No sooner had those words come pouring through his text messages that I realized that I had a suffering Christian on my hands. I had met “the teacher” via the online dating site, Christian Mingle and from the get go we built a great rapport. I have always found dating to be very awkward as I am very impatient and too forthright to manage the intricacies of dancing around the truth in order to HOPE the other person won’t see through my facade. I have gone through many different online dating sites and I came on to Christian Mingle because it was my last resort. As a budding Christian that hates the Baptist church dating scene I truly did not want the awkwardness of having to leave my home church if I broke up with someone that went to my church. Christian Mingle just seemed like an obvious choice as I could be free to quote scripture and be real about my philosophical and spiritual opinions without being judged by the non believers and the less than so believers . So the question remains
How do you remain a Christian and follow Jesus teaching without picking up another rebound/broken relationship
There were two ways I could have handled this man’s frantic text messaging which was obviously a venting session over his pending divorce. (Yes, I know he is not even finally divorced yet). That actually goes against my cardinal rule of not dating anyone who doesn’t have the legal paperwork signed by the judge in blood. Yet now we share a friendship and a special one at that because not many of my friends are true – go to church every week, Christians (I don’t mean you, Sarah and John). It’s kinda comforting to quote Matthew or Ecclesiastes without fear of reprisal every once in a while. However, how do you separate your rational thought which protects your heart from your duty as a Christian?
My First Thought was to run and hide
I have an infatuation with this man and it is obvious he has one for me. One of the things I’m thankful for is that we have developed an honesty and conviction in our communications. We are friends and we will continue to be friends until the lord sees fit that we part ways. That can be a fearful experience for someone, especially if your purpose for dating was to find a life partner. However, when his thoughts get inundated with memories of his ex wife and the hurtful words said from the past, it can cut a man like him down to size and as a friend with an infatuation for him – it can hurt my heart. I see his potential, he doesn’t. However, logic tells us that women should not fall in love with ideals and potential because you set yourself up for an expectation that the man may never meet. This leads to resentment and disappointment. So do I run and hide and leave my fellow Christian on this road of heartache and despair?
There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens: Ecclesiastes 3
Like the seed that needs to be planted and the sapling that needs to be sowed, there is a time for everything. The teacher is like that old root from a plant that has since died. When you pull the root it is still strong in God’s foundation. You just pull apart the dead leaves and you see the green root underneath. Yet alone it cannot survive. You must stick it back in the ground, nurture it, water it and sing to it so that it can come back alive. When we go through a life change or a divorce, we are all like that root. For him he was dying, except it was on the inside. His words that his wife told him about “Not being a spiritual leader of the home” seemed to resonate in his psyche and subconscious long after those words were spoken. She had destroyed his self esteem and obliterated all respect. In his anger and sarcasm he yelled back, “How many Christian marriages have ended because of some self righteous Christian song lyrics?”
I’m not sure why he dumped on me, but I’m ashamed that I got upset with him. As a true Christian I should have just let him vent, but in my infatuation for him, I was being selfish. In his hurt, he had stated this wife quoted the lyrics from Sanctus Real “Lead Me.” to demonstrate that he was not the spiritual leader of their home and that was her reasoning or excuse for divorcing him. Read these lyrics and I can empathize with them:
Lead me with strong hands
Stand up when I can’t
Don’t leave me hungry for love
Chasing dreams, but what about us?
Ladies – If you are looking for love from your man, all you have to do is respect him
Breaking a man is not going to make him love you. I have learned this many times and out of my own fear of being hurt or “fenced in” I will purposely hurt a man before he hurts me. I realized through prayer and study this is not what we should be doing. I have read Emerson Eggerichs book, Love and Respect so many times and yet I am not even married or a couple. Yet this book is meant for couples and I see how both The Teacher and his ex could not even come together to achieve even the basic foundations to support their marriage.
Consider for a second Ephesians 5:33 where a man is commanded by God to love his wife and a wife is commanded to respect her husband. Both are incapable of naturally doing so since it is not in their very nature and yet the woman or man screams out (as in the song Lead Me) Don’t leave me hungry for love.
