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Lessons From “Marriage Story” That Can Save Your Marriage

5 Lessons From “Marriage Story” That Can Save Your Marriage And Your Sanity

Lessons From “Marriage Story” That Can Save Your Marriage

 

Everybody is talking about the movie “Marriage Story.”

The media has been weighing in on the quality of the film, the performances, the awards, what is realistic and what is not. Is it a story about marriage or about divorce? Forums and social media exploded with discussions taking sides about who is right and who is wrong.

The most valuable lesson of this film, however, has remained unexplored: “Marriage Story” is a cautionary tale about a marriage that could have been saved and the unnecessary ugliness of divorce.

If you are contemplating divorce, take some cues from “Marriage Story” as a starting point to explore the state of your union and deepen the communication with your partner before heading to court.

While the brilliance of the film is getting most of the attention, perhaps the greatest value of “Marriage Story” is that it provides a framework for couples in trouble to witness the traps that lead to a toxic divorce, so they can avoid them.

Even though Charlie and Nicole’s marriage didn’t have a happy ending, you can learn from their mistakes.

Here are five takeaways from “Marriage Story” that can spare you from a painful divorce:

Lessons From “Marriage Story” That Can Save Your Marriage

Before calling it quits, evaluate whether your marriage can be saved

Charlie and Nicole’s marriage could have been saved.  Maybe yours can be saved, too.

While the movie begins with the couple already in divorce mediation, as we glimpse into their relationship, we realize that Charlie and Nicole had enough going for them to make their marriage worth fighting for. They deeply loved each other, enjoyed parenting together and shared a passion for the performing arts.

If you still love your spouse, do not rush to a lawyer’s office. Do emotional inventory first and determine if you and your partner should give your marriage one last chance.

Tackle marital problems early on

Once you get to the point of no return, there is no way back! Do not let your marital problems fester until you can’t take it anymore. Nicole’s grievances could have been resolved if she had spoken up sooner and made clear to her husband that these problems endangered their marriage. Talk to your partner about the issues that trouble you and give him or her a chance to do the same.

Support your partner but not at the expense of your identity

Supporting your spouse is key to any marriage, but it should never be done at the expense of your fondest dreams. A promising actress, Nicole sacrificed her aspirations to become the supportive wife of an up-and-coming theater director. Over time, this “lesser” role led to resentment until she felt too stifled to go on.

We all deserve self-fulfillment. Strive for balance in your relationship and rebalance when things are becoming one-sided. Continue to pursue your passions and make it clear to your partner that they are necessary for your happiness.

Control your divorce process: do not let the divorce process control you

Even if your marriage can’t be saved, you still have control over the divorce process. Do not allow reactivity and clinging to unreasonable positions to blind you from reaching a fair result. In “Marriage Story,” Charlie’s insistence on being a “New York family” unleashed a series of events that fueled reactivity from both partners until what begun as an amicable divorce turned toxic.

Divorce is an emotional rollercoaster and there will be times when you lose your cool. In volatile situations, step back instead of firing back. Do not be afraid to walk away when things are getting out of control to avoid saying and doing things you will regret later. When negotiating a settlement, seek solutions that make sense and lead to the highest good instead of stubbornly insisting on having your way.

Choose your lawyers with care

Contrary to popular belief, there are no winners in a divorce. Charlie and Nicole may have saved themselves money and grief if they had worked with different lawyers. Before you file for divorce, investigate the reputation of your local lawyers and select one whose values align with yours and your priorities.

Even with the best of intentions, not all marriages can be repaired. But practicing the above tips will increase the odds of living happily ever after—with your current spouse, in a new relationship or alone.

 

This article was originally published on www.soniafrontera.com and reprinted with permission from the author.

The post 5 Lessons From “Marriage Story” That Can Save Your Marriage And Your Sanity appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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Marriage Story : 4 Lessons for Divorcing Couples

Marriage Story : 4 Lessons for Divorcing Couples

From the outset of a divorce, parents should be vigilant in thinking about how their actions impact the children.

The post Marriage Story : 4 Lessons for Divorcing Couples appeared first on Divorce Magazine.

