I am a child of divorce who has been in shidduchim now for 10 years. Over the years, I’ve been privy to conversations of people discussing their deep distrust of children of divorce in shidduchim. I myself have been turned down for exactly that reason. Seeing as our parents’ marriages are not something we have any control over, it seems unfair that this is held against the children. Should people be putting so much weight on something out of the child’s/dater’s hands?
To be honest, I fear that addressing this question requires a measure of delicacy, nuance, care, and compassion that far exceeds my reach, and I remain, to no small degree, apprehensive of composing any reply at all. As such, I would like to ask mechila in advance, should any of that which is to follow cause even the slightest amount of pain or agmasnefesh to those who carry this oft heavy burden.
On the one hand, what has been stated is 100% correct. Of the likely many thousands of children in Klal Yisroel who come from divorced homes, not a single one of them is to blame, in any way whatsoever, for the dissolvement of their parents’ marriage. It is a reality that took place around them, not because of them. Furthermore, in many instances, the underlying issues were successfully concealed from the children, the divorce was amicable, lines of commination were always open and honest for the duration of the proceedings and beyond, and the children were able to maintain a strong, positive, and healthy self-image and emotional balance, ready to build strong, positive, healthy homes of their own. On the other hand, however, even in the best handled divorces, a child can become shattered internally.
Additionally, and regardless of where the blame lies, in many other cases, the children have been raised in a home with some highly overt and combustible combination of strife, anger, malcontent, apathy, resentment, and dysfunction. And as unfair a hand as they have been dealt, it is not uncommon for that image of a relationship to be deeply and profoundly absorbed into their psyche and identity. Consequently, that portrayal can also become their core foundation of what relationships are meant to be and look like, and ultimately, emerge prominently in their own marriage later in life. Attachment issues can also be cultivated as a result, among many other inter- and intrapersonal barriers. Parenthetically, and to be fair, the same can be said of those raised by parents who stayed together, but modeled an altogether terrible example of how a harmonious home and marriage should be constructed and conducted. A grave and sustained lack of shalom bayis in a home can raise identical, and sometimes far worse, struggles than those which are to be found in families where the marriage was terminated.
Whatever the particulars of the case may be, there is good reason to be apprehensive about the capacity of a child reared in that type of an environment to foster a truly stable marriage as an adult. To be clear, though, while such a background is a credible concern, shedding what has been exhibited by one’s progenitors and striking out on one’s own new and wholesome path is eminently possible, even in the worst of divorces. In fact, it happens all the time, as can be evidenced beyond confutation by myriad examples past and present.
That being the case, the ensuing question becomes, how to properly approach a scenario where one has been redd to a prospect whose parents are no longer together? And while I cannot claim to possess the definitive answer, I do not believe one bit that the solution is to simply reject the shidduch out of hand. Who is to say that the bas kol which pronounced one’s future shidduch did not tie them to someone whose parents are divorced? In a certain sense, it is no different than turning down a shidduch over money, yichus, or prestige. And as is made clear by countless ma’asim and ma’amarim of gedolei Yisroel, setting aside a conceivably suitable shidduch before giving it fitting attention, and without a truly valid reason, is dangerous territory indeed, chas v’shalom.
Thus, it very much behooves a person in such a position to really look into the idea being proffered, provided that it is being presented as a reasonably meritorious one – and more specifically, to focus on their potential counterpart, rather than said counterpart’s forebearers. Is this person a yorei Shamayim and a baal or baalas middos tovos? Does their personality complement my own? Do we share similar hashkafos, goals, and aspirations? Is there a reliable and trustworthy reference who is as assured as one can ever be about any developing adult that this young man or woman has an upright and healthy outlook, and is buttressed enough to enter into a nurturing and growing marriage relationship? If one is willing to engage in thorough research and apposite hishtadlus, they just might find that everything they hoped and wished for is right there in front of them.
May the Moneh Mispar Lakochavim bestow an overabundance of chein v’chesed upon all those who find themselves sensing disadvantage or facing an uphill battle in any area of life.