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Why I am happier as a lone parent.

124 replies

TheSteelFairy2 · 11/05/2010 11:21

Just a follow on from the other thread about doing ok as a lone parent.

So we can tell our stories without hijacking that thread.

I am happier as a lone parent because

My children are happier because there is not an unpleasant, bickering, argumentative atmosphere all the time.

I am better off financially, even though on benefits. Ex used to gamble and drink all our money away.

I wake up every morning to a peaceful flat, no lazy man snoring, refusing to get up and help with dc and then when he DOES get up being nasty and aggressive because usually hung over.

No constantly being accused of having unpleasant motives behind every single thing I say or do. Being forced to defend myself for making normal requests, buying something for myself or even being on MN.

No being called a "bully" or "controlling" because I dare ask him to do something round the house or with the dc.

No wakeful nights when he rolls in at 5 in the morning and thinks nothing of leaning on the door bell because he is too drunk to use his keys.

No finding suspect telephone numbers or text messages on his phone.

NO SKY SPORTS! I cancelled it the day he moved out!

OP posts:
shimmerysilverglitter · 26/06/2010 21:51

chattymitchie I just said in my last post (am Shimmerysilverglitter now) that I think they must work to a script. So many similarities between these selfish, horrible men.

It is like there is a handbook they all get issued.

chattymitchie · 26/06/2010 22:00

There must be

either that or every single one of us on here, whilst trying to be reasonable and truthful is actually bullying and controlling

I love being a lone parent, when I say I'm single lots of people say 'oh ... sorry' but I soon let them know that I'm having the best and most magical time with my little one. He's only 6 months and I'm so excited about all the things we're going to do as he grows up.

shimmerysilverglitter · 26/06/2010 22:38

My only regret is the time that I lost to him. Time with my dc that I can't get back, when I was crying or stressed or sad.

They are 3 and 7 and I love doing stuff with them without knowing that he is gagging to get to the pub, or him trying to change every idea I have to suit himself better.

You are so very lucky to have realised early, I know that might sound a bit but I wish so much I hadn't wasted so much of their childhood on him!

chattymitchie · 26/06/2010 22:45

Well actually he dumped me when I was pregnant, and said he wanted to terminate the baby! So it was out of my hands but it was a huge huge huge blessing in disguise. Now that the baby is born he is messing around saying he 'wants to be the best dad he can be', which from his actions so far suggest that the best dad he can be is a very sh*t dad .... That's the only fly in the ointment at the moment, dealing with someone who says they want to be a great dad, but never turn up, don't pay what they should pay, and somehow it's all my fault! But every time I look at my beautiful little boy I realise it's all worth it But yes, I'm so happy that generally I don't have to deal with it any more! And I get lots of time just to be with my son

Magalyxyz · 26/06/2010 23:35

Shimmery, it is a script. It's the narcissistic personality disorder script. I used to think I had the only 'partner' who was so relentlessly awkward, unreasonable, nasty and unsupportive... but the ones who fit this mould are like little clones of each other. I realise now I was 'financially abused' too. I was co-erced against my better judgment into resigning from my job. He used to put a pitifully small amount of money into my account each month and I was supposed to stretch that and the children's allowance for myself. Groceries etc went on to a credit card in MY name which he went through with a fine tooth comb every month and berated me for spending so much before paying. Torture!! I felt so stressed when he went through the bill, and it was only sainsbury's and things the children needed. I was living in a fairly well-off area and I used to worry about how I would hide the fact that I couldn't afford a coffee.. Oh yes, and even though the groceries officially went on the visa which he paid off, if we needed milk or bread or something, he'd blame me if we'd run out, so I ended up buying it out of the tiny amount of money that was 'mine'. He wore Ted Baker and Paul Smith and he had an expensive watch and shoes and an expensive car and a couple of motorbikes. I wore penny's (primark) clothes and got my hair cut in those places where you can't make an apt. you sit and wait. ..... Now I have more money and I'm on one parent family allowance (an Irish benefit). It's not a fortune obviously but it shows you how big a struggle things were before that I feel better off now, and worry about money less than I used to. I lived in poverty in his house while he had a comfortable lifestyle. He never, ever saw anything odd about our arrangement though. I used to challenge him about it all the time though, I knew it was wrong and knew I was making every sacrifice for parenthood while he made none, but he would scream at me that I could shape up or ship out, or 'if you don't like it fuck off 'home'. He honestly believed he was doing me a favour! He still doesn't get it. He never will. HIs mother instead of piercing his delusions encourages him to believe that he gave me everything I ever wanted and I was an hysterical drama queen who was selfish and ungrateful and 'abducted' his children. Phew! Anyway, is it any wonder I'm happy to be single!? And people sometimes ask me 'so?! have you met anybody yet?' [dramatic eye roll]. no do I have to?!

