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What's it like, really, to be an LP?

38 replies

BoozeandTwos · 13/12/2010 12:13

Although we haven't come to any decisions yet, DH and I are close to splitting up. We have two DCs, 5 and nearly 2.

Right now, I am feeling quite invigorated by the prospect and can only focus on how great it will be to have him out of my life.

Although I know that being an LP will not exactly be a walk in the park, I can't see (at this point) how much harder it will be than my life at the moment .. which basically entails sharing family life with someone who'd really rather not be with me. Despite my working 4 days a week, he makes no contribution whatsoever to the running of the house, I do all the childcare/school runs, most of the domestic chores, entertain the children etc etc. He works long hours so I'm just so used to him not being around and quite frankly, prefer it like that.

On the rare occasion we have a family day out, it's ruined by his moodiness and reluctance to just be fun and join in. When we're at home together as a family, he'll slope off whenever he can to go on his laptop, and if he does have to look after the kids, then it's 'DVD DAY!!' at our house. I can not see for a second how my life will be WORSE if/when he leaves. In fact, when I'm with the kids on my own for the odd weekend, it goes without saying that we have a better time than when he's there. I'm happier, I think even the kids are happier and more carefree.

I have a pretty good job, and can (just about) afford to stay in the family home without his contribution to the finances (although I know we'll have to sell the house eventually). Our relationship has diminished to such an extent that we barely discuss anything other than the kids or daily admin, so I'm not even relying on him for emotional support or companionship. Right now, I don't feel like I'd need a man in my life at all.

Obviously, I'm dreading the impact on the DCs (and DS (5) in particular HERO worships him) this is inevitably the reason we've limped on like this for so long. I'm bracing myself for that. BUT, right now, I'm hopelessly optimistically thinking that being on my own with them is a brighter, sunnier future for me.

I think he'll still want to be very much involved with the kids, I don't doubt how much he loves them. I'm hoping he'll still live close-by and want to see them at weekends etc. Which again is a major plus point for me - how great to have the odd weekend off!! (again, are all you LPs out there just rolling your eyes with disbelief at my niaviety??!!)

Am I being utterly blinkered, like those cheery posts from new mums-to-be who ask 'how hard can it be having a new born?'

I should also point out that I don't have family nearby. They are supportive, but a 4 hour drive away. I have great friends though. Grin

I would greatly appreciate your views...

OP posts:
BoozeandTwos · 13/12/2010 12:17

I also wanted to point out that I don't have any other friends who are LPs. No one I can quiz about their situation anyway. What's with this 50% divorce rate?? My DS has only ONE other class mate who doesn't live with mummy and daddy.

OP posts:
whiteandnerdy · 13/12/2010 12:41

"Right now, I am feeling quite invigorated by the prospect and can only focus on how great it will be to have him out of my life." - Hmm me thinks your expectations maybe a little over optimistic. Out of your life he most certainly wont be, hmm unless he's going to help with the construction of a new garden patio Shock.

Giftwrapped · 13/12/2010 12:43

I'm a few months into being a LP and I can honestly say I am finding it easier than when I was with xh. I work nearly full-time and was the main earner when I was with him, and was responsible for absolutely everything, so without him spoiling for an argument, constantly criticising what I did, undoing everything I cleaned or tidied, things are actual better. The benefits of being "free", and being able to make my own decisions by far outweigh the negatives.

The downsides for me are that xh refuses to do any of the school runs, and won't have dd during the week. I've had to reorganise my working hours to accommodate that, and that's been hard, and I don't get to go out during the week. And that's not about wanting to go out socialising (although that would be nice), I've noticed it more this time of year because I want to go late night shopping, or go to the supermarket when it's a bit quieter.

I do get alternate weekends with dd though and that is brilliant. I go away a lot, and make the most of that time to myself, and it's great being able to do that.

I feel like a butterfly that's been set free. I have absolutely no regrets about leaving.

Giftwrapped · 13/12/2010 12:46

Whiteandnerdy has a point, but I've found that while xh isn't out of my life, he is so much more manageable now he's at arms length and I'm not dealing with all his crap.

MollieO · 13/12/2010 12:47

I've always been a lone parent so can't imagine life as a couple with dcs. What I will say is once you become a lone parent, ie living alone with your dcs, you have to plan everything. If you run out of milk at 8pm you will have to do without or wake and wrap both dcs and take them with you to the shops.

If you want a lie in you won't have anyone else to help get the dcs up and dressed etc. If you want an evening out you will have to book a babysitter etc etc.

Life without your dh may well be fab but it won't be as easy as you expect. What will you do for money? I assume that whilst your dh may not contribute much to the family he does contribute his salary towards the bills?

