Tips for That
--The situation has eased somewhat, but the divorced dads of this world are still having a tough time winning custody of their children. The role of primary caregiver is usually given to the woman, and the man of the house has no more house -- nor home. His children become part-time guests. His family role is decimated -- as is his bank account and his self-esteem! The prevailing wisdom is that Mother knows best and therefore should be Head of House in a divorce scenario. Not necessarily the best solution.
--Census figures show unmarried mothers to be on the increase, and that the trend is mainly among successful, well-educated women. (Teen pregnancies not part of this study.) Again, let me remind all interested parties -- considering such a change of life -- that the path is a rocky one, demanding nearly limitless time, patience, financial security and devotion. Children are here to be loved, not to give love nor to stave off loneliness. Enough said.
--"Senior and single" used to be a mournful phrase, but things have gotten better as the population ages and more resources crop up to serve it. Seniors have as much of a right to The Real Thing as their juniors, and while some in the younger generation are aghast at the concept, remarriage and hearty sex are part of their repertoire as much as any other age group. (!) And why not? With most of us living longer than ever, stale attitudes will have to be trashed as part of ancient history. Bravo.
--I wonder whether you've thought of making a will for yourself. Don't scoff at the idea. Single people need an orderly, planned exit scenario as much as -- or more than -- their married counterparts, since all the options rest on their shoulders. Besides, working out a will for yourself brings into focus your life plan, your dreams, your preferences. Especially if you have small children, you need to discuss guardianship with your chosen person. I urge you to begin the process by speaking with an attorney, and see how much better you feel, a little relieved and definitely more organized.
--Having been a young widow, I can relate easily to widowhood. But I've discovered that being a young survivor is definitely out of sync with society's expectations. Forming a support group of the widowed is a good way to gain comfort and fellowship, and genuine understanding. Yes, there is a challenge not to dwell on sad memories and spread gloom instead of keeping the conversations future-oriented. But that awareness usually can stave off the downside of such a group. Just do it.
--Single parenthood is rough going, but being a mother living apart from her children is a double whammy: Beyond the grief and the separation anxiety is the difficulty of explaining the unusual situation to mainly disapproving people with raised eyebrows. And closed minds. Not many people would even give a hearing to the woman, who may very well have a perfectly understandable reason for the unusual living arrangement. Next time you're hearing about a complicated life, I ask you to be slow to pass judgement and open to hearing the facts.
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