Magalyxyz · 26/06/2010 23:36

wow i really should have put in some paragraphs there!

Magalyxyz · 26/06/2010 23:38

ps2, when I left him finally, I left with a credit card bill. For grocery shopping for a man who earned 90k a year. Classic classic abuser handbook stuff. (I now realise)

chattymitchie · 26/06/2010 23:50

I also feel like that when people ask me if I've met anyone! ..... do I have to? I don't want to! I don't hate men by any standard, I have two lovely doting brothers and a fantastic supportive dad, but unfortunately the last couple of guys I've been with haven't been nice, the last one (who I have my boy with) is definitely passive aggressive and totally IMPOSSIBLE to deal with and emotionally abusive. So I just can't imagine putting myself through that again when life on your own is just simple and easy, and enjoyable, and fun and stress free, and without guilt, and magic and amazing Why do I need another man?

Magalyxyz · 27/06/2010 00:03

Yes Chatymitchie, I totally agree with you and also have supportive brother and dad who are good role models to my children.

I feel like I'm finally focussing on my own goals (although it may not be obvious to the casual acquaintance!). I don't want to risk losing sight of those goals by meeting somebody, so I'm not even hoping to meet somebody. The thought would make me panic a bit. I'd feel torn in different directions again. I just want to enjoy this feeling of equilibrium for a while. And if it doesn't sound selfish, I want to NOT compromise for a while longer too! I don't want to have to run my decisions past anybody, even a reasonable and kind man who would meet you in the middle. At the moment it still sounds like a stressful negotiation. But maybe there's a part of me that worries that I've lost the ability to have those normal discussions, where you discuss things and finally compromise. But even if I have, there's no rule that says that you have to 'hook up' with somebody !!

A friend I don't see that often said to me that it must have been hard not having met anybody else in three years. And the funny thing is I couldn't explain it to her if I tried, but that's what has made things easy. And plenty of things have been hard in the last three years! but not having a new man was not one of them.

People just want us to file in to the ark two by two.

chattymitchie · 27/06/2010 00:11

Yes, I think sometimes you have to be by yourself to realise it's not as frightening as it seems

sometimes if I ever feel lonely (maybe twice in six months!), I always remind myself that there's couples out there not watching romantic tv as I would imagine, but probably not talking, or arguing, or sitting in different rooms ....

being in a couple isn't always what it's cracked up to be, although I've nothing against everyone out there in happy relationships!

Magalyxyz · 27/06/2010 00:18

Yes the loneliest I ever felt was when I was with somebody, and I don't just mean the recent x. A couple of boyfriends before him I grew apart from a man who was basically a good guy but this huge 'disconnect' erupted between us and we clung on because neither of us had done anything 'wrong'.

I rarely feel loneliness now. Not 'never' mind you! but I'm happy in my own company as well as being sociable.

Must go to bed! 00.18! omg

BertieBotts · 27/06/2010 00:32

I love being a single parent too! All the reasons others have said and also - it just feels very special just being me and DS. I just can't get over the feeling of freedom and ability to be myself.

I don't think that happiness relies on being in a relationship, or out of one, but I do feel strangely blessed in a way to have been through such an awful relationship experience, because it's made me see that I would much rather be on my own than be in a relationship like that again - it has raised my standards, and it will take a very special person for me to let them in to mine and DS' life and our home. A relationship should enhance your life, not be essential, and never drag it down.

HerBeatitude · 27/06/2010 00:37

I am happier because I think I have broken the cycle of abuse that led me to be with a hopeless man in the first place.

I'm not being undermined and I'm not in denial anymore. I'm teaching my children that they own their feelings and their actions and that they and they alone are responsible for their behaviour and that they should expect love, respect and joy from a relationship.

I believe that they will go out into the world armed with expectations that were higher than mine were and that therefore, they'll have a better chance of building a functional, happy relationship than I had. It may not happen for them, but I've no doubt that by not living with their father and role modelling an unhappy, dysfunctional relationship, I've shortened the odds for them. That makes me very happy.

BertieBotts · 27/06/2010 00:40

Sorry that took ages to post, and I thought of a better way to word it while it was loading.

