Trash the Dress private support group member Michal has a story too adorable not to share. This is proof that people are in your life for a reason, even if you don’t realize why at the time. And I think all the single moms with little boys will have a laugh towards the end. OK, stop reading my thoughts and start reading Michael’s guest blog:
My story begins in high school. I had a serious boyfriend. We dated all through high school and off and on through college. I was always hesitant to take out relationship to the next level. I was the product of divorce after all, and did not want to end up divorced and alone like my mother.
Plus, for some reason, my boyfriend always felt so, well, boring! He was all I had known as far as dating guys and I felt that there had to be “more” out there. No one ends up with their high school sweetheart, right?
So after college I got a “real” job, dumped my boyfriend…and boom, met who I thought was the love of my life, right in the office break room! Who knew he was so close? Before I knew it, I was completely infatuated. Like, crazy-head-over-heels-can’t-be-away-from-you-for-ten-minutes infatuated. Then our company reorganized and he was transferred halfway across the country. We gave the long distance thing the ol’ college try. We flew out to see each other on weekends, sent emails and flowers and after about six months, it was shit or get off the pot time. So I jumped on the sword.
I quit the job I loved and left all my friends and family to go be his everything. That should have snapped me out of it. Why was I dropping everything important in my life to go be someone else’s other half? He certainly wasn’t willing to do that for me. But it didn’t matter; I loved him so deeply I would have (and did) do anything for him.
So over the following year, I learned to do everything as he wanted. I didn’t have any friends or family around, so what else was I going to do with my time, anyways? He began drinking heavily. I turned a blind eye, just like I turned a blind eye to his frequent indiscretions.
I remember the night before our wedding. I sat at a table with my sisters and mother and looked them in the eyes. I asked, “Am I doing the right thing? Should I be getting married?” My questions were met with silence. So the next day, I walked down the isle and said my vows.
It was two weeks after my wedding when everything finally came to a head. It’s hard to turn a blind eye when you are forced face to face with the “other woman.” As it turns out, she was one of many. I moved out. But a week later I was back home with him. I meant my vows and loved this man and he said he loved me, too. So it was off to marriage counseling we went.
That’s where he effectively charmed the pants off our therapist. Man, this guy was good.
Then I found out I was pregnant.
There I was, no family or friends but a philandering husband. I was too ashamed to tell anyone what had been going on. I convinced myself I would make it work. I would do whatever it took to keep our family together for my baby.
Two weeks after our son was born, I realized this had to be the end. He had lost his job, so there was no reason to stay where we were. I convinced him to let us move back closer to my family. Once there, (around my support system) I carefully planned and waited for the exact moment I could leave- the moment where I could muster the strength to do what I knew I needed to do. I let my family in on what had been going on. When my son was six months old, I finally kicked him out. My priority was getting my son and myself into a healthy and happy living situation.
I somehow got myself through the next year. I swear there were days when the only reason I got out of bed was because of my son. I had to get through. I couldn’t lie in bed and be sad my marriage ended. I couldn’t feel sorry for myself. I had to get up and make funny faces and sing songs and try to be the best mom AND dad for my little one.
My ex moved away and has little involvement with his child. I was a divorced, single parent. A 28-year-old scared, divorced single parent. All my friends were getting engaged and married and here I was: the epic buzz kill.
Life went on for months like this. It sounds cliché, but I swear everyday got a little easier. Not necessarily in that order though. Some days were harder than the day before and some were easier. But it eventually got to the point where I had more good days than bad. I do think that having my son helped me. It forced me to not dwell on the past. It forced me to get up, get out, and laugh. His smile made me smile. Even when on the inside I felt like crying.
It’s been just over two years now. My son is thriving. My life is finally starting to look like a life again! I made a career change, moved into a new place and effectively started over. Only now I don’t feel like my life got screwed up and made me start over. I feel like life HAPPENED and I was given a unique opportunity to change it- to be more authentic and more empathetic. I’m even dating again. Remember the serious boring boyfriend from high school? Well, as it turns out, sometimes you need a little boring ;). This boring boy turned into an amazing man. One who lifts me up, adores my son, and would never want me to leave the things or people I love. He’s helped me believe in love again. It’s out there probably in the last place you expect to find it.
Every now and then I think about my marriage and what “went wrong” and the “signs” I ignored or missed completely. Looking back, I can see that I had what I would consider an unhealthy infatuation with him. I was willing to give up too many things that make me who I am just to please him. I made mistakes. Lord knows he made mistakes. We BOTH made a mistake in getting married. Sometimes just because you have a strong connection with someone, or a lot of passion doesn’t mean that you are compatible. Going through this has been traumatic, sad, hilarious, awkward, and enlightening. And what do you know? I’m standing on the other side now and I’m still alive! Cheesy as it may be. It’s the truth.
Now I get to the hard part. I made it throughout the divorce. Can I make it through raising a strong, independent, courteous, loving, kind, smart, stand up little man by myself? I think I’m up to the challenge. It will be hard, and I won’t always get it right, but I owe it to my son to do the very best I can. We have already started our first challenge: how to potty train a boy when you haven’t got a man at home to show him the ropes! (At first I just was having him sit to pee, but the boys at daycare stand, and he wants to be like them). So last night, he peed all over the toilet seat.
Single mommy lesson #1: Don’t forget to put the toilet seat up or else you will be cleaning up pee. Lesson learned. I am sure this is just one of many things that will come up on this crazy ride, and if I’m lucky, I will be able to handle them like I handled the pee- a moment of shock, a minute to process, and explosive laughter.