My feed

to access all these features

Use our Single Parent forum to speak to other parents raising a child alone.

Lone parents

Do you ever think it may have been better living a lie?

22 replies

LBA · 02/04/2008 20:59

I was writing an email to a friend tonight which got me thinking.

Ds loves being at his dad's. His dad is a crap parent on the whole for lots of reasons but since we split every relationship he's had has been "serious". By this I mean he meets someone and within months they are living together, a few months later there's a baby on the way. They're happy for a while and then the inevitable happens, he starts treating her like crap and they split. He behaves like a nob but he's actually a really complex person with a lot of issues from his past. The only thing he's interested in is having a family and yet he cant handle it when he gets one. So it fails, and he tootles off and tries again, leaving a trail of kids behind him. I know this now, we were the first and he hasn't improved since.

However. I learnt my lesson and have never jumped into anything again, no matter how good it seemed at first. Nine years later im still on my own because I decided to be true to myself and not settle for a relationship with problems before we even took the plunge to live together. I thought that this was better for the kids.

I see threads here and rl examples of women living a lie in unhappy relationships "for the sake of the children". As much as I stick to my guns that any abusive relationship will NEVER be good for the kids, I have started to wonder about the rest of it....

My ds is now 10. All he will remember is that for his whole childhood, he didn't have a proper family here with me. He will remember having lots of "proper families" with his dad. I cant change this, I cant do a thing about it now. Maybe I should have lied to everyone including myself and settled for something I knew wasn't quite right? Ive had a bf who loved us and would have been happy to settle down, in fact ive had two who would have done that even though they were kidding themselves if they thought our relationship was stable enough to last.

I could have been married now, ive had the chance twice. Both nice men, both loved my kids, both would have supported us. My kids could have had lovely memories of being a family. Should I have not been so stubborn maybe? I dont look for perfection in any shape or form but im not willing to fully commit to something thats already problematic, I dont see the point. If its not right before you live together, its hardly going to improve surely? Is that selfish of me, to want it to be right?

I dont know...what do the rest of you think?

OP posts:
wooga · 02/04/2008 21:15

I couldn't face gritting my teeth and living a lie.It was a very happy day for me when my parents finally were true to themselves and got divorced,my sister and I had a miserable time growing up with two unhappy resentful people-my older sister was affected more than me.I still have memories of cuddling her as she was crying her eyes out while my parents fought.

I have a lovely step-dad but my mum didn't find him straight away-knew when I met him that I liked him.
My Mum nearly settled with other men before him because she was lonely and felt bad for us,we were just pleased to grow up in a calm house.

AMAZINWOMAN · 02/04/2008 22:11

Yes, I know what you mean LBA. My biggest regret about being a lone parent is that sometimes I feel we all deserve better and dont have anything to show for it. We are stuck in a small, damp house, working hard just to pay the bills etc etc.

But I think the real advantage of being a lone parent, and not settling for second best is that you can concentrtae more on the children. My energy is spent being with, enjoying, loving and supporting my children. If I was in a "settling for less than best" realtionship, I would have had to think about a man and spent a lot of my time moaning.

littlewoman · 03/04/2008 00:46

I think they have a very considerate mum, LBA. You haven't moved anybody in because it might not work out, and that is going to affect your dc's. They haven't really experienced 'real families' with your xp and his partners, more of an idealistic passion / abandonment cycle.
My dp is a sweetheart, but I don't want him living with me. Parenting my children is my job, and xh's. Xh was a step-parent to my older two (then I had 4 more with xh). He was crap at the task, though he did try, and I would be very shy of letting someone else in to screw all my kids up some more. Not saying dp WOULD, but I'm not willing to take that risk.
Don't punish yourself when you are doing your best

littlewoman · 03/04/2008 00:49

Oh, and your dc's already have lovely memories of being a family. You are a family. Don't let that 'mum, dad, 2.4 children' myth bring you down.

madamez · 03/04/2008 00:57

Is it possible or feasible to sort of reframe this for your DC? ie can you make any sort of vaguely civil relationships with the mothers of your XP's other DC and emphasise the positive aspects of them having half-siblings? Because families are diverse and different, and there are positive things to be found in all the ways of doing it.
Not to say your XP isn't a prize knob to wander round impregnating women and running away, he is but the DC - all of them - might well find good things in having so many half-siblings. And the various mothers might also find some support, help and additonal babysitting, even, in forming a kind of extended family given that the situation exists.

Citronella · 03/04/2008 13:08

But you are a proper family!

I grew up in a one parent family and while I remember sometimes as a child wishing I had two parents and siblings, I also remember being aware of the calm and peace in my home compared to some of my friends' households where there were tensions between the two parents or between the parents (jointly or severally) and the children.

LBA · 03/04/2008 19:14

Thanks for messages. Its a nice idea you have madamez but I dont think it will be possible. I was friends with his first gf after me. We spent a lot of time together and she was the one who actually encouraged him to see ds . We are still very good friends although she moved away so I dont see her much. He doesn't have a child with that one as she miscarried so there's not really any family link to us.

Next there's his ex wife (the second after me) who quite frankly is a nasty cow and would quite often start swearing at me in the background if I ever called exp to talk to him about ds. When they divorced she refused to let him see their baby daughter. She's foul mouthed and rough, not a nice person.