What I meant was - a romantic relationship should bring something good to your life. It should be a positive thing, but you shouldn't rely totally on the idea of having a relationship - ie you shouldn't be thinking "If I didn't have him, I wouldn't find anyone else as good" but "If I didn't have him, I wouldn't want anyone else right now anyway".

chattymitchie · 27/06/2010 08:33

I agree, my motto is that I'm totally happy on my own, and that I'm not looking to find the ke to my happiness in someone else.

And god forbid, should I meet someone and suddenly they try to make me the key to their happiness ('I'd be happy if only you'd give up everything you do and spend more time with me' - like my XP) then I'd run a country mile.

I'm not here to make someone's life 'happy' - if they're not happy already I'm not interested!

gettingeasier · 27/06/2010 09:06

magal I have been reading your posts thanks for telling me about why you were scared to leave Im sure some of that wasnt easy to share.

Woken up and just read the last one about how tight your exh was with money. My situation was different we had a lot of money and exh was never bothered about what I spent. I felt myself thinking oh god what have I lost exh wasnt like that etc. The truth is , to my shame, I prioritised financial security over happiness and that was a huge factor in staying with him even though I wasnt happy. It wasnt him that said I would never make it on my own but my own lack of confidence which is still a problem for me - am still in marital home with him paying the bills and worried sick about where we will live etc when divorce sorted out.

Anyway after reading bertie posts and bringing to the front of my mind what I do know inside I am back on track.

Actually money was the only thing exh was generous with certainly not with attention , time , affection or effort for me.

I agree that any future relationship would have to be enhancing my life in some way rather than me doing all the giving. I too cant imagine who would be able to get past my guard for a long time. Whilst I stand by my long list yesterday of No more xyz it still hurts that he dumped me and the dcs

BUT i am determined to be positive yesterday was the 6 month mark since he left and I want to try and buck up a bit and stop remembering the good times as being representative of how our marriage was overall.

Its true as so many of you MNers say life in our home is more peaceful and relaxing and in so many ways just basically nicer. A thread I was looking at yesterday was discussing staying in an unhappy marriage which was amicable (ie no rows etc)for the sake of the dcs . Lots of the replies said that dcs would be picking up on the lack of connection/tensions between and that would be damaging.

This made me feel better because whilst its ok for me to list all the things I dont have to put up with anymore what about my dcs who werent really putting up with anything. I suppose they can see I am calmer etc now and they arent exposed to the ever present underlying tension between exh and I.

Anyway in some ways this whole posting is academic because he left and whatever I do or dont miss is out of my control.

Sorry everyone this isnt exactly an inspiration to being a lone parent is it. In my defence I have to go to ds football presentation this pm and feel anxious that he will be only boy there without his Dad in attendance . My mum says go looking as good as I can with my 2 lovely dcs and everyone will think my god why did he leave them not poor getting she got dumped.

I PROMISE my next posting will be more cheerful and I hope you all enjoy the sunshine and any football fans enjoy the game xx

Magalyxyz · 27/06/2010 11:56

Gettingeasier I think a tiny bit of navel-gazing is essential. You need to understand why you tolerated such awful behaviour from somebody. It is a bit shameful and uncomfortable when you have that moment of clarity!! For me, I nearly got sick one day when it hit me, that from the moment I'd met him, I had prioritised appearing to be happy over being happy. That realisation hit me with a wave of nausea

I hadn't even been aware of this, but I remember when I met him I guess I thought everybody else would approve.... of what they saw of him, what he chose to show anyway. In my heart of hearts I knew that he wasn't right for me, but I was tired of imagining that my family and friends and cousins and school friends were imagining me, 30, still single... So to 'impress' them, finally, I just gave in, sacrificed my contentment at the altar of conformity and went with the 'relationship'.

Later, when I knew he was a controlling narcissist, I stayed with him for the same reason I got together with him. Appearances. By that point, I cared what the neighbours thought!! such a cliche! Also, my old colleagues and the friends who'd told me he wasn't right for me to know I was unhappy. So, in the strange mindset that I had, I pretended to be happy for years. What an excellent plan!

But as BB, HerBeautitude and ChattyMitchie have all said, once you do have 'the realisation' of how happy you can be as a single person, and the memory of how miserable a bad relationship can make you, your standards are higher.

HerBeautitude, I want to instil all of this, that it's perfectly ok to be single and that a single person is as likely to be happy as a person in a relationship, and that a bf should support, encourage, respect you etc in to my duaghter but I'm not sure how. She's only 7. I wonder if there is a book I could read.

