Single Parent Learning How To Be In A Relationship

I have always been a single mom, going on twelve years now.  I did not want to raise my daughter as a single parent and was in a committed relationship with her father and thought we would get married.  That did not happen, and so I struggled and learned, and have created a home for us on my own.  I make all the decisions for us and pray that I am doing the right thing for her.  When she was seven I decided to let myself enter into a relationship with a man who wanted the family lifestyle, wanted to get married, and wanted to marry me, so we became engaged.  Even though he wanted all the same things I did he could not hold down a job for very long and I quickly realized he would not be an equal provider so I broke off our engagement.  A month later I found out I was pregnant and so now I am a single mom of two, doing all I can to be everything my girls need and keep a stable roof over our head. 

Like many single parents I live small paycheck to paycheck, robbing peter to pay paul, avoiding collection calls, paying the bare minimum on the bills, my rent is often late and never paid in full all at once, water has been shut off, pge shut off, negotiating payment options so they can be restored and turned back on before the kids get home from school.  I am working, making $11/hour - I am in graduate school and have a great resume but the jobs just are not paying what they used to.  I live off my small paycheck, and my student loans, and I am scared to death when I graduate this winter of how I am going to repay my school loans.

I am in a relaltionship with a single father, going on two years now.  It has been nice to share our experiences together but I hold myself back and worry about my kids getting so attached that they will be devistated if things don't work out.  He is fortunate enough to work for a family business and is paid very well.  He lives on the family property and does not have a mortgage or have to pay rent.  Our financial situations could not be any more opposite.  It leaves me feeling unworthy and alone in my struggles.  I dont talk about my financial struggles much unless he asks and then I feel vulnerable and open to his criticisms of what I am going through.  He does help me from time to time with a bill and although I appreciate it, I know that this is my struggle and I am afraid of counting on him when I know he will only be there when he wants to not necessarily when I need him too.  It is creating a huge wedge in our otherwise happy relationship - I am torn what to do - I need to find a way to share my life with him but take care of my own at the same time. 
Sinequanon Sinequanon
36-40, F
3 Responses Aug 2, 2010

As another single mom trying hard to make it, I am proud of you and admire you for what you are doing. We always seem to squeak by, I feel. As though it seems to work out even during the months where we are in panic about the bills coming up. As far as your boyfriend goes, I cannot comment on that because I have no experience there. I have not yet had a relationship in the past 3 years since her dad and I split. I don't even know how to start! : / Best of luck to you! I am confident it will all work out for you and your girls.

Thank you for the words of encouragement and praise. It is good to hear of other single parents that refuse to let the challenges and struggles define them. <br />
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You are right, our ideas of what we thought a man should be are outdated, even though I would love to believe in true partnership, the truth is, it is up to me to carry my own weight and I can only hope that my partner will carry his. But if we are aware enough to recognize the blessing we have in each other we will benefit from each others company. I will be sure to take to heart your words of wisdom and appreciate his presence in my life for all that it is rather than what I would hope it to be! <br />
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And yes, I fully agree to avoid bringing anymore children into the picture - even with his serious commitment, I am giving all I can to the two I already have and to his one - I think between the two of us, three is more than enough!! Thank you again, and I wish you all the best on your journey - pls. keep in touch!

Wow that is an aspiring story of a single working mom. Congrats to you for able to pull all through regardless all the challenges upon you and yet you are doing your degree on top of making time to date someone decent. We hear so many of similar struggling stories, I am non exceptional. Besides sole custody for a kid, taking care elderly parent am also working and doing my post degree, also facing legal matters with ex spouse. All at once, never ending stories, and still able to make time to date someone nice. <br />
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The think about us as single mom, we thought the man will be great provider for happiness, material wise, finance or whatever, the truth is they are not what they used to be during our grandfathers days. But I am always sure there must be someone for everyone .. lol<br />
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So what you did is just right and having all the above challenges have made you a better and matured person. On your love life, stay on board with your man, enjoy his company, appreciate whatever he can contribute if possible return the favor in other ways..seek his compassion more than his empathize. but pl avoid having another kid unless he is serious to commit ... so hope and wish you well ...