It can be difficult to get close with someone whose worldview feels irreconcilable with your own – it’s even harder when you suddenly discover something that makes them appear totally different and out of touch with reality. For instance, even though they’re an adult, their parents are somehow not divorced yet. Well, take a deep breath, because all is not lost for this burgeoning relationship. Here’s how you can learn to trust someone whose parents are still married to each other.
Remember that it’s not their fault.
We are all the products of our environments, and the family unit is key among is the social factors that form our identities and personalities. Remember that even though your acquaintance is probably a little weird from a prolonged stay in the fantasy world in which Mom and Dad are married to each other —seriously this is kind of creepy—they didn’t choose this messed up life, and you shouldn’t judge them on the facts of their situation alone.
Locate other traumas from their childhood.
Just because this fully grown person has parents who are married like that of a young child doesn’t mean they’re not a well-adjusted adult in other ways. Pry into their youth to find evidence of traumatic moments that may have jolted them out of childhood and its naive delusions in the absence of a good old-fashioned trial separation followed by legal divorce. Maybe a death in the family? Don’t be afraid to go ahead and ask.
Facilitate a divorce.
The most hands-on approach to bringing your friend into reality is to facilitate their parents’ divorce by working with preexisting issues. You know the person you fall in love with in your 20s isn’t the person you’re supposed to be with forever, and your new pal is being wrongly deprived of potentially great stepparents. Help everyone to the light by calling up their parents and asking what they like the least about each other. If you can get through questions like “Who is this?” and “Please stop calling here,” you may be able to save everyone a lifetime of embarrassment from being in a traditional nuclear family like a bunch of babies.
So try out these tactics to improve your ability to connect with children not-of-divorce. And if their parents are, in fact, just obsessed with being married to each other like a couple of weirdos, maybe just bail on them now. At least no one else in their family ever did!