Divorce is never pleasant on the kids. There is no child in the world that is happy with the separation of the parents and sadly age has little to do with this emotion. My divorce was no different. In fact the kids faced a lot of stuff that was over and above a regular divorce. We had a long and ugly divorce and since the boys were teenagers they got to hear a lot in terms of ‘your mother’ and ‘your father’. We had shared custody while the boys lived with me. Their dad would often tell the boys how I had taken everything from him including the house and how I had driven him into the arms of another woman too. End result – I was blamed for everything that was wrong with the marriage and also its end.
The boys were going through their teens and I was busy getting back to work and trying to pick up the threads of my life. While I was aware of the negativity that was being fed to the boys by their father, I thought it would die down with time and the kids would soon see things in a more clear way. My younger one who had just turned 13 was quite affectionate while the older one was more his father’s pet and did miss him miserably. What was worse was that their father did not make life any easier for any of us.
When I began dating the boys suddenly started to withdraw. The process was so gradual that I did not even notice it initially. Then within a few months there came a time when most of my conversation with the boys was in monosyllables. Yes, No and maybe were the only words that I seemed to be hearing from them. I began to sense a strange hostility from the kids. Even at the dining table they were almost irritated with me. There were strange comments of me being selfish and having broken up their home and if I tried to talk to them about it, the discussion always ended in a time out for the boys which made them even more aggressive.
As a mother I was concerned about what the boys were going through but somehow was just not able to understand the situation. Then their hostility began to get worse when I would step out for my dates and I joined two and two. I asked the kids upfront if my dating was a problem and somehow this broke their dam of silence. Both the boys lashed out at me left right and center. Right from calling me some rather ugly names they also accusing me ‘robbing’ their father, that night the boys said it all. I remember being so shocked by the outburst that I cried right through the night. It had dawned on me that if I moved forward with my life, my sons would hold a grudge towards me. I called my ex-husband and he only made matters worse by agreeing with the boys.
The next morning things were very strained. The boys and I were behaving like we did not know each other. My older one ‘informed’ me that he would be talking to his father and asking if he could move in with him. I took the bait and told him he was free to ask. My older son moved out of the house with his bags and the younger one stayed back but rather grudgingly. I had to get back to work and so had no option but to leave for work. On the way back from work I remember talking to my mom about the situation and crying on the subway too.
Somewhere I felt hurt, cheated and also very lonely. It was unfair of the boys to blame me for the break up and absolutely wrong for them to grudge me a dating life. By now I was in a serious relationship and contemplating marriage also but this development changed it all. I was not ready to choose between my happiness and the happiness of the kids. This was not a choice any mother should have to make. I was miserable, broken and with no clue as to what the coming times were going to bring.
Then after about a week my older one returned home. He had seen the flip side of the coin and realized that their father was happy to feed them negativity but did not wish t take on any responsibility. While my son was emotionally broken up, he did show a completely different attitude towards me. In his typical non communicative self, he went up to his room and did not say much. I was so hurt to see him so sad that I put everything else on the shelf and began to look for ways to help my kid come out of his depression. I read articles, spoke to professionals and even had a talk with his teachers. I looked up a lot of information on sites like this.
It has been over 6 months since my son came back. Things are not too good even now but they seem to be getting better. While my sons are not jumping with joy when I step out even today, they are no longer hostile. My older one has found a girlfriend who is quite open towards me and I feel she is helping us bridge the gap. Their dad has stopped interacting with us all together and this has helped all of us move with our lives. While everything is not perfect, it is definitely doing okay.