Devil’s Advocate

Q: I need some advice. Last night my parents told me that they are getting a divorce. They have been having problems for a while now, so it shouldn’t be a surprise to me, but it is. When I went away to college I thought that it would give them some time to spend together and everything would be fine, but it’s not. From what they told me they got legally separated about a month after I left and have been living apart ever since. My dad even has a girlfriend now. I don’t know. I just want them to get back together. I’m the youngest of four kids and all of my brothers and sisters have families of their own. I just feel left alone. Do you think there is a possibility that they will get back together or should I just give it up?

-A Product of Division

Dear Division,

I think you should accept that your parents are not getting back together any time soon. Granted, they could be one of those couples who get married, get divorced and eventually end up reuniting in matrimony, but right now I do not foresee that happening-especially given the fact that your father already has a girlfriend.

No matter how old you are, it is never easy for a child to see his or her parents split up. You could be six or 26, and it still hurts. However, you have said that your parents have been having problems for a while, which could not have been easy for anyone in your family. Doesn’t seeing your parents unhappy hurt just as much as seeing them get divorced?

They have been apart for a while now, so maybe that is the way things should be. People change. Your parents may have grown into different people than they were when they first united.

Sometimes I think that first marriages are stepping stones to greater relationships. A person tends to learn what he or she doesn’t like in a marriage, as well as who they really are as people. And I know that you may think, ‘Why can’t people just date to learn all that stuff?’ But you must realize that people are different and learn in different ways; some like to learn the hard way.

If anything, just think about all the good that came from your parent’s marriage: you and your three brothers and sisters. So you will never be alone. Isn’t that a bit comforting?

Q: At my old high school the people who have graduated get together a year after graduation. Kind of like a one-year reunion. I don’t want to go. Back in high school I was really popular, but in college I don’t do anything worth bragging about and I feel like a failure. I have also gained a lot of weight and my grades aren’t even that good. I just know that I’m a failure and soon everyone else will know it too. Do you think I should go and if not can you help me come up with a really good excuse not to?

-Fat and Failing

Dear Double F,

Why don’t you get over yourself and go to the reunion? I’m sure you are not the only one who has put on a little more than the “freshman 15” and not everyone keeps the stellar GPA that helped you breeze through high school.

As far as your extracurricular participation in college goes, I would not be too worried. Sometimes it takes a person a while to find his or her niche on campus. After all, you have so many options it’s hard to know which groups are for you.

By the way, why are you sweating a measly one-year reunion anyway? You should just be happy you can say you finally graduated from high school. I used to know people who were second- and third-year seniors, so be happy; you actually graduated. Besides, you should concentrate on the 20-year reunion bash.