by mssinglemama on December 28, 2009

John and I survived our first holidays together, but not without some growing pains.

Our relationship is moving into another territory. I go back and forth between being completely freaked out by the idea of commitment to completely embracing of whatever the future brings. We were talking about it one night, about 2010 and what comes next when I felt completely cold, frozen in fear.

The fear is of myself, of my own misjudgment in the past. The fear that I’ll change my mind or wake up one day wanting something else. I’m sure these are all defense mechinisms, finely tuned beyond the point of recognition – protecting me from truly feeling and experiencing love.

I was washing the dishes and wishing I could be one of the plates.  Clean now. Ready for another meal. Completely unaware of what happened in the past. Then John said, “I know I’m a big, hairy Irish guy but come on? I’m not that bad, am I?”

No, baby, I thought as I hugged him – you’re not that bad at all, you’re absolutely perfect.

It’s me.

Marriage and the thought of marriage sends chills down my spine. I’ve been there before and it was a nightmare. And even though John and my ex couldn’t be more different, they have one thing in common – me. And I am not a plate.

But the more milestones we survive, the more he surprises me with his ability to calm me down, to walk me back from that cliff I become convinced that he may just be the best damn dishwasher I’ve ever met.

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Co-Parenting and Mrs. Brady
January 11, 2010 at 8:46 pm

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Sunny December 28, 2009 at 8:13 am

I love the visual of the plate. So easy to clean, so ready for whatever comes next, no fear, no anticipation, no “what-if’s”.

I’ve been dealing with some of the same things, especially over the holidays.

One thing that you have to keep in mind, your history makes you who you are. In another time, in another place, without these experiences you wouldn’t be who you are today, and he loves you for who you are. If you weren’t “you” (today you) he wouldn’t love you the way he does.

Happy Holidays, Alaina.


Random Esquire December 28, 2009 at 8:15 am

That was very candid and touching. I dig this John fellow. And it sounds like he prefers you to a plate.



ashlea December 28, 2009 at 9:14 am

Thank you, Thank you, Thank you, for this post. I have this constant fear that the second I find myself in a relationship, like you said, I’ll wake up and want something different or change my mind………….it’s intensified for us as single moms because beyond the baggage any bad relationship brings, the fact that we bring our kids with us makes us even more resolved to make things work (once we’re in and they’re in) and we all know, from painful experience, that when it goes bad that resolve means you feel very trapped. Ahhh!! It gives me hope to know that this feeling and these fears are so real to other people in GOOD situations. It means the fear is not the end of me! And you have to love a big hairy Irish guy. Two of the most attractive qualities a man can possess!!!


Sheila December 28, 2009 at 10:30 am

That’s amazing. I can understand and totally feel your fears, even the idea of remarrying gives me heart palpitations. Luckily, you’ve managed to find someone who has proven our ex’s completely wrong.

I’m looking forward to following you on this next step of your life. 🙂


Bobbi Janay December 28, 2009 at 11:25 am

I agree that John prefers you to a plate. He loves you as you are scars and all, those scars are part of you and remember he loves all of you.


Canadian Bald Guy December 28, 2009 at 12:02 pm

It’s a common thought process to go through, Alaina. All of us have gone through similar thought processes and fears when starting a new serious relationship after leaving a painful one that we thought would be our last.

Maybe you’re not quite ready to move on to the next step, maybe you are. But as long as you can confront these fears and analyze them in an attempt to set them aside and move forward, you’ll be alright.


notasoccermom December 28, 2009 at 12:45 pm

I love the plate analogy- I understand the fears that you are feeling. I feel them too. But it sounds like you have a good man and you never know until you jump in. Even at the risk of hurt again. Love is worth it.


Kristy December 28, 2009 at 2:12 pm

Second husbands are the best. Trust me, I know. My first one left me for the next door neighbor of 5 years who was also married at the time. He also left me homeless in order to do so. I met someone new and I was terrified. For a long long time. But…I got married again after dating my man for 3 years. It took me awhile to clean my plate…but now…now I’m one priceless piece of delicate china. The cracks make me priceless, valuable…better than perfect. The only thing better has been the last 4 years of my 2nd marriage.


Gershtown December 29, 2009 at 1:46 pm

Your fears are completely justified, even though you feel that your partner is perfect for you. When I express my concerns to my girlfriend about our relationship, she sometimes worries if I’m going to back out. If she really feels I’m someone worth being with, then it’s natural for her to wonder if I will stick a single mom.

I want to ask her to just have faith and to understand that I’m not going anywhere, but I know that’s not enough. As with you Alaina, it’s taken time, building (and re-building) trust, and working together to get past obstacles.

