Love and rear view mirrors.

by mssinglemama on April 9, 2011

The rear view mirror on my car fell off four weeks ago.

I didn’t think much of it, and dismissed the mirror’s unfortunate demise as a random twist of fate and yet another thing I would have to add to my to-do list.

At first, it felt uncomfortable, not being able to see what was behind me unless I deliberately cranked my neck or used the side mirrors, but after a few days I had completely adapted.

Without my rear view mirror constantly feeding me glimpses of angry drivers or the swirling traffic behind me, I noticed my drives were much more peaceful. Not being one to dismiss symbolism and fate, I wondered how liberating it would be if my own rear view mirror suddenly disappeared, if I could only look forward into the future without the echos of the past to weigh it down.

So, every day, while driving I used the empty square patch of glue as a reminder to think about the future only. It was more challenging than I expected, to force negative past experiences and memories from creeping up on thoughts of the future or even the day ahead.

And then on one of my drives John called me from a gas station in Los Angeles. He had driven the entire way in just five days. He took the trip to clear his head and to find answers.

“I’m trying to forget about us, to move on, but I can’t. And I don’t want to. I want this to work, I want both of you and I want us to work. So, there it is. I’m putting it all on the table.”

This wasn’t new, he had been asking me if we could work on things ever since our split on Christmas Eve, but this time his tone had changed. He had discovered on this trip and over the last three months, that relationships even with all of their stresses, can be beautiful, beautiful things when you have each other and when you have commitment, love and trust.

Fortified in my deep defense mechanism, I had been telling him this entire time, “No, absolutely not,” and on one occassion remember saying, “Hell would have to freeze over before I would even consider it.”

It was bad People, I was absolutely closed off to the possibility and being completely swayed by the opinions of a few friends and relatives. I had no idea what I wanted anymore but I knew that every night, in every quiet moment I found there was an emptiness. I missed him. I missed our friendship. I missed our love. And it was impossible to imagine rebuilding something that unique with someone else.

When you boiled it down, the only flaw in John and I’s relationship was our communication, our ability to work through issues without John reacting by wanting to flee and without me reacting to his urge to flee by shutting all of the doors and then broadcasting our fights to the world (here) and to my friends and family.

John and I have no drug issues, lying issues, cheating issues or even name calling issues. What we have are growth issues or adaptation issues to each other’s environments.

But then there is that fear, “What if he leaves again?”

And my answer to that fear is this – he never really left. I pushed him out and he went, but neither one of us ever really left each other. We were still communicating the entire time and we couldn’t even attempt to date other people.

We needed the break, we needed to both re-center ourselves and recover from this past year of external career related stresses. Those stresses, by the way, are easing up. John has escaped from what was an incredibly intense and stressful work environment and my business is settling down and much more stable than it was over the past year and a half.

“So, what do you think?” John asked. He was parked at a gas station in Los Angeles. I had been uncharacteriscally quiet.

“I think we should go out on a date when you get back.”

“Really? You do?”

“Yes, I think it would be fun. We should talk. I am ready to talk.”

A few weeks later when John and I picked Benjamin up from school, he jumped into his car seat leaned his head back and just started smiling. And then the laughter came, this giddy incredibly awesome laughter.

Then we all started laughing for no reason other than the fact that we were all together again, as if the past three months were already a distant memory, in the past where they belonged. Necessary to reach this moment, but not necessary to live in this moment.

True happiness is only possible when you have felt true sorrow. The trick is letting the sorrow go so you can make way for all of that happiness waiting to take over, to shove it aside.

There are no plans for John to move back in, and the wedding is indefinitely off the table. This way, we feel, we can focus on us and on re-building a relationship in an environment that has significantly less stress or pressure.

So, there it is. John Bear is back, but he never really left anyway.

{ 72 comments… read them below or add one }

Sassy Single Mom April 9, 2011 at 5:47 pm

Congratulations! I am happy you are happy.

I just have two things to mention:
1) Communication is pretty vital to the longevity of a relationship, so there’s definitely some work ahead! =)
2) Stress, in some form another, is always going to be with us – and you want to know that your relationship can endure it

These things are NOT impossible to overcome. And, I hear you when you say you are not dealing with things like abuse, or disrespect, or deceit – which are absolute dealbreakers.

