In college, I have had the opportunity to grow and experience the healthy kind of “love” in ways I didn’t know was possible. Just because your story doesn’t fit the mold to have a healthy and happy life doesn’t mean you stop trying, and it is so much more fulfilling when you get there.

Many resources and devoted authors measure the successes and failures for children of divorce. A study from NCBI measured these results for 10 years. Authors Judith Wallerstein and Janet Johnston performed the study. 

“Children are especially affected because divorce occurs within their formative years,” the abstract said. “Under these conditions, children may show accelerated maturity and independence. They may also bring to young adulthood a morality that places high value on sustaining relationships and on love, fidelity, and compassion.”

This statement could not be more relevant to my life. 

When I was four, my mom and dad split. It’s wasn’t a tragedy that separated the family or even an intense court case discussing who got more custody, but rather an agreement between two adults. They knew it wasn’t mean to be, and they didn’t try to force it.

I was blessed with cooperative parents and little dispute was made about the decision to split. There was no arranged days or nights of sleep, and this allowed so much freedom in my love for both of them. 

At age 10, I was spending equal amounts of time at each house, yet I saw them both almost everywhere: sports games, school meetings and it was just a three minute walk away from either house.

While this seems like an easy transition, and it was most of the time, I was forced to grow independently in my values and relationships. 

Entering high school, I had never seen a healthy romantic relationship except at a friend’s house, or passing strangers in the grocery store. 

A confused teenager trying to decide where to sit at lunch, didn’t know what was coming those following years.

I struggled with my definition of “love” and where it’s found. 

Trial and error struck many times in my life and I was just keeping my head above water to maintain a good GPA for college. This is the case for many teens today. 

An article says the United States has the sixth highest divorce rate in the world (3.2 percent) compared to Russia leading (4.8 percent). 

I feel extremely blessed to stand where I do now, with confidence in a society of individualism. My parents divorce not only helped me to become the woman I am today but has raised my standards for a potential spouse.

It’s never guaranteed to know what will happen in life, but I’ve learned a loving community (big or small) can help in tremendous ways. 

Children don’t always find a way out, and falling in the footsteps of divorced parents is extremely easy to do. What matters is working hard to change your life for the positive, because you deserve it. Everyone does. 

If you are struggling with effects from divorced parents there are many resources available online, including here, which provides resources for all ages, even parents. Student life and the Mental Health center at Benedictine College can provide resources as well.