My girlfriend has also told me that her daughter’s father and I are very different, which only tells me that she has grown as a person, and has made the changes she’s wanted. Specifically, I think she has higher expectations in the quality of the person she chooses as a partner, and holds herself to higher standards as well. Bad experiences in the past can faze us, but when we learn and improve ourselves, the second time around will actually be your first time because it’s that much more meaningful.


mssinglemama December 30, 2009 at 1:35 pm

Thank you all so much for these comments. They mean more than you know.


EB December 30, 2009 at 8:48 pm

You couldn’t have said it any better. This post resonates with me bigtime. Thank you for putting into words- so eloquently- what my heart feels at the thought of entering into another relationship or marriage. Just know you aren’t alone. Being a single mother and contemplating doing it all over again is a heavy heavy thing. It is normal your hesitation, no matter how dear that sweet ole bear of yours is. 😉 And I believe he is sweet indeed! Take your time, and the right choice for you will be eventually be revealed. The good news is… there is no rush, and if he is as sweet as he seems, he will wait! It’s still early on in the relationship I think for these conversations anyway, I think it’s our tendency as women and mothers to try to figure things out and find out what the future will hold but rushing will only bring trouble into those futures, sooo try to relax and just sit with things as they unfold. My two cents anyway. 🙂


~kris~ December 31, 2009 at 8:58 am

I’m so happy for you! Embrace it! Enjoy it!

They are different men. You are different for the experiences you’ve had – you are not the same woman that was married to your ex-husband. Your judgment is better, you are better, more evolved.

Congrats on finding love!


Autumn December 31, 2009 at 3:08 pm

Truly well written, beautifully put words on an equally breakable & sustainable subject as a dish…maybe love really is a plate, one we fill, clean, & refill on a daily basis. You gotta eat. <3

Happy New Year to you & yours!


Carol January 2, 2010 at 9:33 am

I am entering year #3 of my second marriage. Like you, I was terrified of marrying a second time as I considered myself a failure for not making the first one work. I entered this marriage a different person and married someone who was not like husband #1 in any way. I think that is because I was ready for someone good, someone I deserved, someone who I respected and who respected me. It was a huge leap of faith on both our parts. He was afraid of constantly being compared to #1 but he’s not. It’s as though my first marriage was another life – and in a way it was. I don’t consider my first one a “mistake” – it was a learning experience. It taught me a lot about how I don’t want to be treated by a man. I came away from it with a strength I never knew I had. I got that from walking away. This marriage feels right – it feels good – and I know it will last for many many years.
I won’t say “don’t be scared” because you will be. But once you make that scary scary leap – you will know it’s right. It won’t be perfect, nothing or no person is that. But it will be better. You will have learned about yourself from your first experience. Whether or not you and your new guy tie the knot or not, you can still commit to him – in your heart. My son was three when I met my husband of today. He is now almost eleven. Their relationship has blossomed and grown and strengthened like I never imagined. It makes my heart sing to see them together. My son was best man in our wedding. I never ever thought I would meet anyone who would love my boy as fiercely as I do but it happened.
A failed marriage is not the end of happiness in your world. It leaves scars but they heal. Trust me – they do!
All the best in the New Year! Good things will come! 🙂


Jill B January 3, 2010 at 7:04 pm

Thanks for sharing.

It’s interesting – while I was hearing your thoughts from your perspective, I’m struck by the similarity to my own thoughts and fears about relationships, my own scar tissue a doubts of myself and my ability to be in a relationship. Almost paralyzing fear. Am trying hard to not let it be. Your sharing gives me hope.


Kathleen January 3, 2010 at 7:54 pm

Marriage is one of those words that highlight how limited language can be (or perhaps it’s my vocabulary that needs expanding?)

My grandparents marriage was based on practicalities and was understood to be until death do them part, no matter how miserable either of them would eventually become. My marriage is based on love with an understanding despite our deepest hopes, it may not be until death do us part. My son’s marriage will be to a man, something my grandparents never dreamed would happen.

I swear I’m not trying to talk you into marriage. Just sharing that I have found, and history shows, that “marriage” is an ever changing institution. If you choose to enter into it again, it’s yours to do with as you wish; a blank canvas rather than a paint by number, if you will (it’s late and that’s the best I could do!)


Tara January 4, 2010 at 2:06 pm

Wow, this is fabulous and beautifuly written. I’m so happy I stumbled to your blog! I LOVE hearing fellow sister’s travels in life. I still think I’m maybe 10 yrs away from being able to trust myself to trust a man, but hell, it’s wonderful to read about others who are walking forward in life. 🙂 Best wishes!


30somethingmama January 8, 2010 at 8:16 pm

hey alana. your mom’s house is exquisite!

starting anew surely is scary, like trudging back to the waters of the unknown. but look here, is John Bear is great now, how less great can he be compared to your ex anyways?? besides, the universe conspired for you to be together. That should mean something.

happy 2010! my blog’s been stale now…sheesh. keep writing alana.


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