Hopefully these are growing pains and together you will be stronger for it!

In any case, I’m rooting for you!


Stacia April 9, 2011 at 5:52 pm

Love the picture!!! Enjoy!!


Calleah April 9, 2011 at 5:54 pm

I wish I could like this over and over and over again.

Communication issues suck. I hope that you both are able to work through it and overcome and I wish you nothing but the best of luck and strength.


Angela April 9, 2011 at 5:57 pm

Welcome Back, John Bear.

May you both turn this experience into new beginnings and and even stronger foundation to move on from. Happy that you are happy!


Theresa April 9, 2011 at 6:04 pm

I am so happy for all 3 of you! Love it! 🙂


Lorn Mullenix April 9, 2011 at 6:07 pm



Erica April 9, 2011 at 6:10 pm

I’m sitting here with tears in my eyes because I”m going through the same relationship pains with my fiance…

As injured people we enter relationships bringing so much baggage with us. It’s hard enough learning to live alongside someone, let alone deal with trust or communication issues. The fight or flight instinct is soooo ingrained in us. And it’s easy to want to put someone into a bucket of “non-compatible” or “too many issues” and call it quits. When in reality, even some of our best friends would end up in the “call it quits” bucket if we considered MARRIAGE to them.

SO we have to be more loving and patient with both ourselves and our mates…so that we allow ourselves the chance to work things out and give ourselves the gift of loving companionship that will bless us every day of our lives.

Best Wishes to you … and I’m sure the naysayers will come along. But I’m a big believer in living your life for YOU.

Deep down inside, I never thought it was truly over with you and John. I’m so very, very happy for you.


ann marie April 9, 2011 at 6:13 pm

I knew it I knew it I knew it !!!
you two –
are beautiful;)


ann marie April 9, 2011 at 6:15 pm

let me re-phrase that: you THREE. are beautiful;)


Momma Sunshine April 9, 2011 at 6:18 pm

Dammit to hell. Your blog ate my lovely well-thought-out comment.

The condensed version is: same thing happened to CBG and I – broke up for about 3 months back in the early days of our relationship, and it ended up being a very good thing for us. Sometimes you have to lose everything before you realize how much it means to you.

Trust your instincts on this…and please…never replace other people’s judgment for your own. Even though they may mean well, they can never really make such important decisions for you. Do what feels right – whatever that may be.



Sarah April 9, 2011 at 6:22 pm

Congrats, I am so happy for you three 🙂


Amy April 9, 2011 at 6:24 pm

I am so happy for you all 🙂


Ann April 9, 2011 at 6:29 pm

I have been reading your blog & always figured this would happen. John and you had too much of a connection for that to not happen. When I read you post about silence i thought, “They are back together.” It made sense. Sometimes relationships move too fast with all that goes into living life. There is no hurry. Congratulations to all three of you!!! Never worry about being hurt again ~ in any relationship there is risk of pain. I would never hold back because of fear that there may be pain with a departure. If that were so, we would never have pets – they have far shorter life spans than we. We would never enter a relationship – one person dies before the other…. So, good for you. Finding a soul mate is worth the pain of loss & good for Benjamin ~ he deserves a man like John Bear. Enjoy it and forget about loss until you have to face it! I have been in love with the same man for over 35 years and would never, ever trade one minute of our time together. Men with principles are few and far between. Sounds like John Bear is one of those men ~ love it and love him!!!


April P. April 9, 2011 at 6:33 pm

YAY! This update makes me so happy. Keep looking ahead and trusting your instincts. Try to dismiss the haters.

I was in a similar situation. We called off our big wedding and took some time to think. We also saw a counselor together which made all the difference in the world. Then… this happened ( Turns out it was the pressures of a wedding and absorbing too many opinions and pressures that became our biggest stumbling block. We we got back to US, it all worked out!

So so so happy for you three.


