Surviving Your Parents' Divorce: Tips for College Students
“I wish I'd had something like this to read in college. Reading it now, 40 years later, the memories and emotions come flooding back. I also look back with more compassion for myself during that time. I was trying to succeed in college and trying to cope with the grief at the same time. No wonder I cried myself to sleep every night for a long while!”
-- Margaret Moore, Hallam, Pennsylvania More
Are you a college student whose parents are divorced or getting a divorce? Maybe you’re a freshman or sophomore whose parents waited until you left the nest to announce they were breaking up. Now you’ve arrived on campus far from home. You’re living in a dorm with other young adults and pondering what this means. The news of your parents’ divorce may have been no big deal, or it may have left you feeling shaken and vulnerable at a time when you are facing many other challenges in your life.
Perhaps your parents’ breakup is causing you to question basic assumptions about your self, your academic future, and your most important relationships. You may be having trouble sleeping, or difficulty finishing course assignments. Divorce lawyers can be expensive, so questions about how to pay college tuition might start arising. Overeating and undereating are frequently reported by other undergrads in your position. It would be no surprise if you were suffering from feelings of worry, guilt, and anger right about now. You may be asking “How could my parents do this to me?” You may also be wondering, “If I ever succeed in finding a mate, will my marriage fail, too?”
If you find yourself in this difficult situation, then this ebooklet is for you. My parents divorced just before my freshman year at Harvard, so I have a good idea of what you’re going through. Except now I have the benefit of more than 40 additional years of life experience to share. Many wise and loving people have helped me adjust to my parents’ divorce over the years, and now I want to share their guidance with you. I’ve taken the best advice received from four decades of conversations with marriage and family therapists, grief counselors, social workers, teachers, clergy members, lay ministers, spiritual directors, psychologists, and even other adult children of divorced parents and condensed all their wisdom into 10 brief, easy-to-read tips. Each tip is beautifully illustrated by the work of a different photographer from around the world.
Even if you don’t purchase this ebooklet, here’s the key message I’d like to leave with you: parental divorce is a serious loss, and the normal human response to loss is grief. Recognizing parental divorce as a loss to be grieved and mourned is essential to recovering your sense of wholeness and wellbeing.
For your sake, I hope you do decide to read this. My sister Maggie, who was an undergrad at Bucknell University when our parents divorced, told me “I wish I'd had something like this to read in college.”
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