I am a former married single mother.
Which is why I am now an unmarried single mother.
The only difference – I now have half of the laundry and half of the dishes to clean. Seriously. When your husband contributes very little around the house, when you’re the one driving the kids to and from everything and then at the end of the night when he isn’t even there for you emotionally, but actually makes you feel worse – it’s easy to feel like a single mother when you’re married.
I bite my lip and try not to scream, “Why in the hell are you with him then? Get out! It’s awesome over here. You could be free – of him.” Instead, I nod slowly and listen, trying to put myself back in that spot – that tough spot – when you can’t decide whether or not you should leave. So I ask, “Will he try counseling?” The answer is almost always, “No way.”
I give them all of the positive support and advice I can muster but sometimes, from the outside looking in – especially when you’ve been there, it’s clear they’d be better off single. But I can’t make the choice for them. Everyone has to do what they need to do and should exhaust all options before ending a marriage.
Some married single mothers aren’t even fighting anymore. They’ve given up entirely on improving their marriage after meeting road block after road block from their husbands. As a result, they’ve conceded to the fact that this is their life and have committed themselves to this terminal diagnosis – “til death do us part.” My opinion on this is clear… I’ve said it before – to hell with religious beliefs, to hell with what your friends and family think – men need to step up or get the hell out, and if not then get rid of them. Why?
Because being a single mother is far better than being a miserably married mother. And your children need to see you happy, both of you happy.
With that said, I have met so many single fathers who clearly didn’t deserve to be left. So there are definitely magnificent husbands out there being neglected as well, but that’s another topic for another post. Back to the single married mothers…
Will you be instantly happier if you leave your husband? No. Divorce is hell. The entire process is hell. But once the dust settles the days will be brighter and so will the future. Just get a good attorney.
Here’s a story a friend shared after leaving her husband recently, “Now I can finally eat crunchy peanut butter again. I know it sounds silly, but he hated crunchy peanut butter so I never bought it – it just makes me so happy – this stupid jar of peanut butter, I can’t stop eating it. Isn’t that crazy?”
No, it isn’t crazy at all. What sounds crazy is staying in a relationship with a man who won’t let you buy crunchy peanut butter. Or one, in which, you give up everything you love for him and receive nothing in return.
I’ve been meaning to write this post for a long, long time. Because I think of them often – the married mothers who are still there, dreaming of leaving but giving him time to change. They are prisoners, sometimes slaves to the relationship, trapped in a cage with someone who won’t help them climb out, someone who doesn’t care enough to fight with you to make it work. And that sucks.
This post may come off as harsh to some (men) but I could care less. Many of you need to step up to your responsibilities as husbands and fathers and stop acting like boys. And for God’s sakes – consider marriage counseling.
Photo Credit: [Pregnancy Depression Help.]