Surviving the Financial Aftermath of Your Parents’ Divorce

Not too long ago, you grew up relatively wealthy in a nice part of town with lots of family around you. When your parents divorced (which you wholeheartedly supported), there were a few things you didn’t get. And part of that is how your old life started to dissolve from the age of 20. For starters, the families who live so close by? Those relatives want to love you, but it will be hard, because the parent you live with is now Enemy Number One. They have shunned her from the community, but no one will admit it. It will feel like a betrayal to her when you visit those relatives. It will be hard not to talk about her. Those relatives will take you and your brother out to eat and discuss “how hard it is, and how they want to support you during this terrible time.” These will be some of the worst meals of your life.

The first big thing you don’t realize when your parents finally start getting divorced is how much it will hurt. Take away the little things you cherished, like how your dad fixes your stuff and gives you rides everywhere, and all you are left with is a huge facade while you cry about the insecurity of your new life. It’s painful and scary as fuck. It hurts especially because your parents don’t understand things like boundaries, and you become privy to all of the crazy that occurs during a divorce. You become particularly well-versed in the divorce laws of your province.

The second major thing that you will not realize is how good your life was (financially and otherwise), since everyone’s money and assets are pretty much frozen until they can come to a separation agreement. All those little things that you were used to required money to maintain, like the way the house was kept, your car privileges, and the feeling of being able to shop freely and often. You thought you were frugal before, but now that all the money (except for funds reserved for your education) is tied up, bit and pieces are eaten up and never come back, as now there are other priorities, like lawyers. Your parents aren’t necessarily subsisting on the bare bones of their incomes, but money they would usually spend on a collective lifestyle has now been allocated to rebuilding their lives.

Three of your friends’ parents are also getting divorced that summer, and you will all start the Lonely Hearts Club, where you go to fancy restaurants for lunch on weekdays (you are students), and eat ridiculous three-course meals for cheap. After, you buy several bottles of cheap wine, sit in the backyard and continue to examine the horrible minutiae of these splits in detail whilst getting drunk. On the days you don’t work, your hangovers start at 6 p.m.

It’s a good thing you have a job that pays well, because you are about to start hemorrhaging bills for your semester abroad. This will be the last summer of your life when your credit card bill is an afterthought. Up to this point, you’ve never really bought groceries with money you’ve earned, or paid rent. Those bills will start, and they won’t stop either.

Things start to really change in the fall, when the divorce heats up. You and your brother choose not to write an affidavit so the parent you live with will not get kicked out of your home. You start school again and prepare for a semester abroad. You continue to work and save like crazy, without realizing that this is the best thing you could possibly do. You do not realize that your previously constant safety net of parental financial aid is slowly being eaten away by divorce and tax lawyers and dirty tricks. Until now, you worked for pocket money, but you start to realize it’s time to make your own money.

During your semester abroad, you will be homesick, but for a life that no longer exists. You will sleep, eat and study in a 150-square-foot box of a room (your bedroom at home is much bigger), and spend your savings on travel. One month, you will spend all of 12 days living in that box, and you take advantage of the duty-free handles of booze. You will include €5 bouquets of fresh-cut flowers in your weekly grocery budget, because “it’s too depressing otherwise.” When you come home, you will feel ripped off when you go to the florist.

You come to understand the financial situation from the strain in your mom’s voice, and how she looks increasingly gaunt during Skype sessions. When you come home, you will hug her small frame and wonder where the rest of her went.

You understand your father’s side from the stern yet desperate tone he takes on the phone, and because he gets mad when you don’t call. Both of them insist on telling you the details of their divorce. Neither of them understand that sharing all this with their child is wildly inappropriate. You spend a ridiculous amount of money on phone bills. You also spend a lot of money in bars. You have strange flings with people you don’t understand. You stay out until eight in the morning like it’s no big deal. One morning, you wake up on a houseboat and don’t understand why. The renters lose their security deposit because of you.

