And then we break up.

by mssinglemama on December 28, 2010

I am still in shock and I don’t know if I can piece it all together very eloquently here. I’m also not sure where to begin.

The first time it happened, the first time he broke up with me, his face looked pale. He was sitting on his couch. Not leaning into his couch, but sitting upright. The apartment around him, a small one bedroom was immaculate. And there he was, waiting for me to sit down.  After a brief explanation came “and I think it’s time to end this.”

“To end what?” I asked.

“The relationship.”

At this, I jumped up and nearly fell over, catching myself on the arm of the couch.

“What? Why? Are you serious?”

“I am. This just isn’t working.”

I practically ran out of his apartment a few moments later, unable to even fathom what was happening. I was angry, hurt and completely blindsided. Sure, things hadn’t been perfect, but I thought our relationship was the healthiest I’d ever been in. The next morning I called him and told him I would do anything to keep him. I was shocked at myself. The way I sounded. Desperate almost. Heaving with tears at the idea of losing this sweet man. What had I done to drive him away?

“We have nothing in common,” he said, “And we fight all of the time. I’m not happy. I’m not.”

“But we don’t fight all of the time. Do we? I mean, things aren’t perfect all of the time but that’s life. The things we fight about aren’t fundamental differences, they are minimal, things we can fix.”

At the end of the conversation, we were back together. Our break up had lasted for all of 12 hours but I was a wreck. My trust had been shattered because John had effectively pulled the rug out from under the relationship and rocked our foundation of trust. It would never be the same again.

Two months later in the middle of May, after our trip to Georgia, it happened again. He started a lot of sentences with the word “if” and others with this phrase, “I love you, but.”

I love you, but… you really are this or that.

He had issues with me. So many issues that I was starting to not feel like me. We took a one week break and at the end of it, I broke up with him.

“I want someone who is committed to Benjamin and I without hesitation, I want to get married, I want to have more children, I want a house, I want someone who loves me without ‘ifs’ or ‘buts’. I want someone who loves me as I am.” I wanted all of these things and he had helped me to believe in them, he had opened my heart and my mind to the joys of a relationship. But he wasn’t happy and I couldn’t force him to be with me.

The next morning, John showed up at my door and told me he wanted all of the above. The house. The wedding. The life. Together.

I believed him. And he believed himself.

We moved forward and never looked back. Until the morning of Christmas Eve.

The night before my sister, as blunt as I am, had been pressing John with questions. She had noticed that we didn’t seem happy together and while I was distracted and entertaining other guests at our office party, Anna was grilling John like the protective sister she is.

“Are you happy? Because you don’t seem happy.” Etc. Etc. Etc.

Had I known this was going on, I would have swooped in to protect him and been livid with my sister. Instead, I missed it all. Just as I had apparently been completely missing John’s unhappiness. She saw what I couldn’t.

As you have all read here on this blog, I have been happy, content, and comfortable. But there were some things missing. Butterflies, for one. That maddening feeling of being in love. I was trying to find the best person for Benjamin and I by using my head and not my heart. As a result, I brushed a lot of things under the rug and told a story here that I also told to myself. In the end, I created an image for John Bear that any man would feel intimidated to fill.

On the morning of Christmas Eve, John was still incredibly upset about my sister’s pressing questions the night before. I don’t want to share all of the details but it ended with same look on his face he had in his apartment that day in March and me absolutely losing it in tears and shock as I handed him the ring. He wanted to take it back, to make up again and brush it under the rug – but, I made the call.

“No. No more pretending and no more forcing you to be with me.” With the flood gates open and John’s true feelings on the table everything suddenly became clear.

“You’re not happy. You aren’t. You’re miserable with me. It’s so obvious now.”

We both had to wake up to the reality of our relationship. I was happy but he wasn’t.

Whether I knew it or not, I had pressured John into taking our relationship into the next phase. Marriage. The House. Fatherhood. We are both guilty here. We are both guilty of trying to do the right thing, of pressing forward even though there was clearly something missing.

I’m surprisingly okay right now. I’m not sure if I’m still in shock or not, but John and I will still be friends and I’m in the incredibly fortunate situation, thanks to my business, of being able to pay the mortgage solo. John has been staying up in Cleveland with his parents and will do whatever Benjamin and I need or want to make sure we all survive this unscathed.

And unlike the first time I became a single mom, this time, I know exactly what to expect. And being single, as you all know, is my comfort zone. I have no idea how this will affect Benjamin but my game plan is this: stay calm, carry on, and be as happy and as engaged with him as possible.

We have had several conversations about the break up already. I wanted to tell him quickly and be transparent about it… after his initial tears I said, “Remember before John Bear, just a few months ago, when we were living alone?”

“Yeah,” he said, “in our old apartment.”

“Yeah, well, wasn’t that so much fun?”

“Yeah.”

“Well, now it will be just you and me again.”

“Okay,” he nodded and then slowly a big smile crept across his face while he remembered our time together – just the two of us. Our adventures. Our trips. Our happiness.

We really don’t need anyone else… just each other. For now. And, I must admit, there is a part of me that is so incredibly excited to have that back again.

Also, I completely resign from my position as an authority of any kind for giving out relationship or love advice to single moms. Wow, oh wow, I really didn’t see that coming.

Please don’t hate John and please don’t lose hope in men. He and his family were absolutely amazing to Benjamin and I and we will always be friends.

Related posts:

  1. A bond no man can break. Sorry guys.
  2. Single Mom S.O.S. – Explaining a Break Up
  3. The Best Break-up Song Ever
  4. How to get over a break up.
  5. Online Dating Etiquette: How to break up…virtually.

{ 2 trackbacks }

When It’s Over « I Used To Have Hair
December 29, 2010 at 7:11 am
Gibizz News » When It’s Over
December 29, 2010 at 10:44 pm

{ 136 comments… read them below or add one }

Miss Grace December 28, 2010 at 6:39 pm

I’m sorry.

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MsV1959 December 28, 2010 at 6:39 pm

God. That sucks. I’m so sorry for your pain.

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Soccer Mom December 28, 2010 at 6:41 pm

O.M.G. I’m so sorry to hear this. I’m glad you’re OK and I’m also glad you made the call…it gives you the power. When I became a single mom I had no power and that was scary as hell. You two will be OK. I just know it.

