Family, Self

How Your Parents' Divorce Can Affect Your Relationships

Children of the Baby Boomer generation were far more apt to grow up in a family with divorced parents. Does this mean that Generation Xers and Millennials are doomed to repeat the mistakes of their parents and have failed marriages as well? Will they be able to escape the trappings of the psychological damage that may have occurred from their dysfunctional relationship models?

It is easy to understand if you are in this group why you would have this fear of repeating your parent’s relationship failure. Especially if in your tender years you were constantly exposed to conflict, arguing, or worse, a witness to or subject of mental or physical abuse.

Did Your Parent’s Divorce Affect How You Approach Relationships?

We see the effects of being raised in broken families reflected today in the social and dating (or not dating) practices of younger singles. The old tradition of courtship has been rejected and replaced with the hookup process - sex first, and if that works, maybe we’ll give living together a shot. Are there benefits to this new model of relationship navigation?

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It’s true, divorce rates are down, but is that because marriages are more solid or because fewer singles are getting married and opting for simple cohabitation?

I’d like to think it’s because our 20 and 30 somethings who are looking for a committed relationship have chosen what Helen Fisher calls ‘slow love’ as their approach. They learned from their parent’s examples what did not work and have taken a more thoughtful, cautious path to their partnerships. They are waiting until they are older and more financially secure before they marry, and for them, it seems that marriage is not the first step, it is the final step in the commitment process.

If you are the product of divorced parents and feel like you’re unable to imagine a healthy, long-term relationship, or maybe you’re married and fearful of being doomed to divorce, check out what our experts have to say.


Melanie Gorman (YourTango Experts Senior VP) and our panel of experts (Marriage & Couples Counselor Samantha Burns, Marriage & Family Therapists Rita DeMaria and Moshe Ratson, and Author and Anthropologist Helen Fisher) have some uplifting and inspirational perspectives on this perplexing topic. They just might alleviate some of your worries and point you in a positive direction for help

After watching the video, if you still have questions or continue to struggle, feel free to visit their websites or maybe even just contact Samantha, Rita, Moshe or Helen.