Then there's this new one who does come across as as nice (if slightly naive) girl (but then, she's not to know what he's really like). Unfortunately ive given exp a lot of rollockings since he's been with her (mainly due to him letting ds down, turning up late, keeping him up all night...endless list) and im sure now she thinks im some kind of bitch! I did try to talk to her not so long back but when she saw me coming she rolled up the car window . Their baby is due in about 4-5 months I think.

OP posts:
NumberSix · 03/04/2008 19:25

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

LBA · 03/04/2008 20:38

Yes they were good guys, that doesn't necessarily mean we're suited though.

People aren't suited for all sorts of reasons, this is precisely my point. Do you let someone move in because he's a nice bloke who would happily take on the kids, no matter what other problems you have in the relationship?

OP posts:
amfay · 03/04/2008 21:39

LBA, sounds like the 'other problems' in the relationships you described are down to you and possibly an unwillingness to take that leap of faith because you've been hurt before? Reading some of the threads on here, it sounds like you have been very lucky meeting not one but two men who were happy to take on your dcs and become a family. As someone who is in the process of extracting herself and dd from what was meant to be a 'proper family' (exp is dd's dad but a useless, drunk waste of space and his son is a nightmare) I can understand your reluctance to become involved if you're not 100% sure of someone, but are you giving these men a real chance? I'm only asking because I want to believe in a future where prince charming comes along and loves me and dd, but I'm not holding my breath...

NumberSix · 04/04/2008 07:53

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Nighbynight · 04/04/2008 08:07

stick to your principles.
I have considered marrying someeone because he would be great for the chidlren, but have also held off, because of possible relationship problems.

You have given your ds stability - v important for a "real" family.

moondog · 04/04/2008 08:17

My ds is now 10. All he will remember is that for his whole childhood, he didn't have a proper family here with me. He will remember having lots of "proper families" with his dad.

Can you not see the lack of logic here?

They aren't 'proper families' by virtue of the fact that there are lots of them. Do you really think it is a good message to pass onto yuor ds that yuo shack up with someone,get them pg and then fuck off?

The way you live is far 6far^ nobler.

wheredowegofromhere · 04/04/2008 14:29

LBA, you are a proper family; I was brought up by a widow and never wondered about my mother having a man in her life. Actually I would've found this shocking as a child.

I'm not sure what your DS is missing out on by you being single, what he's gaining however is to love and respect a strong minded woman who lives by her own standards and is true to herself and her feelings.

lostdad · 04/04/2008 14:51

...of course, my son will grow up considering a `proper family' to be one where his mum (and her mum) are the most important people and dads are irrelevant peripherial figures to be ignored and/or derided.

Doesn't auger well for any self-image he could have as a potential parent; second class.

wheredowegofromhere · 04/04/2008 15:10

lostdad, your DS will ask for more time with you when he's old enough. You will make your own proper family. It's a matter of bidding your time since the courts haven't been sympathetic.

LBA · 04/04/2008 18:44

"Obviously if you're talking about problems related to personality difference or opposite values or behavioural problems, and you doubt your love for him, then that's a different matter". Yep that's exactly the kind of thing im talking about numbersix. From what you say you are happy in your relationship, just that other factors make it difficult at times. I dont mean that. I mean staying in an unhappy relationship.

Outside factors/physical barriers can be worked around one way or another if you love someone enough. I dont fear taking a leap of faith, but im not willing to take a relationship to the next level if its not working already for emotional reasons iyswim? Im not scared of committing myself to a relationship that may be difficult for reasons X, Y or Z (In fact that would probably make me more determined).

I dont want the kids to see people moving in here and thinking its all great only to have that taken away again. It wouldn't have mattered before I had kids, I could have jumped into something I probably knew wasn't going to work but have thought "Oh to hell with it, i'll give it a try anyway", and if it came crashing down then there's only my own feelings to worry about.

You're right Moondog..I do see the lack of logic, but the truth is that ds is happier at his dads. He's only 10 and only sees short term. Which is their family. Then he has to be hurt over and over again. I cant stop his dad doing what he does, but ive never wanted to go down the same path.

I dont doubt exp loves/d these women, but is that a good enough reason to keep jumping in? He used to talk to me about his ex wife when they were just dating and although he was totally besotted with her, they were on the rocks already. Im assuming she loved him too, she was possessive to the point where she called to give him a good shouting at one day because ds was having an asthma attack and he was brazen enough to take us to A & E "OH..I suppose SHE'S in the car then?" (meaning me of course) No shit sherlock! (just one example of many ) He hated the way she was, but still moved in with her, still married her and still had a baby with her. I dont think the child was even one when they split up..even he knew it was going to happen.

Is it really worth it? When you know it isnt going to work? I still think not deep down but I feel sad that my kids childhood memories will be of us on our own.

OP posts:
moondog · 04/04/2008 19:18

I think that you are incredibly kind about him.He sounds like an utter knob and sadly your child will see that as he grows up.

Have you no romantic diversions?

moondog · 04/04/2008 19:18

I think that you are incredibly kind about him.He sounds like an utter knob and sadly your child will see that as he grows up.

Have you no romantic diversions?

NumberSix · 04/04/2008 20:03

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

NumberSix · 04/04/2008 20:05

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

LBA · 04/04/2008 20:50

Well during the journey to A & E Moondog with ds wheezing and snorting in the back, I did tell exp that if he didn't switch off his phone it was going through the fking window by my hairy truck driver fair hand. (So im not that kind )

Thanks guys. Its always nice to get an opinion when one is doubting oneself (as I often do)!

OP posts:
Please create an account

To comment on this thread you need to create a Mumsnet account.