April P. April 9, 2011 at 6:42 pm

side note: i don’t mean our situations were similar… just saying that so much of what you’ve shared has resonated with me. in that regard… i feel some similarities here and there. 🙂 love your blog and hope you’ll choose to share your journey for as long as you feel comfortable doing it.


3am Broken Heart April 9, 2011 at 7:22 pm

I myself am moved to tears. What a lovely outcome. As you may have read in another post, I too, am in a breakup as the Single Mom that I have dated needs to get her space. I am so happy that you folks have made it back together. LOve is a strong emotion and when you feel it and feed it, it will grow.


Barb April 9, 2011 at 7:22 pm

Momma Sunshine said it best: Sometimes you have to lose everything before you realize how much it means to you. And that applies for both you and John Bear.

I’m so happy for you!


Canadian Bald Guy April 9, 2011 at 7:30 pm

Sunshine already said what I was going to.

Our break-up two years ago was the best thing to happen to our relationship because we now TOTALLY appreciate what we’ve got after having almost lost it.

Fingers crossed for you two.


Sheila April 9, 2011 at 7:34 pm

I had a sneaking suspicion from the beginning that he wasn’t going far. :). Blessings to you and yours!


Jellie Bean April 9, 2011 at 8:03 pm

Happy endings always leave me teary-eyed. I love your blog. and I’m happy to read this update!!


China April 9, 2011 at 8:43 pm

Please stop misusing the pronoun “I.” It is “for Benjamin and ME,” not “for Benjamin and I.” It is “John and MY relationship,” not “John and I’s relationship” (the latter example sounds particularly bad, by the way.)
It is called hypercorrection. Check out these websites:
As a writer, you should know better.


Sharri April 9, 2011 at 8:57 pm

This is fantastic! I’m so happy for you. Relationships are work. And you’re right, if there weren’t any of those “bad” deal breaker things, it deserves another chance. Best to you all.


Bobbi Janay April 9, 2011 at 10:04 pm

The same thing happened to Casey and I except I was like John and He was like you. Then one night I showed up at his house in college (to tell him off and I was done for good) and he was alone (which never happened at this house). I walked in and he looked so happy to see me and that is when I realized that I had met the one man who would put up with all my bs.


Jess April 9, 2011 at 10:10 pm

I am soooo happy for you! Sometimes relationships just need a little break. I hope that it works out for you…you deserve happiness!

Keep us updated?


Dave April 9, 2011 at 10:18 pm

he is your true love and destiny


JJ April 9, 2011 at 10:28 pm

“True happiness is only possible when you have felt true sorrow.” I love this.


long time reader April 9, 2011 at 11:46 pm

Oh gosh ms single mama…thank u for bein honest. This is a beautiful post. I cried!! Lol. No doubt there are trials and tribulations in relationships. Ups and downs..etc. U guys made it through a mad bump and who knows, there may be more to come. But the best to come, smooth smooth sailing for years, ie how it seemed with your parents, I mean, this is just the stuff u got to go through to get there. I’m sure though, that the beautiful moments are justified contrast to those despairing ones. I hear it is absolutely okay to’s all part of healthy relationships..but ya gotta fight constructively not destructively. And it sounds like it’s what u guys are doing..anyway, just keep doin what u gotta do.take those through those fears.. and you know..continue to see where u come out. That’s the beauty of life right 😉 Take care xoxo a long time reader.

Mary knows what you are talkin about when u goin through those relationship issues->


(if the link is blocked it’s “Stay Down” by Mary J. Blige)


Charity Nicole April 10, 2011 at 1:08 am

I am grinning ear to ear right now. If I were smiling any wider, the corners of my mouth would meet behind my head and the top of my face would fall off. as disconcerting as this sounds, I am nonetheless thrilled beyond words for you and John!

Smiley face. Have fun!


Leslie April 10, 2011 at 8:17 am

I am completely thrilled for you! I love this:
The trick is letting the sorrow go so you can make way for all of that happiness waiting to take over, to shove it aside.
I’m working on that in my own life. Difficult, but I’m seeing the benefits already.
I think you should just sit back and see where this takes you and John Bear, and enjoy the ride!


mssinglemama April 10, 2011 at 9:07 am

Phew. I am so happy you are all happy. it makes this even better! Love you all and thanks again for reading. You are such a huge part of my life, not sure if you realize it or not – but it is all seamless in my eyes.