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Cat December 28, 2010 at 6:42 pm

I’m shocked and sad for you, so I can only imagine how you feel… but if it wasn’t right, you couldn’t force it. I know you’ll do what’s best for Benjamin because that’s the mom you are. You’ve been a role model for me as I became a single mom and started navigating relationships, and you still are. (((hugs)))

Now off to have a state of the union with my fiancee…

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Jessica December 28, 2010 at 6:43 pm

I am so sorry to hear this. Your courage is amazing. I second what Soccer Mom said – glad you wouldn’t let him take it back.

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Marie T December 28, 2010 at 6:44 pm

Lots of love and healing vibes in your direction –

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Momma Sunshine December 28, 2010 at 6:46 pm

You have to do what’s best for you and Benjamin…and if things weren’t working, then they weren’t working.

I’ll be sending lots of love and positive vibes your way, and hope for healing for all of you.

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Gitte December 28, 2010 at 6:46 pm

I am so sorry.

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Dee December 28, 2010 at 6:46 pm

I’m sorry it didn’t work out. You, however, have given me hope and faith! When the right man comes along we will both know it :) Stay strong and enjoy your time with Benjamin. Thank you for sharing your story. Happy holidays to you!

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ricci December 28, 2010 at 6:47 pm

All I say, is what my older relatives told me. When its true, you’ll be happy even in a shack. Cause you’ll make it work as a team. 2011 is right around the corner let it happen trust me you’ll know when it does.

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Sang Duong December 28, 2010 at 6:48 pm

Hugs Hugs and more hugs!

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Melissa December 28, 2010 at 6:49 pm

I am so sorry! You and Benjamin will survive this! I wish you all the best.

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Sunny December 28, 2010 at 6:52 pm

Whoa.

I’m floored. I really am. I’m also terribly heartbroken for you, John and Benjamin. I know you’ll all get through this and come out the other side wiser and stronger.

All three of you are in my heart right now.

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Aimee December 28, 2010 at 6:52 pm

I am both happy and sad for you. I’m glad Benjamin took it so well and that you are feeling more content. I hope for much happiness for both of you.

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Cissy December 28, 2010 at 7:00 pm

I am so sorry. Prayers and hugs for you and little man Ben.

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Julie December 28, 2010 at 7:03 pm

I won’t say sorry as this could very well be one of the best things that’s ever happened to you! Take comfort in the fact that your ideas about the relationship didn’t culminate in marriage and you don’t have to be a double divorcee like me;) but also that what’s better and what may truly brings you happiness in a relationship could be.. just around the corner- even when you least expect it.
Thanks for your candid example of bravery through breakup. I hope the new year inspires you with hope.

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Martini Mom December 28, 2010 at 7:05 pm

Oh, wow. I’m so sorry. It sucks when it just doesn’t work out, through no one’s fault. Much love to you and Benjamin (and John) as you heal and find your new way.

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Amber December 28, 2010 at 7:13 pm

Think of it like being given another chance to find someone amazing for Benjamin, who wants the same things as you, the family, the house, fatherhood…

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Missy December 28, 2010 at 7:14 pm

I don’t know what to say, but I am sorry. There is a reason for all of this. You have to believe. There are bigger plans for you and Benjamin. hugs.

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Jared December 28, 2010 at 7:16 pm

First, my heart aches for you. My own pain at lost love is not so far away that I forget. Know that you are loved, by friends, family and the community you’ve founded here.

Second, I take issue with the idea that marriage (or long-term relationships) are supposed to make one happy or that butterflies are somehow involved in true love. Sometimes love is hard; sometimes it’s trying to make us into better people than we would be without it. If relationships were designed to make us happy, we wouldn’t need all of the vows and promises. We sell love short when we think that feeling happy is love’s goal. All that said, I am quite happy, and I pray that you will one day be happy again too. Blessings.

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mssinglemama January 2, 2011 at 9:48 pm

You are a wise, wise man my friend. This is an excellent insight and I couldn’t agree more. We can’t always be happy. You can’t have joy without pain, love without hate. Etc, etc.

Thanks for sharing this.

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Ann December 28, 2010 at 7:17 pm

Sending lots of hugs and prayers your way!! You are a very strong and admirable woman.

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brittany December 28, 2010 at 7:20 pm

I said it once before and I will say it again, your honesty and strength are inspiring. Even in the depths of such pain you can help us who look to you for help and advice. The message is to always be honest with yourself and never fear to be on your own. Luckily you have a great partner in life in Benjamin. Sending hugs and prayers for comfort and happiness your way. May 2011 bring you many new life adventures (or maybe just some peace and quiet!).

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Sheila December 28, 2010 at 7:21 pm

I’m so sorry :( thank you for being honest.

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Candice December 28, 2010 at 7:21 pm

Ugh! My heart sinks for you. But I look forward to continuing this single mom journey with you :o )

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Jessica Ashley (Sassafrass) December 28, 2010 at 7:27 pm

Sending you the warmest thoughts.

Some years, the fresh breath and fresh start of the New Year is a great gift.

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singlemama_cc December 28, 2010 at 7:28 pm

Damn. That’s all I can say is damn.

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Emilia December 28, 2010 at 7:30 pm

I’m so sorry to hear…you seem like a strong woman with an amazing little boy who loves you very much…it won’t be easy….but you will survive…and please don’t stop giving advice!!! :)

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ebiwbcq October 1, 2011 at 10:12 am
owmrjird October 3, 2011 at 8:42 am
Glenda December 28, 2010 at 7:30 pm

O.M.G. My heart aches for you. You were so happy and so in love with John Bear. I was so looking forward to the wedding in May. But at the same time you both have to be in love… both have to be happy… both have to be on the same page not a different chapter… and at least you’ll always be friends.

My heart aches for Benjamin. John Bear seemed perfect for the two of you.
Wishing that 2011 is everything you wish for you and Benjamin!

Stay strong! you’ve done it before you can do it again. One baby step at a time! xo

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Sharri December 28, 2010 at 7:33 pm

I am so so sorry. It’s such a hard, but very brave thing to do. I’m thinking of you, as a fellow single mom – and believe in you.

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Juli December 28, 2010 at 7:33 pm

Oh gosh, this all just sucks but I’m so glad to read of your courage and that if things weren’t right, that you ended things now and not after a wedding. I’m so glad to hear that Benjamin is okay with it too. I hope 2011 brings you new adventures, love from Benjamin and love of yourself.

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Bobbi Janay December 28, 2010 at 7:50 pm

Wow, I am so sorry. I understand about what you say about not hating John, I know that a blog can only tell one side of a story.

