Sometimes parents split up when they have been fighting and unhappy for a long time. And sometimes it seems to happen suddenly, when nothing appeared to be wrong, and it's really hard to understand why they have to split up at all.
There are many reasons why parents decide to split up—as many reasons as there are couples. And with each couple, there might be one main reason, or a whole pile of reasons.
In any case, everyone has their own reasons. And whatever the reasons, it's never an easy decision, parents usually try very hard to solve their problems before they take action.
Here are some common reasons why parents separate or divorce:
You might have experienced some of the same things in friendships and relationships of your own.
If you're not sure what your parents' reasons are for splitting up, you can always ask.
Your parents might be relieved that you have asked, and give you a direct answer. On the other hand, they might want to keep their privacy. Or they might not be able to give you a clear answer, because they're not all that clear about it themselves.
The worst thing that could happen when you ask your parents why they are splitting up is that they tell you things you don't want or need to know. For example, one parent could say really hurtful things about the other parent. If that happens, tell the parent that it hurts you to hear this, and ask him or her to stop.
No matter what kind of answer your parents give you, the most important thing is that you are not the reason for your parents splitting up. It's not your fault!
Remember: Parents split up with each other because of problems in their relationship. They don't split up with their kids.
Your parents are still your parents. They still love you, even if they don't love each other anymore.
When two people have been living together and they decide not to live together anymore, they are separated.
However, when married people separate, their marriage has not yet ended. They have to get a divorce to legally end a marriage.
Couples who have not been married don't have to get a divorce, because there is no marriage to end. But they may still be going to court to decide on parenting time and dividing property.
Most parents split up only after trying very hard to save their relationship. Their decision to separate or divorce is usually final.
Some teens hope and believe that if they try to be on their very best behavior, their parents will get back together. However, this plan isn't likely to work, since their parents' decision to split up had nothing to do with them.
Apart from suggesting that your parents see a marriage counselor, if they haven't already done so, the best thing that you can do is to begin to accept the situation so that you can get on with your life.
If there are things you need to know, ask.
You have a right to ask questions about what is going to happen and why. Although you need to respect your parents' right to privacy, they have a responsibility to answer your questions as best they can about things that directly affect you.