Ladies, you will not ever be hungry for love if you have learned not to leave your man starving for respect. I wouldn’t say this situation on the surface is sad but it is regrettable. From my perspective having had experienced worse from my exes I can only imagine what a good man is like. I wander from first date to first date and I see a laundry list of expectations from men or most who I perceive as wolves. At times this broken man seems like another wolf to me and I’m judging him unfairly. If it can take years to break a man, it can take years to rebuild him. Essentially he was tired of being good all the time. He said, “I tried to be a good dad and good husband and that still wasn’t enough.” He wanted to conquer every woman out there to prove to himself or maybe his ex that he was still worth it. So what do I do?
I had a date with God
When I hear a love song, I think I’m singing it to Jesus himself. When I want to feel the closeness of someone, I pray about it. When I begin to desire a shared life including a husband with my children I thank God for my health and my children and that life is not so bad being just by ourselves. I’m so close to God that when the Teacher needs prayers or needs help I intercede on his behalf before I recite all of my prayers that God will lighten his burden. That is all that I can do for him. I can’t date the Teacher because he is not ready and he is clear he is not ready. I can’t help him in the hopes that he will fall in love with me and I will get him in the end. I have to pray for The Teacher as a fellow Christian and not as an infatuated love interest. I have to pray that whoever God has in store for me, that man will come upon my path when God sees fit. I have to pray that both The Teacher and I become our greatest selves before the world and God even if that means we are not friends anymore. I personally know that this Teacher is just a sapling waiting to grow into a Giant. I know with what I’ve been through and my growth I am a Giant and God wants me to be with a Giant. Freedom of will is the water of life that nourishes our roots. Like the roots, our hearts will yearn for God’s teachings and we will grow into a giant Oak or Cypress. As my favorite poet, Kahlil Gibran writes:
Give your hearts, but not into each other’s keeping.
For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts.
And stand together yet not too near together:
For the pillars of the temple stand apart,
And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other’s shadow.
I decided to start defining single motherhood in order to demonstrate how pervasive and common single parenthood is in our society today. I still reiterate that it is in fact a lot easier to raise children with a partner or spouse and I’m not saying one status is better than the other. I’m advocating a better understanding of single motherhood as a part of society today. Acceptance and support is a lot easier when we are not alienating each other.
In an earlier post, Single Moms Need to Lighten Up . . . I discussed that single mothers should be more open with sharing how they can empower themselves to provide support to women and/or married mothers who sometimes feel the strains of having to manage a household and family intermittently alone. According to census data, approximately half of all mothers will spend some time in their life as a sole custodial parent and at any given time(1), and 25% of all mothers are single mothers (2). Get more statistics from the Women’s Legal Defense and Education Fund.
Defining Single Motherhood: Divorce OR Separation
This is an easy one to interpret, you can become a single mother if you divorce or separate from your marriage. Divorce is defined as a legal dissolution of marriage by a court. As the earlier statistics suggest, at least half of all mothers will spend some time in their life as a sole custodial parent.
Divorces and separation are not as final as some people think when you have children. This brings up a myriad of other issues such as visitation, how to communicate with your ex spouse, letting go of hurt feelings, coparenting and communicating with your children, dating and starting a whole new life possibly with a different partner or relationship.
Since divorce and separation are becoming common with upwards of at least over 40% to 50% of marriages ending in divorce, there is a strong possibly that you will become a single mother via at the end of your marriage or if you break up with a long term live-in partner.
Separation from a Live-In Partner
If you lived with your child’s father that can also seem to be like a marriage that comes with a whole other set of issues. When you divorce, typically the courts have a standardized custody, child support and visitation agreement if you and your ex can’t decide on that themselves. In the cases of a live-in arrangement, it’s still necessary to either come up with a solution for those things or to go to court. In both cases of divorce or separation, it is always best to consult with an attorney.
The financial burdens of divorce and separation
It should not come as a surprise that the woman always gets the short end of the stick financially when it comes to divorce and separation. This is the rule and I’m not going to address exceptions.