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Eva December 28, 2010 at 8:02 pm

my heart aches reading this.. I too wanted all of the above for you. And I know that everything will fall into place I just know that although you will and can do it the hurt it does to your heart even if it’s just for a brief minute.

You are beautiful, your son is beautiful. 2011 will bring what you want it to bring and more.

Thinking of you!

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jobo December 28, 2010 at 8:03 pm

Wow. I haven’t read your blog in the past (just followed you on twitter), and I feel for you in so many ways. This reminds me of my divorce, in a way, as my ex was the unhappy one and it was hard for me to see it and realize that maybe things weren’t as rosy as I let on, when you look under the covers. You made a heroic decision, in my mind, putting your and your son’s needs first. I give you so much credit for that as I don’t know if I could do the same. Hang in there.

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Patricia December 28, 2010 at 8:04 pm

Oh, my dear, how my heart is breaking for you. I was so there, so many times. Having followed your blog for almost three years, this is hard to read. Having been in your situation more than once (uhh, twice, thrice…with the same man, though, now my husband), I still have hope for you and John Bear. You must hate to read that (because I did when I just insisted to everyone that IT. WAS. OVER). Still, I’ll be praying for you girlie. Even if it’s not with John Bear, God has a pretty badass way of turning these tragedies into our biggest strengths, both in our lives and in our character. xoxo

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Tracy January 8, 2011 at 1:59 am

“God has a pretty badass way of turning these tragedies into our biggest strengths.”

Thanks for this great quote, Patricia. I am going to hold on to this while I deal with some things that are going on in my life and wait for His badass-ness to help turn things out for the better for me.

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eb December 28, 2010 at 8:12 pm

better now than later. good for you. best for you and B in the end. lots of love and support flowing your way.

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Heidi December 28, 2010 at 8:26 pm

Whoa.. I am so sorry to hear that this story is true.. you sound like you have so much clarity about the whole thing.. the why’s and the how’s.. you sound so strong. Benjamin is lucky to have you as a mama.

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sarah December 28, 2010 at 8:34 pm

feel like i just got the wind sucked right out of me! Didn’t see this one coming, have been very much enjoying reading you especially lately as things just seemed to be rolling in, one good thing after another. I am so, so sorry that right now you are hurting. Whatever will happen, I just will be praying that you and Benjamin make it through as unscathed as possible. Warm thoughts your way, and hugs too.

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Kelly December 28, 2010 at 8:44 pm

I am so sorry to hear about the break-up, but really applaud your ability to stand your ground, no matter how much it was killing you to give John the ring back. Many, many people would have just as quickly made up and pretended it never happened, until it happened again and again and they were headed for divorce. While it will be hard, you are right, you know exactly what to expect and you have all of us to encourage you and help you along the way.

All the best for you and Benjamin in 2011.

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jen December 28, 2010 at 8:52 pm

I didn’t see this coming. You made a tough decision and you’ll get through it. You never know what’s around the corner.

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Lesha December 28, 2010 at 8:58 pm

I am aching for you now, but amazed at how I find my way back to your blog when I need the strength to make the decisions that need to be made. You are strong and I am amazed at that too. Your strength gives me and so many others strength. I’m sorry it didn’t work out the way you wanted, but I am glad you realized before the marriage. And I hope when you find you are not as strong as you’d like you can lean on everyone you’ve befriended, in real life and out here in blog-land, to give you the strength you need.

And as everyone else has said, I wish you and Benjamin the best in 2011. I wish it to all of us.

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Elizabeth December 28, 2010 at 9:02 pm

Oooh nooooo! I must admitt, I’m sad – although it sounds like it’s for the best, I had hoped you had found your happily ever after. Good for you though for stopping it now before things progressed further. Even better for you that you had them gumption to log on and tell it like it is. That part – owning your circumstance not just yourself but to semi strangers – well that just shows exactly how strong you are…and with that kind of strength, you’re going to be just fine!

Hopefully you’ll be able to feel the love, hugs and sisterhood of your readers with you during this time!

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Karen December 28, 2010 at 9:44 pm

Oh. Oh wow. As spectators we are shocked, and had fallen in love with John Bear the same as you did.

But I’ve been a fan of your writing and outlook since before he came along. You’ve got a great perspective on so many things. I guess I’m saying don’t resign on the dating advice. Not permanently. It’s only been a few days, it probably hasn’t sunk in yet. At the end of this you’ll have even more stories to tell, lessons to give, scars to wear with pride.

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Jess December 28, 2010 at 9:44 pm

Wow, I don’t even know what to say…I’m sad for you, but I know that you are so strong.

I hope that this new year will bring joy and success to you and Benjamin.

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Barb December 28, 2010 at 10:11 pm

Oh my, I’m so sorry to read this. The holidays seem to be rough on many relationships, my own included. I know you, Benjamin, and John Bear will do the best for everyone involved.

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LiLDevil Ma December 28, 2010 at 10:16 pm

You are beautiful and brave…good work, Mama for seeing what had to be done.

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JJ December 28, 2010 at 11:00 pm

Oh sweetie…. during the holidays no less :( Listen you know that you’re about to ride the post breakup roller coaster – and its totally okay to be with all of the emotions that are going to come up. You need time to grieve. You’re not super woman – none of us are (although it feels like we need to be some days). Be easy on yourself. There are so many gifts that you get to walk away from this relationship with, that you will take forward in life to make the next relationships even better. And for the record – sister single mama, you live out there. You play this game of life – full out! And you play with all of your heart! Many of us – haven’t recovered enough or are too afraid and you are unstoppable. That’s one reason why I love reading your blog. Never forget that you are bright and shiny…. and keep being your own love, acceptance and happiness – the rest will sort itself out!

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Nancy December 28, 2010 at 11:04 pm

I have no words. I’m so sorry.

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Debbie December 28, 2010 at 11:21 pm

Your news absolutely floored me. However, I thank you for sharing so openly and honestly. I have no doubt that you and your son and John will be OK…but I certainly am sorry you have to go through this.

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Amy December 29, 2010 at 12:19 am

I too am very, very surprised and saddened. I am so sorry.