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The Real Story Behind “Marriage Story”

The Real Story Behind “Marriage Story”

Rich or poor, the currency is communication. The challenge is to hire a divorce professional (or team) to help get you to the finish line with preserving dignity, civility – -and, most importantly, if there are children, the priceless co-parenting relationship.

The post The Real Story Behind “Marriage Story” appeared first on Divorce Magazine.

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Covert Narcissistic Ex Nearly Destroyed Our Children

Maddie’s Story: How My Covert Narcissistic Ex Nearly Destroyed Our Children

Covert Narcissistic Ex Nearly Destroyed Our Children

 

In part one and part two of my story, I discuss how I no longer feel responsible for his behavior and, how I found it so easy to fall in love with him. Today I want to discuss how my covert narcissist destroyed our children.

I guess I should say, nearly destroyed because, thankfully, for them, I was always there to guide them through the damage he did to them. Even with my guidance and love, the damage is there and will last their entire lifetime.

There is nothing more heart wrenching than having no recourse against someone who is doing grave emotional harm to your children. If a stranger had done what their father did, I would have had recourse. But, since it was their father, the family court system turned a blind eye to his behavior.

It started from the beginning, the very beginning before I even knew there would be a divorce.

I’m sharing this information in bullet points in order to keep my thoughts straight and not running together. We’ve been divorced for nearly 2 decades, there is no way I can share the entire story but, these are issues I remember as being the most damaging.

How My Covert Narcissistic Ex Nearly Destroyed Our Children

  • He made the decision to divorce without a discussion with me. One day he was there, the next he was gone. Here is how he told our children before he ever told me. He went to our older son’s school and checked him out of school. He told our son, to not ask him any questions, to get in the car and he would explain after they picked up our younger son. He then went to our younger son’s school and checked him out. Once they were all in the car, the boys in the backseat, he turned, looked at them and said, “Your Mom and I are getting divorced. I’m leaving and never coming home.” Needless to say, our sons became very emotional. They thought they came from a happy home and family. He had just dropped a bomb on them. They begged and pleaded for an explanation, but he refused to look at or respond to their questions and evident distress. He pulled up into the driveway or our home and told them to get out. He left them standing in the driveway, crying with our youngest who was six at the time, writhing on the ground.

 

  • He didn’t see the children for a month after that and when he did, he was only interested in spending time with our youngest. When our oldest son, asked him why he never invited him to visit his father told him, “because I have a deeper bond with your little brother. “I think I love him more than I love you.” I told him he couldn’t take one without taking both, that I would not allow him to ignore the needs of our older son. So, he began visiting with both boys. The problem? Both boys had questions about why he left, why he was doing what he was doing. He refused to answer their questions or allow them to ask questions. He said, “I won’t have my time with you marred by unpleasant conversation.”

 

  • Our oldest eventually stopped going on visitations with him and requested his Dad join him in therapy to work through their “relationship issues.” His Dad refused therapy together but said he would see our son’s therapist on his own when he had time. When asked by our son why he didn’t want to go with him, he responded with, “I don’t owe you anything, not my time, not my feelings, NOTHING.” That’s when our oldest son gave up on his father.

 

  • It’s been 14 years since he’s had a conversation or spent any time with our oldest son. My ex has a DIL and granddaughter that he has never met and, given his actions must not have an interest in meeting. He also has a grown son who is in therapy to deal with the damage done by a father who abandoned him.

 

  • My ex continued to visit with our youngest son. He saw him once a month. No phone calls, email or contact between those once a month visits. Our younger son would email and text him, but he never got a response. He asked his Dad to call on Tuesday nights to help him study for spelling tests. His father refused. He asked his Dad to help him build a car for the Boy Scout’s Pinewood Derby, his father refused.

 

  • Three years after our divorce my ex became seriously involved in a relationship with a woman who had an older daughter. That is when he completely cut off our younger son. He had no communication or face-to-face contact with your youngest or oldest sons for six years.

 

  • When our younger son was 16, he had a psychotic break. He was hospitalized and diagnosed with PTSD and Bi-Polar Disorder. His medical records state “Psychosis due to parental abandonment.” According to the Psychiatrist our son needed his father. The Psychiatrist called my ex and my ex told him that there was nothing he could do to help. That what was going on was my fault, not his. How could it be his fault because he hadn’t seen the kid is six years. The psychiatrist told him that, that was exactly why our son was having issues. My ex hung up on him.

