Submitted by Delaine Moore
So I broke up with someone last week – a single dad of two. He’s the first man I’ve gone out with since divorcing that I contemplated getting serious with whatsoever. But even though we got along brilliantly, even though he said he was crazy about me, one main thing deterred his interest: the fact that I have three kids. And I admit, it slapped me in the face and kind of hurt. Not because my feelings were that deep for him – but because this scenario has always been one of my greatest fears…how about you?
When he first expressed his feelings to me (via email), I admit I was mad and wanted to scream, “You’re a F***’ing coward!” I mean, jeez, he’s a parent too, and he’d rambled on about how he’s learned to take risks and grab life by the horns since divorcing. Guess I found myself another ‘talker’, not ‘walker’….
But I didn’t lash out. Instead, I deleted his phone numbers and email address as gestures of “screw you.” And those rituals made me feel somewhat better – gone, done, whatever; the past few years have well-trained me for sudden endings…
Over the next few days, my anger turned to forlornness as my mind drifted to my closest girlfriends, both whom are divorced moms and are now in serious relationships. For there are BIG differences between their situations and mine: first, they only have two kids, not three (doesn’t each child you have up the ‘intimidation factor’?). Two, their ex-husbands take their children often and on a regular schedule. Mine doesn’t. Bottom line is I’m a TRULY-full-time mom. Any man who falls for me also has to be prepared to be strong step-father figure. How many men out there want THAT? I mean, when you cross out all the divorced dads my age who are carrying emotional cargo on their backs AND you cross out all the non-dad bachelors who are set in their me-focused worlds, who am I left with?
But a few more days to think on it, has me shaking me off my blues and holding my head high. In fact, I almost find my brain’s need to figure out the ‘grim odds’ of my meeting such a man laughable. Why? Many reasons. And darn right, I’m going to share them:
Number one, I LOVE being a mom and would never change that for a second! I love the fact my house is constantly full of kids and my weekends are slotted with family activities. Moreover, I KNOW my kids are so loving and open to having a strong male figure in their lives that whoever takes on that role one day is going to be thanking his lucky stars! My children and our lifestyle will be a blessing/bonus to him, not a hindrance.
Secondly, just because I’ve been programmed to believe I’m ‘missing something’ just because I’m a mom with no man in her life, doesn’t make it true. My life is full and joyful in MANY respects, even if I don’t have everything figured out. If there’s anything the chaos of infidelity and divorce has taught me these past years it’s that I’m way stronger than I ever thought, and life is to be lived right NOW. Sometimes, in my mind’s eye, I see myself at eighty years old, scolding the Delaine of today: “Stop thinking so damn much!” she says. “Just get out there and enjoy yourself!” I’m young, healthy, attractive, smart, and hey – I can still enjoy the many pleasures of dating different men. I’d be a fool NOT to take advantage of the male opportunities I’m presented with.
Thirdly, even if THIS guy wasn’t THE guy for me, I am so very pleased and proud of myself for allowing myself to take a risk and actually feel for a man again; it’s been a long time coming! And how lucky am I that I discovered his take on things before I got too invested. No – he wasn’t meant to be my new life-partner, he was meant to be a stepping stone, a well-lit beacon reminding me of how far I’ve already come. Moreover, in the big scheme of things, I’ve a strong sense that my relationship with this man was ultimately designed to test my Big Looming Fear – the one that said, “You’re unlovable and unworthy because you’re a single mom.”
It’s funny eh? How our brains race ahead trying to figure out our futures for us? And how they trick us into believing it’s all bad? But I call bullshit on mine here. Instead I pull from my pool of ‘truths’ which are solidified every time something goes astray in my life : I need to focus on WHAT I want, and let the universe figure out the HOW. In my heart, I TRULY believe that there is a wonderful match out there for everyone. And some incredible man is going to look at me and my three kids and say, “WOW. This is EXACTLY what I want.” He will adore me in ways I’ve yet to experience, and love my children like his own because he is truly THAT great a man.
And even though that kind of man/person is a rare breed, one that is the exception, not the rule in today’s day in age, I WANT exceptional. And I know he’s out there looking for me/ us.