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Irish Mom December 29, 2010 at 12:42 am

Please tell me that you didn’t know how to change your website from ms single mama to ms married mama so you created this very sad story to stay connected to those of us who are still single moms? I know, it’s a stretch…but I am just so sad to hear of your break up. I’ve been a faithful reader of your blog and I know that you will handle this next chapter with grace. It’s a new year! Time for new beginnings…

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Michelle December 29, 2010 at 1:29 am

I cried for you. Do we have to be happy at all times to make it work? Perhaps stress & pressure takes the toll on a person (especially a guy) and it could last a long time. I wish John Bear and you would seriously consider this again. Whatever it is, our hearts are opened to you

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Jaime December 29, 2010 at 1:52 am

My thoughts and prayers are with all of you. There is a season for everything and a reason for everything. You inspire so many people by sharing your story openly and honestly. Take good care.

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M December 29, 2010 at 4:42 am

WOW that sucks ….and I hope Benjamin will be okay. I really liked what Jared said “If relationships were designed to make us happy, we wouldn’t need all of the vows and promises. We sell love short when we think that feeling happy is love’s goal.”

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Lisa from Lisas Yarns December 29, 2010 at 7:22 am

I am so sorry to read of this…. What a tough thing to go through. You will get through it, though. But we don’t need to tell you that because you already know it… Be proud of yourself for putting you and Benjamin first and having the strength to see the relationship for what it was before entering into marriage…

Sending hugs…

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Amy December 29, 2010 at 9:41 am

Whew! Once again I breathe a sigh of relief after reading your blog to know that I am not the only one going through what I am going through. My relationship has been through so many break-ups and back togethers and ups and downs and I don’t know what all else. I thought I was the only one! Thank you for having the courage to post your experiences and phrasing them in such a way that we can reflect on our own experiences. What did single mom’s do before your blog? Courage, Lady. You’ll get through this one too.

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kate December 29, 2010 at 9:45 am

Oh wow. I did not see that coming. I’ve been a faithful reader and your life has paralleled mine in many ways. You and Benjamin will be in my prayers.

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Amanda December 29, 2010 at 10:43 am

I’m so sorry to hear this, but so happy you and Benjamin have each other!

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Morgans Mom December 29, 2010 at 12:06 pm

When I began to read this post, I didn’t want to believe it was you and john bear. I was hoping for the best out come and maybe this is the best out come for now. I have been a follower of this blog for quite some time and will continue to pray for the best for you and Benjamin.
Keep believing in the power of love….it brought you one good man for you to raise.
Thank you for being honest, open and courageous to post your life so openly.

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Sara December 29, 2010 at 1:36 pm

What a strong, tough thing to do, I admire your courage for you and Benjamin, all of us are here for you during your journey. Always remember Love Conquers All….

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Kim December 29, 2010 at 2:14 pm

What do they say “Rather to love and lost, than to have never loved before”.

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Lara December 29, 2010 at 2:23 pm

You’re so damn classy. I’m thinking of you and holding you from afar as you work your way through this. You’ll always be an inspiration – because it is YOU we love, not your relationships.

Much, much love.

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UNKNOWN December 29, 2010 at 2:41 pm

are there supposed to be butterflies? How do you know when you are in love and they are “the one”? If they do everything to make you happy and you can tell they are not “happy” but what if they dont think they can live without you?
What should you do? I understand your point and I wish I knew the answers to my relationship. I love my man but I myself dont know how to show love except to my kids. I guess I’m confused as well. Good luck and I know exactly how you feel about being single mom and how it feels to be in a relationship you are trying to figure out! Been there and still there! Best of luck to you! and me…

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rose December 29, 2010 at 3:57 pm

I am sorry to hear this. But I’m not completely surprised. That post you wrote about ‘lead weights’ just didn’t sound right to me. Everyone deserves more than that. Real love is not a disney princess dream, for sure, but it is more than lead weights.
The grass always seems greener on the other side, that’s just human nature, but believe me it feels far more lonely to be with the wrong person than it does to be single. When things aren’t right, it slowly eats away at you over time, until you’re not sure who you are anymore.

Best of luck, and be happy.

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Megan (Best of Fates) December 29, 2010 at 4:45 pm

Wow. Just wow. I was directed over here by Canadian Bald Guy, and am so sorry for your pain. Especially during the holidays. Though it’s not like pain’s better the rest of the year! I hope it’s not just shock and you are doing this great and I’m so glad you’re looking forward to it being just the two of you again.

I hope you start the new year out fresh and happy.

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Becky December 29, 2010 at 4:59 pm

What the hell was in the air? My man broke up with me the day after Christmas because as he said “I’m just done. I’m not happy.” no discussion just done. Blindsided. I’m so sorry this happened to you and Benjamin.

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ali December 29, 2010 at 5:05 pm

No matter how eloquently you write, there are no words to sum up the gutted feeling of losing a love you thought would last. Know that you are not alone. I too have been there, and can attest that one day you’ll look back at it all and be a better human, a better mother, a better version of yourself for every bit of it. There is also an exceptional power that comes from allowing one’s self to sit in the space of vulnerability and emptiness. Be gentle with yourself.

And a shout out and three cheers to Jared. Get that man a blog or share his link if he already has one. LOVE his comment!

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JenCA December 29, 2010 at 5:15 pm

You really inspire me with your strength and courage to do the right thing for both you and your son, despite what may be tremendously heart wrenching and very emotionally difficult. Just remember that Benjamin’s resilience and courage mirrors your own character.

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mommybella December 29, 2010 at 6:07 pm

No words, just sorry.
The only good thing is that you are strong and you will know what to do! : (

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ME December 29, 2010 at 6:22 pm

I’m so so sorry to hear this. Have you guys thought about couples counseling? I did that with my now fiance after my fears kept causing me to run away from him. It was a last resort and now we are able to work through all our issues and are truly, truly happy. Just a thought. Wishing you peace.

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Erin December 29, 2010 at 6:28 pm

Many prayers for you and Benjamin! <3

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The Maven December 29, 2010 at 7:49 pm

Oh Single Mama, I’m so sorry. I’m sure there will be good days and bad, and hopefully the good will become more and more as time goes on. You deserve someone who is happy with you, in the life you and Benjamin have. I’m sure John is a wonderful guy – he’s just not THE guy. (((hugs)))

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April December 29, 2010 at 8:24 pm

Nope, didn’t see that one coming, does that mean your back to blogging more? :)
Very sweet photo of ‘just the two of you’!
It is what it is.

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soon2bsinglemom December 29, 2010 at 9:56 pm

I’m just catching up now…I’m so sorry. {{hugs}} Thank you, though, for sharing your story…past, present, and future with all of us. My divorce was just finalized a week and a half ago so I’m familiar with the loss you are feeling around the holidays too.