Summer arrives, and you head off for 10 weeks of continuous travel. You have wealthy companions—friends from home who don’t realize that a) you are paying your own way—while their parents are funding their intercontinental rager—and b) you don’t have a parental safety net: your parents cannot simply float you the money. Since they are not particularly concerned about the cost of things, they will insist on eating and drinking at nice places. You will spend €10 on only a fraction of the laundry in your suitcase.

Five weeks in, you are concerned about the health of your accounts. When you started, they seemed overwhelmingly full, but now you will need to eke out another five weeks from the measly amount remaining. When they leave, you learn to eat cheaply and don’t drink much. You stop shopping. You make friends with some frugal people and share supplies with them. You spend whole days in places with free entry with a refillable water bottle and a pastry. You visit relatives for two weeks. You befriend people who live in squats. You didn’t know that clean people lived in squats. But the electricity is dodgy, and you have no desire to find out about the bathroom situation.

When you come back home, you are pretty broke. You start school again and it’s lonely—not many people realize you are back in town. You spend nights cultivating an Internet addiction and ignoring your dad. Once you come home it will be even harder to “not choose sides.” All the boundaries you thought you had put into place come crashing down, and you find yourself screaming at your mom in the middle of the street because she doesn’t understand the word “enough!” and won’t shut up about the divorce. She will suggest counseling but you won’t be ready to go. A few years later, you will end up paying for it yourself.

The few friends who do know you are back in town will not understand that you are B-R-O-K-E. Their attempts to socialize with you include trips to bars in the city, where you will spend $100 on drinks that night—even though you are a lightweight. And then you split a $30 cab back to suburbia. Even when you say “I can’t spend more than X dollars tonight,” they will insist you drink more, cover the rest of your tab and you will need to pay them back another time. It’s shameful to have to borrow money, but you don’t want to be the one to kill the night out. You will do this most weekends until your bank balance reaches an alarmingly low number. You take up babysitting, an occupation you haven’t held in years, to avoid overdrawing your accounts.

In an attempt to save money to see your best friend, you will take Craigslist rideshares to her city. It’s not much cheaper, but you get to ride in a Porsche one time. Your dad flips out and pays for your bus ticket on the way back. You get a lot of nice presents from him, but your brother does not. It’s really weird explaining these new things: a new winter coat, an iPad, some jewelry—things you couldn’t justify spending on yourself. It’s also hard to refuse these presents, because it’s nice to pretend that you’re still kind of rich.

When your parents settle that winter, your mom has ownership of the house where you continue to live with her and your brother. Your father is entitled to certain belongings, and he has them removed. Your home seems pretty empty without it, but you make it work, because now you are staging the house. It’s much too expensive to live there on one income, so you help out as best you can to get that sucker sold ASAP. It sells in a week, which is a huge relief. Then you sell almost all of the furniture on Craigslist. It barely covers the costs of movers.

The three of you move to a 3-bedroom apartment that has less square footage than your old basement. It’s nice and centrally located, but still being renovated when you move in. You take a part-time job that allows you to supervise the workers in the mornings, and work in the afternoons when your mom comes home. You make less money than you have in several years, so you keep up the babysitting. You will scratch the car badly in the underground garage and everyone’s premiums will go up.

That summer, you date a guy with a great job for two weeks, and blow all of your pay with him on dumb shit like taxis. When you break up, it’s a relief on your wallet. You get back together with your European boyfriend, who lives in the Midwest. You see each other twice in four months (going halfway), and realize that the relationship is too expensive to sustain. Your suitcase with your textbooks, laptop charger, eyeglasses and new boots get stolen on the way back. You arrive the next day at school in tears, unable to participate in an important project. Somehow you still manage to get an A- in that class, and the suitcase is returned a few days later.

Life goes on and you graduate and continue to date inappropriate people. Eventually, you learn to drop the friends who cannot respect your new status, and become closer to the friends whom you can have fun with for free. You make new friends who know and understand your current life. You develop healthier and cheaper hobbies like running and bicycling. You are not poor, but you still live with your mom, because you haven’t found stable employment and can’t necessarily afford to move out (even though you have no debt—knock on wood). But you know that before this, you belonged to the kind of people whose parents can contribute to or outright buy their kids apartments in the city now.

