Have you found yourself single again after marriage, kids, and the white picket fence?
After planning my life perfectly, I found myself separated from my husband last year, after 10 years of marriage.
While we did all that we could to remain married, sometimes it just doesn’t work out. I often regret decisions that I made throughout our marriage, but one thing I don’t regret is the three beautiful children that came out of what was a loving situation.
After we separated, I spent a lot of time pondering what my life would look like. As a single mother of three children, how would I move on? How would I reclaim my life without my husband in it?
Healing takes time and despite me knowing the divorce was the right thing to do, I still grieved tremendously. No one gets married planning their divorce, nor do we plan to ever date again. We think we found our person, so we say goodbye to our single lives.
Dating after divorce can sometimes be unthinkable. Dating after kids can also sometimes be unthinkable. Who would want to date a 30-something divorced mother of three? That is a lot to take on.
I felt guilty for a long time, that my divorce had somehow had a negative impact on my children. I didn’t deserve to find someone else. I needed to tend to the children and keep my wants and desires to myself, right? Isn’t that what we are supposed to do?
The short answer is – no.
We deserve to be happy and if finding someone else to be part of your journey will make you happy, do it. I don’t think I become less of a mother or less of a co-parent when I start to look for what makes me happy. I deserve to find someone that can fulfill all of the needs that weren’t met during my previous relationship. I deserve to go out and have a good time. I deserve happiness.
Dating after 10 years has been a struggle, though. What do I wear? Do we kiss on the first date? Where do people go nowadays? Do I need to start an account on a dating site? So many questions I had when I first started this journey; however, I finally was brave enough to get out there again… and it has been fun!
While dating sites haven’t worked for me, I find getting to know people in person as friends and then pursuing them down the road works best for me. I have decided not to introduce anyone to my children unless I am really sure they will be around for a while. While they are young and likely won’t remember who I date, it is really important for me to keep things as consistent as possible. If I decide that a person is ready to meet my kids, I will introduce them to my ex-husband first as a courtesy, to ensure he is comfortable with the person. He has done the same for me and I appreciate that more than he knows.
If you find yourself single with kids, I say get out there and have a good time. It has been hilarious at times trying to navigate a dating life when I had been with one person for so long. Getting to know a new individual is exciting and fun and I took each opportunity to learn more about myself; what I like and dislike in a partner.
And if you aren’t ready, that is ok, too. Take your time, grieve, and then get out there again, mama!