There is no question about it: Whether you're just a kid or well into adulthood, enduring your parents' divorce is tough. Finding out that your parents don't want to be together anymore and adjusting to the changes that are about to occur in your life make for a stressful and traumatic time, to say the least.
But through all the changes, like your dad moving out or your mom's boyfriend's daughter moving in, there are some silver linings that come from your parent's split. So instead of feeling down when you think of the divorce, appreciate that it can open up your world to these 11 invaluable life lessons.
1. It's okay to "fall out of love" with someone. It's not the end of the world if two people don't get along.
A marriage is a bond that is supposed to last forever. But sometimes it just doesn't. You may look at your parents' separation as a "failed" promise between two people, but eventually you realize that it's no different than anything else: People fail, because people are imperfect. Your parents' divorce taught you not to be afraid of failure, because they acknowledged their unsuccessful marriage and moved on to (hopefully) happier and better lives for themselves.
2. You come to see your parents as real people with real feelings.
When you were a kid, you saw your parents as superheroes. They were the amazingly brave people in your life who never cry, never waver and always have the solution to any problem. But the truth is your parents are normal people. They actually have wants and desires and needs, and yes, sometimes they even cry.
3. You know to never ignore your emotions and to face your feelings. That way, you can make the hard but important decisions in your life.
Your parents' divorce made you realize that you should take the time to figure out if you're really happy in a relationship or not. And if you're not, you know not to sacrifice your happiness. It may be hard, but sometimes you've got to make painful decisions to change your life for the better.
4. You begin to realize how much your opinion matters to your parents.
Who says no one cares about what the kids think? Say your mom is head over heels for a new boyfriend, but you just aren't feeling his vibe. She might just rethink the relationship. Chances are, if we don't like our parents' new boyfriend or girlfriend, they'll take our opinions into account.
5. You know that there is no real definition of a "family unit."
Having two dads, two moms and an infinite number of half or step-siblings just makes life way more entertaining. More people to shower you with love and affection? Why yes, that sounds excellent. And the more holiday celebrations, the merrier (there is absolutely nothing wrong with more Christmas presents).
6. You learn how to accept and love the new people who are suddenly a permanent part of your life.
Just a few years ago, you had just two parents. Now, a whole group of complete strangers is a part of your family. It may have been a little weird to get used to at first, but now it's absolutely wonderful to have that much support.
7. And you will find that those complete strangers will love you as if you were blood-related to them.
One thing you can discover is that love and compassion don't discriminate based on last names or blood lines. It shouldn't matter if you don't have your step-parent's genes -- hopefully, they will love you like you're their own flesh and blood. As one Facebook user told HuffPost, "My stepdad treated me like I was his son, and he was genuinely happy to be a dad."
8. You know how to call two different houses your home.
Your parents may live on opposite sides of country, or the world. You get to live in two cities at the same time, and you most likely get to travel to them all the time (and maybe even have one parent foot the bill). Think of it this way: Two bedrooms in two different homes means you have more freedom to decorate.
9. You get the chance to see the real personality and traits of your parents.
When you're born into a family with already married parents, you see them as just that: parents. But when divorce hits, whole new sides of your parents open up to you. You see some hard but important things, like how your parents face sadness and cope with disappointment. But you also get to see what kind of values your mother seeks in a partner or the adorable ways your father tries to impress someone new he's seeing. Who knows, maybe you'll learn a thing or two on how to woo your next love interest.
10. In some cases, you realize that through separation comes a stronger bond.
After the dust settles and the grudges start to subside, life goes on. Some separated parents form an even stronger bond after they have moved on and found happiness with other people. It's extremely rewarding to see how mature relationships can form once two people have found their own happiness without each other. Your parents now rely on one another for totally different things, like friendship and advice, and that's completely fine.
11. You realize love isn't always forever, but it's still beautiful.
Most likely your parents didn't hole themselves up once their divorce was finalized. Well, maybe they weren't too happy for a bit right afterwards, but then they got back into the dating game. And depending on your particular situation, your parents may have found true love once again. Your parents' divorce may just be the ultimate proof that love may not be about "soulmates" at all, but rather two people who decide to give something a shot and can pick themselves back up if it doesn't work out.