In a recent Stanford University study, sociologist Mariko Chang, stated that women experience more negative financial consequences from divorce than men. Read More,
Even if a woman is getting child support, there are still a large number that aren’t getting what they are supposed to get. In the most recentfrom the U.S. Census Bureau, less than half of the parents who are owed child support actually receive the full amount. About one-third receive only a portion of the total due, and nearly one-quarter receive none of the child support they are owed. Yes and in most cases the offending parents are the fathers. Mothers can be deadbeats too but this just backs up the case about the earlier study from Stanford about how women are being shortchanged and single mother earners have to use all their resources just to survive rather than build wealth.
Defining Single Motherhood Series
This is the first part of a multi-part series around what single motherhood is and where it can be found in our society. While divorce and separation are common, just know that you are not alone. Being a single mother is not a badge of honor it’s more like a purple heart, with the scars forever carved into our hearts and minds.
Next week: Single Mothers by Choice: Adoption OR Choosing to Keep the Baby long after he’s gone
See, David Blau & Wilbert van der Klaauw, What Determines Family Structure, IZA DP No. 4912 (April 2010);
David Blau & Wilbert van der Klaauw, A Demographic Analysis of the Family Structure Experiences of Children in
the United States, IZA DP No. 3001 (August 2007); Patrick Heuveline et. al, Shifting Childrearing To Single
Mothers: Results From 17 Western Countries, 29 Population and Development Review 47 – 71 (March 2003).
U.S. Census Bureau, Table C2. Household Relationship and Living Arrangements of Children Under 18 Years, by
Age and Sex: 2010, available at http://www.census.gov/population/www/socdemo/hh-fam/cps2010.html
As a mom (or dad) you do your best to try to protect your children and keep them safe from anything that could hurt them physically or emotionally. But how do you protect your children from being hurt by their own parent? In this case, I’m talking about THE EX! The ex spouse or partner that should be helping you raise your child or children together. Granted you probably would have never thought you’d have these many issues and/or arguments but this is where you are. Now what do you do?
What do the courts say?
The courts and society don’t want parents bad mouthing each other or calling each other names since kids need to have a loving, supportive and nurturing environment to grow up in. They need the cooperation of both parents to give them a stable life and help them become successful, productive and loving human beings when they get older. However, it should be common sense. We should not have a law or have it written in divorce decrees not to say anything bad about the other parent. Yet, how do you control your anger/temper when the other parent is hurtful to your child?
Dealing with an unpleasant ex who is unpleasant to your child?
Most recently I had communicated to my ex three times that this past weekend was my weekend since I’m allowed to have an extended visitation during the summer break. However, he showed up at my home anyway and thought he could “bully” me into letting him take our daughter. I reaffirmed to him that I’m entitled to my extra weekend for which he kept saying he never received the communication. So I was about to send him on his way when he asked to give a hug to our daughter. I asked our daughter to give her dad a hug and she didn’t want to. So rather then press the issue and force her to do something she didn’t want to do, I told him she didn’t want to hug him. Then of course the conversation ended up proceeding into a spiral that it should not have gone into.
When a sense of entitlement gets out of hand?
So my ex then began asking why I used his name and defamed him on Twitter. To refresh everyone’s memory, my ex has a history of believing that $250 is enough in child support if he even bothers to pay that. Most recently after his failed attempt to take our daughter away from me in court, the judge ordered him to pay over $800 in child support. He can barely pay the $250 so what do you think happened when he was ordered to pay more? Nothing. He paid $500 but as of now since the blog post about his online dating habits, he had paid nothing! He claims that what I say about him online is slander. I then proceeded to tell him that what I say about him is the truth and so it is not slander. Ashamed as I am for continuing to reason with an unreasonable person, our voices began to get louder and he was explaining that the money he paid me for a partial payment of her dental bill was in fact child support. He fails to remember that he is responsible for medical bills, none of which he ever pays. So in a sense of his rage he yelled out on my front porch that I can keep her (our daughter) and he doesn’t want her (our daughter).
This is the second time he’s done this
This is the second time he’s yelled this out on my front porch. The first time he did it was in December of 2011 when the judge ordered an increase in child support. So I told him, “Good!” Then of course the yell-fest continued and I had asked him to “get off my property or I’m going to call the police.” Which he then replied, “This is not your property, you’re only renting.” Many times when he says things they come out of left field and I guess he thought I’d be offended by this.
