By Olyvea and Ethan
Olyvea Pancerella and Ethan Faulkes answer questions on homeschooling, dating, and life in general. Olyvea says, “One of the most unique things we can contribute is male and female perspectives on questions and ideas.” Send them your questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
My parents recently got divorced and almost immediately my father started dating this woman from our church. This woman has been a friend of the family for long time. I’ve been friends with and had crush on her daughter for years. I feel betrayed by my father because he knew I liked this girl and now she may be my stepsister one day. It’s also very embarrassing because a lot of people from our church knew we had a “thing” and now we are supposed to act like brother and sister. Just to add insult to injury I’ve heard people whispering about how my dad and her mom had an affair and that’s why my parents divorced. I don’t know if this is true, but I think it is. I’ve lost a lot of respect for my dad over all this and I’m not sure I can forgive him for putting our family through all this. I mean I want him to be happy, but I feel hurt. How do I talk to him about it? or should I just keep quiet?
Wow, that’s rough. Divorce isn’t easy for anyone in the best of circumstances and the children often get caught in the middle. I would recommend talking to him about it. What you’re going through is hard, but it’s not worth losing a relationship with him over. I’m sure he never meant to hurt you. He probably doesn’t even realize how you feel. I’m not saying he’ll stop dating the woman, but at least maybe you can hear his side of the story. If you hear what he has to say you may find it easier to forgive him.
I agree you should talk with your dad, but maybe you should try talking to your mom first. If your feeling angry and hurt it may be better to talk with her first. That way you’re less likely to get emotional and say something you regret when you’re trying to talk to him about it. Make sure you mention what people are saying and say that it embarrasses you. It may encourage him to keep his relationship more discreet. Also remember you shouldn’t let what other people think ruin a relationship with him. People will move on and find someone else to whisper about.
Dear Olyvea and Ethan,
My parents are getting divorced soon and I’m very embarrassed to tell my friends. We live in a very Christian area and most people don’t believe in it around here. I feel like they’ll judge us. I also don’t want the questions about why they are getting divorce. I don’t want to talk about it, but I know I’m going to have to tell them eventually. How should I tell everyone and at the same time nicely say I don’t want to answer their questions?
Hi, Lily, I would like to start with divorce is nothing to be ashamed of. I’m not saying marriage vows should be taken lightly, but you shouldn’t feel humiliated because of divorce. Also remember this was your parents marriage, not yours. There was nothing you could do to save it because it wasn’t your responsibility. As for how to tell people, just wait until you are ready. Don’t make a big deal about it when the subject comes up just say it. Remember people won’t be dramatic if you’re not. If they ask questions just say you don’t want to talk about it right now.
Hey, Lily, I agree you shouldn’t feel embarrassed because of their divorce. I’m not going to promise people won’t quietly have their opinions on the matter, but people have opinions on everything. You can’t worry about what they may think in their own head. Quite honestly I wouldn’t even tell them until they ask. It’s not your responsibility to keep them informed on your parents marriage status. I would consider it your parents responsibility to tell most people. If your friends ask what’s going on just say it casually “Oh, they’re getting divorced.” If they ask why there is nothing wrong with saying I don’t feel like discussing it and moving on to the next topic.
My parents just got separated. It has been hard on my brother and me, but what’s even harder is how my parents act. If I go to my dad’s my mother grills me on every detail when I get home. My dad does the same thing to a slightly less degree. Its more my aunts (his sisters) who do it on his side. The other thing they do is instead of calling each other I am expected to carry messages back and forth. It is getting ridiculous. The other thing they do is if they get mad they say “You are just like your mother or father!” How do I deal with this craziness and get my parents to stop acting like teenagers.
Thank you, Carmen
Hey, that’s a rough situation. I think the best thing would be for you to communicate with them. Sit them down either separately or together and tell them how you feel. If it’s brought to their attention they’ll stop. They probably don’t realize how they’re making you feel. Try not to sound accusing or angry. Just try to be very calm and reasonable. Communication is key in any relationship even in child to parent relationships.
Hi, I agree, but I think you should sit them down together for sure. Because if you sit them down together to talk they can figure things out like if they aren’t using you as a messenger anymore when can they call each other and stuff like that. Also try to include your brother in this conversation. I’m sure he has an input on the situation as well.
Now, for anyone else out there struggling with problems such as these lets talk a little bit about divorce. I think we can all attest to the fact that divorce has become quite prevalent in our society. We’ve all become a little desensitized to it and it’s taken the gravity out of marriage vows. I believe if we try we can be the generation that drops the number of divorces and brings a little more seriousness back to marriage. So, lets all try to be a little bit wiser in our decisions before we jump into marriage. Remember that the best you see of someone is while your dating them, if you are fighting now marriage will not make it better. If we all try to really get to know someone and really try to decide if we’re ready for forever before walking down the isle I think we’ll find we have longer, happier marriages. Again, I’m not saying to be ashamed of divorce or to ostracize someone who is getting divorced. I am saying to take it as a cautionary tale and try to think just a little longer before you say “I do”. We all have to make our bed sometime so lets try to make it a bed of roses not a bed of thorns.
“When marrying, ask yourself this question: Do you believe that you will be able to converse well with this person into your old age? Everything else in marriage is transitory.” ~Friedrich Nietzsche
Until next time,
Olyvea and Ethan
Olyvea Pancerella and Ethan Faulkes are both 16 and both going into 11th grade. Olyvea has been homeschooled since first grade and Ethan has been homeschooled since third grade. Email any questions to: email@example.com