Stac April 10, 2011 at 10:50 am

Yay! I had a feeling after your last post, and I was hoping it was right! 🙂


Lori April 10, 2011 at 11:36 am

Life is never perfect and sometimes it takes a bump or two in the road to get where you are ment to be. 🙂

I am so happy that you are all happy and moving forward. I hope you continue to share your journey with all of us!


Glenda April 10, 2011 at 11:48 am

Life is full of surprises… ups and downs… good times and bad. You just have to be able to communicate openly, patiently and make the best of it. Don’t walk away so fast…don’t listen to other people’s advice… you have to follow your heart. You both know what’s right and wrong and what needs work… get to working on it and have a blessed lifetime together with Benjamin. Sooo happy for the 3 of you! Thanks for sharing with all of u!


maichioniso April 10, 2011 at 12:23 pm

When you published your break up post I commented about how breaking up was BS and you two needed to work it out and if we wanted a fairy tale we would rent one of the Disney Princess movies.

You never published that comment, not sure if it was on purpose or oversight.

Anyhow, fantasy is what people want, but reality is what they need. Love takes work!

Glad you three are back to reality.


SL April 10, 2011 at 12:54 pm

I can only wish you the best for the future!

It’s difficult to imagine that a break-up can sometimes be the best thing for a relationship…to make each individual appreciate the other for who they are. Looking ahead beyond this hurdle, you wake up everyday and realize that love…true love…is a decision!!! Not some brain chemical frenzy that everyone calls “chemistry”. That unfortunately eventually fades (not talking about passion here – passion can be made to last a lifetime). Some days it’s an easy one, others you can’t imagine you can make it happen, but the commitment to the relationship can get you through almost anything.

It takes two to build a successful relationship, especially knowing that neither is perfect, you choose to love each other.

You mentioned that you had felt influenced by your friends, family, and readers but no one truly understands you like you. Follow your heart and your head, and you’ll end up in the right place.

Hoping you end John have many years of bliss ahead!


Becky April 10, 2011 at 1:15 pm

awwww I am so glad to hear that you are happy together again:) i have to admit i cried reading this! i wish the best for you, benjamin and john bear 🙂


jen April 10, 2011 at 6:40 pm

I’m so glad you two are back together. Hopefully you can work it all out. Relationships aren’t smooth sailing are they?


Lisa_in_WI April 10, 2011 at 10:09 pm

I had a suspicion that John Bear was at the center of your blogging exile. Congrats to the both of you!


Melissa B. April 11, 2011 at 9:24 am

Congrats! And more power to you for keeping it to yourself for awhile. You needed that time to think and it makes sense that hearing our comments might have added on to the confusion. I am so happy for you and pray that you and John can be more united each day and that your communication will better with time.


amy April 11, 2011 at 9:58 am

I don’t think any of us are surprised. Happy for you, yes, but surprised, no. Congratulations and wish you three continued love, peace, and fulfillment with each other.


Jen @ follow my bliss April 11, 2011 at 10:18 am

This is such great news. I actually read this post last night, forgot about it, woke up this morning and remembered, and smiled really big and couldn’t stop thinking about you two. And I barely know you! Very happy for you. Feels right. Two adults who love each other and don’t have any huge issues in their way that can’t be worked out through blood, sweat, and good old fashioned talking-it-out have a very real shot at making it work, road bumps and all. Congrats and you’re (apparently!) in my thoughts. 🙂


Kate April 11, 2011 at 11:45 am

I had a feeling this was going on. Ever since you posted that blog entry relationships and work, I had a feeling. I went through the same thing with my husband when we were dating and it was getting serious. I think it’s just damn scary to put it all out there with someone and feel like you could lose it. So we ran away from each other, but not really.

