with Karli Larson
The transition from stay-at-home mom to divorced-and-working-full-time mom can be challenging, and sometimes very lonely. Throw in a few cats, an ancient dog and one very brave boyfriend, and life gets downright crazy. Join me as I talk through my thoughts and struggles, my miscalculations and my triumphs. We're in this together, you and I.
When I'm not writing here you can find me over at work on the TisBest Philanthropy blog.
It is not a policy that we discussed beforehand. It is not a policy that we discuss now. It simply is. At some point, it seems like it’s got to change. But for now, for better or for worse, this is where we are.
The girls, of course, carry information back and forth like pollinating bees. I know which names they have mentioned to him; I know which names they have mentioned to me. They speculate as much as I do. I can see them working it out in their heads: their parents will be with other people. Some grownup friends are just friends; some are friends with potential to become much more to Mommy and Daddy.
When my elder daughter was about 4, she asked me in a most forthright fashion to “always be honest with [her].” I keep this bargain with her, and hold it sacred. I tell her that I will always be honest with her, but that I reserve the right to hold off on certain information until she is older, that some information is too much to handle at the age of 4, 7, 9, even 12, 15. She nods, wisely, as if she understands. Maybe she does.
But I tell her what I can, whenever I can. She is full of fantastic, no-nonsense questions: “Is X bisexual or lesbian?” “Where did your friend Y go? We haven’t seen him for a while.” “What’s the least important thing to you in your whole life?” “Would you want to get married again?” “Will Daddy get married again?”
The remarrying questions give me pause. I know the statistics for second marriages, and they are not pretty. She can see me struggling with her queries, and she waits patiently, snuggled up against my side, for my answers. I told her the other night that I would very much like to marry again someday, but only if it felt like the kind of love that could last always, a love that was unconditional, with room for change and forgiveness and disagreements and affection. I told her I was in no hurry to marry again, but that I do wonder what life has in store for me, that sometimes I do wish for a partner in life and love. I told her her Daddy is a good man, and it’s likely that someday he will find someone too who makes sense to him, whom he will love very much. I told her it is possible that her life will look very different down the line, that her family could grow in funny ways, that she could live in different places. I told her that no matter what, her daddy and I will make any decisions–individually and together–keeping her and her sister foremost in our minds and hearts.
I don’t know what my ex would like to know. Maybe he doesn’t care to know anything. I wait for him to ask the same questions that our daughter asks. When he asks, I will answer. I haven’t asked anything about his love life, either. Maybe we are simply not ready to ask those questions of each other, no matter how many years have already passed with our living separate lives.
How do you deal with discussing dating with your ex? I would love to hear.
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