When I came back in the house my daughter was sitting on my mom’s lap (she’s visiting me) and she was crying because we were fighting and she heard him say those hurtful things. So I was in a dilemma about how to explain to my daughter all the events that went on. I sat her down and could only explain how I felt about the situation. I’ve decided not to sugarcoat things and not to speak for how he possibly feels, letting his actions dictate and create in her mind how he feels about her. Point Blank: I’m not making excuses for him.
How to deal with the ex
Not knowing anyone else’s situation, I can only speak to mind. I’ve decided to make some changes and keep what’s best for my children in the highest regard. I’m not making any excuses for an ex, that can’t take care of his daughter. Yes, I said it. He can’t. He can’t get her clothes, he can’t help her brush her teeth, he won’t even let her have toys or even a bed to sleep in. If I were to wait for the courts he’d find a way to hide from the law. So here are some things I plan on doing to re-arrange the relationship I have with my ex:
I refuse to give in to unrealistic demands just to keep the peace with him. My daughter’s well being is more important.
I refuse to expect my ex to do anything nice for us or to even pay child support.
I refuse to even bother arguing about the details of the divorce decree. He doesn’t read it anyway. If he needs help interpreting it, then go consult an attorney.
If there is threat of violence or retribution, I will not hesitate to call the police or file a police report.
If my ex asks me to make a decision on anything, I’ll do what he does and not provide a definite answer. He loves to use the phrases “I’ll have to think about it” or “I’m working on it.” To that I automatically assign the position of no to that answer.
All my decisions will be based on what’s best for my daughter first.
I will talk the situation out with others and with legal experts, psychologists, clergy, trained professionals and trusted friends and family before committing to saying “yes” or “no”.
I will quite making excuses for him. His rage is his downfall and I’m not afraid of him or his idle threats anymore.
The ending of a marriage is heartbreaking. However, when you find out that your ex has already started a new relationship, it can make the entire ordeal even more difficult. Fortunately, there are things that you can do to make it easier for you accept the fact that your ex-spouse is with someone else. Below are some tips for moving on after your ex has started a new relationship:
Give yourself some time before you start dating again
One of the biggest mistakes that new divorcees make is jumping in a new relationship too soon. Just because your ex has started a new relationship does not mean that you are ready to start dating again. Give yourself some time. There is no need to start dating anyone until you have healed from the previous relationship. Rebound relationships are almost always a bad idea.
Find a healthy way to release your emotions
You are probably experiencing a whirlwind of emotions right now. You may be hurt, confused and even angry. All of your feelings are normal, but you have to find a healthy way to release them. Keeping a journal, exercising and talking to someone that you trust are a few of the ways that you can release negative emotions.
Do something nice for yourself
This is a time that you should be focusing on yourself. Take yourself out to a movie or a nice dinner. Buy yourself that suit or dress that you have wanted for the longest. Your self-esteem may have been hurt by your divorce and doing nice things for yourself is a great way to feel confident again. It is important to remember that you can never be happy with someone else until you are happy with yourself.
Get professional help if you need it
Sometimes, our ordeals are too difficult for us to cope with on our own. If you are feeling overwhelmed, you should consider seeing a counselor. Counseling allows you to express your emotions freely without being judged or humiliated.
Finding out that your ex has started a new life without you can be quite devastating. It takes time to heal from that type of pain. However, this process will be a lot easier if you avoid dating anyone and take time to focus on yourself. Additionally, if you are feeling alone and overwhelmed, do not hesitate to contact a counselor. Sometimes it can be best to talk over the situation with an outsider who has a different perspective.
Photo credit: labdog2010
The Diamond Lining helps divorced men and women who are looking to sell diamond rings.
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If only there was a final decree that could terminate the pain of a divorce like it does the marriage associated with it. Anyone who has gone through a divorce, or who is currently in the process of a divorce, knows how devastating it can be, financially, spiritually and psychologically. No matter the duration of the marriage, a divorce can shatter the strongest person.
What, then, is the answer for coping with the incredible pain of a divorce? The first caveat is to not blame yourself for the demise of the marriage. Focus on the positive in your life and eliminate the negative thoughts and feelings that are associated with a divorce.
