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Reactions to being a single parent

(39 Posts)
LSAR Sat 03-Sep-11 22:06:09

Everytime someone says where is your partner and I say he left us some people go owe thats so sad or twice they never really spoke to me again feeling that it was wrong and liked the child with husband circle. Has anyone else had any experiences like this or are you the person that believes you should be married first anyway?.

MeMySonAndI Sun 04-Sep-11 00:01:23

I normally answer "he is fine, we are not together anymore, but we both are doing great" followed with a big smile. It has not put people off yet...I think...

It may help not to let people feel pity for you, if they feel uncomfortable (or think they may have made you uncomfortable...) it is not easy for them to approach you again.

WibblyBibble Sun 04-Sep-11 08:26:23

Yes, I have had this. I think it is because people are selfish gits who only think of themselves. Luckily I know several other single mums.

BelleDameSansMerci Sun 04-Sep-11 08:32:53

I don't think I've ever been directly asked although when it comes up, I just say that we're not together. I don't think I've ever been treated differently as a result though. I'd suggest that anyone who thinks less of you for not being in a relationship is a bit of an arse and best avoided anyway...

teahouse Sun 04-Sep-11 20:21:31

I have had this a lot. Often people don't really know what to say, especially when they ask how long I've been alone and I reply 'over a decade'.

I like to think it's because us LPs make 2-parent families feel slightly inadequate as we manage to 'manage' it all; OK, maybe we don't have holidays often and struggling financially is pretty much a given, but that we nearly always buck the 'typical tabloid single-mum' stereotype confuses people... go us LPs ;o)

Meglet Sun 04-Sep-11 20:29:19

I haven't experienced this yet. DS starts school this week and it's crossed my mind that I might get some negative opinions of LP's.

If I hear any crackers (good or bad) I'll be back to let you all know!

gillybean2 Mon 05-Sep-11 07:17:46

LSAR - you are kind of giving a negative attitude with that answer. If you said he left us, thank goodness! Or we're not together and we parent much better that way they may find it easier. Your current answer doesn't give them an easy way to move the conversation on and may come across as quite bitter and may leave people feeling uncomfortable about how to respond (although hard to tell from typed words on a screen how you actually phrase it of course...)

Meglet - if the response you get is negative at first this will hopefully change over your ds's school life.
When ds started school I was pretty much the only lone parent. By the time he left there were several, and people seemed to become more, though not totally, accepting when people they knew started separating the more of us there were. Course I was still the only slapper one who had a baby without getting married first so I was still more hmm than the others.
Plus you never quite get past that attitude of she's going to steal my dh! One lady actually said 'I'm going to be out when you drop ds back, but dh will be there. Is that ok with you?' Urm yes, as long as there's someone at home I can pass him back too...

Ds's friends would ask where his dad was when they came over. They were much more accepting. I simply said he lives abroad and they just said 'oh ok' and carried on with whatever they were doing.

BodyUnknown Mon 05-Sep-11 08:01:45

I'm the only one of my old friendship group with a baby, almost all the other parents I know are at least 10 years older than me, and to top it all we didn't even make it to DD's first birthday before calling it quits.

I actually (naively) thought that because I am generally an alright person with a decent career and great education behind me, people would not stigmatise me in the same way that they might the 'stereotypical' single mother (not that that is right either, of course). How wrong I was!

When people ask how I am, I usually say 'oh, we're great, DD's dad and I are no longer together, but we find things are better for all of us this way' and that seems to deflect the negativity. But I do get pitied, and I can guarantee that at some stage over lunch/coffee/any social contact, the other person will say (condescendingly) 'I just don't know how you manage', as if life is nigh on impossible for anyone without a husband...

Of course, I'm the slag who got pregnant after 5 weeks with a new partner (I rarely tell people that bit!), never been married and never intend to be either.

