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Lone parents: give it to me straight please.

(28 Posts)
verygentlydoesit Sun 28-Apr-13 09:31:36

I lurk on the lone parents thread and I can see that for many people bring a lone parent is tough. I take my hat off to every single one of you.

I'm in a less than perfect relationship (of 9 years) with a man with a hefty selfish streak. We have a wonderful 6yo DS.

I'm pretty positive that the MN consensus on the relationship boards would be to leave the bastard. I'm feeling more and more tempted, but very afraid of making a terrible mistake.

We split once, for a year when DS was 1. We were apart for a year so I've some idea of what single parenting can be like. It was hard, I missed DP and missed sharing the highs and lows of parenting with him.

I think a part of me is staying with him for DS. I know I will get flamed for this. I tell myself the good times together far outweigh the bad stuff- were rarely alltogether though so the good times are infrequent.

It feels like the posters on this board are on the other side of the decision that I am weighing up (plus many of you had the decision taken out of your hands).

So I'm wondering if, with the benefit of what you now know, would you advise someone like me to LTB. Or is it (as I suspect) sometimes better to stay.

I know it's hard to advise without lots of information about our relationship, and I'm trying to keep this brief- he is rather selfish but a good dad who DS adores. He doesn't pull his weight in any capacity. I can manage (just) financially without him and house is in my name.

puds11isNAUGHTYnotNAICE Sun 28-Apr-13 09:38:43

I would say when the bad outweighs the good, it's definitely time to leave. Its usually time to leave before it even gets to that point.

I've been on my own for nearly a year now and I much prefer it. I like having the freedom to do what I want and have people over to my house.

The main question is are you happy? Because if not that will effect your son more than a separation would.

bunchamunchycrunchycarrots Sun 28-Apr-13 09:51:20

For all the difficulty that lone parenting brings to my life, it is still worth it in many ways. I might not be rolling in money but I'm no longer drowning in debt. I might be knackered at times but I'm not exhausted by a selfish miserable man child who did little to contribute to the mundane everyday stuff. I might pine for a bit of company at times when stuck in at night but at least I'm not stuck in 'cos my OH has taken for granted he can go out as often as he liked without worrying about stuff like who will look after DD? And I can get cover when I really need it so I do get out more now than I did when with my ex.

My DD adores her dad too and being apart from him hasn't diminished that for her. They do have a different relationship now compared to when we lived together but that is entirely down to the actions of my selfish ex.

If you are not happy, if you are knackered dealing with him, if you are capable of living independently and if your DS has a good relationship with his dad despite his less than desirable qualities as a partner, then I think you should LTB. But, it's your decision.

glitch Sun 28-Apr-13 09:59:10

I have been a lone parent for 8 months now and although it can be tiring I wouldn't go back.
I have a closer relationship with my DS, I am not worried about trying to please someone else all the time, and I feel happier. It can be lonely but I am fortunate in that myself and my ex communicate well still especially about our ds.

Lonecatwithkitten Sun 28-Apr-13 10:02:47

I find it much easier to be a good parent as a happy person who is not constantly being got at for all my ' imperfections'.

BenjaminButton172 Sun 28-Apr-13 10:16:39

I have been a lone parent for 6 years and i find it hard seeing someone else in the house.

DD and i can do what we want without having anyone else to think about. I dont need to worry about feeding someone else, i dont need to worry about coming home from work and seeing the house is a mess, i dont need to rely on anyone financially. If i want to treat myself to something i can. I love the freedom.

On the other hand yes it is hard bringing up a child on ur own. Some days if my dd is acting up & not listening id like someone to back me up.

I have a very good group of family and friends who share the highs and lows with me.

If u are happy i would say to stay but if u are not happy and can not see the future changing i would tell u to leave. Your child wont thank you for staying in an unhappy house as they will pick up on it.

No one can tell u what to do though. It is ur decision.

HerrenaHarridan Sun 28-Apr-13 11:44:44

Puds is spot on! If the good outweighs the bad, that's life. If the bad outweighs the good, get out!

Rather that answer your question with the sparse info you have given I would as you

Do you think you ds is growing up with a healthy idea of what kind of relationship he should be forging in the future?

Can you honestly imagine spending the rest if your life with this man (not just ds childhood)?

For me being a single parent has been a wholesale improvement.
The hardest parts are being ill, letting her go for contact with a man I don't trust and those special moments where you want to say look x she is doing y ( but I didn't have that anyway)

The best bits are everything else! Only having to clear up after me and dd, not having to clean round a messy lump! Eating meals at normal times (x used to serve dinner at 1am on a regular basis!)
Being able to socialise again and reforming friendships that ex had strangled

verygentlydoesit Sun 28-Apr-13 11:53:57

Thank you so much for your responses. I'm reading them all carefully and taking it all in. Am on my phone ATM so can't type a proper reply but will be back later.

acceptableinthe80s Sun 28-Apr-13 12:02:41

Tbh Op the hardest part of being a single parent (aside from being ill) is babyhood/toddlerhood. Once you get past that it's really not that difficult, especially if you have supportive family/friends.
I once stayed in an unhappy relationship for far too long, never again. Life is too short.

