Disclaimer: In Real Life is a platform for everyday people to share their experiences and voices. All articles are personal stories and does not necessarily echo In Real Life\u2019s sentiments The Malaysian divorce rate is getting ever higher, yet it\u2019s still a taboo topic in our society.\u00a0 Some children are too scared to even admit their parents are separated to avoid negative reactions from their friends.\u00a0 So I decided to ask these adult children: What is it really like to grow up with parents that are separated? Cahya: \u201cI don\u2019t even remember what my dad looks like anymore.\u201d \u201cMy parents divorced when I was around 5. I was really young and blocked a lot of those memories so I don\u2019t really remember many details,\u201d Cahya says. The one thing she still remembers is the fight that led to the separation.\u00a0 \u201cIt was something along the lines of where we were living, how my mum pays for everything and how my dad wasn\u2019t contributing financially.\u201d\u00a0 Cahya\u2019s mother wanted to go to the UK to pursue her PhD. But her dad said she\u2019s only allowed to go if she bears him a third child, even though he couldn\u2019t support Cahya or her brother. At 5 years old, Cahya was confused and did not know what was happening. She could not understand the concept of a divorce.\u00a0 \u201cI was never close to him anyway, so seeing him less wasn't that bad. But growing up without a father figure was hard,\u201d Cahya admitted.\u00a0 \u201cIn a two-parent household, when you have a disagreement with one parent, you can always talk to the other about how you feel. But in my case, I had to find other people like my aunt to confide in,\u201d she continued.\u00a0 Cahya said she did not have someone to ask for fatherly advice and protection. The last time Cahya saw or heard from her father was when she was 12 years old. She feels like her stepfather was more of a father figure to her than her biological dad.\u00a0 Cahya: \u201cI was often compared to my absent father, and I hated it.\u201d In high school, Cahya\u2019s family would always compare her to her father. Her mother and grandmother would always throw out statements like: \u201cYou look just like your old man.\u201d \u201cYour studying attitude is just like him, very bad.\u201d \u201cYou are always lying and you are good at it, just like the old man.\u201d\u00a0 They gave him the nickname of \u2018old man\u2019 and would constantly remind Cahya the similarities she shares with her biological father. \u201cThese statements did make me upset, since it's not something I can control. It was not my fault I inherited his traits,\u201d she confesses.\u00a0 Cahya feels that because of her experience, love is something that is hard to find. \u201cLove is real but rare. Marriage on the other hand is a waste of money to me. Anything can happen and you can remarry someone else with the snap of your fingers,\u201d she explained.\u00a0 \u201cIf I were to marry, I would be very cautious about who I choose. I also wouldn\u2019t spend so much on the wedding. It\u2019s so much more important to be financially stable just in case things go south and lead to a divorce,\u201d she said matter-of-factly.\u00a0 \u201cA relationship should always be 50\/50,\u201d she concluded. Cahya doesn\u2019t want to have kids in future, either. If she were to have them, she would adopt. \u201cMy husband needs to understand that I don\u2019t want to give birth. After all, it's my body.\u201d Cahya says. \u201cI am not 100% sure, but I feel like people who have both parents that are happy with each other are very lucky.\u201d\u00a0 She believes growing up with two adults that are in a healthy relationship together would form a better perspective of love for the child.\u00a0 \u201cWhen you see love modelled correctly by your parents growing up, it\u2019s much easier to do it as an adult.\u201d \u00a0Julia: \u201cI feel like I am always caught in between my parents.\u201d Julia\u2019s* (*not her real name) parents divorced when she was only 2 years old. The memories of them being all together and a happy family were all stories that were told to her by her family. \u201cMy parents had a limousine business. Initially, their company was successful, however the business started to go downhill and my mum left with my brother and I,\u201d Julia shares.\u00a0 There were other reasons that resulted in the divorce.\u00a0 Julia says: \u201cThey were both very immature and used to butt heads all the time. They were also brought up following different religions, and could never agree which one to raise me up with.\u201d\u00a0 After the divorce, her parents did try to live together for a month, so that they could both provide for her financially. However, they kept fighting over things they couldn\u2019t see eye to eye.\u00a0 This lasted for a month until one day, Julia\u2019s mum packed her things and said, \u201cIt\u2019s over. We are moving houses.\u201d When she was 6 years old, it suddenly hit Julia that her family wasn't like the rest. \u201cI grew sad when I realised I was going to have a childhood without a father,\u201d she says. She struggled in school. When teachers would talk about anything regarding two parents, for example family events, it would make her upset.\u00a0 \u201cI was ashamed to admit to my peers that my family was not like theirs, that I only had one parent who could be present.\u201d\u00a0 Julia didn't contact her father until she was 12 years old.\u00a0 \u201cAll my life, my mum and her side of the family have spoken ill about him that made me not want to see him. I was also scared that my mum would be angry if I did,\u201dJulia shares. He was portrayed to be someone who is very toxic and just lied all the time. Julia was made to believe that he was not a good father. Finally, Julia met up with her father because she needed parental advice. \u201cAll my life, I was in private school. But for form 1 I decided to go to a government school. I had no idea what to expect and everyone around me didn\u2019t either, except my dad.