For spouses married a number of years, their identity may be as a “husband” or “wife” – a “provider” or “homemaker.” The loneliness experienced upon divorce is tinged with feeling lost. This also may be significant for a noncustodial parent, for whom parenting is a major source of self-esteem. They left home or their college roommate for a marriage or romantic partner.
The relationship helped them leave home – physically.
Although the negative impact of divorce upon children is real, their worries may also be projections of fears for themselves.
This is compounded if they suffered from their parents’ divorce.
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On one hand they crave freedom and independence; on the other hand, they want the security of a relationship – even a bad one.
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Yet, they’ve never completed the developmental milestone of “leaving home” psychologically, meaning becoming an autonomous adult.
They are as tied to their mate as they once were to their parents.