A line of b.s.

by mssinglemama on February 28, 2011

I have a confession.

When I am single. (And sometimes when I’m in a relationship). I check the Craigslist Personals.

I’m not sure why. I have never, ever found a listing that even remotely appeals to me. And yet, I go back. I think it’s because the Craigslist Personals terrify me and totally crack me up simultaneously. I can’t say the same for any other form of entertainment.

This weekend, I hopped on and found this ad:

Come fly with me – seeking beautiful travel companion – 63 (Far away places).

Nice looking, energetic, DWM, planning many trips over next few years while it lasts. Dubai, Brazil, Thailand, Panama, Fiji, Tahiti, South Africa among the known destinations. Where do you want to go?

I sent it to my Mom. Just because… why not? And largely because I wanted to read her response, which was simply:

Sounds like a line of bs – Mom.

My mother won’t let anyone take her photograph. You have to be sneaky with the camera if you want to capture a glimpse of her.

This weekend, Benjamin was particularly testy when I picked him up at her house. After spending a week away from home he was exhausted and discombobulated. With Benjamin whining and crying in the back seat, I slipped behind the wheel bracing myself for the ride home when my mother came bursting out of her front door. Wrapped in a blanket and with a scarf over her head for added effect she ran up along side the moving car and shouted, “I’ll race you to the top!”

The top being the top of her never ending drive way.

Nothing like a running grandma to snap a kid out of a funk.

Especially when she is headed right for you.


I know wherever my Dad is, he must be missing her like crazy.

She talks about him all of the time. Still, twelve years later. I can’t imagine her pain or pretend to imagine. But, in spite of that pain, I tell her she is lucky. Lucky because even though her love was mercifully ripped away–she did have it. I am 31 years old and I haven’t even come close to what they had. But I want. I do. I am a hopeless romantic. As evidenced by me falling time and time again for men.

I witnessed Mom and Dad’s love first hand. All five of my siblings and I had front row seats to their crazy attraction to each other and their impenetrable partnership. It could be one of the reasons why I fall so hopelessly into relationships. I have seen what’s possible and I want it… quickly. But as my Mom always reminds me, “You weren’t there during the first seven years. What you saw took years and years of work.”

That’s the part I can’t seem to understand. How do you tell when it’s too much work? John always said, “it should be this much work.” But, I disagreed with him. I felt what we had been through, what we had survived together was a testament to our relationship. I’d like to know your thoughts on relationships and work, knowing that so many of you have had the strength to call the game when you know enough was enough.

Related posts:

  1. And I thought dating was hard…
  2. All Boy or All Dad?
  3. Do you still believe in “The One”?
  4. Third time’s the charm
  5. The best rebound I’ve ever had.

{ 47 comments… read them below or add one }

Sarah February 28, 2011 at 5:18 pm

I think too many people view marriage as optional. Well if it’s not working out, then we’ll just get divorced. Now don’t get me wrong- I actually do believe in divorce and come from very happily divorced parents. But personally, I view my relationship with my husband, the same as I would view my relationship with my children: not optional. And unless something was completely irreparable, I’m willing to put the work behind it. And the intimacy I have with my husband is knowing that he’s willing to do the same. Some days it’s hard and it takes a lot work. Some days it’s blissful happiness and rainbows. Life with every relationship- parents, siblings, coworkers, children, spouses- has it’s challenges and many times takes a whole lot of sacrifice, work, and compromise. But is it worth it to you? And having the confidence and faith in the person who’s by your side is critical. That’s when the question- is it worth it- is easy. When you start to resent them or think of the work as a chore- that’s when you have a problem. But do you think of the relationship with your children as a chore? I doubt it. It’s a sacrifice you make out of pure love and always worth the work. That’s how I know.

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mssinglemama February 28, 2011 at 5:33 pm

Absolutely love this. Thank you, Sarah.

