Adult Children Often Mourn Parents’ Divorce

When he was a young man, Bruce Fredenburg observed his parents’ unhappy marriage and thought they should probably get a divorce. When his mother finally told him she was going to divorce his father, Fredenburg was 31, in graduate school and married himself.

His reaction? “I felt shocked, and almost guilty that I’d wished it would happen,” he says.

As Fredenburg and his co-author Carol Hughes write in their new book, Home Will Never Be the Same Again: A Guide for Adult Children of Gray Divorce, shock is a common reaction to the news that parents are divorcing, no matter if a child is 18 or 50.

In the opening of the book, the authors include quotes from adult children of divorce they interviewed as part of their research. The profound impact of a parents’ divorce is revealed in comments such as these: “My entire life past and present changed in an instant.” “It shook me to my foundation.” “Had our whole family life together been all smoke and mirrors?”

The probability is high there are many grown sons and daughters who are experiencing these same emotions. According to statistics, between 1990 and 2015, the divorce rate for adults 50+ doubled. By 2030, it’s projected to triple.

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