Couples who get divorced after their children are grown and on their own often don’t worry about how their break-up will affect them. After all, their day-to-day lives won’t change, and they’re old enough to understand the complexities of relationships.
While it’s not the same as divorcing when you have young children or even teens to co-parent, it’s still crucial not to minimize your adult child’s feelings. It’s also important, as with any healthy co-parenting relationship, to show your child that you’ll always be a parenting team when it comes to their needs and those of their grandchildren.
When a couple has been married for many years – and throughout their child’s years growing up, divorce can affect all of their memories and their sense of identity. One licensed marriage and family therapist (LMFT) explains that often “they view it as a disintegration of their family’s history.” They may need to go through their own mourning period.
How to make divorce less stressful on an adult child
Parents can make it easier for their kids if they don’t dismiss the advice given to divorcing parents of younger kids. It’s often still applicable. For example, don’t share too much just because your child’s old enough to understand. You may think of your child as your “best friend,” but they’re still your child – and your co-parent’s child.
Don’t ask them to take sides. They’re old enough to choose whom they spend time with, so don’t make them feel guilty if you think they’re spending too much time with your co-parent. You could end up pushing them out of your life entirely.
As you and your spouse divorce, remember that just because you’re not raising kids together any longer, that doesn’t mean you won’t be in each other’s lives. There will be a lot of events and milestones – happy and sad – to go through together.
The more you can show that you can be together without war breaking out, the more of those you’ll be included in. By dealing with your divorce as fairly and efficiently as possible, you can help preserve an amicable relationship that will allow you to remain good co-parents.