Megletitsnow · 13/12/2010 12:51

(warning; I am being misery guts today)

TBH It's not much fun, but better than a bad relationship. It's been 2 years and it hasn't got easier, there aren't enough hours in the day to achieve half of what I need to do. Weekends are pretty unpleasant as I try to catch up with the dc's under my feet, then it all starts again on the Monday.

I think it would be easier if the children were school age, I didn't have to work and they saw their Dad Confused.

Earlybird · 13/12/2010 12:51

What practical help might you have? Family and/or friends in the area who could/would lend a hand when needed? Can you afford childcare or babysitters?

What is the longest you've had the children completely on your own without help?

It is certainly not a reason to stay in a dreadful marriage, but don't under-estimate the ease and convenience of another person who stays with the dc while you do errands, or who can put the dc to bed while you clean the kitchen (for example), or who can pick up a pint of milk on the way home, or who can take a child to a birthday party while you do a food shop, etc.

For me, the hard part is doing it on my own all the time with no help - ever.

Niceguy2 · 13/12/2010 12:54

I've done the whole living in a traditional unit, a full time single parent and a step-parent.

I'd say if you are thinking of becoming a lone parent then the best thing about being a LP is that the buck stops with you. You get to make decisions without having to constantly compromise or consider the other parent. The downside is that the buck stops with you. And you have to make all the decisions yourself, often whilst fighting the other parent.

The thing to truly understand is that whilst breaking up will solve some of your problems (eg. him never being there), different problems will replace them. (eg. him never bothering to see the kids). Often its just same but different.

exexpat · 13/12/2010 13:05

I've been a lone parent (not by choice - widowed) for more than four years, and what gets me down sometimes is how relentless it is, being responsible for everything. You will have an ex who should in theory take the DCs off your hands occasionally, but it doesn't sound like he'll be terribly hands-on by choice.

You will probably feel trapped sometimes. Eg, last week my younger child was sick and off school for nearly a week. She is too young to be left by herself, so I was basically stuck at home almost 24 hours a day for a week - I nipped out to the shops when her older brother was home from school, but yours are both so young you wouldn't even be able to do that. Do you have any other family or close friends around who might be able to step in to help in that kind of situation? Or if you get ill yourself?

longdarktunnel · 13/12/2010 13:07

You don't get that "do I have to do it all myself?" feeling because you know that you do have to do it all yourself. Which is quite liberating.

I would never have chosen to be a LP, my husband made the choice. He is involved and sees the children - I hate having to run stuff past him, negotiate admin etc when things are so acrimonious. And it is heartbreaking when the children cry because he's not there and they miss him - I have to try very hard not to tell them it's his fault not mine . But you may find it easier if you're the one making the decision.

I am quite enjoying the children's company, and the freedom to set our own traditions and habits. We quite often eat dinner together now, have a bath together (they are 3 and 5) and snuggle up in my bed together for stories which wouldn't have happened before. And they are already, three months in, getting the idea of helping me out with chores because Daddy isn't around to help me.

It's not all bad but it's lonely and boring and I wouldn't have chosen it. And I do worry about one of them getting sick in the night - I have three neighbours lined up who have promised me they would come in an emergency.

palmtreeisland · 13/12/2010 13:13

I've been a LP for 12 years, since I was pg with DD. I have to say that I genuinely like it - posts like the OP which give the reality of living with a difficult partner remind me of all the benefits of being the only adult in charge.

It's definitely easier now she's at secondary school. And I think I'm fortunate that the ex has disappeared and not tried to manipulate me by insisting on contact.

I've always been quite well organised and resourceful and that's got me far in surviving as a LP. It's a learning process and it depends a lot on your own situation, your resources and attitude.

CaptainBarnacles · 13/12/2010 13:22

OP, I felt like you when I split up with my XP, and I have to say that it has pretty much worked out that way too. I felt and feel invigorated, and friends and family remarked how changed I seemed.

Your description of life with your XP rings a lot of bells - like you, I was used to doing EVERYTHING, including being the main breadwinner, doing all the DIY, gardening etc. So having him move out didn't really make things harder - as you say, it made things easier as I no longer had to put up with his moods/whims.

Like you, I don't have family nearby, but I only have one DC, which probably makes things easier.

I have been very lucky in that XP has stayed very much involved in DD's life, and has very regular contact, overnights etc. I do enjoy the time 'off' - although I usually spend it catching up with work.

So I'm probably a lone voice on this thread saying that it can be great. I love being single, and honestly can't imagine living with a man again (early days though...)

