Divorce Warriors: Stephen’s Story

Stories of Divorce Survival From Real People

Editors Note: In 2016, Modern Law began offering a scholarship to people who have survived divorce. We asked applicants to tell us in an essay how divorce had made them better or stronger. This story is one of a series is the result of the stories we received. We’ve changed names and locations when appropriate.

Stephen’s Story 

Going through my parent’s divorce had its fair share of challenges, but none compare to growing up as a boy without an active father in my life.

My mother and father divorced when I was much younger, just four years old. Although my memories from that time are scattered, the aftermath continued to affect me.

I spent all my time in the custody of my mother, and I have only seen my father a handful of times since then. Fathers are necessary to be role models, teach lessons, and help you through issues. I didn’t have that.

When I played sports and looked toward the stands, I saw all the other fathers cheering on their children. People would ask me where your father is, and that just crushed me.

When you must learn all the things by yourself that a father is supposed to teach, it is disheartening and influenced me for the rest of my life. While my personal story isn’t a one-size-fits-all for what divorce can be like, it is a story of success and triumph.

While I acquired some bad memories and made some mistakes along the way, I feel that my parent’s divorce made me into the man I am today. I’ve learned throughout my years to be resilient, diligent, and optimistic and never let any challenge get the best of me.

Just because negative things happened in my life, I can’t choose to fixate on them. I must use my struggles as fuel to do the things I never thought could be possible. My family situation does not define me.

When I walk around the college campus, I don’t have a message in flashing lights that details how I grew up with a difficult family situation. However, people see me as a hardworking, loving, kind and generous person and I can only thank my life experiences for that.

view from the road

The hardships I endured and the lessons I learned will forever benefit me. When presented with a negative situation, you can make the choice to work through it or let it tear you down.

With a strong commitment and dedication to success paired with the proper mindset, no obstacle can ever hold you back, and I have divorce to thank for that.

Troubling times will be present at all stages of your life: adolescence, adulthood, and even in your elderly years. I have been better prepared, more equipped to deal with anything life throws my way because of my divorce story. Divorce doesn’t have to be a bad thing. It can be a learning experience and a chance to test the strength of your character.

Everyone copes with it in different ways. I chose to use it to help me achieve what I’ve always dreamed of and follow the path I set for myself. I started divorce as a four-year-old with troubles on my mind, and I am now today a college student, a worker, and a positive friend, role-model, student, and boyfriend.

I choose to think of divorce as a journey up a mountain. When you first start, the goal can seem so far out of reach. But with every step, with each positive thought and action, you are that much closer to the endgame.

I am one of the nearly 50 percent of children who can call themselves “victims” of divorce, but I am not a victim. I am a survivor, I thrive in the face of challenge, and I am far better off than I would have been without these struggles in my life.