 

  • It’s been another 8 years with no contact from their father. Since the day he left the marriage he has not sent a Christmas gift, Birthday gift, attended a graduation, wedding or acknowledge the important things in their lives.

I’m happy to report that both sons are flourishing. They are stable, ethical men. Both have great careers and one has a lovely family. The majority of their day-to-day lives are lived without thought of their Dad and what he did to them.

They both, however, are in therapy. One is on medication he’ll take for the rest of his life and neither will be rid of the scars left by a covert narcissistic father who discarded them as if they were dirt on his shoes.

The Family Courts and Emotional Abuse of a Child

You can protect your child via the courts if they’re being emotionally abused. You can request a custody evaluation, get a Guardian Ad Litem for them, or a psyche evaluation. There is nothing you can do via the courts to protect a child from abandonment by a father.

Google, “Legally forcing a man to visit his children” and you’ll come up with nothing. I came up with one article that said, “visitation is a privilege, not a legal responsibility?” Since a man who abandons his children isn’t breaking any laws there is no way to hold them legally responsible for the damage done by their abandonment.

That’s why I tell other mothers who are dealing with the damage done by such fathers that it’s up to them to clean up the mess to the best of their ability. It’s up to all us mothers who’ve watched a narcissistic father damage his children to do our best to cushion the damage being done.

We can’t fill the hole left by an absent father. That isn’t within our power. We can let our children know that we are their “ride or die.” We can promote their emotional wellbeing by enlisting friends and relatives to show them love and support.

If you’re lucky you’ve got a brother or father who can step in and take up some of the slack and become surrogate fathers. It still won’t fill that hole left by the father but, there is never too much love and caring given to children who’ve been abandoned.

I was thinking about the Catholic church the other day and how suits can be filed by people who were molested by Priests. My hope is that one day, adults who were abandoned by a parent will have the same right to sue that parent for punitive damages. It won’t make them whole again or undo the damage but, I can think of nothing better than legally punishing a parent who skipped out on their children.

Protect your children, Mamas! You are their lifeline. You are their hope. You are all that stands between them and their narcissistic father.

The post Maddie’s Story: How My Covert Narcissistic Ex Nearly Destroyed Our Children appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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My Story of Divorce: Aftermath of Divorce and Co-Parenting (Part 3)

My Story of Divorce: Aftermath of Divorce and Co-Parenting (Part 3)

When the aftermath of destruction is better than the ideal. Sometimes, people parent better apart, than they do when together. This is my story.

The post My Story of Divorce: Aftermath of Divorce and Co-Parenting (Part 3) appeared first on Divorce Magazine.

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My Story of Divorce: Changing the Social Stigma of Divorce (Part 2) 

My Story of Divorce: Changing the Social Stigma of Divorce (Part 2) 

We need to change the negative connotations associated with the word ‘divorce’.

The post My Story of Divorce: Changing the Social Stigma of Divorce (Part 2)  appeared first on Divorce Magazine.

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My Story of Divorce: Leaving the Cage (Part 1) 

My Story of Divorce: Leaving the Cage (Part 1) 

Deciding to divorce was not only the best thing for my emotional well-being; it was also the best example I could set for our daughter.

The post My Story of Divorce: Leaving the Cage (Part 1)  appeared first on Divorce Magazine.

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fell in love with a narcissist

Maddie’s Story: How I Fell In Love With a Narcissist

fell in love with a narcissist

I fell in love with a narcissist and lived to regret it.

 

The night we met, the moment I saw him, I wanted to get to know him. He didn’t make a move, though. Every time I smiled at him, he smiled back. I caught him looking at me several times but, that was as far as it got.

Connie and I left and went to another local bar. We sat at a table with friends and were talking. Within a few minutes, I looked up and saw HIM and his friends walk in and sit down. They sat next to an empty table. Connie and I got up, went out the back exit and back in through the main entrance. We sat at that empty table next to where he and his friends were sitting.