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Megan@TrueDaughter February 28, 2011 at 7:41 pm

This is one of the best replies I have seen to this type of question. I did a blog post, way back when I started my blog that stated much the same thing. A deal is a deal. If you make the deal, barring something really awful and unmendable (danger, threats – I don’t consider cheating unmendable), then work it out. Battle it out if you have to. A lot of times that means the wife biting her tongue and the husband being a bit more patient. Or the other way around (that’s just the way it is with me and my husband). We are all so impatient anymore. It’ll come. Just be still and let it.

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Stac March 1, 2011 at 8:23 am

I love this. I read it to my boyfriend. He loved it too.

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Andrea March 1, 2011 at 10:52 am

WOW. There isn’t much more that can be said for that post but WOW! What an amazing insight and there are many many people who need to read that and re evaluate their marriage or relationship. Sarah you are amazing. Very well said. Thank you.

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Sarah March 1, 2011 at 2:28 pm

I’m so glad everyone liked my comment! ha. I should have also said that- being from happily divorced parents, I DO understand that sometimes it really is irreparable. And when the work is an overwhelming misery and your partner is not willing to reciprocate or even try and you’ve given all had to give… that’s when it’s time to leave. And I applaud you mothers out there who have done just that. I’m proud of my parent’s divorce because I was raised by a stepfather who loved me and gave me the world- not to mention- treated (and still does!) my mother like a queen.

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Juli February 28, 2011 at 5:55 pm

Oh Sarah, you say it so well and I totally agree with you about how it should be. That said, I’m divorced from my sons’ father because I worked and worked and worked at the relationship and he fathered a child with another woman, lied about everything and has an intense addiction to porn. Now I have someone in my life, someone I’m going to marry next year, and because we’re both divorced and both want that lifelong commitment and feeling of the relationship as “not optional” we’re so much better as partners this time around. We’ve talked, over and over, about the fear of losing each other for whatever reason. So it’s my goal, every day, to let him know that our relationship is permanent.

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Robyn February 28, 2011 at 6:13 pm

I wish I knew the answer. I worked very hard at my marriage, but my ex had issues with anger and with alcohol that he just wouldn’t or couldn’t deal with. After dozens, probably hundreds, of apologies and promises to change, I just stopped trying. I knew without a doubt that I would be better off without him, and I am.

Fast-forward a couple of years and my boyfriend of 14 months and I are struggling with the same question and this time it’s much more complicated. Right now it seems like it’s over (my decision), but I wonder, knowing that past difficulties have only brought us close together, if I am ‘giving up’ too soon?

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Sheila February 28, 2011 at 6:22 pm

The Craigslist personals are one of my favorite sources of entertainment. Shh! LOL…

Sarah, that was very well put!

Marriages and long-term-relationships are so different these days than they ever used to be, and I think so many of us are having to figure out things differently than our parents ever did.

I have to recommend a brilliant relationship blogger, who has opened my eyes to modern-day dating/relationship conundrums. Moxie in the City – she is so wise, and she’s taught me a lot. http://andthatswhyyouresingle.wordpress.com/

My ex-grandmother-in-law said something to me when I was first married to my ex – marriages should be 50/50. This is coming from a woman who just celebrated her 65th wedding anniversary.

I knew my marriage wasn’t healthy, my ex-husband was never on the same “page” as I, and yet I pushed for a marriage that was doomed to fail. The key was knowing when to call it quits, and thinking back, I’m SO glad that it happened that way.

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Lori February 28, 2011 at 6:25 pm

I’ve been with my other half (we’re still not married) for going on 11 years- starting my senior year of hs. We’ve had some time apart to gain perspective of what we have at times but not enough to count against our time together. I’ve wanted to give up before- when he was addicted to cocaine and not a good dad or partner. But addiction is a sickness and while we aren’t married by law, we are by life. I can’t even describe how bad the bad times were, it makes me tear up to think about that time in our relationship. BUT today, he’s at home with our son who has the flu. He’s watching Spongebob on repeat, listening to the fevered ramblings of a 6 year old for the second week in a row. The dishes are usually done when I get home and he asks me how my day is usually too. I didn’t get it until recently but I realized there almost isn’t anything that would make me give up on us and our family. (Ya know- domestic violence, mental abuse, etc.) When we’re all sitting on our too small couch having a meatball hug (all three of us squished together like a meatball) I know all the trials and tribulations were worth it.