I should stress that I am v. v. lucky in lots of other ways, so this is in no way a criticism of any other LPs, who have things way way harder. I have always been an independent sort of person, I can cope financially, I've got lots of nice non-judgmental friends who for various reasons like spending time with me and DD at the weekends, I like my job, and XP and I have a very amicable relationship.

But it sounds like you might be in quite a similar situation, so hopefully if you do end up on your own, you might enjoy it too.

englandsmistress · 13/12/2010 13:25

In short, it's great.

Lots of time to bring your child/ren up the way you want to, and every other weekend off (or whatever your arrangement is) of mummy duties to recharge your batteries and do the other things that make you happy.

Only having your own mood swings to contend with rather than a giant man-child's.

Oh, and no crying. That's a big one.

Earlybird · 13/12/2010 13:26

MollieO - we're saying the same thing. I've never had any help either - and quite frankly, can't imagine what it would be like (immeasurably easier!).

But perhaps the relief of being out of a bad union more than makes up for the logistical and practical challenges of being a lone parent.

QueenofWhatever · 13/12/2010 13:27

I'm 18 months in and I would broadly agree with your OP. I think your experience of being a LP is very much affected by how your relationship with a partner was (if you had one). I left my controlling, abusive STBX and life is so much better.

Yes, it's hard, lonely and relentless but my previously life was really, really awful. And yes, I love having free weekends. Ironically I have waaay more time to myself than I did previously. But my ex was a twat so it's all about context.

Having money makes a real difference as a LP. I work four days and earn a good salary, so I have a cleaner and a childminder. I can also pay for the occasional babysitter and go on holiday. Having said all that, I would love to have a decent partner and for my DD to grow up in a family unit, but that's just not the way it is right now. We are both much, much happier.

QueenofWhatever · 13/12/2010 13:28

Are we all on our lunchbreak? Xmas Wink

CaptainBarnacles · 13/12/2010 13:30

Yes, I should have added that my relationship with DD - and her relationship with her dad - are way better now than when we were together. So that it s a huge plus.

Also yes to the time. I notice how much more time to myself I have than friends who are in couples - it's not just the free weekends, it's the evenings too. I eat with DD and then once she's in bed I can work/read/get an early night/chat on the phone etc. Bliss.

MollieO · 13/12/2010 13:32

Ds is at school and I'm at home today. Love him to pieces but love having (rare) time at home without him. Xmas Grin

Earlybird I agree. There are times however when it does get relentless. The hardest things I've found are making the big decisions alone - medical, education etc. No one to disagree with is good but not having the support isn't good.

englandsmistress · 13/12/2010 13:38

MollieO, that's exactly what i love best! I can have the final say on the big decisions without some male part getting the idea he may have valid opinion.. Wink

cestlavielife · 13/12/2010 13:45

dd2 is sick and i am "working from home" but am actually getting things done (apart from now). no one to say " can you take her"

but yes liberating and far better than lviing with him was...

keep up the positive attitude - this is far better than what it was - and you get thru the downs

you may be lucky and the contact with dad all falls into place - but it may not and may cause aggro - be prepared...

BoozeandTwos · 13/12/2010 13:57

Woah! I just popped out to the post office to find all these amazing responses. Thank you so much for your words of advice.

The range of issues pretty much sums up (and reinforces) my reservations .. the relentlessness of the childcare, the inability to do anything spontaneous, what to do if you're ill, or in an emergency. I am also in pieces at the thought of what or how to tell my parents and extended family. However, the FREEDOM word is used so much and it's so close I can almost taste it. I would rather trade freedom with the ability to pop out for a pink of milk at night. I can do my tescos shopping online, right?

Not being able to go out in the evenings is not good, but I can ask friends around for dinner without worrying about DH acting like a moody twat in front of them.

I DO lie awake and wonder how I'll cope when spiders and mice get in the house Wink but you can't stay with a man for this reason alone can you? Ah well, he does have SOME good uses.

I'm hopeful we can remain relatively civil throughout this, as civil as can be expected... The decision to split is pretty mutual and no one else is involved.

Like PalmTreeIsland said, 'It's a learning process and it depends a lot on your own situation, your resources and attitude.' and I know it'll be a bloody rollercoaster once we start the process. But I haven't even cried ONCE at the prospect of us splitting up, which has got to mean something.

OP posts:
hariboegg · 13/12/2010 14:52

This reply has been deleted

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hariboegg · 13/12/2010 14:54

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cestlavielife · 13/12/2010 14:55

if your only problems are going to be mice and spiders in your house then life will be just fine...

come on - show your DC that you are a strong woman who can deal with monsters (mice and spiders)

Giftwrapped · 13/12/2010 15:06

I used to sing "I Am Woman" a lot!

If I have to, I can do anything. I am strong, I am invincible, I am woman!!!

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