I was determined to have at least a conversation with him and, where there is a will, there is a way. I was determined to make it happen. You have no idea how many times I’ve asked myself since that night why I didn’t just let it slide. If wishes were horses, this beggar would be riding a damn fast one!

When we sat down next to his table, he felt the movement and turned to look. He saw me and a HUGE smile swept across his face. With that smile, he sealed the deal and I welcomed him in with no awareness of what that would mean for our children and me.

He was easy to fall in love with. He dropped a love bomb on me that no woman could have resisted. Unless, of course, she didn’t care for dimples and blue eyes.

What do I mean by love bomb, think flattering comments, tokens of affection, or love notes on the mirror, kitchen table, or windshield, or, flowers sent to my workplace. He pulled out all the stops. Within a month I couldn’t imagine life without him. I was full throttle in love.

What were some things he did to reel me in?

He was a jeans and T-shirt guy. I liked my men buttoned down. He went out and purchased 6 Izod buttoned-down shirts.

At least twice a week he would drop by work to take me to lunch.

Every time we got in his car he would reach over and buckle my seatbelt.

If I left his apartment in the middle of the night to go home, he’d give me time enough to get home and call to make sure I was there and safe.

He told me I was beautiful but not often enough that it would sound manipulative or cheesy.

He loved my friends and family. He genuinely appeared to enjoy their company and was always willing to spend time with them.

He shared his life with me. I didn’t have to dig for information about him, he readily volunteered it. He entertained me with stories of growing up with 8 brothers. He shared with me what it was like living in a mining community in Alaska and fishing for Salmon on a big fishing boat. He had led a life of adventure. I was a small town girl whose head was turned by phrases like, “I’ll take you there sometime.”

We planned our first sleepover, and he picked me up and took me to a local department store. He purchased new sheets, pillows, and a comforter and duvet. “Only the best for my girl,” he said. Imagine that? He wasn’t just thinking about getting in my pants. He wanted me to feel comfortable and cozy while he was in my pants. That’s the kind of shit that will make a girl swoon.

Two of my favorite things back then were Dr. Pepper and Snickers candy bars. On Valentine’s Day, he gave me a dozen roses and a gift basket with a dozen Dr. Peppers and a dozen Snicker’s bars. Imagine that, he had been paying enough attention that he knew my favorite soft drink and candy bar.

If I liked Chinese food, so did he. If I like riding Rollercoasters, so did he. He liked EVERYTHING I liked. I like romantic comedies, guess what, so did he. I loved John Grisham books, low and behold, so did he. I bet if I’d told him I like Herpes he’d have done whatever he needed to gift me some Herpes.

His father and brother came to town to visit him. He insisted I be part of all their plans.

He marked his calendar down to my birthday and made sure I knew that he was going to make it special. He told me I deserved to feel special, and “you just wait, your birthday is going to be something else.” And, he was right, he pulled out all the stops.

He was the most caring and giving lover I’d ever had. His focus was on satisfying me and making me feel cared for during sex. It was true lovemaking. Or, it was to me anyway.

He was like a fantasy, a gift of a man.

A man I had never imagined. You can’t fathom that kind of attention, affection, and love. Thoughts of a man like him didn’t lurk in the shadows of my mind because I had no idea such a man was possible. I felt like a 4-year-old who’d been given permission to eat a bowl of sugar.

We dated for a year. A year filled with comfort when he held my hand and feelings of security when he would verbally include me in his future plans. As an adult child of an alcoholic father, he gave me everything I’d ever craved. And then I became pregnant.

That’s when I was devalued, got my first taste of what it’s like to be on the wrong end of a Narcissist

To be continued.

Maddie’s Story Part I

The post Maddie’s Story: How I Fell In Love With a Narcissist appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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narcissistic ex-husband

Maddie’s Story: I No Longer Blame Myself For The Harm My Narcissistic Ex-Husband Caused

narcissistic ex-husband

 

blame – adj : expletives used informally as intensifiers; “he’s a blasted idiot”; “it’s a blamed shame”; “a blame cold winter”; “not a blessed dime”; “I’ll be damned (or blessed or darned or goddamned) if I’ll do any such thing”; “he’s a damn (or goddam or goddamned) fool”; “a deuced idiot”; “tired or his everlasting whimpering”; “an infernal nuisance” 1: an accusation that you are responsible for some lapse or misdeed; 2: a reproach for some lapse or misdeed.