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ME February 28, 2011 at 6:31 pm

I wish I knew a magic answer, I just know that with my ex we tried and tried to make it work and it just didn’t (aside from the cheating and lies), but I never felt the *butterflies* and crazy attraction like your mom and dad felt either. And then now with my fiance, we have what your mom and dad had, but we had to do so much work to not lose it and to make it work. We started going to therapy and probably will for a long time for “preventative maintenance” so that no resentment ever builds up. It helps us so much just get through those kinks and roadblocks (communication) that get in the way of our passion for each other.

Your mom is adorable!!!

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Laura February 28, 2011 at 7:02 pm

This is something that I really grapple with because I am the type of person who will bend over backwards to keep people around me happy. For me, there is always the fear that I didn’t try hard enough-that if I could have just given more, accepted more, held my tongue long enough-that things would have gotten better eventually. Or, what I longed for before I left my ex, that I would simply stop feeling altogether so there was no better to be reached.

I know that it differs person to person and couple to couple however, I feel as though there was a point where “trying” became “harming.” I realized that my practices were harming myself, they were harming my son, and they were even harming my ex (ironically, he was who I was leaping through rings to not harm and who was also deeply harming me). Perhaps in a marriage, we could live by the doctors pledge to “do no harm.” I understand that butterflies fade, that we’ll fight, that we’ll disagree, that our bodies and opinions and habits will change, that I’ll spend too much on shoes and he’ll go to a strip club with his buddies (j/k), but so long as we aren’t harming each other, we’ll be okay.

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Anna February 28, 2011 at 7:09 pm

First of all, Benjamin is lucky to have such fantastic women in his life.
I don’t think anyone has the answers, and I know that every person and every relationship is different. I can tell you that every little thing in my marriage was a battle (over finances, parenting, household chores), and every little thing had to be fair (well you got to do this last time, so it’s my turn this time – BLEH), and there was a lot of resentment, which undermined our friendship and doomed the marriage.

This time around, the butterflies haven’t left. There’s a line in the movie Juno, where the dad is answering her question about if two people can stay together for good, and he says, “Look, in my opinion, the best thing you can do is find a person who loves you for exactly what you are. Good mood, bad mood, ugly, pretty, handsome, what have you, the right person is still going to think the sun shines out your ass. That’s the kind of person that’s worth sticking with.” And that’s the kind of person that you fight for and work for. Anything less isn’t worth it.

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erin February 28, 2011 at 7:14 pm

Your Mom is just adorable! I love how she raced you to the top. And that CraigsList personal cracked me up on a gloomy day.

:) Thanks for sharing so openly & always,
Erin

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mommietopearl February 28, 2011 at 7:49 pm

I agree that every relationship is different as every person is different.

I watched what my reality was as a little kid unfold and unravel into my teens and now twenties. I saw my happily married parents go from joking, loving each other every moment, reminding each other how important the other was …. to this cut throat “whens my time?” “what about me” “who is this who are you talking to now?” “where are you going now” jealousy, miscommunication, distrust, loss of humor… Now some of that had some with the struggle of alcoholism in the home. I never knew my father was a recovering alcoholic until I was 22. I just knew growing up that he “didnt drink, doesnt like the taste” No one openly told my brother and sister and I that he was in AA. I wished they had. I know some level was protection of our reality but for me it has caused many issues and now stemming into my relationship with my boyfriend as we are discussing taking it to the next steps.

