japan at the time. After I got off the phone with my mom, I immediately called my dad at work to demand an explanation. He said it wasn’t something he needed to talk about with me; it was something between him and my mother. I kept crying at him, though, and he finally told me the same thing my mom had said he said: he just felt like they had drifted apart.
Within 36 hours, I was on a plane back to the States, though my parents told me not to come (my mom didn’t want me missing work and losing pay; my dad wanted the same thing and thought it was none of my business). While I was waiting at the airport terminal, I actually got an email saying that my dad had moved back, and I really didn’t need to go. I needed to be there, though, just so my mom would have someone to turn to.
I got to speak with both of them a lot while I was there. I hugged my mom a lot when she started crying. I was just so angry with my dad, and I was honestly much more of a b**** to him than I should have been. At one point, he sat me down and said that if their divorce meant that I would be estranged from him, he wouldn’t do it. I told him that still wouldn’t work if he was miserable.
I did tell him a story that I actually got from my BF’s mom. Apparently, when BF and I were back in high school, she and BF’s dad had some problems, and she seriously considered leaving him. The day she planned to tell him, she realized that she could either give up twenty-five years of everything she and BF’s dad had created together: their own relationship, their relationship with their children, their friends, their finances, EVERYTHING, and then just start over from the beginning; or she could just make things work with the man she had been in love with for over half her life. She chose to make things work. At that moment, she felt so much better, and she went home, and she and BF’s dad had a long talk. Both of them started working at improving their relationship. Now, six or seven years later, they’re extremely happy together and very much in love all over again.
I think my dad took that story to heart. He hasn’t mentioned it to me again, but I know he started making an effort. He and my mom tried counseling, though my dad said he felt very threatened there, and so they stopped. They’ve both read tons of books on the subject. I know that things aren’t back to the way they were yet, but now, over nine months later, they’re doing so much better. I went home for a while this summer (they live in a different state than BF and me), and it felt like a family again.
I don’t know your exact situation. I’d talk to your mom, though. Tell her the choices: she can either leave everything and start all over, or she can make things work with someone she was able to make things work with for twenty-six years.
I wish you the best of luck. I know how painful this is, and even if things don’t work out between them, I hope you stay strong. Hold onto your FI and don’t let go. Don’t let your parents’ situation reflect on you. That was one of my mistakes. I worried that if my parents could divorce, my parents who were the epitome of a loving, longterm marriage, then how could BF and I possibly hope to have a successful future? Just remember that no matter how bleak things are, you are not your mother. If you commit to your FI, and if the two of you truly believe in the institution of marriage as a lifelong commitment to one another, then you have nothing to worry about. You can and will make things work.