I was 45 years old, divorced and raising two sons on my own and for six years I had needed someone to blame for my predicament. I was finally able to blame someone after a conversation with my son. He was having some difficulty, emotionally, with the financial problems we faced to keep him enrolled in his college courses.

He was struggling at a time when his only concern should have been what courses he would take and living the carefree life of a college student. He was upset and through his tears, he said to me, “Mom, if we had played a role in this I might be able to deal with it. If I held some responsibility for the way things are with Dad it wouldn’t hurt so deeply.”

I began to reflect on my role in the pain of my divorce and the damage done to my children. Isn’t it human nature to want someone to blame your problems on? If there is someone to blame then we might be able to extract some justice and feel vindicated for our suffering.

As I sat thinking back I realized that the ultimate blame lay with me, the person who had fallen in love with and married his father. I had looked across a room one night a little over two decades ago and with one momentary look at his face, my fate and the fate of my children had been sealed. What came in between then and now has been, at times, powerfully loving and incredibly cruel.

How I Met my Narcissistic Ex-Husband

Connie and I chose a table close to the door and ordered a couple of drinks. We hadn’t been there long when I glanced over at the bar and noticed a group of guys sitting at the bar. I had an immediate and intense attraction to the looks of one of them.

He had a square jaw line, full lips with a perfect receding hairline. If there is such a thing!

He had a little boy look about him. He smiled at one of his friends and there were dimples, deep dimples that lay right below beautiful, icy blue eyes and rosy cheeks. He had a sweetness to his face and before I had even spoken to him, I knew, from his look, that he would be able to grab my attention and hold it.

I look back now and realize that look was the look of the “walking wounded” and that my attraction to it had to do with my need to rescue, take care of and love unconditionally anyone who needed to be fixed.

And, wounded he was. Wounded beyond fixing no matter how hard I tried. He was one of nine sons raised by a devout Catholic mother who thought it her religious duty to procreate but not mother and an absent father who thought raising the children was women’s work. He became the love of my life, the father of my children and a man who would do immeasurable harm to those who loved him most.

To be continued…

The post Maddie’s Story: I No Longer Blame Myself For The Harm My Narcissistic Ex-Husband Caused appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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a message of hope on mother

Becca’s Story: A Message Of Hope And Love On Mother’s Day For All Single Moms

a message of hope on mother's day

Courtesy of Brooke Kelly Photography

We have all the odds against us, but we are going to beat those odds.

 

“Four years ago, my life fell apart. I was married with a 3-year-old little girl, and we lived in an adorable gated neighborhood in the suburbs, just 4 miles inland from Jacksonville Beach, Florida. I could cross highway A1A at work and eat lunch on the beach. My Jeep always had sand and seashells in it.

I felt so fortunate to have this opportunity in life after working my way through nursing school, and eventually finishing grad school with a newborn. I finally had my dream job as a pediatric nurse practitioner. My career took me to Nashville, Kansas City, and that’s where we ended up on the beach. Sounds like an amazing adventure, right? Well, little did I know, my husband was living a double life and my world was going to come crashing down on me very soon.

I was on my way home from work on a Monday afternoon, just 2 days after my daughter’s luau birthday party, and I found out we had been evicted. All of our belongings were thrown out like trash, even her new birthday presents. I wasn’t allowed back in our home, and I was told the locks had been changed.

I felt sick and like I had no control, like I had been stabbed over and over and I was moving too slow to stop the bleeding. After questioning my husband and our landlord, I discovered that we were 3 months behind on rent and other bills, despite the fact that I was shelling out money to him for our living expenses. He couldn’t answer where the money was going, but all of a sudden, things made sense. His erratic sleep habits, weight loss, running errands all the time. He always had somewhere to go and never wanted us to tag along.

I did some digging and found empty pill bottles and many empty beer cans in his car. The car that drove my child to daycare. The car that always parked in the guest parking spaces in our neighborhood instead of the driveway. I also found several years worth of MY mail in his trunk. He had been keeping random letters from collection agencies, bills, and birthday cards from me for YEARS. Why did he keep all these secrets from me?