Now you have a regular office job and work like anyone else, and you find it so strange. Your whole life you were told and expected to have some fabulous career—no one really explained about the hustle to the top, you were just expected to be there. It’s a bizarre struggle to be striving to regain your old life at the age of 25. While you are proud that you know how to get your own job and work hard, you still feel the old pressures to live and spend like you used to, and wonder if they will ever go away.

 

Leila reads like she should get paid for it, and compulsively maintains a series of lists on a daily basis. Usually she writes in the first person here and here, but you can catch it all on Twitter @walkinonby. She currently lives in Montreal.

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46 Comments / Post A Comment

ASCtvartedun (#1,626)

I clicked into this article because my parents are going through a divorce right now, and I realize that their retirement savings will not support two households. I started a separate savings account secretly for that day when I know the requests for help are coming in (that is on top of paying back six-figure student load debt). I thought this article would be a great tome of knowledge to help me navigate this process, and do the best at the savings process I have just begun.
Instead, I found the whining of a spoiled rich girl, upset because the maid is no longer around, and you have to *gasp* BUDGET for your trips abroad. This is not useful for any divorced child of the 99%.

Tuna Surprise (#118)

@ASCtvartedun

I think your criticism is a little harsh. A divorce took a financial toll on her personally on her family (just like one did to you). Is her perspective not valid unless she is poorer?

@ASCtvartedun
This is not useful for any divorced child of the 99%.

I’m not sure the goal of this piece was to be “useful” or to act as a “guide” in any particular sense of the word. It’s pretty consistent with the format of other Billfold content we see semi-regularly.

Leila@twitter (#1,607)

@ASCtvartedun I’m sorry that your parents are splitting! It’s pretty painful and I hope you have or will get the support you need.

The fact that I went abroad during their split was coincidental, and I chose not to cancel because of everything I didn’t realize.

I’m sorry you didn’t enjoy this essay on my transition – this was never intended as a guide. But I know that I will end up in a similar place as you when my parents retire. Hopefully we will both come out on top.

City_Dater (#565)

@ASCtvartedun

Not to further pile on you, but the author never mentions a “maid” and doesn’t seem especially spoiled. She and her family were somewhat trapped in, and attempting to keep up, a lifestyle they couldn’t really afford during a drawn-out divorce settlement. She’s also only 25! Which is, in general, the Age of Rude Awakenings.

neener (#242)

@ASCtvartedun what does 99% mean to you? in literal terms, it means below $350k annual household income of $8.4 million net worth–there’s no evidence of that amount of wealth in the piece. the writer’s life hasn’t been a great tragedy, and in many ways she is privileged to lead a comfortable life. but it’s just inaccurate to say that she’s not part of the 99%, unless it means something other than what it seems to.

ASCtvartedun (#1,626)

@Leila@twitter
Thank you for your graceful response. I think that the emotional toll that parental divorces take tends to come out sideways, and I myself am not exempt to this. I’m sorry to lash out at you.

There are some universal aspects of being a grown child with parents divorcing. I do identify with your statements about parents not understanding the word “Enough”, and attempts to get you to pick sides.

You are very lucky that your school expenses are covered, and it is heartening that your parents did not drag that through the mud of their divorce.

I think the hard part about reading your essay was the fact that the things you are adjusting to as a new lifestyle of belt-tightening reflect my whole life. I have always had to engage in cheap hobbies (yay, running) and pay for my own housing, food, etc. I am now facing the need to further cut corners. Hearing you express frustration at adjusting to that lifestyle in the second person is alienating at first, especially to someone like me who has lived that way my whole life.

That being said, I do still empathize at the toll that adjustments can take, especially when it is not your actions that are causing the need for change.

