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Graduation with Divorced Parents (6 Posts)
Started By:
01 March, 2018 02:47PM
Graduation with Divorced Parents
2018graduate - 01 March, 2018 02:47PM
Hello, I am actually a child of divorced parents - not sure how appropriate for me to post here as i'm obviously not a divorcee but i'm in desperate need of advice. I'm 21 and my graduation is coming up this July. I am a person who is so focused and passionate on my degree subject, so graduation is meant to be a day where i'll feel the proudest I ever have.... yet I am really beginning to dread it.

To give you the back story, my dad left my mum in 2013 (nearly 5 years ago now). After 28 years of marriage, he just wasn't happy - and he's such a happy and passionate individual. Growing up, (from what I can remember) I only ever saw them hold hands or kiss once, and that was weird for me! So them getting divorce wasn't a massive shock looking back at it....not for my mum though. She took it very, very badly and now 5 years on still holds on to it. She went through a lot at the time so I completely feel for her. So you know, my dad didn't just abandon the family, he is the biggest comfort and support to me and he is amazing. He is there for me always. He found a lovely woman who he is now happily with and I accepted her instantly as we got along so well. She gives so much love to me and I appreciate her loads. I am never allowed to even mention her name to my mum. Fair enough, she's hurt by all this and I will respect that but I do feel she should make it easier for my brother and I. I think sometimes she forgets that we are not part of the divorce, she thinks my dad has affected my life so much, when in fact her attitude towards it (5 years later) is the only thing that affects me, and she fails to see this.

My dads' partner has been in my life for 3 years now, throughout my entire degree and I feel she deserves to me there on my graduation as much as my parents to - and I also would love for her to be there. I have been going back and forth in my mind now for months about how to plan the day, who to have my celebration meal with, so I can make it comfortable for everyone and not have them be at the same place at the same time. This is causing to be very stressful for me.

I have automatically chosen to have the celebration meal with my mum as that's how it always is for every celebration. She gets the better part of it because she is so affected by this divorce, but actually the person who's helped me most throughout my degree has been my father and I feel hurt that i have to put him down to make my mum happy. My dad has no problem in stepping back if it will make the situation easier for me.

So you are aware, my mum now has a boyfriend, has moved into a new house, has got a promotion, (is getting plenty of money from my dad) and goes on regular holiday with her girl friends. She is doing better than ever. Her new boyfriend has actually left two past relationships to begin a relationship with a new woman. He also has children. Yet she holds the biggest grudge against my dad leaving her and also getting with a new woman.

Now i'll come to what's put me in a pickle - my mum doesn't want my dad's partner there. She has constantly upset me this week, and is actually majorly distracting me from my degree, because she has to make a comment every day about how my dad's partner has no place at my graduation and keeps making me feel bad about it. This is hurting me like crazy. I have tried to calmly explain how its my day and i get to choose who i want there and i'm doing everything I can to make it easy for everyone, but she will not stop. She even says how do I not see I am upsetting her and not caring about her side, but she's not seeing how she keeps upsetting me. I lost my temper today with her so i've come here to get advice from anyone who has experienced anything like this.
Re: Graduation with Divorced Parents
HatMan - 01 March, 2018 03:30PM
Put it in writing - that way it can't turn into an argument....just lay it out how it is and tell she needs to deal with it.

You have moved on and if she wants to be part of the day she needs to move on too...and needs to be told that is the case leaving no ambiguity at all.

If she doesn't accept the situation - it's her loss .
Re: Graduation with Divorced Parents
GJLC - 01 March, 2018 03:40PM
Wow you are in the middle aren't you.
My parents divorced when I was young and I have had many times when I have needed and wanted them there for me. I now also have my own children and am going through a separation.

As easy as this is to type I realise that it is far from easy for you.

You are an adult and must make the choice that is right for you. They are your parents and should without exception respect that. I advise you to make your decision ASAP so as to stop it interfering with your education. Let them all know very clearly what the score is and that you wont change your mind, you hope that they will all respect and support you and the you look forward to having them with you on the day. Should anyone be cross about that let them be and for the time being maybe distance yourself from them. It sounds like it is your mum who is going to be upset but as you have said she has a lovely life and so if she chooses to be cross let her and distance yourself for a bit. She loves you, she knows how much this means to you and she will be there and respect your day.

Sometimes us mums just need time to come to terms with things they may hurt a bit.

I hope this is helpful and that most impotently you can get it out of your head so you can finish your degree to the best of your ability.
Re: Graduation with Divorced Parents
jill_of_all_trades - 01 March, 2018 10:24PM
I'm assuming 4 tickets to the graduation. If you can get hold of a 5th ticket then invite your mother, father, brother, your father's girlfriend AND your mother's boyfriend. If you can't get hold of the 5th ticket then just make it your mother, father and brother.

You hero worship your father. His girlfriend is lovely. Your mother is just reduced to a list of things you think ought to make her happy.
When you appreciate your mother, see her as an individual, rather than just as difficult you may find she is less territorial over you.

Has your father made any effort in the past 5 years to keep some sort of relationship going with your mother or is it just her job t
Re: Graduation with Divorced Parents
Willapp - 02 March, 2018 10:04AM
First of all I'm sorry for the situation you find yourself in, it must be hard and not what you should be focusing on after working so hard at your degree and looking forward to the celebrations.

Now, everyone has a different view on family behaviour, specifically whether it is the child's responsibility to always defer to the parent's wishes. Personally I think that, as you are an adult now, you are entitled to make the decision that best suits you - while still trying to be sensitive to the situation and everyone's feelings - and your parents should, and need to, respect that.

Taking what you've written at face value, it sounds like your mother is laying on a bit of emotional blackmail. Suggesting you are being insensitive to her feelings is quite a manipulative thing to say, especially as that does not seem to be the case. Were I in your position I would be inclined to invite your father's partner if you feel she deserves to be there, and explain - calmly - to your mother that you want her there too, but ultimately it's her decision whether she comes or not, knowing that her ex's partner will be there as well.

Ultimately you can't force all three of them to attend, and either you enable your mother to control the situation by not inviting your father's partner - something you may later regret if it's not the decision you wanted - or you don't allow her to control it. If she decides not to attend then it may be she who later regrets it and not you. As an adult you can't control the decisions of others, you can only make the best decisions for you, and give others the opportunity to make their own choices.

I do wish you the best of luck and a happy graduation day!
Re: Graduation with Divorced Parents
2018graduate - 04 March, 2018 03:21PM
Thank you all for taking the time to comment back and advise me. I appreciate all of your comments, I have taken these approaches already but luckily through my brother we were able to get through to her. It still isn't the most perfect situation but it's good enough!
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