When my friend asked me if would write an article on her website I tentatively said ‘on what? ‘About being a single mum’ she informed me with a wry smile, then added, ‘I know that you aren’t anymore but you did use to have a life!’ We have known each other for years now and both being of the Piscean kind we are on the same wavelength on a lot of things so knew what she meant but still teased her with ‘as opposed to now, when I have no life at all!’
Yes, I used to be a single mum, in fact for a good few years we were single mums together. We spent many hours watching ‘chick flicks’, scoffing chocolate, drinking wine, alternating between bitching about and letching over men and when we managed to coordinate the children’s visits to the exes, we even went out to the pub and behaved like real people! We laughed, cried and spent Christmas & New Year together until I went over to the ‘other side’ and that is what she asked me to write about…my transition from single to double.
When I talked to my partner about what I was doing, we had a conversation about ‘whose version of events’ I was going to write. You see we both seem to remember things very differently! He tells it as a story of feminine seduction, where after an evening of me flicking my hair a lot over dinner, he was dragged back to my house against his will, plied with wine and then pounced upon and he couldn’t say no with my ample boobs in his face! I, however, remember it very rather differently and as I am always right then my account must be right, but a true lady never tells!
So how did I get here?
Once upon a time, there was a happy young couple with a baby and a lifetime of happy memories to create. Then 3 became 4 and life began to slide, money got tighter and they forgot what happy was. Existing, not living. I won’t bore you with the details, (if you are reading this then you chances are you know how the story goes) and one day I found myself the wrong side of 30, alone with 2 kids…thinking ‘shit, this wasn’t supposed to happen!’ I was angry, I hated men and I hated myself even more for failing at yet another relationship. Then started the spiral of self-destruction….booze, cheesecake, chocolate, crying, singing along to really sad songs (think Bridget Jones and you are there!). I swung between plotting to kill the bastard and yearning for him to come back on his knees, sweep me up in his arms and tell me it was all a big mistake and he couldn’t live without me.
Then one day it all changed. I don’t know how or why…if I did I would now be on a tropical island living off the proceeds of a self-help book, DVD and workshop fortune. I told him he would be having the kids for a week and I went 300 miles away to stay with a very close friend. I dyed my hair and got my nose pierced and came back like a woman possessed! I enrolled in college and started to live again, I made new friends and started to discover who I really was…and good god…I liked me…no… I loved me! Not in an arrogant way but just self-accepting and believing I deserved to be happy. I learned that wasn’t fat and useless as he had so often told me, I was beautiful and smart!
I can honestly say that I was happy for the first time in years. I had the bed to myself, didn’t have to shave my legs if I didn’t want to, no smelly socks or pants on the floor and I could read in bed without someone moaning that the light was keeping him awake! I was solely responsible for me for the first time in my life and liked it that way. I discovered my own opinions about things and finally learned what I really liked and what I didn’t. Money was tight and there were days when I almost fell asleep in my tea from trying to juggle studying and being mum, but to be honest their dad wasn’t much use when we’re together so it wasn’t much different really. But the best thing was that I and my beautiful kids were so close and happy and I couldn’t see a man fitting into all that.
But I missed sex! Anne Summers is great and I could well have been responsible for Duracell’s shares going through the roof, but it wasn’t long before I started to miss the thrill of the chase and the foreplay. I dipped my toe in the waters of the ‘lonely hearts’ ads in the local rag…and guess what I got…lonely hearts! Yup, sad men in jumpers who only talked about their ex-wives and how much they missed their kids. I tried nightclubbing and pubs and found men who loved the way I could shake my ample booty but who were either young enough to be my son or just too drunk to be of any use in the bedroom. I tried dating friends of friends but that just got messy, I even dated a neighbor, but that got way out of hand when his mad ex-threw a brick through the window!
Then I got a pc to help me with my studying and discovered chat sites! How seedy hear some of you say! Aren’t they full of perverts showing their bits on webcams or sad married men begging for phone or cybersex? Well yes and no. I did get my fair share of men asking within seconds if I would do phone sex but I ignored them and also found lots of other people, men, and women, who just wanted to chat about life. People who, for one reason or another, found themselves at home alone with a keyboard & a mouse. Other single parents, lonely once the kids were in bed, shy people who found the anonymity helped them feel be their true selves, shift workers who couldn’t get their sleep patterns right. I and my online buddies chatted till the small hours, confessing deep secrets and yes there was some flirting too. Some of my ‘real’ friends also signed up and we chatted online for free rather than run up huge phone bills.
I met up with some guys, always on neutral ground and with my girlfriends well aware of where I was, who I was meeting and a backup plan in place if didn’t answer a text by a certain time and with the right answer! Some I slept with and some I didn’t. It was fun and if I’m honest it suited me to have assignations with no strings attached and I don’t regret any of it. I wasn’t looking for anything serious, although did fall for one guy but if I’m truthful our relationship was built on great sex and little else! That didn’t last but I wiped my tears and moved on, I no longer defined myself by my relationships or lack of one, and life carried on.
I carried on chatting online with friends and made new ones too. One of these new friends was a guy who lived in a nearby town. He was very different to most of the guys I had talked to and met over the years, the flirtations were more subtle. When he asked to meet me I agreed and went with an open mind and no agenda…for the first time in ages! The rest is history!
Five years later, as I sit at our dining table in our beautiful home writing this, I can say I am truly content. I took me a long time to agree to live with him and it scared the living daylights out of me to make the huge commitment of buying a house together, but it scared me more to give up my independence. But I needn’t have worried….this is different….he is different…I am different.
He respects me for who I am, he loves my ample bum and finds my dizziness endearing! He buys me flowers when he has done nothing wrong and brings me breakfast in bed on a Sunday. He gives me as much space as I need and never questions my movements or my spending habits. He loves my kids and treats them as his own.Â He doesn’t flirt with my friends or put me down. He does snore and watches far too much ‘dave’ channel on Sky but then you can’t have everything!
I was happy as a single mum and am very proud of that part of my life, it taught me what I wanted from life and what is important and without that, I would not be in a healthy relationship now. But I am also happy now and have far more in my life than I ever dreamed possible. My life now is what happened to other people as far as I was concerned a few years ago. I suppose what I am trying to say is that I believe that it isn’t what happens to you that makes you who you are, it is what you do with it and you can decide to let being a single mum drag you down and be bitter or you can just get on with it and make life the best you can and see what happens. If you meet someone special so be it, but if you don’t well it doesn’t mean you are a failure, unlovable or whatever negative self talk you give yourself, it just means you haven’t met the person who deserves you yet!