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Girlfriends’ Parents’ Divorce Affecting Our Relationship

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From the U.S.: I am 22 and have been in a relationship with my girlfriend for over a year now and a few months ago her parents decided that it is best they get divorced. They just closed on selling her childhood home just a couple days ago, so she went home to help move out. The night before she went home she was visibly upset so I sat her down and she talked about everything that was bothering her, but then it led to her wanting a break from the relationship with me to figure out what she wants.

When she came back from the weekend she decided it was best we break up. When I asked her why, she started creating negatives about us and our relationship that are so trivial it is like she is trying to talk herself out of wanting this relationship. What could be the reasoning behind this?

Girlfriends’ Parents’ Divorce Affecting Our Relationship

Answered by on -

A.

I have a hunch that her parents’ divorce has rattled your girlfriend’s belief that love can last. She is witnessing her parents’ hurt and discouragement. She may be afraid that being in a relationship is a set-up for the same pain.

In addition, for many people, it is deeply symbolic when parents move out of the family home. It means they can never go “home” again, at least in the same way. Your girlfriend may be grieving that loss as well.

Your girlfriend needs compassion and support for her losses. She probably needs reassurance from you that you understand that she may want to protect herself from pain. The problem, though, is this: She may be protecting herself at the price of a promising relationship.

Please don’t minimize her complaints. Her parents’ situation may have triggered your girlfriend’s awareness of legitimate issues in your relationship that do need to be addressed. If, however, you feel that your relationship is fundamentally a good one, ask her to work on those issues with you and to give your love a chance.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

Girlfriends’ Parents’ Divorce Affecting Our Relationship

Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

Dr. Marie is licensed as both a psychologist and marriage and family counselor. She specializes in couples and family therapy and parent education. Follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2018). Girlfriends’ Parents’ Divorce Affecting Our Relationship. Psych Central. Retrieved on January 17, 2019, from https://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2016/02/26/girlfriends-parents-divorce-affecting-our-relationship/
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 May 2018
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018
Published on Psych Central.com. All rights reserved.