You can never really tell anyone else what works and doesn’t work in their relationship. But from what I can see, communication is EVERYONE’S Achilles’ heel. If any of us were good at it, we’d all be perfect relationships with perfect people. Ha! It’s a lifetime of work to understand someone else and to get someone outside your own head to get you. It’s a struggle every day but that feeling you get from truly knowing someone else and caring about them is worth it.

Best of luck to you the second time around.


barb April 11, 2011 at 7:03 pm

Sorry, but I think you’re making a mistake. Best of luck to the three of you. I hope I’m wrong!


Jen April 11, 2011 at 10:07 pm

You sound happy with how things are working out. And that is a good thing, it makes me happy! but life is hard, isn’t it? Enjoy the moment. It isn’t my place to say whether this should or shouldn’t be, I don’t know you guys, so how could I? But if I could offer a few tidbits of advice they’d be to enjoy it, take it one day at a time, respect it.


Bear April 11, 2011 at 10:21 pm

Congratulations. Sounds like you’re working past the fear. Must be liberating.


Amanda April 11, 2011 at 11:20 pm
Mary April 11, 2011 at 11:48 pm

Yay! quadruple “Like!” My heart hurt for you after Christmas. So glad things are working out. You all deserve to be happy!


Tara @ Dashing in Pearls April 12, 2011 at 12:42 am

I’ve never commented but have been reading your blog for a very.long.time. I don’t know what got me hooked because I’m in my mid 20’s, no children, and have a boyfriend but have never been married. I think I just love the STRENGTH and confidence you seem to have, even in hard situations. I am SO happy to hear that John is back and that you and Benjamin are happy!


Steve April 12, 2011 at 2:03 am

Did not see that coming.

I honestly felt like John Bear was going through something a lot more like what I go through. The feeling like it’s just not right, but I don’t want to (or can’t) leave yet. And then blammo, it’s ALL OVER.

You seem happy. It sounds like Benjamin is happy. I’m glad you’re happy. You both deserve it.

Maybe the lesson is, overall, to not to let things get too bad before you take a break or stop again.

Keep in mind that Benjamin is a good barometer – his behavior indicated his dissatisfaction, and John Bear’s behavior indicated his dissatisfaction…

I’ll always think that singles relate better to singles, and parents relate better to parents. Maybe you and John Bear meet in the middle better now.

I always knew you’d have success. Didn’t think it would be with John Bear.


Steph April 12, 2011 at 6:34 am

Congrats, this is FAB news!!!


nicky April 12, 2011 at 7:14 am

Happy for You! The break up seemed so abrupt, I disagree with the commenter who siad Benjamin is a good barometer of the relationship. I would expect he might test the boundaries a bit or see if he pushed would John leave. He might have liked you two being on your own as much as he loved JOhn. Even after you broke up I neve thought that Benjamin acted “happy” meant the break up was a good thing. HE may have been trying to make you happy or happy to have you to himself. I am sure he willa adjust and his big smile when you picked him up is a good indication is a great sign he will.
No relationship is perfect and there are alwyas ups and downs. SOmetimes a break can really help clarify things. Tell you questioning realtives and friends you need their support not their criticism.
What happy new now that the darkness of winter is ending and spring is here!


Carrie Gesford April 12, 2011 at 9:39 am

This was a perfect example of being a single mother, the ups and downs the in’s and out’s. I have a perfect article to show also the good and bad of being a single mother i wrote this and would appreciate any feed back…


Laurie April 12, 2011 at 10:09 am

This post made me tear up. I have had a very similar rollercoaster; we got back together last Christmas after a year-long break. Communication was our big issue as well, and we work on it every day! This time around there is less stress and much more enjoying each other and our kids.

Best of luck to you three!


Jen April 12, 2011 at 11:00 am

I wanted to add another comment about whether Benjamin is a barometer. Obviously you need to take him into account, but I think your relationship with John has to be about the two of you. I realize it’s impossible to separate out the two, Benjamin is and should be number one. Maybe what I’m trying to say is that special attention will need to be paid to both of them separately, somehow. Because you aren’t quite the unit you’d be if John was Benjamin’s father so jealousies are inevitable. It’s near impossible to live up to both of their expectations at the same time.