Leila@twitter (#1,607)

@ASCtvartedun Hey, no worries. Everyone needs to dump sometimes (uh, terrible poop joke?), but like I said, not expecting everyone to love this or relate to it. Just happy to put it out there and let the universe do what it wants.
This is only my account of my experience. And as a wiser friend of mine said, one of the most interesting things you learn from divorce is that there are so many sides, but all of them can be the truth. It’s a proper mindfuck, but that’s what running is good for curing, right?
As for tightening my belt, still working on that. I’m grateful for many of the advantages – like school (hey, I went to school in QC), and being able to live at home (not rent-free). I never said I wasn’t lucky – just chronicling a sad part of my life.

cmcm (#267)

@ASCtvartedun Nothing about this sounded like a spoiled rich girl to me and I think it’s an open an honest account of readjustment, with acknowledgement of having come from a privileged position. But I understand how sometimes when you’re really struggling financially, it’s frustrating to hear about someone’s financial problems when they have more than you.

Leila- I thought this was a nice piece.

markbiv (#1,627)

This is satire, right? Please tell me this is satire.

madrassoup (#929)

I think where the author went wrong was in using the second person, which suggests a kind of universality that does not in fact apply. If she had taken a more confessional tone, like that one woman who wrote about squandering a $60k inheritance awhile back, I think it would have read much, much differently. I doubt she’ll get the reaction she was hoping for.

Leila@twitter (#1,607)

@madrassoup Honestly, I had no expectations regarding the comments. But thanks for a valid critique. I wrote several drafts in the first person and they sounded much more like a spoiled kid whining than this. Maybe there’s no win in that respect.

This isn’t my life at all, but I appreciate the way this piece conveys the shock of losing privileges one didn’t really realize s/he had.

Okay, maybe it is kind of my life, in that I grew up on the comfortable end of the middle class, moved back home after college to get my bearings, wound up staying much longer than I thought I would (I’m 23), and have had to suddenly and quickly move out after a physical altercation with my father (the physicality was all on his end of things; I mostly stood there and screamed “did you really just HIT me?!”). I thought I had a handle on what a reasonable lifestyle is and should cost, but so much shit I’ve taken for granted – cell phone, netflix subscription, the privilege of owning a car and having a place to park it – costs so much more than I’d really considered.

Sandra (#549)

@Holden Cauliflower I am so sorry! Something similar happened to my best friend. I can’t imagine how mentally, emotionally and financially draining that must be. Internet hugz, yo!

Leila@twitter (#1,607)

@Holden Cauliflower that is awful about your moving out situation! It is weird and kind of tough figuring out what is really necessary and what is just nice to have. I agree with Sandra, Internet hugs for you.

Also, I LOVE your handle!

honey cowl (#1,510)

This was amazing. Great writing. I love reading a piece where the author learns something about herself.

Leila@twitter (#1,607)

@Lauren Thank you! That is so sweet of you!

craygirl (#63)

This is a great article, thank you so much for writing it! I’m a grad student right now (obviously not making a lot of money) and I completely sympathize with the “wealthy companions” bit – it’s so hard to refuse friends who want to go out, eat and drink, take cabs, but this usually leaves me flat broke after the weekend.

Congratulations on the new job & new hobbies!

Leila@twitter (#1,607)

@craygirl thank you! It’s so nice to hear that (there goes my ego). As for the job, too bad, it ends tomorrow and I am back to pounding the pavement.

Best of luck on your studies! And don’t feel bad saying no to expensive invitations/friends. I found it was also helpful to just suggest an alternative plan so that I could be better in control of how much I expected to spend.

TARDIStime (#1,633)

@craygirl
As the child of a single mother, growing up I had to learn “no” was something necessary when the bank balance was to be considered.
I lost a lot of acquaintances and made proper friends – I, in many ways, consider growing up in a poorer household to be a blessing because of that.

Whelp, that about sums it up, yep. Well written!

DON (#706)

HA! “SUPPORT YOU THROUGH THIS TERRIBLE TIME” Like it goes away or something?? I’ve been trying to get back to my 7 year old life of luxury for 18 years now.

This was great. I wish we were friends.

Leila@twitter (#1,607)

@DON Yeah, well people don’t necessarily have the ability to support other through all kinds of emotional stuff. Best intentions and all that.

