single parent transitioning into co-habitating woes - Mothering Forums

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Old 04-26-2014, 12:52 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hello,

 

I haven't been on MDC for quite some time but always appreciated the supportive community here. I'm going through an intense life transition, feeling really lonely and stressed about it, and was wondering if any other single mamas had this experience.  Phew, here goes...I have an amazing just-turned 8 year old boy,  For the past over 7 years, it was just me and my boy.  For some reason I always had this sense that I would be a single parent (his father and I separated when I was pregnant with him).  I didn't start dating at all until he was almost 6.  I started dating again, met a few "pieces of work" and just about gave up when I met my current partner.  He is a great, loving man, awesome and kind to my son, and after dating for about a year, we moved in together.  (To be honest, I would have preferred to wait until moving in but both he and I had leases ending, they raised my rent and I couldn't afford to renew mine another year on my own, and it just seemed like the universe saying go for it).  Anyway, long story short, it's been so hard living together!  8 months later and I still feel unsettled, guarded, and awkward with the "family of 3" dynamic.  The other day I drove by my old apartment and was literally moved to tears, thinking about all the memories I had there with my son, and feeling this sense of homesickness..and this sense of missing it just being me and my boy, and having my own space. I know that single mamas with single children often have a super duper special close bond and it can feel a little odd at first bringing another person into the dynamic.  But I would think that by this time, it would feel normal.  It doesn't. My partner is great, things are fine, but I never quite feel comfortable being the 3 of us and sharing space. I'm starting to wonder if there isn't something inherently fixed in me, from being just me and my boy for so long, that maybe it's always going to feel a little weird to be in a relationship and share space.  However, I'm also wondering if maybe I truly jumped the gun and should consider moving back to just me and my boy?  I feel like a total weirdo, here I am with this great partner who is great to my kid, but can't stop thinking about returning to my old single mama life.  Ugh.   Anyone else relate?

 

Thanks all!

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Old 04-27-2014, 06:42 AM
 
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After so long with just the two of you, I would expect it would be quite a difference to have someone else living with you. I don't think it's unreasonable that it's been several months and you're still getting used to things. The fact that you weren't really quite ready to move in with him, but did it for financial reasons, is probably contributing to you feeling like this, too. You weren't ready, so you're not going to feel totally at ease. 

 

The big question is: Is it just a little unsettled and uneasy that you feel, or are you feeling like this was a mistake? Feeling unsettled and uneasy, I would say is normal (even after this long), but if you honestly feel like it's a mistake, then maybe it's time to rethink this. 

 

I also don't know that it has to do with you being a single mom of a single child. I have 2 boys, and when I was with my ex, I had many of the same feelings (of course, for me, I ended up thinking it was a mistake, and I was right). I felt awkward with him in our space. I even remember that I'd wanted a man who could accept my kids as his own, but when he referred to my sons as "his kids", "our kids", or even just "the kids" like we were a family, it seemed forced and strange to me. I think it's just a result of being the only parent in your child's life, period. You get used to doing it all your way, basically, and trying to figure out how to include someone else, someone who has no connection to your child except through you, isn't easy. At least if it was the other parent, you'd know he has the same rights as you - but in a situation like this, you're confused because you don't really know what his role should be. He's not your husband, so he's not a stepfather with the "rights" one would have, but you're living together with the intention (in theory, anyway) of him eventually being your husband, so to tell him he has no "rights" to act as a father/stepfather seems wrong, too. 

 

Have you told him how you feel? If you're just feeling unsettled, and not like this is a mistake, talking to him might help a lot. You might learn that he feels as oddly as you do. He might be able to reassure you, or help you figure out how to make this all work. 

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Old 04-27-2014, 08:24 AM
 
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I am a twice divorced single mom and I have been in you shoes before.  I think as moms we know our first obligation is to our kids however we still have the physical and emotional needs for companionship.  I've had two cohab relationships and my only rule was that all 3 of my girls liked him and approved of the move in.  Both of these relationships ended however they were wonderful while they lasted and my girls never had any issues at all.  I think the only side effect is that once your kids become involved in a serious relationship, what will you tell them when they want to cohab?  Good luck.  Kathy

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Old 04-27-2014, 01:36 PM - Thread Starter
 
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thanks for your feedback mamas.  It's helpful to know that I"m not the only one :) I think I've really avoided talking to him about how I feel because I tried to bring it up before and it really hurt his feelings, then ended in an ugly fight.  So I've been keeping it bottled up.  Last night I tried talking to him again, this time in a more calmer and gentler way. He seemed like he "got it" and was a lot more receptive (though still seemed sad that I was bringing it up).  So, I dunno.  I do try and tease out in my head if the whole thing is a mistake or if it just feels really, really strange and will eventually feel normal.  I think another contributing factor is that when we moved, we moved clear across town, so not only did I leave my own apartment but I left the neighborhood I lived in for almost 15 years.  I  feel like I've lost touch with most my friends and old neighbors, who were a huge part of my support system.  Also I started a new job the week we moved.  So yeah...lots of transitions for me :(

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Old 05-02-2014, 06:56 AM
 
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Are u taking time for just u and your son? For me I would think that would be a necessity and regular thing. That is something I plan to do with my own kids if dp and I move to the next level. I notice dp and I both desperately need time to ourselves. My kid free day and night is usually the day I get much done and don't always see dp and his Saturday evenings are his for his own thing as well. We are creatures of habit and getting in single parenting mode is hard to break and I have been doing it less than 2 years. ..not as many as you.

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Old 05-03-2014, 09:37 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by violetjen View Post
 

thanks for your feedback mamas.  It's helpful to know that I"m not the only one :) I think I've really avoided talking to him about how I feel because I tried to bring it up before and it really hurt his feelings, then ended in an ugly fight.  So I've been keeping it bottled up.  Last night I tried talking to him again, this time in a more calmer and gentler way. He seemed like he "got it" and was a lot more receptive (though still seemed sad that I was bringing it up).  So, I dunno.  I do try and tease out in my head if the whole thing is a mistake or if it just feels really, really strange and will eventually feel normal.  I think another contributing factor is that when we moved, we moved clear across town, so not only did I leave my own apartment but I left the neighborhood I lived in for almost 15 years.  I  feel like I've lost touch with most my friends and old neighbors, who were a huge part of my support system.  Also I started a new job the week we moved.  So yeah...lots of transitions for me :(

I bolded the sentences that are yellow flags/red flags here.  In a healthy relationship, you are allowed to express your feelings respectfully without the other partner turning it around to make it all about themselves and their pain.   It could be that your uneasiness has more to do with the dynamic of your new relationship, than it does with missing your alone time with your son.   I don't want to make assumptions, but power imbalanced relationships begin this way.....a feeling of unease you just can't put your finger on, and then it evolves into you feeling hushed from having your own opinions and needing to dance around to keep them happy.  This all happens so unconcsciously at first (and maybe for the entire relationship).  

 

I would really encourage you to dig deeper and explore the feelings of unease.   A partner who truly loves and cares for you and your son would understand and support you in taking more time to evaluate the relationship before making a big committment such as cohabiting (which is more or less like marriage in some states from a legal perspective).  Even though you dated a year, it may be that you need more time for a reason.

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