Piemother Sun 28-Apr-13 13:08:34

The lows of lone parenting are being tired, worrying about money and not being able to go out much. Actually those were big issues in my marriage too, the difference is that only the kids cause them and not on purpose.
Lone parenting in the practical sense is quite challenging but in the mental sense it's been totally liberating for me.
There is no resentment. And I never dread going home grin

lizzie479 Sun 28-Apr-13 15:42:28

Hi OP I have been a LP for 6 months now. One of the other posters hit the nail on the head by saying can you imagine growing old with this man? If you 'know' that you are just staying for the children and that your marriage has an expiration date it will be purgatory and the indecision will leave you hopeless and depressed (I think). Having said that being a LP has been tough, lonely and sad for me BUT gradually I can feel the fog lifting and I am adjusting to this new life. If you have supportive friends and parents who can help you out practically, emotionally and possibly (parents) financially this will help ease the burden of doing it all alone. I think the hardest thing for me has been not being able to go out when I want to without lots of planning ahead, tiredness, worry about finances, dealing with the kids alone. BUT I do not have that awful feeling that I used to get when in my relationship...the nagging doubts, the stress related health problems, the awful rows and panic. Him never saying sorry or really seeming to care about my well being. Its easy to forget all the bad about a relationship when you are on your own with the kids especially if it was your decision to end it (like it was with me). Its hard not to question myself as to wether or not I should have wethered the storm and improved my behaviour (I was no saint either) to make it work long term and reap the lovely benefits of a long marriage that has not always been a bed of roses. I guess in the end it all comes down to do you love him enough? Some people stay together through thick and thin because they love each other enough, some people stay for the kids, some stay through fear of the unknown......its your decision. All I know is that when we were on the verge of breaking up I was about to ask for anti depressants. Since we broke up I have probably faced the most difficult transition of my life but I have never felt that I needed anti depressants to get me through. Yet when I had enough money, a partner, the typical nuclear family set up I was sinking into depression, why? Because I was not facing up to how I really felt about the relationship and that I didn't want to be there any more....I stayed too long for the kids and it almost cost me my mental health.

lizzie479 Sun 28-Apr-13 15:46:38

Just to say that being a lone parent has its upsides and mainly for me that is a sense of calm and peace (generally) in the home. Forging new friendships and strengthining old ones, growing as a person and being more empathetic and kind, resulting in helping others. Rediscovering who you are and planning for a new future with you and your kids. Plus not having skidmarks in the toilet, no awful snoring, no criticism of my food, no adult tantrums to deal with etc ;)

Piemother Sun 28-Apr-13 15:57:03

Lizzie I empathise with so much of your post. The never caring about my well being especially. I think we can weather a lot in a marriage if we know that fundamentally out partner wants us to be ok. If they don't theres no where to go but down hmm

lizzie479 Sun 28-Apr-13 20:19:15

I agree piemother. How is it going for you (being a lone parent) How long were you married for? No one dreams of being a single mother do they? My hand was forced sadly. Had a cracking day just me and the kids today so that's good.

lizzie479 Sun 28-Apr-13 20:21:25

Piemother I also used to dread going home and now I look forward to it x

Piemother Sun 28-Apr-13 21:09:10

5 years. Not as long as many on here but long enough!
I never dread going home now, ever. Most days are cracking with the dc. I only have problems when they are ill. Or when I'm ill but I'm v lucky to have a friend who whisks dd1 away so I can rest a bit. I make exh pill hid weight too in a way I couldn't when we were married.
I couldn't parent to the standard I aspired to when I was married. I'm not perfect now but the dc are getting the best if me grin

lizzie479 Sun 28-Apr-13 21:36:34

5yrs is long enough. I was with my ex 12 years and I struggle to remember a 'me' without him. Things have been ticking along quite nicely really for me. I still keep worrying that the sky might fall in at any point, but am getting to the stage where I have realised that my fears about what may or may not happen in the future and how I will handle it alone are emotionally draining and sapping my energy. I just take things one day at a time now. I'm looking after me more too (smile)

lizzie479 Sun 28-Apr-13 21:37:08

I don't know how to add smileys !!! ha ha sorry!

lizzie479 Sun 28-Apr-13 21:38:48

Its good to remember that we can't be perfect too. I spent the first three months post break up trying to keep life the same and do the job of two people but I exhausted myself! Take care piemother x

Piemother Sun 28-Apr-13 22:16:09

Yep. Took a while to realise I could make changes that suit dd and I better.
Op, despite the extra work you still get more rest as a lone parent.

Spero Sun 28-Apr-13 22:21:14

That's the killer phrase - dreading going home.

I may get irritated or tired sometimes, but there is no dread. No dealing with anger, sulks, doing most of it by myself anyway.

If you can manage financially without him, I ask what are you waiting for?

Nat38 Mon 29-Apr-13 17:57:37

I have been a LP for almost a year now, it is lovely pleasing myself on a lot of things with both my DD`s. Their dad still has a huge say in their lives but I do say that this is what we are doing, they are safe else we would not be doing it! He had the chance to do every thing with us but told us we was not!! So that is lovely that we can as long as we are safe-I just tell him to butt out sometimes!
As said before, I can be tired/exhausted but I was before being a LP, its just a bit more!!

queenofthepirates Mon 29-Apr-13 18:33:28

I LOVE being a single mum, there's so many benefits. I would recommend it if you feel you don't want to be in a relationship, just be prepared and don't sweat the small stuff x

BitOutOfPractice Mon 29-Apr-13 18:36:22

I'm a single parent. But not a lone parent. My exH and I share the parenting of our dc. If your DH is still involved with your DS's life when you part, it will be much less stressful and hard than being together and unhappy.

If he fucks off and you have no support with your ds, it will seem much harder

MissPricklePants Mon 29-Apr-13 18:51:48

<waves> I am a single mum, have been for nearly 4 years and have a 3.11 yo dd! Downsides: tired, managing finances alone, nobody to share things with and no support (in my situ)
Plus side: Not accountable to anyone, can do what I want with my dd, no dealing with sulking ex, amazing bond with my dd loads of benefits to it. I can't see myself ever having a long term relationship again and I don't have time to!

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