Confused, hurt, and angry were my only emotions for the next few days.

I was running on fumes and couldn’t eat or sleep. I felt so stupid for not seeing the signs. I had been so busy with raising a child and building my practice at work. I was married to a drug addict who abandoned us in a Target parking lot 4 miles from the beach.

He had been lying to me for YEARS, and my credit was unfortunately ruined because of it. I had no idea how easy it was to open credit cards and take out personal loans in your spouse’s name. I thought I had stayed on top of my bills but had no idea he was secretly hiding things from me over the course of our 7-year marriage.

I later found out that he had another daughter! He lied about being in the Marine Corps, he lied about his education and his job. I had been living nothing but lies for almost a decade of my life! I thought to myself, ‘How could life be so cruel? How could I be so dumb?’

That first night living in a hotel, I made a Walmart run at 8 p.m. to get clothes and toiletries for us to survive the next few days while I planned my next move. I washed clothes in a hotel sink. My daughter and I tried to make the best of our ‘vacation’ as I called it, while I cried over the things we had lost, wondering how in the world I would sort through this mess. My sweet baby girl lost everything, and we had no support there.

Our closest family was in Tennessee, about 10 hours away, and my soon-to-be-ex-husband left us alone to fend for ourselves without showing any remorse. At night, I would just think of all the things we had lost. I cried silently at night, in the shower or while I was driving. I missed my belongings, and I missed the part of my heart that was stolen. I could never get those things back.

I cried for my daughter because she didn’t deserve this as part of her story. I worked so hard to get where I was, career-wise, and everything was just ripped away. Why couldn’t I just go back and change things sooner? He was a con artist, and I got duped.

I tried to smile through the pain and be strong for my daughter.

I tucked my tail, hung my head, and began my journey home. At 32 years old, I moved back into my old bedroom with a 3-year-old. I was so ashamed of myself. I left the beach and moved back to crummy ole Tennessee. To make things worse, it was SNOWING when we moved back. It was March and snowing in Tennessee. How could this situation get ANY worse?!

My daughter, on the other hand, was thrilled to make snow angels and ride in a makeshift sled with grandma and grandpa. My parents were ecstatic to let us come home. My daughter had her own playroom and slept with mama every night. (Fortunately, my parents keep EVERYTHING. Her playroom was like taking a peek back into my childhood. We’re talking original Cabbage Patch dolls, a Little Tykes kitchen from 1985, y’all. It was glorious!)

Since I had to work diligently on getting my nursing licenses in order, I wasn’t able to apply for any nursing jobs for the next few weeks. My plan was to take an assignment as a travel nurse to save up some money and pay off these old bills that I recently discovered. In the meantime, my daughter and I were going to the gym and the park almost daily.

My heart was bruised, and I needed to slowly put my life back together. I needed to show my daughter that this was our new normal and that living with grandma and grandpa would be a fun adventure. I was trying to convince myself of this too.

A Message Of Hope And Love On Mother’s Day For All Single Moms

I desperately needed to find some friends, but I had no idea where to even start.

I finally texted an old guy friend from high school (actually, I think I went down my Facebook list and sent messages to everyone in town. I was THAT desperate for adult interaction). I jokingly asked if he knew any hot single dads. This wasn’t even relevant in our conversation, just a random thought that popped in my head. To my surprise, he said yes and immediately gave me a name.

Good heavens, was I ready for this? I was SO newly divorced, but hey, I needed friends and I wasn’t going to pass up an opportunity to get out of my parents’ house to meet people. My Facebook detective brain got to work. This single dad had a daughter, who appeared to be the same age as mine. After showing my mom his Facebook picture with his daughter, she screamed, ‘I KNOW THAT LITTLE GIRL!’

Come to find out, his ex-wife’s sister does my mom’s hair, and my mom had seen pictures of this little blonde girl. We live in a big city, so this is a rare occurrence. My mom wanted some juicy gossip, so she pushed me to meet him. (If she thought meeting a stranger was OK, then surely it was fine, right?!) I sent this random guy a Facebook message, and he answered back. I gave him my number and HE. CALLED. ME. So, awkwardly, I answered the phone.

