My parents are dating again, and I just don’t think I can take it. They divorced the first time when I was about 9, got back together and remarried when I was 12 and then divorced a little over three years later. That divorce seemed much bitterer than the first one but maybe that’s to be expected.
They dated again when I was in college but thankfully broke up before remarrying for the second time. Now they’re dating again, and I want to tell them, “STOP! This doesn’t work out for you. Learn from the past.”
I know people might say this isn’t my business, but the time after their breakups is horrible for me. They’re both miserable, depressed and angry, and I have to hear it and live with the aftermath for a long time. I don’t want to sound like a groomzilla but I’m getting married next year and their inevitable breakup is going to make the wedding tense and unpleasant.
My fiancée says we should hope for the best but she hasn’t lived through the past like I have. Can I say something to them — at least try to make them see reason?
— Don’t Think I Can Take It
Wow. You have to respect their commitment to dysfunction, which apparently has outlasted not only both of their marriages, but most marriages, period.
If you’re in no mood to find humor in this, then, my sincere apologies.
Sanity has one clear point of entry here: You say, “I have to hear it and live with the aftermath for a long time.”
But you actually don’t.
I mean, you are technically living with the aftermath if you have nothing to do with either of them during the fallout period and if they miss your wedding, but that sounds a lot less aftermathy than actually hearing about it while they sort it out or having them make your wedding day about themselves.
So I suggest you tell them both upfront: “I obviously can’t make you two stop this ridiculous dysfunctional dance. But I can make it clear to you that I won’t be available to listen to you during the miserable, depressed and angry phase when it goes off the rails. Not again.”
Make it clear that you will rescind their invitations if they decide the eve of your wedding is a good time to stage Breakup No. 4
Then, if and when they break up, don’t be available to listen. If they break up near to your wedding date, then rescind their invitations. It really is OK to take precautions now based on what you’ve learned from your experiences with them, and to follow through with what you promised to do.
I also suggest talking to a good family therapist if you have any concerns about how or whether you should do this. Or just to establish a good resource for when you need a reality check.
Congrats on your engagement and good luck.
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