Thanks for the kind words, if you wanna be Internet friends, consider it a deal.

barnhouse (#202)

It strikes me that some of this stuff has to do with the divorce, and a whole other part is to do with being supported financially. I’m very sorry for the author with respect to the first part of this question, and less so with respect to the second, because she gets to go to college, and she gets to travel abroad, and so many, many kids do not get those things.

When does a parent’s responsibility to pay for a kid’s luxuries come to an end, would you say? Through college? What about after college? (I know some really rich parents who keep their undergraduate kids on a very short leash financially, for example, and others who are lavish.)

I’d be interested to know a great deal more about how undergrads view the responsibility of parents with respect to financial support.

Just for myself, I can’t help but think that parents who fund “intercontinental ragers” are not doing their (adult!) children any kind of a favor at all. But then, maybe that is partly because, in my day, back in the mists of time, “trust-fund kid” was a downright insult and we all starved quite cheerfully together and drank the cheapest of beer, even those who didn’t “need” to. (?)

aetataureate (#1,310)

@barnhouse When you love and trust your parents and they love and trust you, sometimes they offer to help you out of love, and you accept out of love and gratitude.

Much of the work children and young adults do is not for money, it’s for infinity different intangible things like life options and future open doors. And sometimes it is for tangible things like merit scholarships, in which case your parents just saved however much that is and might not mind kicking a few shekels back in your direction.

I don’t understand the chronic “UGGHHH your parents paid for something, why aren’t you ashamed of yourself” fingerpointing on this site.

neener (#242)

@aetataureate word. it can get downright inane. there was a post where commenters jumped down the throat of a guy whose parents were public school teachers and had saved up to pay for his public university tuition, for being spoiled and privileged. it’s too bad, because i really like the concept behind this website. but maybe money is just too touchy of a subject.

aetataureate (#1,310)

@blahstudent That’s a particularly egregious example.

The thing is that talking about money is the only way to take its mysterious conflict-power away. I want to believe the Billfold will grow out of the attack phase into something more mature. Can it, though? Many people seem unwilling to close their eyes and relate to another person’s born-into financial situation. That makes me depressed for a lot of reasons.

@aetataureate I think some people are getting better at it! Like there was a time when people were being prrrretty fucking harsh to Logan and I think that invective has died down a bit because people are kind of getting that, lots of people have shitty debt and make bad money decisions and are learning to empathize with that?

I think calling out people on their privilege will be harder to temper because … I dunno, I guess there are a lot of spoiled privileged people in the world who are totally not self-aware at all to that or take it for granted or whatever, and we see that and think EVERYBODY who is privileged has to be called out just in case they’re not aware! But all of the people who have written for the billfold have tried to indicate that they ARE aware of that, but yeah, it doesn’t really seem to help.

I dunno. I come from a very privileged background. What do you do? Not talk about it? Not contribute to the conversation? That’s silly. I guess you just try to recognize it where you can and take the criticism and try to brush it off!

aetataureate (#1,310)

@redheaded&crazy You’re right about most contributors acknowledging their privilege, and the subsequent commenter browbeating is what really gets me.

Money is one of the few cases (the only case??) where people with privilege can teach people without it a lot of really useful shit. I’ve learned more from Marketplace Money callers asking whether or not they should diversify their $200k retirement accounts than I’ve learned by putting my head together with all my broke friends.

“I guess I should open a savings account at some point” = not useful financial education

Leila@twitter (#1,607)

@barnhouse I’ve been sitting on this and figuring out how to answer your questions from my perspective.

In my family/community, it was never a question of “will my kids go to college/uni?” but more like “what will they study there?” and considering I was raised in a province with the least expensive post-secondary education rates, this was not an impossible goal. So not getting an undergrad degree in my family was like proving yourself unworthy of the privileges. But keep in mind that in Montreal it’s quite common for kids to attend university and still live at home.