For my boyfriend and I what works is communication. Our relationship is a lot of work, he and I will be the first to say that. But it is not work in the sense that we have to work to get along, or agree. We are a unified front always. It is work to see each other, it is work to coordinate our lives to match up. This we both see as temporary as we are living under separate roofs. Also my being in graduate school full time leads for little free time. He understands fully that my daughter comes first and understands the story behind her biological father. We fit together so perfectly. Now people will say to us nothing is perfect and I agree. But he is as matched to me as it gets and meets me at all levels and support us so fully.

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Jennifer Celmer February 28, 2011 at 8:31 pm

I love this so much!

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Jaime Anderson March 1, 2011 at 12:26 am

What a great discussion! Well, we all know love is NOT enough. It does take consistent work and even when you put in the work there’s no guarantee the other person will do the same (going back to the 50/50 idea). My 8-year old son asked me the other day why people are allowed to get divorced at all. In his eyes, if people make a promise to each other, that’s it, you’re good to go for life. Boy was that a hard question to answer. Despite my cynicism, I believe it’s never wrong to be hopeful and hold out for something that you know exists and is possible.

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Momma Sunshine March 1, 2011 at 5:43 am

Relationships should be work. Period. Anyone who has been in a long-term relationship will tell you that they’ve hit rough patches and it took work to get it back.

Having said that, in order for it to work, BOTH partners need to be on board for the amount of work required.

Also? I don’t believe it should be tough right out of the gate. There’s that certain “honeymoon period” where everything seems great and wonderful and your partner can do no wrong and your relationship is positively perfect, not just in everyone else’s eyes, but in your own, too. It’s only later when things get more difficult to manouevre.

I guess there’s a fine line there. Some things in the relationship should be easy….but there are other parts that require work – from time to time – when issues crop up. And I honestly believe that as long as both partners are on board, there shouldn’t be any issue in a relationship that can’t be overcome.

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mssinglemama March 1, 2011 at 8:03 am

These comments are amazing. Love all of your insights. Please… keep it coming. I need to hear all of this right now. And for those who will find this page later when they Google something like, “should I leave my husband?”

That post is here by the way: http://mssinglemama.com/2008/05/02/should-i-leave-my-husband/ (PS. There are 161 comments on the topic).

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Anne March 1, 2011 at 10:18 am

I’ve never commented before but I’ve been reading for a while. This is such a great question! I’m divorced with a 7 year old and now in a new permanent relationship with a new man and have recently had a new baby. The first time I was married it was “easy” – we never fought, we had similar tastes, etc… but there was no love and we just stagnated together. I spent all my time feeling miserable, wondering “do I really love him?”, “I shouldn’t have gotten married with these doubts”. I was young and immature, for sure. I left because I couldn’t figure out any other way to be happy… in hindsight, I should have tried harder.

On the other hand, this new relationship is a *lot* of work and I sometimes wonder whether I can actually *live* with him. But I never, ever doubt how much I love him. I used to wish my ex would leave me so it could just be over. But this time I would be heart broken to lose my partner. But, it’s not easy. It takes hours and hours of conversation to figure out what caused a fight or how to be better to each other. We have had to find ways to compromise on housework, finances, parenting, travel styles… everything. But it has made me feel more like we’re partners and in this together… even if it was hell to hash out at the time. We’ve talked about seeing a professional to help us through and we might do that one day. I’ve learned from experience now too… that the good times come around again and you fall in love all over again.