2011 will be our year.

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Andrea December 29, 2010 at 10:03 pm

I’m sorry to hear of your news. I’ve been reading your blog for over 2 years now and had high hopes for you and John Bear. But, I know that you also can’t make someone happy no matter how hard you try. I believe the right relationships should be “easy” at the start. Sure, there will be milestones and fights – especially when dealing with a blended family – however, I think ultimately it should just feel natural, comfortable, and blissful for both people involved.

I want to thank you for sharing your story and being honest about the current state of things. It takes a lot of courage to talk about such a sad and difficult time. I look forward to hearing more of your journey as a single parent. You are such a strong, courageous, hopeful, independent single mom – something that is very inspiring!

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singlemomli December 29, 2010 at 10:09 pm

Holy! I didn’t see that coming. Ouch, this hurts me…can’t imagine how you and Benjamin feel.

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Cibele December 29, 2010 at 11:14 pm

2 years ago, I heard the same conversation, I did not see it coming and it broke my heart .I am heart broken for you today. I am so so sorry. HUGS. I can relate

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Amy December 30, 2010 at 12:04 am

I have been thinking of you all, all day…

I am honestly surprised at how much your break up has effected ME! A simple reader of your blog. I cannot imagine how you are feeling and I just want to have you over for wine and so you can vent..

You have touched me and countless others. Keep on keeping it real. And come on over for some wine and venting, sigh. Big hugs to you.

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Jenny December 30, 2010 at 3:26 am

May 2011 be magnificent for you and your little guy.

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Poppy December 30, 2010 at 4:31 am

I’m so sorry for all 3 of you. It’s sad.

I think as young girls and then as women we are brainwashed to believe in this fantasy of the perfect marriage, house and kids, you know “happily ever after.” It’s the brass ring. And sure, some women get it but many of us don’t. Not to say, you still won’t as you are still young. But when it doesn’t happen, how do we define a new “happily ever after”? Of course it can be done but it takes courage and strength to feel good about yourself when society gives you a different message. These are broader issues than your breakup but what has come to mind for me.

I still think you were wise to use your head more than your heart. Butterfly feelings don’t usually last forever. You still can give yourself credit too, for having your healthiest relationship to date. That’s real and counts for a lot. Your next relationship will be even healthier because that’s how it works. You deserve a man who is not critical of you and who does not waiver.

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mssinglemama December 30, 2010 at 9:37 am

You are absolutely right. Thanks for sharing this.

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Kayla J. December 30, 2010 at 9:19 am

I am SOOO sorry but it truly seems that you know what’s going on. I pray for you and Ben (and John Bear). Things always seem to work together for good, in the end. Wishing you the most amazing year in 2011. And for the record I, too, agree with Jared. But things are what they are…I’m certain you know what’s best. Much love!!

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Stac December 30, 2010 at 10:28 am

I keep coming back hoping I’ll have something to say besides I’m sorry for all three of you. But I have no wisdom, nothing deep to say. You all have my thoughts and I’m sending positive energy your way.

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Kate December 30, 2010 at 10:41 am

I echo what Poppy said. I don’t usually comment, but wanted to say that I am thinking of you & Benjamin. Hugs.

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missy bee December 30, 2010 at 12:25 pm

we just call it the i love you hand…sign language for i love you, and i’m sending it to you now. you are as brave and inspiring as ever. i feel so connected to your story and all you share here, and have a pit in my stomach reading your words as if it happened to me personally. love, missy, aidan, and alec.

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christine December 30, 2010 at 12:48 pm

oh god. i’m speechless. i admit to having moments of being incredibly jealous of your new found happiness, but this breaks my heart. sending lots of love and good thoughts your way. xoxoxox

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Mindy December 30, 2010 at 2:56 pm

I am a long-time reader, first-time commenter. I am sorry sorry…I am in tears right now. May this New Year bring you yet another New Leaf. Many hugs to you and Benjamin.

You are strong, and you will get through this…better than before.

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Kate December 30, 2010 at 3:55 pm

AFTER A WHILE (Veronica Shoftshall, 1971)

After a while you learn the subtle difference
between holding a hand and chaining a soul
and you learn that love doesn’t mean leaning
and company doesn’t always mean security.

And you begin to learn that kisses aren’t contracts
and presents aren’t promises
and you begin to accept
your defeats
with your head up
and your eyes ahead
with the grace of woman,
not the grief of a child

And you learn to build
all your roads on today
because tomorrow’s ground
is too uncertain for plans
and futures have a way
of falling down in mid-flight.

After a while you learn
that even sunshine burns
if you get too much
so you plant your own garden
and decorate your own soul
instead of waiting for someone
to bring you flowers.

And you learn
that you really can endure
you really are strong
you really do have worth
and you learn
and you learn
with every goodbye, you learn…

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Amy December 31, 2010 at 12:02 am

Beautiful. And so true.

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Ms. Single Mama December 31, 2010 at 1:16 pm

Thank you. This is an incredible poem.

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LtotheJ December 30, 2010 at 4:13 pm

Thank you for being so honest. I’m so sorry for you pain, and so happy for your strength. You’re an incredible mother, and things will look up soon.

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Dawn December 30, 2010 at 4:30 pm

Shining like the sun, cutting through the earth like water, as beautiful as the vast blue sky, soaring like an eagle … what is meant to be will be. You are such a beautiful voice and soul.

Two words come to mind: Arrancada (spanish) To do something we all do, and then begin anew. To uproot something and begin again. Hio (latin) stand open, with full openness.

I know you will find that which nourishes you and your dreams.

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Barb December 30, 2010 at 4:52 pm

I am sorry to hear about your break-up. You wrote “don’t hate John”, and clearly I don’t know him but shame on him for moving the relationship along while knowing deep down he wasn’t happy. Especially since all of this involves your little boy. I wish you and Benjamin and happy and healing new year!

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Pam December 30, 2010 at 10:22 pm

Wow. I am shocked and saddened for you and little Benjamin. Remember- You are strong and determined, and will get through this. And your son will get through this too.

After I heard this story it made me reflect on my own past relationship mistake, and reading this made me think back to my past “sham” relationship- when I “thought” everything was “perfect” I truly did not want to see what lied buried beneath…I used to say that I missed the signs that were there..but truthfully I just pretended they didn’t exist. Enough about me. This is about you, and take time to grieve and spend time with the number one guy in your life!

