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Five things adult children may deal with during an elder divorce

Your parents have been married for 20, 30 or even 40 years and you didn't think they would ever separate and eventually divorce. It can be a hard experience to process emotionally when they tell you that a divorce is happening.

Many children face the reality of their parents divorcing at a young age, but with the divorce rate among older couples increasing, adult children are dealing with the aftermath of divorce more than ever.

There are some things that you can begin to prepare yourself for if your parents decide to call it quits after many years of marriage.

  • Confusing emotions:¬†You may feel hurt, heartbroken and unable to really understand why they got divorced. It could make you feel like your life is not what you thought it was and make you feel a lack of stability. Don't feel guilty about how you choose to process these complex emotions, as they will pass over time.
  • Your parents may lean on you for support: Especially if you're an only child and have developed a close and lasting relationship with your parent, they may treat you as a confidant. Your parent or parents may want to vent, cry, or seek advice from you before, during and after the divorce.
  • Setting boundaries: You may have to get tough and set boundaries and clear expectations on what you can provide your parents during this time. It could be hard, but your parents need to understand the position you're in. Your parents airing their grievances about their partner helps nobody, especially if that partner is your other parent. If they need to get something like that off their chest, direct them to another close friend or a therapist.
  • Unexpected consequences: You wouldn't think it, but your parents' elder divorce could end up costing you money and time if you choose to help your parents adjust to life after divorce.
  • Seeing your parents with another partner: This can be difficult. You spent so much of your life seeing and thinking your parents would be together forever, and then, they weren't, and are now in the arms of someone new. Your parents may not date again, but if they do, try to keep their best interests at heart. It will ease the transition for both of you.

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