Some spouses decide to delay divorce until their children are in college or finished with college. The idea is to minimize the impact on the children’s lives. In some other situations, the parents happen to make the decision to divorce after their children are already adults.
Whatever the case, the parents may think that, while the split may hurt their children, it will not affect them to the extent that it might if they were minor children. This can be a mistake. Here is a look at a few things to think about when you divorce while your children are adults.
They have known you as a married unit for longer
Divorce can actually be harder for some adult children because they have known you two as a married unit for much longer, say, 35 years instead of 10 years. If they do not have strong support networks of their own, then that can make it harder as well.
If at all possible, try to still present yourselves as being on the same page. Do not force your children to take sides in the divorce. Refrain from bad-mouthing the other parent to your children, and be understanding if your children want to change their holiday plans a little so they can spend time with your ex as well.
They may wonder if you stayed together because of them
Some minor children wonder if it is their fault that their parents are getting divorced. Conversely, some adult children wonder if their parents stayed together because of them. Were their parents unhappy and feeling stuck in a loveless marriage just for the children? If this is the case, your children may feel like they were living a lie. They can feel betrayed and might say things like, “I would have preferred that you be happy even if it meant getting divorced.”
This is not to advise you to lie if this is the reason you two did stay together, but be careful about how you present it. If it may have been a mistake, acknowledge it and emphasize the positives that you still find in your relationship with the other parent.