This time the lows are lower but the highs are so much higher. All that to say, butterflies and being swept off your feet are important at first… but I think it’s inevitable that with our complicated lives and personal baggage, that living with another person 24/7 is going to be brutal, hard work. It’s like parenting… you love them with all your heart, but man, is it hard work to live with them and take care of them and like them sometimes. :-)

So that’s a very rambly way of saying… it’s totally a lot of hard work. Oh, and I should add that nobody else *sees* how much work it is. Relationships often look easy from the outside and usually that’s because you don’t see all the work that has gone into making it look so easy OR they hide their misery well. ;-)

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Lara March 1, 2011 at 10:34 am

You know, what you said about your parents relationship resonated so deeply with me. I was recently having a conversation with my brother, a single dad who was widowed at age 32, about our lack of luck in finding someone. Our grandparents had the love affair of the century. They died 3 weeks apart after spending 60 years together, and during our lives, we witnessed over and over their commitment to and respect for each other. If asked, each would point to the other as the person he/she would want to spend time with the most. And there was “zing” – crazy zing still after 60 years. My brother said, “I’ve seen it, true love. I know it can work”. I agreed, and we kind of sighed, each of us knowing we were going to wait for it because anything less isn’t good enough.

I loved my ex-husband. Still love him because he is a good man and a wonderful father, but we didn’t have the zing, and forever was hard to envision. I worked hard to make our life together work for us for ten years, but when I realized my options were to continue as is and witness myself slipping into the shadows until there was nothing left or move on to another phase of my life without him, I chose the latter.

I’m a good mom – a better mom single than I was when married. And I’m getting to the point now where life is hopeful and fulfilling regardless of having a partner. So I’m ok alone w/my girl – building a life together that works and blooms. I’d like to have a man in my life, though – both for my own pleasure and to model a healthy relationship for my daughter. But I’m waiting for the zing. I think once you’ve seen it in action, all else pales in comparison.

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Lee March 1, 2011 at 12:00 pm

How do you tell when it’s too much work?

My answer to that question is when you have given all you can give and there has been nothing in return. I truly believe there needs to be a natural balance with couples. I completely agree with your mother (who is stunning by the way) that relationships do take work! And I believe that that work needs to feel rewarding and worth it. Look at the “work” your mother did to put a smile on her grandson’s face! She didn’t have to do it but she did because she loves you guys!

In my opinion, I don’t think there is one remedy to what works either. We are human, we are flawed and we don’t always get along with everybody. But when we are fortunate enough to find someone who ticks with you I’d like to believe that the work is more effortless than full of effort. At least 75% of the time because we all can have our sour moments as individuals.

I can’t wait to find that work that feels effortless.

There is one more thing I want to add (which I have recently experienced and struggle with right now)…. With Work comes Trust. No one is perfect and one can slip now and then. And when a slip happens, I think there is a little more work required in order to assure your partner that you made a mistake. But that doesn’t excuse the other from not working on building and trusting that a slip will never happen again.

(just my thoughts….)

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Tinderbox March 1, 2011 at 12:13 pm

Lol! Her fashion look there in that setting reminds me of Big Edie, except your mom is better looking.

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/0/00/Greygardens.jpg

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lkt March 1, 2011 at 4:34 pm

I love the Juno quote. I also agree that it should be easy and fun in the beginning. That part won’t last forever but it is important to the foundation. You shouldn’t have to work too hard when things are good. That connection has to be there to find again in the midst of what life throws at you. Of course that doesn’t mean you are meant to be or it will work for the long term but if there is a lot of difficulty understanding each other or having a good time right out of the gate than it doesn’t bode well. Even under the most stressful times, if my partner and I have the chance to go out just the two of us and relax, we can usually let everything else go and enjoy that hour or two and that’s what gets us through. I think you also have to have a deep respect for how they handle their lives–not that you would do things the exact same ways but that you respect the decisions they make on the big things.
When you have a kid, relationships are harder–it’s just the way it is. The person with the kid usually gets that and can see past it but if the other partner does not have a child I think it can seem overwhelming to them.
If my kid runs a fever and our evening out is blown I just know that is the way it is but it is harder to get that right off the bat.

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hot rockin' sassy single mama!!! March 1, 2011 at 7:47 pm

OMGOMGOMG!!!!! You TOTALLY deserve to go manshopping!!!! I just left the sperm bank and got inseminated with a heart surgeon’s sperm. I CANNOT WAIT to have this baby!!!!

