Getting Real with Jennifer Poole

Recently there have been many people in my life who are deciding to divorce. Even if I agree that it is the best thing due to issues in the marriage, it is still heartbreaking. The parents of one of my daughter’s friends are divorcing. This has caused my daughter to ask us many questions about what happens when people divorce and if daddy and I fight does that mean we will get divorced. It has allowed us to have open discussions about relationships and how just because we may get upset from time to time it does not automatically mean we are getting divorced.

To add to my daughter’s concern, her former babysitter and the sitter’s spouse are divorcing. This has been difficult for all of us as I grew up with the husband and I am like a little sister to him. I was at their wedding 20+ years ago and his soon to be ex-wife took care of my daughter from the time she was six weeks old until she started kindergarten.

At first they were battling things out on Facebook for the whole world to see. Eventually the husband, Sam deleted his account, but Jan continues to post about her new life and her soon to be ex. I am happy she is finding a new life and enjoying herself but her comments like “I used to think I would be upset about seeing my ex with another woman but my parents taught me how to give away toys I didn’t want any more” are painful to read when we care about both of them.

Why they are divorcing and the details of the process are none of my business, and I don’t want to be drawn in to it and don’t want to be asked to pick sides. I just want to be able to support both of them in their quests to find a happy and fulfilling life even if it means they are not doing it together. I refuse to “like” or comment on her posts about her ex and instead focus on her posts about finding herself and new happiness.

That brings me to the most difficult pending divorce – my parents. After almost 26 years of marriage my mother and step-father have decided to divorce. Do I agree with this decision? It is none of my business, so I try to keep my opinions to myself and just be supportive. My mom will often vent to me her frustrations with dad, the pending divorce and its impact but I try to stay neutral.

I validate her feelings and offer her suggestions on how to approach a discussion or express a feeling. I know if I was still a child my mother would never talk negatively about my step-dad but since I am an adult I guess she does not need to protect me from the negativity and the reality of it all. I haven’t discussed the issues with my step-dad so I don’t know what he is truly thinking about all of this. Overall, I guess I am still in denial about this divorce. I know they are not happy but part of me still hopes one day soon one of them will swallow their pride and try to get things resolved.

At this point I just continue to validate and support all of those people and their children and grandkids because regardless of why they are divorcing it is a major life change for them and the people that care about them both.