She Married Him Anyway - A Single Parent's Status Change
The piece, Single Parents Should Get Married, opened a Pandora’s Box of controversy and opinions. The single parent struggle consists of varying experiences and as others deliberate whether or not single parents should marry others recall their personal involvements. As such, out of the Pandora’s Box resurfaced an individual experience of a single parent’s personal struggle to get married.
She refused to acknowledge him as my significant other, declared the then single mother of three. The oldest of three, stood firm in her dislike for him. After the divorce and death of her ex-husband this single mother thought that “once was enough”, no other marriage. After years of remaining in an abusive relationship for the sake of the children, she felt liberated once the divorce was final. She also developed into an empowered person and vowed not to give “a man so much control”.
It was her and her kids, she said and that was enough. She had no interest in male companionship. So, for over five years she worked towards building a better life for herself and her three children. Without a high school diploma, there were major economic battles but she pushed forward. She took a lot of manual jobs and it was at one of these jobs that she met him. She said he made his interest know but she ignored him because it was easier to do so; her children and many jobs kept her busy and too tired to try to have adult interaction.
But his interest did not wean, he persisted and she eventually capitulated. He was a regular presence in her and her three children’s life. The two oldest were teenagers and the last was prepubescent. He frequented their home and showered them with gifts and affection. For the first time in years this single mother felt cared for and loved. She said she frequently had to pinch herself to make sure she was not dreaming. After years of being with an abusive man, she never thought it possible to experience such respect and loving kindness from a man. She kept thinking he will stop coming around, after all what man in his right mind would want a readymade family? But, she said he kept coming back and after a year or so he asked her to marry him. She said “yes”.
With burble joy she told her children and expected there would be no real issue. Except, there was, her oldest fervently objected. The single mother of three married him anyway. They had an elegant wedding of which her oldest did not participate. She wanted nothing to do with her mother or her step-father. There were verbal fights and frequent silent treatment. The relationship between mother and daughter was severed. The now married mother of three, declared, here was man that loved her and her three children and she was not about to give that up because her teenage daughter could not “see pass her nose”.
What a dilemma. As a single parent what would you do if your child did not like the man you are with? Can you do what this single mother did? As a single parent, male or female, the first priority is frequently our children so for this mother, who remains nameless to protect her privacy, to make a commitment to a man whom her daughter did not want as a stepdad, it must have been a difficult decision. But this mom, said no it was not. He is a good man, she said and I deserve happiness too. It cannot be all about the children. I must have something for me, she said, so I married him. No regrets.
When asked why her eldest was against the union, she never could provide a definite reason. There was no abuse, her now husband showered the kids with everything. He was, she said, a good provider. Her children lacked nothing, even the disrespectful eldest. He was also patient with them, she explained, because with the impertinent attitude her eldest displayed, he could have easily mistreated them and demanded respect. He did not. Instead, he showered the eldest with understanding and patience. Her two siblings embraced him and willingly called him “dad”. That never sat well with the eldest; her objection, as far as her mother could tell, was having a man in their lives after years of it just being the four of them. And of course there is the he-can-never-replace-my-father syndrome.
The conflict continued even after the eldest moved out. She refused to have anything to do with her mother and act as if her stepdad did not exist. Mother and daughter did not have direct contact for several years. In contrast, prior to the marriage, mother and daughter were very close. They made family decisions together and mapped out the best college and future wedding plans for the daughter. Mom thought, perhaps her child felt abandon with the presence of a new husband and stepdad. She believed her daughter would eventually come around; several years later she did.
What a single parent struggle - to have to choose between marrying the man you love or your child. This woman’s other two children, loved their new stepdad and were ideally good children. But, the eldest rebelled and was an unhappy part of her mother’s life for several of her married years. The relationship reality of single parents can be heart wrenching; television shows often romanticize these struggles but realty is Oh so much more painful. Many single parents talk about having to make relationship choices that impact their children and are often sorrowful about the end results. This mother believed with her family coming from an abusive often financially challenging relationship with the children’s father, her daughter would welcome a positive change. However, the minds and emotions of children, in particularly, teenagers functioning in an unpredictable fashion can become a challenge for many single parents as they explore the dating world and the ultimate steps toward marriage.