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Kristi G. at You and Me Kid . net March 1, 2011 at 11:10 pm

Stopped by your blog after a long hiatus from blogging and was shocked to hear of the breakup. I am going through one myself. It’s very sobering and honestly, I don’t think I’m up for dating again, but at the same time I’m not ready to give up completely.

Dating as a single mother takes alot more work than I am cut out for at this moment….Loads of work. With a small child to take care of I don’t think I’m up for all the work! Call me lazy…

How is your son responding? My son asks where he is, but doesn’t seem too upset about it.

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mommybella March 2, 2011 at 12:53 am

I grew up with parents that are not truely in love with each other. I can see it, I know that they do not have that deep down, butterfly in the belly kind of love. For my parents it was an arranged thing. They were never in love, they have just learned to be WITH one another. So for me I believe that ,yes, a relationship is hard work. I feel like it is hard in a good way. Always remembering to be kind and loving even on a bad day. It means even if your in a huge fight you still love each other. But I also believe that sometimes a relationship can be too hard and just not right.
guess its up to you to really decide if a relationship is worth saving.
My most recent relationship was NOT worth saving. I was working too hard and getting nothing back except pain. I was tired. That is when I believe things should end.

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melissa B. March 2, 2011 at 9:20 am

I understand and respect the idea of 50/50 however, I must disagree. I found that when my husband and I had that view, neither one of us was working at our full potential. What I mean by that is we would do our part and then expect the other to do their 50%. For me, marriage (and relationships) is about each person giving 100/100. If we are always striving to love and make our partners happy, then they will do the same. It is NOT always easy and sometimes it is HARD work but knowing that we both want to work at our full potential (100%) rather than half of it makes the hard days a little less “work”. I hope this makes sense. :)

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Lee March 2, 2011 at 11:35 am

Love it!! 100/100, there is no other way!

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Anna March 2, 2011 at 8:41 pm

SO true.

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Kate March 2, 2011 at 1:19 pm

I’ve been reading the blog for a long time but never commented until now!

I totally agree with melissa B and Sarah’s comments above. Marriage is 100%/100% all the time. And, for me, personally, that’s hard work because I don’t always feel 100%. I’m sure my husband doesn’t either. But I also firmly believe that love is an action, not a feeling. So we work at it. We have the same arguments over and over. But we always resolve it somehow.

I think the critical thing is knowing your partner is just as deeply committed as you are, even when you are having the worst struggle of your relationship. Feeling confident that we are both in it to win it NO MATTER WHAT gives me the strength to carry on. Failure is not an option.

I don’t know about butterflies or “easy” or whatever (I’m not particularly romantic), but I do know that I’m excited to see my husband every day when I come home from work. And not in a breathy, giggly way. The excitement comes from the fact that I want to share myself with him because I know he loves me, understands me, sacrifices for me and still challenges me. And he has a great butt. Need I say more?

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melissa B. March 2, 2011 at 4:54 pm

haha! well said, Kate!:)

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Glenda March 2, 2011 at 7:17 pm

I think all relationships are work. If you want it that bad you work out the kinks. It’s so much easier to walk away when the other person isn’t contributing to working out the kinks. It takes lots of time and patience to get it right. It’s wanting to wake up and go to sleep with that person beside you. It’s being team players…hand in hand… beside each other.

My father passed away when I was 13 and my parents had been together for 28 yrs. I witnessed what a true man stands for and how he treats the lady he loves. Thankfully I found that in my hubby too. I feel very, very blessed.

Hoping you find your team player!

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Anongal March 3, 2011 at 1:30 am

Right now I am on the fence with my marriage. Husband away 4 out of 7 days and when he is home I am half the time so pissed off by his behavior I wish he were at work. Sigh..

We share 3 wonderful children, a house, and two dogs (mine ;) I am ashamed to admit I am happier when he is NOT home lately.

Wow. I cannot believe I just admitted that to ANYONE let alone a public blog.. Nearing the end of my rope me thinks..