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Alexis December 30, 2010 at 11:42 pm

Here’s to 2011…may your heart stay open and your soul become more beautiful with every moment! You are not alone…sounds a lot like my Christmas Eve…and here I thought I was alone. Thank you for your honesty and sharing yourself. You are strong, brave, and beautiful….we all are. And YEAH!!! It is fun and so very wonderful to just be with your little guy. I remain thankful every day for all the special moments that only belong to me and mine. You will get through this, life will go on….the adventures will continue!

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Megan December 31, 2010 at 4:19 am

I was so sad to read this post, it’s so unexpected. As a reader, I adore the three of you. I am happy that it seems that the three of you will remain close. Who can say exactly what the future holds, but I feel confident that soon, things will be even more wonderful than before. I admire your strength and honesty. Hugs!

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Nick Stanham December 31, 2010 at 6:29 am

I’m so sorry to hear of your pain. It doesn’t mean you shouldn’t keep giving advice, It just goes to show you’re human. And a very nice one at that.

I hope the new year brings you happiness and fullfillment you deseve it.

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Cherie December 31, 2010 at 2:36 pm

Sad to hear it :( I’ve gotta say, though, Benjamin is so lucky he’s got one strong mamma!!! Best wishes and may 2011 be a wonderful year of life, love, and happiness.

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Rebecca December 31, 2010 at 2:40 pm

I had to read the post 3 times since I couldn’t believe what I was reading. I read it 3 times thinking that somewhere you’ve added a “April Fool’s” note that I must have missed. It was unreal and I think I’m still in shock myself.

I understand that you are not sharing all of the details here but I am confused and question John Bear’s behavior. How could he let it go so long until he was able to share his “real” feelings and thoughts about things that have been bothering him for a while it seems? Why was he unable to be truly “honest” with you and Benjamin? Anyways, no need to respond to these questions … just sharing my lingering thoughts …

I agree that you did something very brave … being the one to call it and stop the madness. That is really hard to do … since we always think that it will get better … people will change, etc.

It’s been a rough year for myself as well … lost my mom back in September to liver cancer …

I’m looking for a fresh start and all the possibilities a new year brings!
My best wishes to you and Benjamin in the new year as well ! :)

I will continue to be an avid reader of your blog … please continue .. we are hear and reading!

Rebecca

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sara January 1, 2011 at 2:42 am

I’m sorry that you have to go through heartache and really as I have read your blog the past few years, your blog has given me hope for finding a happily-ever-after as a single mom. But what I can admire the most about you and this post particularly is that you realized that a piece of the puzzle was missing and even though John has been amazing to you and Benjamin both, its important that BOTH John and you are truly happy. If you aren’t happy now then a marriage would only make things worse. Best wishes to you and Benjamin as you work through the bumps but have faith that your perfect match is out there still.

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Heather January 1, 2011 at 2:12 pm

Thinking of you and Benjamin at this difficult time. You were sort of the “poster girl” for finding an amazing relationship and a wonderful new stepfather all in one. This just shows that you are human too, of course, and perhaps we all helped add to the pressure that put you on so high of a pedestal. When you rise too high, you are bound to fall in some way.

I wish you nothing but the best in the days and years to come. I hope that you will find the right one for both of you…just as I am trying to. It’s a hard road, but we must always be true to ourselves. No matter how hard it is or how much it hurts.

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Bear January 1, 2011 at 6:37 pm

I’m not sure what thoughts I can offer, except this: Looking over your readers’ reactions, they range from deep and heartfelt condolences to congratulations for having had the wisdom to react appropriately and move forward. The point is that we’re capable of choosing what to take away from this experience… and so are you. I hope, in the end, that the positive parts will be the ones that are most lasting: as Poppy pointed out, on the whole this relationship sounds like it was a move in a direction you want to go, and its end may suggest some new or different directions to explore. None of this need be a bad thing.

Good luck.

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shels January 2, 2011 at 2:54 pm

I have following your blog for the past year, and I am shocked. Everything I read painted a fairytale romance. Everything appeared to be so great with a few ups and downs here and there, but by far, it appeared that you were madly in love, and the future would include marriage and babies, so I am very shocked to read this. I had no idea that you were having any difficulties in the past, and that must have been something you wanted to keep very private and did not want to share with you readers, I understand that. I am wishing you and Benjamin the best for 2011 and I am sure that the two of you will enjoy being “the two of you” again. It sounds like Benjamin is looking forward to it and so are you. Here is to health, peace, love and happiness!

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Jennifer Stropoli January 2, 2011 at 6:14 pm

Wow! I’m so sorry. I truly understand you and feel for you because I have and still do walk in the same shoes. It will get better and things will change. It has too; that’s life.

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charity January 2, 2011 at 6:39 pm

I read this while laying in bed this morning and you’ve been on my mind all day. I just can’t believe it. I shared this blog with my friend a few months ago and when I read this I texted her “is nothing sacred???”

I think I speak for everyone here when I say that your joys, triumphs, disappointments, and trials somehow feel like they’re ours too. I know all too well how this feels, but I also know that the best way to walk away from a relationship is to celebrate the good time you had with someone who may not have been the One, but was certainly a positive influence, a stepping stone and a teacher.

Between courses of a fancy meal they serve a small scoop of sorbet to cleanse your palate for the next course. Consider john the sorbet to prepare you for whatever comes next.

Much love from Charity and Talon

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Stephanie January 2, 2011 at 7:01 pm

*hugs* I am so sorry.

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Anna January 2, 2011 at 7:23 pm

I read this right after you posted, but wanted to wait to comment (I was pretty shocked). You have some really insightful readers, and I agree with many of them (and love the thought of John as “sorbet”). Your experiences have inspired so many of your readers, and this brave decision that you have made shows how far you have come, and shows your readers who may be hanging on to a relationship just to be in one that it isn’t the best way to go. We only have one life, and as heartbreaking, painful, and terrifying as break-ups are, they are sometimes necessary for us to grow, be happy, and live life to the fullest.

Please keep us posted.
Wishing you and Benjamin a happy and healthy new year!

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T January 2, 2011 at 10:23 pm

Wha?! Oh wow…

Girl, trying to date/have a relationship with children is just so complicated. Ugggg… my heart hurts.

At the same time, honestly, if anyone I know can bounce back from this, it’s you, girlfriend.

So glad the rest of life is going so well. John helped put you and Benjamin into a happy place that you can continue. Your faith in prince charming was restored. That’s so huge. And now, you’re not the same person you once were. You’re stronger. Wiser. More open. Loving.

