When Your Parents Had A Shitty Marriage


Your parents separated when you were 22.

You’d spent 22 years of your life wondering why your parents were together when you knew they shouldn’t be. How two humans designed so poorly for each other could come together is beyond you. But when your dad told you, you still cried and got angry.

He told you after a fight with your mum. You used to not say anything, ignore it, go to your room, shut the door. Then you got older and increasingly aware of your parents’ faults. You couldn’t help the shit that came out of your mouth. These people were meant to be your parents.

You spent three weeks intermittently crying after your parents separated. You spent four months trying not to hear your mum cry. Eight months barely speaking to your dad. Three years and counting questioning the existence of love and commitment.

You’d had this discussion with your brother so many times. Your parents would be so much better off apart. They should never have gotten together in the first place. It’s not like you’d won the genetic lottery; your lack of existence wouldn’t be that much of a loss to society. But you still felt cold inside. You felt lied to.

After the second month, your mum kept crying. You could barely tolerate it anymore. You’d get angry when you saw her sadness then feel monumental guilt over being so heartless. But why couldn’t she just move on? They were never happy in the first place. What was she losing? You told her to make more friends and take up new hobbies. She told you that you didn’t understand. You didn’t.

After six months, you decided you no longer believed in marriage. It was an unnecessary social construct. It didn’t work. It was a farce. Where was the sanity in putting your trust and future into one person? Humans are fucking pieces of shit.

You proceeded with life. Your dad moved out (five minutes away because after 29 years of dysfunctional marriage, co-dependence is still a thing). Your mum stopped crying. Your brother was barely home. You sat around and started to feel scared. What if you ended up like your parents?

You don’t want a relationship like your parents’. You find the idea of a solo death far more appealing. But that’s the only marriage you know. What if you’ve been subconsciously implanted with all the bad qualities that led to the demise of your parents’ marriage? What if you’re already ruined?

You continue to exist. You gain life experience. You grow older; smarter in some ways and dumber in others.

You sit in your car one day three years after your parents separated. Your mum doesn’t cry anymore and you talk to your dad now. You question whether you still doubt the wisdom of marriage. You’ve been exposed to too much of what makes a relationship fail. You know what to avoid. Can you learn from your parents’ mistakes instead of follow in their footsteps?

Your parents had a shitty marriage. You don’t know yet but it’s possible you might be better off for it.