For most of my childhood, my mother was unhappy in her relationship with my father. She expressed a strong desire to divorce him on three separate occasions -- I was 12, 19, and 25 years old.
I am now almost 28, and my mother just recently told me that she and my father have reconciled and now think of each other as close friends. I must still be numb from my childhood experience of their marital discord, because instead of happiness, I feel anger.
I hide my anger from them, but I think that it creeps out sometimes when I am tired and I get short with them. I want to forgive and move on. I want to be happy for them. How do I deal with all of the emotional baggage about their relationship that I have accumulated over the years?
- Confused Child of A Now Happy Couple
Is it possible that this now-happy relationship is only temporary? Your mother has been near divorce several times, but each time, she and your father must have made up, because they apparently stuck it out this far.
I'd approach the situation with some caution, as you don't want to get too comfortable, in case something causes your mom and dad to fall apart again.
But on the other hand, you need to hide your skepticism and resentment from them or else it could put extra strain on their potentially fragile relationship.
So plan a few fun activities with your parents to get to know them as a happy couple. Take them to the Botanic Gardens for a family picnic or schedule a dinner date for the three of you. If you have siblings who are also questioning mom and dad's suddenly blissful marriage, you may want to invite them along.
After spending quality time with the 'rents, you'll have a better understanding of where their current relationship stands. If they truly seem happy, congratulate them and try your best to accept their newfound love.
If they still seem strained, just hold your tongue. Vent your frustrations in a poem or painting. But don't butt in Dr. Laura-style. They'll figure it out in their own time. And if mom and dad choose to stick together despite their repeated cycle of unhappiness, that's their problem, not yours.
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