I am happy that I paid for those trips though. It was definitely a learning experience in a lot of ways, not just moneywise. But I was jealous of the kids who didn’t have that problem, so it was frustrating. And I did try to write this, and comment in a respectful way. I don’t feel browbeaten or whatever, because I find a lot of this to be interesting dialogue.

barnhouse (#202)

@Leila@twitter Hey, thank you for this response, and for writing about this. I agree, it’s really interesting.

That you’re Canadian makes all the difference in the world with respect to these questions. We know a lot of college-age (American) kids whose parents couldn’t afford to send them to name schools to which they’d been accepted, or who couldn’t afford to send them at all. Many very bright, talented American kids wind up in local community colleges, struggling to transfer into state schools. And we know many, many kids graduating with tens of thousands in debt, who aren’t going to be in a position to be traveling abroad for many years. So that really colors an American parent’s instinctive reaction to your observations here.

Leila@twitter (#1,607)

@barnhouse no worries. I understand that it may not have been clear — I only alluded to being Canadian. I know a lot of American kids in just the situation that you’ve described as well. No fun, and no fair for sure.

bitzy (#1,630)

Ugghhh. My parents’ divorce was finalized yesterday, and I am getting married in a month and a half, so the downsizing of $$ and expectations in divorce are very relevant to me today! Fortunately, my dad is paying for the wedding, out of a lump sum that was saved up for and agreed upon a long time ago. Unfortunately, this puts me in the position of being the only family member currently speaking to him when I would rather tell him to go fuck himself (cheating, lying, disease-giving asshole). Before I realized how bad and acrimonious things were between them, I had already put down deposits and obligated myself (and others’ significant travel expenses) to the event as planned, so scrapping it and eloping, which I wanted to do in the first place and take the cash, is no longer an option. And he got mad at me for my supposed lack of family involvement during some tough times (!), so has stopped paying bills for the last month or so, and I just can’t bring myself to call and grovel. I want to just ditch him and pay for it myself, but that will involve debt, and my #1 requirement for the wedding was that I would never go into debt for it, so I am sacrificing morals for finances, but thems the breaks.

So, I appreciated this and how hard it is to adjust to new family and financial dynamics at the same time. Just because you have had an easy go of things money-wise and have been able to do some amazing things because of that security doesn’t invalidate your hardship in realizing and adjusting to the new situation (there is a statute of limitations here, for sure, though). But going through this has certainly solidified my commitment to being able to provide for myself, so I don’t have to compromise myself again, just because I need money from some asshole.

Now let me make a phone call to grovel for money from some asshole.

bacon (#1,500)

@bitzy Couple of questions.
(1) If the lump sum is already there to pay for the wedding, why do you have to grovel / remain on speaking terms?
(2) Why don’t you just cancel the wedding, forgo the deposits, take some debt on the other obligations, and elope as planned? You’ll probably feel better doing that, even at some cost.

bitzy (#1,630)

@bacon It was a sum that was agreed to, but in the midst of the divorce, moving expenses, and definitely the economic downturn it got used so he is figuring it out as it goes and I will allegedly get the rest of it (the money was mine to do whatever I wanted with it, didn’t quite work out as such). I don’t plan on getting the rest, ever, but just want to cover what I already am in for.

We live on the opposite coast from all family and most old friends and are having the wedding here. Almost everyone had already booked plane tickets and hotel rooms, by the time I realized how shitty it was. I can waste my/his own money, but don’t feel comfortable doing it to our nearest and dearest. Also, it isn’t the greatest impression of the relationship to all if we bail on the wedding 2 months out.

But I am cutting costs down where I can and have evaluated my savings to see if I can swing it if need be. But I am quitting my job and moving for my fiancee’s job in 6 months, so the savings is VERY important. Also, it is my mom’s money, too and she would be furious if I let him ruin this, too. It was part of their divorce agreement that he pay $x toward the wedding.

But, six more weeks and it is done with!

Leila@twitter (#1,607)

@bitzy this sounds like THE WORST. Best of luck to you and your family. And I hope your marriage is full of love and trust and good health! The wedding is only the beginning (and so you are right not to want to go into debt for it IMHO).

