One of divorce’s most overlooked aspects in Illinois is how it impacts adult or middle-aged children. Gray divorce, which refers to divorcing couples aged 50 or older, can involve many emotions and consequences for all family members.
Understanding this often neglected facet of divorce can help families and adult children navigate this life event in a healthier way. The following discusses some common effects of a gray divorce on adult children and how to move forward.
Unexpected emotional reactions
Adult children are still vulnerable to the emotional effects of divorce, even if they no longer live at home. When parents divorce, adult children may struggle with intense emotions such as irritability, depression, worry and grief.
Witnessing the breakup of a long-established relationship can shake the foundation of their own lives, causing them to question their identities, roles and relationships as adult children.
Conflict and choosing sides
Middle-aged children may have difficulty avoiding feeling they must choose sides during a gray divorce. Variance alliances with each parent, their siblings, spouses and extended family members can leave adult children torn. Their parents ’ divorce can place adult children into difficult and sometimes uncomfortable positions with conflict and feeling pressured regarding loyalties.
Like any divorce, gray divorce involves a never-ending process of changes and adjustments. Middle-aged children may experience shifting relationships, relocating family members and other events. This constant evolution can provoke feelings of instability and a sense of uncertainty about their future.
Getting through trying times
Middle-aged children experience significant benefits when the important people in their lives provide empathy and understanding during their parents’ divorce. Acknowledging their pain and offering emotional or other support can become crucial in helping them cope with the emotional toll of a gray divorce.
It is essential to recognize that children are never too old to feel the emotional impact of their parents’ divorce. Offering compassion and empathy can help middle-aged children find stability and healing while they navigate this challenging chapter of their lives.