Regaining your identity
Like most people, you probably sacrificed some of your identity in your relationship. Begin to rediscover the parts of yourself that have been sublimated or eliminated because of the marriage and let those resurface. It will be like meeting a new person when you begin to explore these areas of yourself. If you have friendships that you’ve let lapse, seek those people out and become reacquainted with them. Not only will this help you to rebuild your life as a single person, it will help you rediscover the person you were before your marriage.
There are many online support groups for the newly divorced and there are Christian online support groups that are incredibly supportive and compassionate. Although you may feel you are the only one going through this pain, no matter how bad your circumstances, there will be others in similar situations. Sometimes, just knowing that others face the same trauma can be helpful and make you feel less alone.
Get interested in life
This is the perfect time to reflect on who you are and what your interests are. As you have matured, you have probably found that your interests have also matured and become more sophisticated. You may, for instance, now have an heretofore unrealized interest in the metaphysical or esoteric. Contemplate on yourself and what it is that you want out of life and how best to achieve that goal and then begin the pursuit of it.
If circumstances permit, this may be the perfect time to take the trip or vacation that you’ve always wanted. Sometimes, the excitement and new experiences of an adventure will provide a fresh perspective on your life and will accelerate the healing process. Often, a relationship breeds complacency and therefore does not promote the full potential of its partners. As painful as a divorce is, it can be the catharsis needed to redirect your life to its most fulfilling path.
Even though it is painful, working through the trauma of a divorce is the only way you will be able to put it behind you. It will not be a speedy process, although each person will heal at a different rate, but you will eventually be able to view it as simply another stepping stone in your life. Develop and repeat a mantra, such as “I am a good person and I deserve to be happy. I completely accept myself for who and what I am.” This mantra can help with your recovery, particularly when it is combined with meditation. If you have never meditated, this may be the perfect time to start. God, or the Universe if you will, wants all of us to be happy and by meditating, you can determine what He or it wants you to do and be. This will not only enrich your life but the lives of everyone around you.
As difficult as it may be, embrace this opportunity to grow, and remember that this will pass and you will be the better for it. Concentrate on your health and well-being and the fulfillment of your potential!
Andrew Handley writes self-help and self-improvement articles for .
So you’ve found yourself wondering, “he broke up with me how do I get him back?” Getting back together after a breakup is never easy. And it’s not even always possible, depending on the reasons for the breakup and the attitudes of both people involved.
The first thing to look at is why he broke up with you. Was it because you cheated or he thought you cheated? This is probably one of the most difficult things to overcome. If you did cheat, you should examine the reasons why you did it. Maybe you shouldn’t be together.
If you did cheat and you know it was a terrible mistake, consider whether or not you lied about it to him. Cheating at all was a sort of lie, but when confronted did you deny it? Or did you immediately confess it? Or, another possibility, did you say nothing and then when he found out you admitted it was true?
If you did cheat, you have to realize how hurt he must be. The only way to getting back together is to make him believe that you know you made a terrible mistake, you’re sorry, and you’re willing to work very hard not to hurt them again.
If he believes that you cheated and you didn’t, there are only so many ways to prove your innocence. If he’s not willing to take your word for it, there’s really very little you can do to prove you’ve been faithful. If he doesn’t trust you, do you really want to be with this person?
If he broke up with you because he wanted to be with someone else, this is also extremely difficult. This is probably the worst situation for you. As long as he’s with the other person, he’ll probably feel no need to come back to you. There is hope, however.
When you see him and talk to him, be on your very best behavior. You want him to remember the fun and loving person that he started the relationship with. Not the one he left for another person. He may have left you mistakenly, but chances are he believed you had changed from the person he wanted you to be.
You shouldn’t try to change yourself to please him. But you should present yourself as that person he initially fell in love with. Without accusations, pleading or threats, let him know how you feel and that you want him back. And then simply be as good a friend as you possibly can to him.
This shows him that you care about him and not just about getting him back. Now you’re thinking that he broke up with me how do I get him back? I’m not interested in spending months being on my best behavior.
But it’s important that you show him you’re there for him, without trying to make yourself into a person that you’re not. It’s also important to realize that eventually, you need to move on if it doesn’t work out.
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