Another invitation to an all couple’s dinner party! Sigh…The choices made as a single mom due to the scars carried have real implications down the road of your life if you give those scars all of your power.
I have been a single mom for 20 years.
The conditions in which I became a single mom changed my life forever. Changed me forever. Infidelity changed me forever.
I was the oldest story of the unsuspecting wife of a man having affairs. The final reveal came 1 month after having our second child. I came face to face or in my case email to email to it when I discovered his long-term affair while I was pregnant.
For 20 years I was petrified of giving my heart to anyone. I was terrified of being disrespected again and had no interest in committing myself to anyone other than my children. With an infant and a toddler, how would I ever have time to cultivate a relationship anyway?
Relationships take time and energy. Married couples are barely able to find time for their marriage when they have small children. How in the world was a single working mother of two kids under the age of 6 going to do it?
So, I didn’t. I didn’t when they were 8 and 12 and I didn’t when they were 16 and 20 and I am still not doing it now when they are 21 and 25 years old. I haven’t invested too far into anyone.
My fear and trauma kept me from finding a better fit… a better man.
“I’m afraid to fall in love again, to feel lost in someone’s thoughts because once I did and it took away all of me.” Prabhu M. Nair
If I had a nickel for how many times, I have been asked to join all couple’s dinner parties, I would be a rich woman. If I had a nickel for how many all couple’s dinner parties, I turned down… I’d have Bill Gates wealth!
Twenty years later as a result of my decisions to not explore having another relationship I find myself in a well of confused feelings. I am happy that I made the investments I did in my children…in my family. The returns on that have been tenfold.
But here I am 20 years later, and I am alone. When my husband left us for another woman just after our second child was born, I felt as if I had been murdered. My heart, soul and identity left my body.
But the initial murder wasn’t the worst of it. The fact that I kept recommitting the crime to myself over and over by allowing this morally bankrupt man to continue to assault me in my mind. I allowed him to re-injure me over and over by putting up walls that no other man could scale in an effort to protect my heart.
I threw myself into work. I threw myself into raising a family. I threw myself into any distraction I could. I worried every day of the week and twice on Sunday at the prospect of being alone. But I was building a future that would ensure that I would indeed be alone. I am a twin. I wasn’t brought into the world alone. I don’t know how to do it, and I still don’t and so, I still worry. I have worried so much about my solo future that I have sacrificed all of my present moments.
So here is who I am today. I am a 60-year-old woman who has a career…who owns her own home and has raised two children alone. I am now a Certified Life Coach who helps other single moms cope with the stresses of carrying the life of a family on her shoulders.
I am a woman who uses her past experiences which includes my past mistakes as a platform to build equal and better experiences for new single moms. I serve as a support to women who are, like me rediscovering themselves after surrendering important parts of their identities and putting their needs last.
Women, in general, are wired much more that way than men and are far more likely to sacrifice than men.
So, my advice to women is to get selfish.
My children have never seen me in a relationship.
They have only seen a very fractured relationship between their divorced parents. Two people that have learned to coexist from afar but who actually barely tolerate each other. Both seemingly still angry at each other.
“It isn’t brave to love. It’s brave to love again.” Michael Xavier
Even though I help other women it doesn’t mean that I don’t still have work to do on myself. I do. It is only recently that I am able to shake off the insecurities of abandonment and face my future with my head up. I know I am worthy of love now. It just took a while.
The lessons were hard that’s for sure.
The hole that I literally could feel squarely in the middle of my chest from a broken heart is healing nicely now.
It is my time to be good to myself.
If only I could have stopped to take a breath and take the needed time to heal my wounds when I was younger. If only I could have been brave for myself and not just for everyone else.
I spent a lot of time keeping up an image that I was fine alone. I was a strong secure woman who was totally confident and together. I didn’t need anyone.
Truth is, everyone needs someone. But they also deserve someone who is trustworthy and honorable. I don’t regret divorcing a dishonest man. I regret not taking the time to allow the opportunity to find an honest one.
So, take time to explore this part of being you.
It doesn’t seem important at 40 years old.
It is when you are 60.
My emotional self is much younger than 60. I feel like I am about 40. I have so much energy to live and this also can present a challenge. I am not able to retire because I have given so much of myself as well as my financial security to raising a family alone.
Men my age are entering retirement. Most of my friends are now retiring. That is not an option for me. I have to remain relevant and inspired and stimulated. I don’t want to sit and rock on a porch. Well, maybe some days I do.
But the challenge I face now, is how do I find someone that is at the same place that I am? I am not even close to that rocking chair. I don’t know the answer to that. But maybe…just maybe I can find that person.
What I know for sure is that it will take some courage. And if I were to harvest all of the courage, I have had to muster up in order to raise a family alone for the past twenty years, well then, I sure as heck can find it for this new challenge. This very personal challenge.
My advice to all is to take chances when the right man crosses your path. You don’t have to jump into something deep right away, but you do deserve to explore the possibilities. Your children will learn a lot too. Be smart but be brave. I wish you all a good journey. And don’t forget to have some fun too!