I’m twenty-six, I have 2 kids, and I’m a single mom. My son was conceived on a first date. And my daughter was conceived three months into a new relationship. While I love my kids and I wouldn’t trade them for the world, the past six years have taught be a lot about love and relationships. Some good lessons have been learned, some of the lessons have been really hard to learn. But I have recently rediscovered myself, and I’ve decided it’s time to move forward in more positive ways.
My relationship that just ended in the past month was the one I learned the most from. We’d been together for 3 years and have a beautiful little girl together, but the relationship was far from perfect. In fact it was quite the opposite. When we first got together it was blissful, as most relationships are in the beginning. I felt like he was “The One” for me. But when I became pregnant, just 3 months into the relationships (I was on birth control, but it failed), things started to go downhill.
He moved back in with his parents and quit working. He ignored my calls and texts and acted like it was no big deal. That went on for a while. He eventually started talking to me again. When I was 8 months pregnant he cheated on me with 2 different girls and it devastated me. Somehow we got over that, and when our daughter was born, we got back together. But his old habits continued to show up. He never kept a job and refused to help out. His temper started to get bad, especially toward me and my son. Things just weren’t working out.
Two things occurred to me: 1) the relationship was bad more than it was good 2) that I was a better person when he was gone. While we were broken up last year, I was working two jobs and in school full time at Miami Jacobs Career College for Cosmetology, while also taking care of both kids. When he moved back in, for the final time, I quit all of that. We started fighting a lot over money and him spending what little bit we did have on marijuana.
I had become weak; my strong sense of self had disappeared. He brought me down more than he built me up, not a good sign of a healthy relationship. So last month, I stood up for myself and ended the relationship. It was hard to do. It means my daughter’s father will not live with her, something I know is not ideal. And it means that I have to start over in the dating realm.
But I want more for myself and my kids. I want for them to be in a stable home without all of the negativity that was in my last relationship.
So I am dating again. But I’m not starting relationships with sex first, questions later. Instead, I intend to get to know my date first, and try to discover what type of person he is. What motivates him? Does he take care of himself and the people in his life? Is he interested in being a father and a good role model? These are some of the important questions I’ll need answers to before sex complicates the emotional and physical elements of the relationship.
Dating should be fun! It should also make you feel good, about yourself and about life, while helping you reach for your goals. This is a new, exciting, and maybe difficult chapter I’m beginning. I’ll let you know how it goes!
How about you: have you learned important lessons from past relationships? How did those lessons shape your decisions for future relationships?