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April Queen March 3, 2011 at 9:53 am

I am not the best person to ask about relationships. I am divorced and he doesn’t see his kids or want to pay child support. Having said that, I am the only one in my family divorced. My parents were teenage sweethearts, I was a teenage suprise when they were 16 and 17, but I am forty and they are still together. My grandparents are together, my brother has a great wife, and my sister married her childhood sweetheart. That almost never happens anymore! She just delivered their 5th child this week! It is hard feeling like I am the only “failure” in the family, but to be honest to myself, my divorce was something I had to do for me and my kids. It is one of those rare occasions where I divorced for them to get them out of a very violent situation. I believe in relationships and I will probably get the nerve to date one day, it has been 3 years. I have so many people around me that remind me it does work, I guess I just have to be patient. (Although right now he would have to fall out of the sky, through the roof and land in front of my television!!!!!)

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Amy March 3, 2011 at 9:54 am

I’ve been asking myself the same question, over and over. And perhaps the answer is inherent in the asking? If the man I am with satisfies my needs, then maybe I wouldn’t be wondering. So I did a search (love, love, love the internet for answering life’s questions), and found this: http://www.stevepavlina.com/blog/2005/08/how-to-decide-when-to-end-a-long-term-relationship/

It is a summary from a book Too Good to Leave, Too Bad to Stay. The book uses a filter approach to seeing if your partner is right for you, rather than a pros and cons approach. It asks the right questions of whether you are getting out of your relationship what you need. You need to pass all 30-some questions in order for the relationship to be working for you. It was helpful for me, and may be for others.

Unfortunately, I thought answering the question “Should I stay, should I go?” would be the hard part. Actually, it’s following through with your choice.

Good luck, all. Love to you.

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Melissa April 19, 2011 at 2:33 pm

I have to say…i read that book 8 years ago when my marriage fell apart. It was the best book I had ever read. I read it so many times the cover fell off and the pages got loose…

And in the 8 years since, i have loaned that very book out to many a friend in need. If ever there was a book th make you understand that you are not alone and that other women have faced all the same things, its that book. Anyone on the brink of the hardest decision of their life (divorce) has got to get that book!

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Annnan March 3, 2011 at 4:13 pm

Love and relationships are work. Maybe not during the first few months of butterflies and lust, but anybody who has been in a long term marriage/relationship knows it takes work, trust, commitment, and you’ve got to have pretty much the same bottom line goals/ideals.

I think many marriages fail because people go into marriage with very high expectations that somehow their partner will “complete them” or make life easy/easier.
Doesn’t work that way. Usually, the healthier you are as a person, the more successful the relationship. I can’t imagine living my own life bickering over simple everyday living — who’s gonna empty the dishwasher — I do more than he does syndrome—he’s lousy with money—and worst off all he’s lousy with his own kids. People need marriage counseling as much BEFORE taking their vows as they sometimes do after being married for a while. And if you have even one DOUBT before taking those vows, don’t do it. Things don’t get better just because you’re married; in fact, they tend to get worse. I feel sorry for the folks who have kids thinking that those children will somehow improve their ADULT relationship. The kids suffer in the end, with either constant fighting or a divorce.
Yet, I see no reason to stay in a bad relationship either. Sometimes things just don’t work out. But really, spend a certain amount of time working on YOURSELF before entering a relationship. Marriage is a hard gig and anybody who tells you differently is lying. And when you make that commitment and things start to head south, which they will, no matter what, don’t run away. Stay and work on the problem if you really do love that other person. If you end up in divorce court and have children, for heavens sake put those innocent children ahead of any agenda you may have. If you don’t, you’ll only make misery for another life in the end.

For me, the thing I like most about my own marriage is the deep lasting friendship we have. I also like the fact that I have someone in my corner at any given moment and I know, without a doubt, that no matter what HE will stick by me. Is our marriage perfect? Nope. But we do work on it and to us the work we put in, is the enjoyment we get out of it.