\u201d\u00a0 \u201cSo I asked my mum to contact my dad to meet up with him. We met for the first time in 12 years in the lobby of the condominium I was staying at.\u201d \u201cWe only talked about school. No catching up, nothing personal,\u201d Julia shrugs. Ever since the first meet up, Julia\u2019s impression of her father did change however. She started realising the comments she heard from her mum were all coming from a place of anger.\u00a0 \u201cI started meeting him more often, he would pick me up from school everyday.\u201d\u00a0 Julia feels like over time, she has grown closer to her dad than her mum.\u00a0 \u201cMy dad is more encouraging than my mum when it comes to my future plans. When I try to tell my mum I want to go Europe to pursue my studies, she just makes comments like, \u2018Yeah, as if you can\u2019 whereas my dad gives positive feedback,\u201d she adds.\u00a0 Nowadays, when Julia\u2019s mother brings her father and makes a negative comment, Julia shuts it down quickly.\u00a0 \u201cThere are times, I feel like I have to be more of an adult between them. Sometimes when they meet, they would begin to argue and I have to interfere and divert the topic.\u201d\u00a0 To top that off, they treat her like a messenger. \u201cBoth my parents are always telling me to tell each other things, \u2018tell mum that\u2019 or \u2018tell dad that,\u2019 Julia said in exasperation. \u201cSometimes I would even get scolded for telling something that I was not supposed to, but like \u2013 how would I know not to tell?\u201d\u00a0 Julia feels like she has developed a saviour complex and has the constant need and pressure to always fix others\u2019 issues.\u00a0 \u201cIt can get draining sometimes. I learned to not depend on other people but myself, because at the end you are the only person you have,\u201d Julia concludes. Julia wishes her parents knew how to compromise and be more understanding towards each other. Mia: \u201cI was relieved when my parents got a divorce.\u201d https:\/\/unsplash.com\/photos\/BQPi8F_UON0 \u201cFor the first 9 years of my childhood, I lived in a normal family. My parents would never argue, at least not in front of us,\u201d Mia* said. (*not her real name) After 9 years, Mia\u2019s dad got a job offer to work overseas, and that was when everything went downhill.\u00a0 \u201cMy mum was not happy that he was willing to leave his family behind to go for work. She did not think it was fair that she had to raise the kids single-handedly,\u201d she shared.\u00a0 However, Mia\u2019s father just felt her mother was being irrational. He did not understand why she was upset, and why she couldn\u2019t comprehend that it was a once a lifetime opportunity that will also benefit the family financially. \u201cI remember the day he left, she was still not happy about it and they had a big fight. It was my first time seeing them argue and it was toxic. They threw things at each other and started swearing at each other.\u201d she recalled. Ever since that argument, they stopped talking to each other. They both held the grudge and were never willing to forgive each other.\u00a0 \u201cSaying that, they still remained married for a few years. For a few reasons, they worried about what people would say and how my siblings and I would get affected,\u201d she says.\u00a0 In the beginning, when Mia\u2019s father moved, it was very hard. \u201cI was a daddy\u2019s girl so living without him was hard. I would always cry and would want to talk to him. Our daily phone calls were not enough for me.\u201d\u00a0 Mia says how eventually it got easier. She explains, \u201cI started getting used to it, but I also started resenting him because of my mother. She manipulated my siblings and I to think that he did not love us.\u201d\u00a0 This made them grow closer to their mother, which was another reason why Mia\u2019s dad avoided getting a divorce. He feared that in the process of divorce, he would lose his children too.\u00a0 Mia had to unwillingly play \u2018the messenger\u2019 between her dad and mom Before they got a divorce, Mia, being the oldest child, bore a lot of weight on her shoulders. \u201cThey would not talk to each other and would often communicate through me. Sometimes if the message I say triggers them, their anger would be taken out on me,\u201d she explains.\u00a0 So when Mia turned 13, and her parents informed her they were getting divorced, she felt like a weight had been lifted off her shoulders. \u201cI used to wish when I was younger for everything to go back to normal, to be like back before my dad worked abroad. But after years of this, I just lost hope in reconciliation, and I simply wished they would stop being together,\u201d Mia confesses.\u00a0 Mia figured it was also easier for her to explain to her peers her family\u2019s dynamic. She says, \u201cSometimes it\u2019s easier to say my parents are divorced than to say they are married but they just hate each other.\u201d Mia feels like the divorce only worked to her favour. \u201cI was so relieved, almost happy even.\u201d \u201cLife was still the same, but they just didn't need to talk to each other, so I could stop being the middleman.\u201d\u00a0 Mia felt lucky that she didn't have to live between two houses. Her parents came to the agreement that her mum would stay with the kids, but when her dad came to visit, she\u2019d move out temporarily. By that time, Mia\u2019s dad retired. She was old enough to move out and live alone. \u201cThis made me feel like I never had to officially choose one over another,\u201d Mia answered.\u00a0 In her opinion, Mia feels like people who usually have divorced families don\u2019t believe in love or marriage but she still is a hopeless romantic.\u00a0 \u201cI do still want to find love and get married despite my commitment issues. One thing though, I will never be in a long-distance relationship.\u201d\u00a0 For more stories like this, read: Divorce: How Things Get Ugly and What You Should Know Before Marriage and My Daughter Was Taught by Her Mother to Hate Me \u2013 Here\u2019s My Story If you like what you read, follow us on Facebook & Instagram.