OP, I do find that people rarely want to hang out with a single mum and her kid. They are just used to the couple with children scenario and don't know how to behave around someone they might see as having been dreadfully hurt and 'left holding the baby' so to say. If they stop calling you, you could take the reins and call them, inviting them round for tea with you and your children, for example. If they still don't want much to do with you, that's their problem and their loss but at least you will have made the effort.

elastamum Mon 05-Sep-11 12:36:04

It is sad, but you definatley get 'special' treatment being a LP.

I have recently met a new partner and suddenly we are getting dinner inviations as a couple from old friends of mine. I feel like saying 'have I become socially acceptable once more?'

Where were they when I was on my own and really needed the companyhmm

missindependent Mon 05-Sep-11 16:49:37

I've been a LP for 12 years and my experience wasn't as negative, but I was very young when I became a LP and most of my friends weren't parents or in couples, we all mostly hung out as single people. I was quite lucky that I had my family around to help with childcare so I could do that. I tended to get quite a lot of admiration from my (childless) friends about my situation rather than pity or prejudice.

I do think the phrase 'he left us' is quite negative and puts people in an awkward position. Occasionally people have just assumed I have a partner and I don't always correct them (if I'm unlikely to see them again). But if they ask directly I'm more likely to say that I don't have one, which is more neutral (it was me who left him anyway in our case and I suppose I'm happier with the situation because of that).

Meglet Mon 05-Sep-11 17:50:50

When anyone asks me what happened with XP, I say "we broke up, Thank God!". They must think I'm a heartless cow blush..

Zanywany Tue 06-Sep-11 11:31:21

I just tell people that we are divorced but all OK and he is still involved in the DC's life alot. It used to piss me off annoy me when my sister used to say to people that she felt sorry for my children whilst at the same time didn't speak to me or my DC's!

I definately don't get invited out to 'couples' evenings anymore and a very good friend of mine is no longer allowed to see me because his girlfriend won't allow it now I'm single.

Other peoples attitudes used to bother me but now I just think if my DC's are happy then I'm happy

theredhen Tue 06-Sep-11 12:50:08

I live in a small town and when EXH and I split, lots of rumours went round, some true, some not so true.

You could feel the eyes burning into our backs when we both turned up at parents evenings and the such like. I'm sure they all wanted a show, but I just smiled sweetly as always and got on with it. I'm sure we disappointed them all!

signothetimes Tue 06-Sep-11 15:48:00

I've a very guarded person, and don't usually indulge in conversations about my personal life with people I don't know well. For all the reasons already listed. On the few occasions I've mentioned it, after a long period of getting to know someone, they are usually shock for some reason. I seem to have a knack of avoiding a straight question about my situation, and even the sneaky ones asking if I'm planning on having any more kids, I always say DD is more than enough for me. I was never judged or defined by my circumstances before I became a single parent and really resent anyone having an unfounded opinion on me and my life just because I'm a single parent. The opinions are always wrong too.

TastyMuffins Tue 06-Sep-11 20:54:20

If anyone says anything like 'Oh, that's sad' or 'Sorry to hear that', I let them know that it isn't sad, I'm much happier now and things are great.

susiedaisy Tue 06-Sep-11 21:03:27

Tbh I haven't had any negative vibes from people, some people say oh I'm sorry thats sad to which I usually reply yes it is sad but we had been so unhappy for such along time it is a relief to be free of all the stress, which is the truth, what they think of that well I don't care tbh, my close friends and family have been fantastic and so supportive as they could see what a prick he was towards the kids and me, what the general public think is completely irrelevant to mesmile

BearGrylls Wed 07-Sep-11 12:07:50

I find the school playground the worst, luckily I give as good as I get. Of a class of 25 children, I am the only single parent - my choice and the best decision I have made in recent years. I have a good job, am well educated, busy social life and great friends (oh, and three wonderful children). i thrive on my independence.

