Like most, my marriage ended long before it was legally over, so I have been ‘single’ now over four years. We were in the midst of a myriad of outside factors that were in motion, so instead of dealing with it, I made a variety of changes trying to avoid the problem. I bought a new home that provided me several areas to “escape” including a suite separated from the rest of the house that I moved into and lovingly referred to as the Mommie cave. I focused on and travelled for work as much as possible. I separated as many activities as I could between things she (my daughter) did with me, versus things she did with him.
It took some time to acknowledge that all the space and separation I was creating would not solve the issues. At the point I realized that I needed to officially end the union for the wellbeing of my daughter, it was suddenly a no brainer. She and I chatted last night about how, in retrospect, I can now clearly see the unacceptable behavior exhibited toward her was similar in nature to behaviors that I had personally accepted and excused away for years. Even becoming a parent late in life, I found it exceedingly easier to step in to protect and nurture her, than to stand up for myself.
Since leaving I swore off relationships for a period. Have I struggled with loneliness at times or wished I had a partner to lean on? Absolutely. I can say, however, the time invested in my daughter and myself has been more valuable than I’d ever imagined. In the pre-adoption years of her life, no adult had ever put her first; instead alcohol, drugs, relationships and other things had always taken precedence over her health and safety. I am thankful to have played the role in validating her value to prove to her that she is worthy of being a number one priority. Strangely, in doing so I have done the same for myself.
I have taken this time to self-evaluate and understand the love I give and have received throughout my life. I have really focused on what is most important as I think about a next relationship. I have established a great life with an amazing kid, a small group of high quality friends, a job that excites and challenges me and I’ve learned to take good care of myself. Authenticity is of utmost importance to me. I am deep and want someone who can feel and express. I am passionate and adventurous. While I am opinionated, I am also open and enjoy someone who challenges me. Most of all, I just want genuine – a good, honest, caring, dedicated, loving partner. The best part of all of it is that I recognize and truly believe I deserve this companion.
*This nonfiction piece is based on observation and research. I do not claim to be an expert in areas of public health, academia, mental health, or science, nor am I providing professional medical or legal advice. Opinions shared are expressly drawn from personal experience.