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Tinderbox March 4, 2011 at 5:50 pm

@ melissa B.

I understand and respect the idea of 50/50 however, I must disagree. I found that when my husband and I had that view, neither one of us was working at our full potential. What I mean by that is we would do our part and then expect the other to do their 50%. For me, marriage (and relationships) is about each person giving 100/100. If we are always striving to love and make our partners happy, then they will do the same. It is NOT always easy and sometimes it is HARD work but knowing that we both want to work at our full potential (100%) rather than half of it makes the hard days a little less “work”. I hope this makes sense. :)

Yes!

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Tinderbox March 4, 2011 at 5:57 pm

@ Anongal

Right now I am on the fence with my marriage. Husband away 4 out of 7 days and when he is home I am half the time so pissed off by his behavior I wish he were at work. Sigh..

We share 3 wonderful children, a house, and two dogs (mine ;) I am ashamed to admit I am happier when he is NOT home lately.

How about an experiment treating him as if you were head over heels in love, as if you were his girlfriend again, for two or three weeks and just see what happens? Even if you have to fake it for a while at first, you may be surprised how emulating the actions of a person in love can create the feelings you want to experience again, and may produce surprising changes in him as well.

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Seppie15 March 8, 2011 at 8:59 pm

I completely agree with this. I had/have similar feelings with my current partner but sometimes I just say F* it and fake it and it’s amazing how quickly the real feelings you thought you were lacking follow those “fake” actions. I highly recommend it. :)

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bobolink March 5, 2011 at 10:21 pm

your mom is beautiful!

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Naima March 7, 2011 at 2:14 am

I just came across this blog. I am actually thrilled I found it. I am 24 and I recently have given birth to a beautiful baby boy. My son, is 2 months old. However, unfortunately I am a single mother because of unfortunate circumstances. Its difficult not to feel discouraged. But I have plenty of support and I am currently finishing grad school and I will be graduating this May. I feel ready and equiped for my new role into motherhood, however, I can see how life can become lonely without companionship. I was hoping for marriage and aiming for a fairytale ending, but it just didn’t go that way. Thanks Ms. single momma for seeming so resiliant and independent and courageous through it all. I hope to be that way as well when the clouds are gone.

God Bless,
NYI

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Lee March 8, 2011 at 10:28 pm

I think that sometimes no matter how hard you work, it just doesn’t work. I don’t think it is a matter of giving up or giving in, it just sometimes does not work…not for lack of trying, caring or love….it just doesn’t. And, instead of questioning it, you just have to say…maybe next time it will…

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Nancy Wurtzel March 12, 2011 at 4:40 pm

Your Mom cracks me up and I would love to meet that woman! Hey, keep reading Craig’s List as the listings probably show you how much crazier your life could be…great stuff for blogging. Glad that I found your blog and I’ll come back to read. Say hi to your Mom.

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Nina March 16, 2011 at 5:25 pm

Relationships are work…it’s unrealistic to think they are not suppose to be. Both people have to accept this and learn to surrender to one another to help it work.

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Looming Laura March 22, 2011 at 12:20 pm

I am newly divorced for the 2nd time. This time I am legally blind and have a 3 yr old son at age 39. I spent over 6 years with my last husband and I will spend the rest of my life with him as the father of my son.
I often said to him “you need to work a little at this”. We had counselors and priests say the same thing. He didn’t agree. He said he worked at WORK and this home life shouldn’t be like that. He disagrees that parenting should be work “he’s a child it should be fun”.
Needless to say I think that all relationships are work and when you’re not willing to put work into it you’re not going to get anything out of it.
I was still working up until the end and I got a LOT out of that relationship, not enough, but more than he did. He didn’t put anything into it and he was the one saying year after year “this doesn’t do anything for me”….. Well if you’re not invested into something you’re not working at it and you won’t get anything out of it.
That’s my 2 cents.

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