Being a divorcee and a single mom is scary stuff. No matter how your marriage ended, whether it was initiated by you, your partner or a mutual agreement, it’s tough – and you probably feel emotionally raw and alone when all is said and done. As women, and monogamously wired human beings—by design, we long for the day when we’ll be in love, and whole again. At least I did.
If the idea of being in love or having a partner doesn’t excite you, don’t date. You’re not quite ready yet. Wait for the day when you get butterflies at the thought of someone new. Butterflies are fun, after all.
This is my story.
Stumbling upon love.
When I got divorced, my first priority was the well-being and happiness of my daughter. On a personal level, though, I had a deep and longing desire to do two things: be myself and be social. It’s those two things that got me to where I am today (almost four years after my divorce): in a healthy marriage.
After my divorce, I was open to love, but I wasn’t actively seeking it. Again, my personal objectives were to be accepted and loved for who I was and to get out there socially (which also kept me busy when my daughter spent time with her father).
I showed up at happy hours after work that I never went to before. I talked to people I never talked to before. I said “yes” to more things, and I simply embraced more life. When you do that, you open up opportunities for friendship, and sometimes, love.
I’m with my (now) husband because I said “yes” to a party invitation. I hardly knew anyone at the party, but I went. My motivations for going where not to find a husband, but rather, to meet new people and have a good time. (We obviously hit it off, though).
What mattered most.
If I was going to date, I wasn’t going to waste time on someone I didn’t see a future with, someone that didn’t have the potential to be a father figure to my daughter. While I made wise decisions about how I spent my child-free time, I was lucky that my first relationship post divorce was the real deal. I know it doesn’t happen like that for everyone. That aside, though, every woman should know what they need in a relationship, whether they get it right out of the gate or they have to kiss a few frogs first.
Respect mattered most to me. I needed to feel respected for being a woman, a mother, a friend, a daughter, a professional, a Catholic.
When someone respects and loves you for whoever you are right then and there, everything else seems to fall into place.
Things felt easy and natural. Nothing was forced. We were compatible, something I hadn’t experienced before in any relationship.
When your child meets your special someone.
Naturally, I wanted the new special person in my life to meet another very special person in my life, my daughter. I knew very early on that my husband and I had a future together. (Again, I was lucky). So after four months of dating, I introduced my daughter to my boyfriend. They met at a neutral place, College Hill Park. It was a nice spring day. My daughter and I brought the dog for a walk and I introduced her to my “friend.” I didn’t want to throw too much at her initially, especially since she was only four. When the time was right, I shared more.
Because my husband respected me and my daughter, their relationship grew. Even before we were married we felt like a family, and I could tell that he deeply cared for her and enjoyed her company, which made my heart full. I remember when I got divorced, my mom told me that it would take someone special to enter a relationship with the added responsibility of being a dad. She was right.
Everyone’s love story is unique. If yours hasn’t begun yet, be patient. Live your life, do what’s best for your child and yourself and let the rest fall into place!