You got this. Sending you good wishes into 2011.

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Jessica L. K. January 3, 2011 at 9:45 am

So sorry for you and your son. The blindsided breakup is one of the worst. Hang in there. As I’m sure you know, you will survive. You will be OK again.

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Liv January 3, 2011 at 7:59 pm

I’m so, so sorry to hear the news. You and your son are in my thoughts.

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Lydia January 4, 2011 at 11:56 am

Im so sorry for your breakup. I know that this may seem like a bad time for it to happen but it really isnt….2011..New year new begining. God luck to you and your little guy. Hugs

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Mel January 4, 2011 at 4:30 pm

I only recently found your blog and it gave me so much hope as a single parent. Please let us know how your son is doing.

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Max January 5, 2011 at 9:14 pm

You need a slap in the face. I just stumbled across this website and have read a few random pages, from the beginning you come off as a know-it-all (though you did begin to acknowledge that in this entry).
First I want you to try an empathetic exercise, swap your positions of you and the man. I read your entry where he helped to fold your laundry and you snapped at him. If a man got you to fold his laundry you would walk, if you were folding it and he berated you, you would RUN. A mother can’t offer the fun that a single woman can offer, no need to make it worse.
If you love someone, set them free. You didn’t set him free when he first dumped you because you don’t love him, you love the ‘idea’ of him. You didn’t see *him*, you saw someone who could fill the gap in *your* life.
You want a marriage, house (whatever else you wrote). Why? Do you think these things will make you happy? They won’t. Do you know what does make you happy? Think about it.
Happiness. Happiness is the only thing that makes you happy. Might sound stupid but it’s true.
You don’t know what you want (but it’s worse because you think you do). You push through life like you think you’re in control but you’re just chasing status symbols. Get married, why? The only sign of commitment is staying together, marriage is no defence against splitting. Buy a house, why? You already have a place to sleep.
Love is when someone makes us feel good and we do the same for them. In your words you took a guy who was trying and made him feel miserable with you. Get the **** out of your head and your endless rules and looking for a father-type. Next time you find a guy who makes you feel good just focus on making him feel good in return. Do this and he will accept your child and, even if he’s not good to start with, over time he will learn how to father.

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M!SS Natalie February 20, 2011 at 11:31 pm

I have to say when I read this, at first I got defensive, thinking “who does he think HE is??”
But you have some validity in your words. It is harsh. But it is the harsh truth. I was once that girl that wanted only to be married. And had I read what you wrote back then, I would have brushed it off as some jerk.
What you said about a mom can’t offer the fun a single girl can, is mean. It makes me want to come back with all sorts of things to say. I want to ask, are us moms supposed to settle for less because of it?? But at the same time, as much as it sucks, it is the brutal truth.

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amanda January 6, 2011 at 1:43 pm

I am so, so, so sorry to hear this.

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Tracy January 8, 2011 at 1:55 am

I’m so sorry you had to go through this. I’m crying here as I read this post. It sounds like you handled the whole thing great and I hope that your son handles it just as well.

I’m crying because it’s so sad to hear about your being blindsided like this… you were happy, he was not. How maddening. But also I am crying selfishly because your words, “after the initial tears” about your telling Benajmin the news just really hit home for me. I am currently in a relationship in which I am not happy, and I truthfully don’t think he is either, but he wants to stay together. I’ve gotten to the point where I’ve realized that nothing is changing, and that staying together for the sake of the kids (1 of ours, 2 of mine) isn’t worth the pain and stress that this relationship is causing me.

BUT… the kids. When I divorced my ex, my daughters were 2 and not quite 1. It was hard for them, but they were so young it quickly became all they knew. My older daughter does have some memories of when mommy and daddy lived together, but for the most part, they know us as two separate entities. But after nearly 3 years with my boyfriend, I was surprised to find myself pregnant. Truth be told, I was on the verge of breaking up with him at that time, but this new stressful surprise in my life made me think I should rethink things. I know he didn’t want to break up (even before the baby) so maybe he was willing to work on things.

Shortly before the baby was born we finally moved in together. My daughters had known this man for most of thier lives, we started dating about 6 months after I separated from their dad, so he was already a big part of their lives, but to move him in was scary. Especially since I had this nagging feeling that, even as I grew more and more pregnant, that this was the wrong decision. But I convinced myself to keep trying. For the baby’s sake. For my girls’ sake. The baby is 14 months old now. I’ve tried to break up with him probably about 10 times since he’s moved in. Full on asked him to leave, kicked him out, told him I was done. But each time he convinced me that things would change. But they never did. And now my daughters call him dad. Daddy. “Daddy!!” (Even though, one of the reasons this isn’t working for me, he has turned out not to be a very good dad, in my opinion. Especially to my daughters. Not a bad dad, just not the dad I need him to be.) My daughters are now almost 7 and 5. And they love him. But I have to get up the courage to follow through with this one final time, and not let him convince me of otherwise this time.

But I’m so scared to do it, because of my girls. I’m so reluctant to hurt them like this. I consider resigning myself to an unhappy life in order to not put them through this. If he was the dad I want and need and have asked and begged him to be, I might be able to concvince myself to do it, but he does not seem to want to or be able to fully commit to being a family man and I feel like I can’t keep waiting for it to happen.

But the tears. And the hurt. And the pain. How do I deal with the pain this will put my daughters through? While I know that prolonging the breakup only adds to the problem I think of their faces whenever he comes home from work, “Daddy!!” each time I feel like I am ready to follow through. I know I need to do it but I just hate so much the idea of how much they will hurt.

Your poor Benjamin. That picture you posted of him looking at his daddy from the car, I know that look. In Benjamin’s case it seems like his John Bear was more of a “daddy” kind of dad than my girls have, but nonetheless he gets those same looks from them.

