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Met “TH” in college. We connected, sparks, etc. But as he puts it, “She was too shy and I was too high.” Over the years we would reconnect periodically, but it never got serious. New Year’s 2011, I was set up on a date with “B” – who was handsome and great on paper. After dinner, B dropped me off at a party with my old college friends before heading his own way.
TH was there and was my midnight kiss. After that night, B pursued me. I was at an age when I wanted to start a family, had no other prospects, and thought he was the definition of a great catch. Seven years and two babies later, our marriage crumbles. I ignored early warning signs of a problem with alcohol, but the pandemic highlighted all of it. Multiple DWIs, multiple trips to rehab, and lots of pleading/ultimatums don’t have an impact.
I had left my career for four years and returned in 2021 to gain some stability, anticipating the end of the marriage. In 2022, I rebuilt my life as a single mom in a new city. In January of 2023, TH reached out to me on Instagram. He lives across the country, but his engagement recently ended and he was considering a move. We start FaceTiming every night. He visits in February and sparks flew like never before. In June, he moves to my city. My divorce is also finally finalized. The big issue: TH wants a child.
I love him and would be willing to give him that but … I am just rebuilding my career and terrified of making another mistake. I was still legally married three months ago. My older child is six and understands more about what life was, and what it is now. She is mostly a happy kid but gets sad about me not taking her dad back. I can’t explain the “why” to her yet. The last thing I want to do is hurt her more.
I also recognize that at 38, I don’t have a lot of time biologically, so It feels like now or never. The question: Am I crazy for considering marriage and a child again so soon? How do I help my child cope? Do I follow her mourning timeline before moving forward? I heard on the show “don’t make any big decisions for one year.” Is that a year from the breakup or a year from it being legally final? 🙂 Talk some sense into me.
I did say something about not making “big decisions for a year” on the Love Letters podcast. (I think it was in the breakup episode called “I Need a Toaster” … it makes sense if you listen.)
But I only brought up the concept of a year of status quo to explain why we can’t follow that rule most of the time. We don’t get to pause life and invent our own timelines for change.
I won’t give you advice about your kid; please seek a professional for that. Go to a divorce support group. Maybe find an expert in single parenting who can tell you about child psychology.
I will speak to the love stuff, of course. I think it’s great you reconnected with the person you liked so many years ago, and that there’s more substance now. It’s wonderful that it’s working. But do you feel like you’ve enough time to know whether he’s right for you and your family? How has it felt to have him around a lot? How does he involve himself in your kids’ lives, and does he seem to be good with them? Does he support your independence and the other parts of your life?
If he’s fantastic all around, maybe the two of you can talk to a professional together. You can learn how to make sure you’re sending the right message to your kids, and what it would look like to start a new family.
But if you’re not sure about him just yet, give it more time. Yes, you’re 38, but you can start family planning while giving yourself some months to get to know this man again. Talk to your doctor about that. Multitask and pay attention.
Something we take leaps. I can’t promise you that having a kid – or not having one – will make you happy. Either way, it’ll feel like a rush, a loss, and maybe a risk.
But you know how to prioritize yourself and your children. You’ve done it before. Get some real counseling to find out what next steps might be. But please don’t assume, “Oh, at a year I’ll know.” It’s going to be confusing, no matter what.
Your “year” basically started in 2021, by the way. Maybe earlier.
Readers? Time to slow things down, or is this how life works?
Slow down, breathe. Get your career solidly established. Work on making your new situation firmly rooted with all your attention on your two kids.lupelove
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