I also agree that you have to take Benjamin’s reaction with a grain of salt. My two girls adore my boyfriend of almost three years. Every evening they want to know if he’ll be coming for dinner, will he be sleeping over. But living together is a whole other thing. I don’t have the solution, for now we’re just living in the moment. Sometimes I worry that the fact that the boyfriend and i still lead our own lives, and will for a while to come, will make it harder to combine them in one house (not that we wouldn’t still have our own lives) but I guess that is the single parent’s reality.


Ms. Single Mama April 13, 2011 at 12:17 pm

Jen, I think this is such a great comment and such a valid point. You are right – dividing attention between the two is so hard. I try to block out time for each of them separately and I think I am more aware of that now than I was before.

Thanks so much for this.


Cibele April 12, 2011 at 11:52 am

I am so happy for you…


Tatyana April 12, 2011 at 1:47 pm

That just made my day!!!! I’m soooooooo happy for you two! & my gosh, I can relate! Man, it’s so not easy being a single parent going into a long term relationship. It’s been a lil over a year for me & my babez, and that’s after being alone for almost 10 yrs after a divorce. So my hats off to you!


JanO April 12, 2011 at 2:12 pm



trish April 13, 2011 at 9:24 am

I knew it!! Congratulations!


Karen April 13, 2011 at 9:44 am

I am so happy for you! And I love the part about not living in the past and only looking towards the future. That is so where I am right now.

Good luck with everything,
Karen 🙂


Pat April 13, 2011 at 6:20 pm

I would love to hear John’s perspective. How hard was it to grasp with the breakup? What were his resolves to patch things up? How did he feel and how did he process those feelings? Do you think you can encourage him to speak through you on this? I think it will be helpful to the single Mom’s and the men who love them. More importantly, I am now going thorough the same journey as John.


Single Gamer Mom April 13, 2011 at 8:00 pm

I had a feeling!!! <3 This made my day! I'm so happy for you guys. Good luck~


Crissi April 15, 2011 at 9:29 am



Nina April 15, 2011 at 2:39 pm

sweet! 🙂


Lex April 18, 2011 at 12:08 am

I’m thrilled to read this news.


Memoirs of a Single Dad April 18, 2011 at 7:07 pm

I love the ‘look’ he is giving you in that pic. I think you need a mix of forward-facing and rear-view mirror to be successful (in life and driving).


kris April 18, 2011 at 9:50 pm

I know I’m late to seeing this but I’m glad. Really glad.

Good luck to you both!


Julie April 21, 2011 at 12:56 pm

Love, love, love this and so relate to everything being great but, needing to grow. Hard work is worth it for something great. Thanks for sharing:)


lk April 22, 2011 at 2:46 pm

Seems it’s time for a therapist. You don’t have to be married to go to a couples therapist.

This communication issue/fleeing isn’t good for you and it’s not good for Ben. But if you can get past it, this relationship can be a beautiful thing. Going to therapy can’t hurt. Not going will hurt too many.


eb April 23, 2011 at 11:36 pm

i agree with the last poster. therapy is a beautiful thing! for all involved or by yourself. the stakes are too high. mental health is a must. as a nursing student contemplating mental health as my future focus, i am seeing more and more the necessity of mental/emotional wellness. we go to the doctor when our bodies give out but why when we hit a bumpy path in our relationships or identify a pattern in our behavior don’t we don’t pick up the phone to get in with a therapist? i can identify with many feelings you’ve expressed here and i just wanted to chime in with my thoughts. i praise you for taking it slow as you move back into a relationship with john. i hope you are able to process what you need to decide if this is the right relationship for YOU.

most importantly, best wishes and good luck. thanks for sharing, always.


Citygirllost April 25, 2011 at 9:44 am

How did I miss this???

I’m so happy for you, that you’re giving this another shot. I hope that this time you both can find ways to discuss things without wanting to flee or being hurtful. I hope it grows and that all three of you grow in the process. Good luck!


Megan Gilbride May 5, 2011 at 9:11 am

It has been a long time since I checked in on your blog. This post gave me goosebumps! Best of luck – focus on the glue square 🙂


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