We are a socialble lot and regularly all get together. On one such evening I was getting the sympathetic head tilts from a couple of them and responded by daring them all to rate their happiness on a scale of 1 to 10, questioned how many were in abusive marriages, stayed together for financial reasons and had cause to question their husband's fidelity. I have not had any comments since. I feel we LP's have more reasons to be smug smile

BearGrylls Wed 07-Sep-11 12:09:26

Though I really need to remember to preview my messages first for typos!

signothetimes Wed 07-Sep-11 14:54:31

Loving that post bear typos and all! <note to self - must remember for future reference> grin

susiedaisy Wed 07-Sep-11 15:10:42

Bear- that has surprised me actually how many women ( haven't spoken to men about it) are staying in a marriage because they are too scared to make a move, worried about losing their home, worried about not havin enough cash , too worried about raising the dc on their own, sad and yet they are really unhappy, now I am not judging them, I stayed in a miserable marriage for four years linger than I should of out of fear of the unknown, and separating is a huge step for anyone to take, but the prospect of staying in a very unhappy marriage for the rest of my life was even more daunting to me tbh,

surprisearrival Wed 07-Sep-11 22:33:55

i love reading your experiences! makes me feel a tiny bit less alone, less like a failure and less like my baby and I are abnormal! My dd is 6 months old. father doesnt want to be involved, said he wanted to meet her (but on the 2 occassions he was meant to, he got arrested...). I've found it hideously hard to cope with peoples (family included) reactions to me as a single mum.(one example - she has bright blue eyes and I have green, the constant "oh i guess that makes it easier to work out who her father is" (I know exactly who he is just havent shared it with anyone other than a very close friend; stupidly to protect him and his family, found out he is actually engaged with 3 children - lying scumbag).

DD was an unexpected arrival, so adjusting to being a mum was/is hard, and having to cope with the negativeness surrounding being a LP.. not good! I feel proud of my beautiful baby, and knowing that shes due to me, and me alone is a nice feeling, reading your posts make me feel a bit less ashamed of myself.

ramble, its a bad day today (teething sucks!)

BearGrylls Thu 08-Sep-11 13:18:13

I am sure I'm not alone when I say that living with ex-p was like having another child anyway! Now its only me any my 3ds which is so much easier. Being a parent is hard work whether you are single or in a relationship, but when you do it on your own it is incredibly rewarding. My ds's benefit from only one set of expectations so there is no conflict or mixed messages, and I try to set as best an example as I can. We are a happy little group!

By getting out of a bad relationship or refusing to accept bad behaviour from a partner/ex etc you are setting a good example for you children and that has to be a good thing. Of course the world isn't like Disney and I'm sure none of us intended or expected to find ourselves as lone parents but its just the way it turns out sometimes. Circumstances can change in a heartbeat, those who look down on us should bear that in mind! wink

susiedaisy Thu 08-Sep-11 13:34:03

Bear- completely agreegrin

LSAR Thu 08-Sep-11 14:01:07

Hi, was alittle unwell for a few days. Thanks for your responses I appreciate them all. I will change my way of how I say I am a LP. I should choose my words and it is their problem not mine. One of the people that treated me this way by cutting me out and only has friends who have a partners. Her husband looks deeply stressed and unhappy not like what he was before he is clearly under pressure this has been confirmed by another person to be true. People can often be cruel but sometimes their taking the attention away from their own lives. I am glad to single rather than being in a unhappy relationship.

RushyBay Tue 13-Sep-11 13:54:09

susiedaisy - totally agree. My relationship with DD's father has just ended, and although I feel sad that it didn't work, I feel so much happier for being on my own.

But when I first told my close group of friends, I found myself struggling to justify our decision. Every time I said, 'oh, I feel so much better not having to put up with xyz', one of them would say, 'oh I know what you mean, DH does <something along the same lines but even worse> all the time!' I drove home thinking that I wouldn't want to be in any of their marriages... perhaps marriage is just not for me?!

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