Being a Child of Divorce Has Made Me a Better Partner (Most of the Time)

written by HAILEY BOUCHE
child of divorce"
child of divorce
Source: @quynhlmph
Source: @quynhlmph

There are certain things in life you have to learn the hard way. Riding a bike, passing a test, landing a job—those successes don’t come without hard work and most of the time, failing a few times before you get it right. That’s how I feel about love. I’ve experienced the trial and error for myself for what feels like 100 times over, but what has taught me the most about love and what it takes to prioritize and nurture a relationship is my parent’s divorce.

Instead of letting myself become someone who doesn’t believe in marriage because I watched one slowly fall apart, I decided to pay close attention to what I could take away from it. And now, as a child of divorce, I make it my mission to learn from their mistakes and apply those lessons every day to my own relationship.

I don’t want to speak for everyone who has divorced parents, but I do think that going through it can seriously affect the way you view relationships and in turn, affect the way that you act in them. For me, it’s a reminder that while you can be lucky enough to meet someone and fall in love, it takes work, not luck, to maintain a healthy and happy relationship. So I’m sharing with you all the ways that being a child of divorce has made me a better partner, most of the time.


I communicate honestly and frequently

Early on in my relationship with my fiance, I communicated how important it is to me that we are open and honest with each other and how I want us to always feel like we can bring up hard topics to one another, no matter what. This came from years of watching my parents sweep problems under the rug, hold how they felt in for fear of conflict, and ultimately, be on two separate pages. I think that a little bit of communication goes a long way whether it’s to avoid future misunderstandings or conflict or to simply learn more about how your partner reacts and feels in certain situations. Does this make me a chronic oversharer sometimes? It sure does. But as a child of divorce, I’d rather overshare than hold things in for fear of ruffling feathers and not truly understanding my partner.


I prioritize regular date nights

I wish this wasn’t the case, but I couldn’t tell you a single time my parents went on a date. And they didn’t divorce until I was 23! I know that money, time, and responsibilities are what they blame for not ever planning a date night, but TBH, I think that’s crap. There are so many at-home date ideas, free date ideas, and more that they could have found (more like made) the time to pencil in for the sake of their relationship. They acted more like roommates than partners for the majority of their marriage, which in turn, taught me to prioritize date night. Now, if it’s been a few weeks or even a month since my fiance and I had our last date, we make a point to put one on the calendar because we know how important it is to have that quality time together.


I’m acutely aware of my partner’s needs

Because I know how quickly someone can get caught up in their own world and miss what their partner needs from them (guilty!), I check in frequently to make sure that I am being the most supportive and loving partner that I can be (and I communicate if I need additional support or love from them too). One of the best ways I like to do this is by giving and receiving love in my partner’s love language. For example, if my fiance has been working non-stop and is exhausted, I know that doing Acts of Service (his love language) like taking out the trash, cooking dinner, or running an errand that he hasn’t had time to get around to will go a long way and communicate to him that I am aware of his needs.


I don’t fight to win

As a child of divorce, I’ve listened to enough “well I did this for you and you haven’t even done XYZ” arguments in my lifetime to know that keeping score and approaching an argument with the intention of winning it is no way to maintain a strong relationship. That’s why my fiance and I approach conflict with this mindset: “It’s not me versus you; it’s us versus the problem.” This allows us to slow down, take down our walls, and listen more closely to one another when we are faced with conflict instead of thinking about how we can one-up the other and “win” the argument. While we are not perfect, we try our best to approach conflict as a shared challenge rather than a fight with one winner.