If you're a parent considering divorce, fear of the unknown can drive you nuts. How will this affect the kids, you wonder. Will their grades slip? Will they hate me for putting them through this mess? Is this going to scare them off marriage and commitment for the rest of their lives?
That said, hearing how actual children of divorce fared may quiet some of your worries. We've gathered seven of the most interesting responses from a Reddit thread asking kids with divorced parents to share how the split affected them in the long run. See what they had to say below:
They acted out at school, but took on more responsibility at home.
One Redditor said he already had bullying tendencies growing up. Watching his parents' marriage fall apart only made things worse.
"My parents divorce increased [my bullying] tenfold," he wrote, "But after a couple weeks, I started feeling depressed and became really quiet and shy. It was tough being 10 years old and not understanding why your dad has to leave and why your mother cries herself to sleep at night."
The one silver lining to the split? He stepped up his game as a big brother. "My younger sister was even more confused than me, so seeing her scared turned me into a super protective and loving big brother," he said.
They felt a sense of relief.
Some said they spent their teen years wishing their parents would divorce. "My parents never got divorced because they're Catholic," one Redditor wrote. "That said, once she finally did leave him, I was relieved. I can remember thinking when I was a teenager that I hated him and wished he would just disappear. It was just a shame I had to wait until my early 20s for it to happen."
They felt the financial strain of living in a single parent household.
Another Redditor said money struggles were a constant in her household. After the divorce, the Redditor, his mom and his sister moved into a one-bedroom apartment and his mom worked tirelessly to make ends meet. Two jobs was the norm, but sometimes she picked up a third.
"It was all in order to give us a good life, which she absolutely did," the Redditor wrote. "We may not have had the best clothes or everything we wanted, but she always tried to give us everything she could, and we never went hungry."
Watching his mom sacrifice for her kids made him respect her more than ever, he said. "At the end of the day, my mom is incredibly heroic for raising us on her own. I don't even care that I barely hear from my dad."
They played the blame game.
Life as you know it changes when your parents split up. It's only natural for a kid to rebel against the change in some way, as one Redditor admitted he did.
"I went off the rails," he wrote. "I refused to take responsibility for my own actions and blamed them for everything. I bought into the pity and coddling of those around me. Typical childish response, I know."
They struggled with the divorce, even as adults.
Waiting to divorce until the kids are grown and out of school doesn't necessarily make it any easier, as one Redditor's experience suggests.
"I was 29 when my parents divorced, and I'd been living away from home for almost half that time... but it still hurt," she said. "Especially because my father is a jerk who waited until my youngest brother turned 18 to officially leave my mother."
They didn't take kindly to one parent badmouthing the other.
A Redditor whose mom had primary custody after the divorce said weekends spent with her dad were something she came to dread. "The hardest part was listening to all the crap he said about my mom. He still does it to this day."
She added: "My dad always told me that I was manipulative and playing games with him. It took me more than 18 years to figure out I wasn't a manipulative, game-playing control freak. I was the daughter of one."
They were happy to see their parents thrive after the divorce.
One Redditor said her parents' divorce was "distressing" at first, but seeing how happy they were living separate lives convinced her it was ultimately for the best.
"My dad especially seems to be excelling at life now," she said. "He is more outgoing and independent than I've ever seen him. Before, we never had anything to talk about but now he likes to tell me about all the new things he's doing and all the friends he's making. I now realize that this is the best thing they could have done for themselves."