I never post comments but I find myself trying to hide tears as I sit in my cubicle. My parents are in the midst of a divorce right now and the elegance of your writing hit me really hard in a really good/terrible way. Thank you for writing this, it’s been a hard few months and it’s nice to know that there is a way out, an end of sorts.

Leila@twitter (#1,607)

@Nicole Richards@facebook Nicole! I am so sorry to hear(read) that! I hope you will be OK!

TARDIStime (#1,633)

Divorce is horrible and confusing and can be financially ruinous (I know, child of a divorced couple here), but have you considered that this may still be better than your parents NOT getting a divorce, Leila?
Yes, you still would have had more money and creature comforts and all your old spendy friends and financial security.
But your parents would be living in seperate bedrooms under the same roof, not speaking to each other or yelling at each other and causing conflict all the time. You wouldn’t want to live there. Or near there. Or visit there.
I know that there’s still conflict between your parents now anyway. There’ll always probably be simmering resentment. But after a few years, you’ll have things sorted and you’ll realise – both your parents are happier and healther for this. Isn’t that better than the alternative?
I’m not saying that you don’t deserve All Of The Sympathy (my heart goes out to you – I know what you’ve been through) but it’s worth the financial costs, I promise.
:-)

TARDIStime (#1,633)

@TARDIStime Happier and Healthier* not Healther, lol!

Leila@twitter (#1,607)

@TARDIStime Hey, I know ALL about parents living in separate bedrooms and hating their lives when living together. Um, maybe it was overlooked, but I think I did mention that I did support my parents’ decision to split.

In fact, I had been hoping for it for quite some time. However, I just didn’t think that for two people who were so estranged at that point that there would still be so many emotional and financial entanglements. The things you don’t realize before entering that area of the woods!

For the record: very happy they split. It was just a messed up time for all. Thanks for the sympathy, but I think I am more or less past it (maybe!).

Poppy (#1,438)

Ick. Leila, I’m sorry about your parents’ divorce. It feels like it should be easier when you’re an adult, but it’s not!

My parents separated six years ago, about five minutes before I graduated and took off overseas. It was really really hard seeing all my friends that I was traveling with receiving care packages all the time, when I got one (1) all summer, especially because you feel like such a dick when you get upset about it, even though you know your parents are super-busy trying to pull over 25 years of marriage into two separate threads, sell the nice house to buy two inferior houses, work out who gets the furniture, etc.

Good news is, I got there (well, I’m probably three-quarters of the way to being a proper grown-up adult)! And you will too – sounds like you’re already on the way. All the best – hope to see more of your writing. x

Leila@twitter (#1,607)

@Poppy I’m sorry about your parents too. It’s a pretty crap situation no matter what!

My parents had been married for about the same amount of time, so I can imagine the kins of threads they were picking at. But it still sucks about the care packages (or lack thereof).

PS: thanks so much for the kind words, they mean a lot! x

sparrow303 (#1,641)

It’s always an adjustment, no matter how old you are when your parents split. After reading this, though, I’m glad it happened to my family when my brother and I were younger.

We were 12 and 8, respectively, and after my dad left, we were flat-ass broke. Going-to-food-pantries broke. And because of that, I’ve worked since I was 13 and bought myself everything I needed since then. It feels good now to be an adult– who is making a reasonable salary for the first time in my life– and feel financially stable and able to manage my money in a semi-responsible way.

I feel that the experience was an advantage in that sense– my adult mindset is that naturally includes money awareness (it’s largely paranoia, but at least I’m aware!).

Leila@twitter (#1,607)

Hey @sparrow303 I hear you about money-paranoia. Maybe ours are different from each other, but I know I have a fair bit of it (always did). Obviously I kind of went off the rails during that period of time though.

I know my parents chose to stick it out “for the kids” and to avoid a custody battle. It was a long and dirty fight and in that sense I can’t begrudge them this choice. In retrospect, had we been younger, the custody battle would have probably been pretty ugly too.

I’m glad you have a handle on your finances! I am definitely still coming to terms with my own.

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