I recently stopped her from watching iCarly because those two girls seemed to be mocking the 'geeky' guys. I didn't like it.

mrscynical · 27/06/2010 18:26

What at great thread. I really do think that lots of women (and men) are so scared of being on their own as if that is in some way a failure of sorts. Truth is the opposite. After a relationship breakdown you need time to work out what was wrong and also time to work out what, should you decide to meet someone else, you want for the future.

I love the fact that that I can stretch out in my bed on my own, read late into the night if I want, not have to appease a giant ego, not have to listen to endless farting, subject myself to hateful looks if I voice my own opinion, go on holiday to places I want to go to and not travel with him on business trips where I spent most of the time on my own anyway, have the most unsatisfying sex, etc., etc.

I like men generally and have good male friends and one day I would like to meet a good guy. But if I don't it ain't the end of the world and if I do I certainly wouldn't be in any hurry to live with him.

There is still some unspoken disapproval where you are 'expected' to partner up. I think it's a conspiracy by unhappy couples ensuring that you can be as miserable as they are!

Let's hear it for the young/old, free and single!

MrsDrOwenHunt · 27/06/2010 19:47
HerBeatitude · 27/06/2010 20:42

Magaly - I think as with any instilling of values/ ideas/ attitudes in children, the way you do it is by living it.

So by being happy, confident, fulfilled as a single woman, you will show her that that's possible. All the propaganda in the world won't quite erase that early message of seeing her mother able to be single, happy and fulfilled. Just as conversely, all the theoretical stuff about expecting respect, love, romance etc. from a relationship, can't quite erase the expectation of unhappiness, if her parents were unhappy.

HerBeatitude · 27/06/2010 20:45

What I mean is, what we role model for our children, is what stays in their heads. Which is why I think it's so important to keep refuting the idea that splitting up a family is a bad thing to do - if the parents are role modelling disrespectful, unloving, unhappy behaviour, it's a Good Thing to split up and role model happy, confident, single behaviour!

gettingeasier · 28/06/2010 10:01

HerB I agree with everything you say about our dcs looking to us as role models and living a life with integrity .

I suppose at the moment the truth is I am not always feeling happy , confident and fulfilled but I do try and project that to the dcs. Also I am at times resenting the way everything falls to me now exh has left in terms of helping them through all the crap that goes with the teenage years. On the other hand they have far more limited exposure to exh mysoginistic , negative and at times politically dodgy views of the world now.

Thinking over what you say HerB I hope it isnt too late for my dsc as they have already had years of watching unhappy parents and saw how disrespectfully I was treated and did nothing about it. Also however logical your argument is its so hard to turn your back on the perceived wisdomn that its bad to split up your family.

Oh well I just have to think forward and this thread helps so much we are all grappling with similar issues !!

Enjoy the day everyone

Magalyxyz · 28/06/2010 15:25

Herbeatitude, thanks for your thoughts on that.... well that's something I already do, i have challenged the notion that splitting up is always a bad thing for the family. Usually people are so reluctant to split up despite their unhappiness that you can bet that by the time they get to the point of actually splitting, the atmosphere must have been awful... Also, I don't think women should just roll over and accept a lack of respect for ....... the 'status' of marriage!!!

What I mean is I make no apology for having left their father. not to my children not to society. I never have. They have a much better life now!

gettingeasier · 28/06/2010 18:12

Wow magalyxyz you always impress me with your conviction and strength as I have said to you before one of my crosses to bear is I didnt leave but let him walk all over me

My mum brought up my bruv and I on her own with minimal help from her exh and was a strong woman . Really should serve as a good role model for me but a) I hated being hard up and b)I have become soft/over protected so cant honestly say I wanted to be lone parent

On the other hand I am only(is it ok to say that 6mths in)in the early stages and I know thinking about her inspires me and before too long I will be holding my head far higher

HerBeatitude · 28/06/2010 21:23

gettingeasier - what matters is, you changed it.

And don't forget, it's possible to change the hardwiring. Particularly when you're young.

It took me until I was 42 before I felt "whole", normal and emotionally healthy. I went through a massive period of grieving for the person I could have been and the years I'd wasted being unable to function as a normal, psychologically healthy person. I have friends who have been through this process at 33 and 26. We're all full of hope, optimism and the joy of life because we never really knew that joy before. Your kids aren't going to have to wait until any of those ages, you're on the case right now.

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