I love that you mentioned how much fun the 2 of you had before you all moved in together and that Benjamin seemed excited about this. I do have some hope that my daughters will also be happy to have things back to the way they were before (albeit with an additional baby brother). I wish you luck in your life and I am thinking about you and Benjamin. I hope I soon gather the strength to do what I know I need to do.

learningtolivemybestlifein365days.blogspot.com

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Emmy January 12, 2011 at 11:52 am

I’m sorry that things didn’t work out for you! I wish you all the happiness in the world! Your blog has helped me SO much in getting over a recent ex. Its so refreshing to see that I’m not alone in this struggle! I have recently come to terms with WHY things didn’t work out. I’ve started a journal about my thoughts about the whole situation, and why I don’t NEED a man in my life to make me happy. I’m perfectly happy, and damn proud of myself for what I have accomplished since becoming a single mom. And all you other moms out there should be proud too! Its hard at times but so rewarding to see what YOU have done! :)

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Sarah January 16, 2011 at 12:30 pm

I am proud of you for realizing the reality of the situation instead of becoming angry at the sadness. People are dynamic beings. It’s a wonderful gift when two of them find each other fall in love, and stay partners. It demands acceptance of imperfections, compromise, understanding and friendship. Some unexpected day, perhaps it will just happen. Until then, I adore your attitude of “move on and be engaged with Benjamin”. Live in the moment. You are such a wise woman and an awesome Mama!

I appreciate your positive attitude and appreciation for John Bear’s friendship.

<3

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Tinderbox January 19, 2011 at 5:38 pm

Barb said:
I am sorry to hear about your break-up. You wrote “don’t hate John”, and clearly I don’t know him but shame on him for moving the relationship along while knowing deep down he wasn’t happy.

Shame on him? Uh, it’s my understanding that the point of an engagement is to have sufficient time to make sure that marriage is what is right for both, or that any problems can be ironed out. Should he have waited until after they were married so she could have another divorce on her resume? I suppose if he’d had “the talk” with her earlier than he did then you’d be shaming him for not being committed enough.

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Ford man January 21, 2011 at 3:28 am

I hope your doing better by now. Its great you have your son and I hope your enjoying the winter together, spring is right around the corner.

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KnackeredMama January 31, 2011 at 11:21 pm

You sound like you are doing so well, my husband just left me with our 2 little boys (both still in diapers) 2 weeks ago and I am not doing that well. I’m glad I found your site, I think reading how you are going through this will help me.

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Andy February 3, 2011 at 10:54 am

I’ve read your blog periodically over the years. And followed your story as well. One thing I would caution against, because I’ve seen it mentioned often, is “needing” Ben or being so happy that you “have” Ben. Being strong is tough. I know it. And there have been moments in my life where, without the love of my boys, I couldn’t have gone on. But relying too much on support from our kids can put a lot of pressure on a little ones. They don’t see or understand it, but it’s there. Keep “Grown Up” issues to yourself as much as possible. And chin up. It will get better. You know that’s true, because it has gotten better for you before.

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Stephanie February 3, 2011 at 12:43 pm

I haven’t followed your blog for over a month of two because of the busy holidays and stuff. I am in totally shock today when I came back…. I feel so sorry. Be strong, and be happy – only you can make yourself happy, not another man, not your kids. Please take care!!

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Gigi February 3, 2011 at 4:11 pm

It is like I’m reading my own story but I have 2 kids instead. Everything else is the same.

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Shannon February 5, 2011 at 9:50 pm

Alanna. I had no idea…I have been so out of touch for awhile. I am feeling incredibly emotional for you right now. And I know what you mean about how you don’t feel ripped apart as in the past. It’s almost like we can’t be broken like that again. I’m thinking of you, and will stay in better touch and be reading. Much love sent your way.

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Heather February 8, 2011 at 6:18 pm

I can’t imagine how Benjamin dealt with that, I did the same thing with my daughter. I was with a guy for two years, and she called him “Dad” Now, I constantly hear from her, “I miss my daddy” or “Where’s Daddy?” I have to be honest with her, and tell her, well he wasn’t your Daddy..it hurts so bad.

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M!SS Natalie February 20, 2011 at 11:23 pm

I just came across this site, as I am 2 weeks out from a breakup and have a 6 year old son. Unfortunately, this isn’t the first break up my son has known, however the first guy that genuinely took on a father role to my son. I struggle with the issue of when do you get your kids involved? Do we wait until we have the ring so we KNOW it will last and then our kids will not have to deal with a breakup? But then, how would we know that guy was worthy of marrying if we don’t know how they are as a parent, or how they interact as a family unit?
While I can’t call single my comfort zone, I have had my time with it (see my blog at http://thesinglesix.livejournal.com/) and this breakup has me thinking, “maybe I am just meant to be single; maybe I am meant to have boyfriends but never a husband.” I am completely ok with that, except that I have a son that is involved too. So now I am struggling with the thoughts “is it really ok to raise a son all on my own, and not try to find him a father figure?”
It is these questions that brought me to your blog. Seeing as I just found your blod, I’d hate to see it end. You gave your blog the name “MsSingleMama.” Did you think of what you would call it if you ever did get married? Is it so wrong to continue giving advice from experience just because you are now, again, single? Wasn’t that the idea of the blog to begin with? I’m looking for advice and camaraderie from like-minded people on being a single mom, not on how to get out of single mom status and into married. I’d be interested in reading your blog, if nothing else, to see what someone who shares my struggles is also going through.

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Swati Bharteey March 14, 2011 at 9:26 pm

Oh my goodness. I am so sorry. I am just getting back to the blogging world and I just can’t believe it – I do hope you are your son ad are happy. Sending a hug.
Swati

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finsalscollons April 21, 2011 at 12:32 pm

Just wandering around. I feel for you. I am the infamous guy who had the “good sense” of using the B-word in a single mom forum. Anyway, some months after the breakup, I see that you are doing quite well. I know the future will bring good things. Best of luck and greetings from Central America.

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pingsoo August 10, 2011 at 5:49 am

I have just started reading your blog and it is so helpful. Your stories are so similar to mine…especially this one. I just went through a similar break up story just a month and a half ago. Thank you so much for sharing. It gives me strength to know that I am not alone and that all will be ok.

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Angela Johnson August 15, 2011 at 5:12 pm

I kinda of get the feeling that you felt like this break-up or his lack of commitment was your fault. Honey, sounds like he was not ready. Period. And there was nothing you could do. It also sounds like that fact that you kept taking him back was the main problem. The first time it happened you should have washed your hands. You left the door open for him to do it again. Trust me just went thru the same thing. I left the door open and he cam back it was all problems he had with me. Like I was just a big pain in the butt. After much thought I realized I am too good to be treated like a time-filler until he finds the woman he thinks is perfect. You are too. He might come back but keep the door closed. You are too good to let someone diss you like that.

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Chris September 7, 2011 at 11:08 pm

I am sad for you, although this is ben a long time since everything has happened i do understand. Being a follower and a single dad i know im not your average follower but i do love reading your work. Your stories have helped me through my time and i hope i can help others some day like you do. You are an inspiration.

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