Don’t worry, divorce doesn’t hurt anybody. Oh, except for all these people here…
There’s this famous scene from The Fresh Prince of BelAir where Will Smith’s TV dad, who walked out on him when he was a kid, reappears in his life, only to again ditch Will at the last minute, no explanation given.
Will's reaction to the second abandonment is some of the most heart-breaking TV ever made. Check it out:
But even more heart-breaking is a Reddit thread I came across while looking up more info about that scene. There I found now-grown men and women swapping stories of how their biological parents (usually their dads) simply walked out on them, without warning, when they were kids, leaving them with a lifetime’s regret and insecurities.
It makes for hard reading. But I don't think we can avoid it. Here are some of the "highlights":
Anonymous: The worst part, for me, is when he talks about waiting up at night as a five year old. My dad left when I was three, and until I was about ten I wouldn't go to sleep until my mom was in her room. Even then, I'd check downstairs every half an hour to make sure she was there most of the time. In the morning, I'd wake up around four-five to make sure nobody had left or could leave without me knowing.
Anonymous: I used to do the same thing. My birth-mother left when I was like four and when my now step-mom moved in with my dad and my brother and I, I would always peek around corners and stuff to make sure she was still there.
Semperpepper: I know that feeling. My dad left when I was really little. I used to see other kids dads pick them up from day care and school and it would crush me. As I got older and he still wasn't there I would make up stories to tell my friends and even convinced my self that they were true. The worst part was when ever my mom would take him to court to get the back child support he would call me for a few weeks schedule time with me then as soon as he realized my mom wouldn't drop it he would stop calling and cancel everything. I still hate that fu**er...
Glassberg: Me too. My dad split when I was 8, and ever since I've had an enormously hard time trusting people. I'm 21 now and I still remember finding my mom crying when she found out my dad was cheating on her.
Anonymous: I know that feel. It took me a long time to realize that not everyone's going to leave, and the ones that do aren't worth a damn anyway.
Tonguepunch: Me too. I lost my pops before I was a teenager and, at the same time, kinda lost my mother's support and attention.
I unconsciously avoid long term relationships and the once a decade I get into them, I have a huge issue with trust; strongly convincing myself that the person is gonna leave me. This leads me to try to control the situation and has then feeling smothered.
Sucks. My last, and by far best, relationship is still in the process of ending due, in large part, to this. But, it did get me MUCH better in the process by addressing the problems.
Still, it's hard to go back to the root, and the losses, that cause the behavior.
Betonthis1: My Dad left when I was in the 8th grade. Technically he dropped me off at the greyhound bus station with luggage and a bus ticket. Last time I seen him and that was 18 years ago and this scene cuts me deep because I can relate. Has also affected my relationships with everyone else.
This is what no-fault divorce has wrought. And no, I’m not talking about divorce or separation in the hard and often justifiable cases: abuse, serious psychological issues, etc. These things happen, and there needs to be a way for people to escape damaging relationships.
I’m talking about cases of spouses leaving their wives or husbands and children due to “incompatibility” or because one of the spouses has simply “moved on.”
I've got a friend, a gentle giant of a man, who came home one day only to have his wife announce that she was "done." "Done what?" he asked. "This," she said. No reason given. She just didn't want to be married any more.
And now two absolutely beautiful kids are being tossed back and forth from parent to parent, caught in the middle of a messy custody dispute, and all the psychological games of adults vying for the kids' loyalties.
What a mess. And we call it "freedom." Freedom for whom?