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Unexpected impacts of a gray divorce

Many people falsely believe that a divorce doesn’t negatively impact adult children. The truth is that they feel just as much pain and fear as minors. Although the legal system in Indiana doesn’t acknowledge the effects on adult children, you should take it into consideration. Be compassionate toward yourself or a loved one who has to watch their parents divorce.

Pressure to pick sides

In a hostile gray divorce, the parents are more likely to expect their children to pick a side because they are adults. They are also freer about badmouthing the other parent because they’re under the impression that since their children are adults, it’s safe to do. However, this causes a lot of pain and stress on the children who don’t want to choose between their parents. It’s difficult for them to hear bad things about the other parent.

Shock, confusion, and pain

It is often more shocking for adult children to watch their parents divorce because they enjoyed more years of seeing them married. This could instill fear inside of them over the same thing happening to them with their spouse or in the future if they aren’t yet married. They may come to distrust the concept of relationships or marriage as a result of their parents’ gray divorce. It could prevent them from enjoying a good romantic relationship in their own lives.

Less compassion from others

Friends, family, and acquaintances don’t show as much concern or compassion to adults who are watching their parents divorce. This comes from the false societal belief that it doesn’t matter if the kids are adults. Most people don’t intend to be insensitive; it’s just that they don’t know. They may make unintentionally hurtful comments, like:

• “At least you’re an adult now.”
• “Aren’t you happy it didn’t happen when you were a kid?”
• “Isn’t this a good thing?”

If you’re in this type of situation, gently share some of the research with them so that they can understand it does still hurt for you. Having a support system is important for you during this time.

Regardless of how late in life a married couple divorces, it’s painful, stressful, and confusing for the children. It could cause long-lasting negative impacts, such as a decreased chance of successful relationships and decreased life satisfaction.