He said he wanted to talk. Like, with his voice. What in the 1990s was going on?! We talked all night just like teenagers. I think it was 2 am when we finally hung up. Maybe it was sleep deprivation, but I felt like one tiny piece of my heart was placed back.

Two days later, we met for lunch. I was a little rusty on appropriate first date clothing, and I was raiding my mom’s closet for most of my attire since I was just starting to rebuild my life and wardrobe. I happened to have a job interview that day, so I wore some comfortable black flats and a pair of my mom’s black dress slacks. Yup, slacks. With pleats down the front. I also wore this shirt I lovingly call ‘the curtain shirt’. This was my 1st first date since I met my ex-husband, 10 years earlier.

He was on his lunch break, so he showed up wearing police gear and a gun on his hip. I was intimidated at first because he is a big dude with a beard and a lot of tattoos, and again, this was my first date in a decade. I am a nurse practitioner and I had never had any type of personal interaction with a police officer in my whole entire life. Now I was on a date with one!

He insisted we take a selfie that day to send to Brian, the guy that introduced us.

We went to the Bayou and sat on the patio. I don’t remember one thing we said during the entire date because I was nervous and trying not to make a mess. I ordered a shrimp po’boy (I couldn’t have ordered something messier, right?) and I don’t even remember if I ate half of it.

I just remember looking at him and getting butterflies. He had the prettiest hazel eyes and I had never dated anyone with a beard, so I’m sure I stared at it. When we were done eating, he walked me to my Jeep and gave me a hug.

Courtesy of Becca Goedecke

After lunch, I was on cloud nine. I had the biggest grin all day, and I was smitten. I could not stop thinking about him! Was I ready for this? I thought, ‘There was no way he could be interested.’ After all, I was just damaged goods. With my awful credit and all the baggage I had, surely this guy would just move on and there was no reason to get my hopes up. I just couldn’t stop thinking about him, but I definitely wasn’t ready to jump into a relationship.

To my surprise, he called me that night. (What is up with this guy? Why can’t he just text?) We had our second date on Friday night, and our first kiss. I knew at that time this was something special. However, I wasn’t quite ready to trust him, and I certainly didn’t want my tender heart to be yanked out of my chest again.

I saw him again on Sunday, which happened to be Easter. We decided to let our girls meet each other that afternoon. My daughter needed some friends too, and they became instant best friends. We looked at them playing, and then looked at each other. Huh, these girls could be twins. I could feel my heart slowly starting to grow back together.

Courtesy of Becca Goedecke

On Mother’s Day, he told me he loved me.

I knew I was falling hard and fast. When you know, you know. But, I wasn’t quite ready to let my guard down. He gave me a key to his house and told me to ‘snoop away’ while he was at work. And…I did just that. I went through every piece of paper in that house, and I couldn’t find anything. He always left his phone unlocked, his email pulled up on his laptop, he was an open book. He did not have a thing to hide.

He showed me his credit score, his bank account, and his up-to-date mortgage payments. He was a genuine, honest, open, loving person. I was damaged goods with a credit score of 300 and a deadbeat ex-husband. But, for some reason, this guy loved me and adored my daughter. I was slowly letting him into my heart and he was helping me rebuild, piece by piece. I certainly didn’t need to be saved by anyone, but he swooped in and saved me.

We discussed moving in together, but I just wasn’t sure. Things were still new to me, and I just had to protect myself and my child. I couldn’t move her again if things weren’t going to work out with us. And plus, staying in Tennessee wasn’t part of our plan. This was supposed to be just a pause in our story. Or so I thought.

He asked me to be his forever wife.

We were sitting on the couch one morning in June before he went to work, and he pulled out the biggest sapphire ring I had ever seen. He asked me to be his forever wife, while my daughter watched E.T. and clapped for us. At that moment, I knew my intent to move out of Tennessee just wasn’t part of the plan right now. Something brought me back home and love was going to keep me there.

My daughter and I moved into his 3-bedroom, 2-bath bachelor pad, which he insisted that we call OUR house. He had almost no furniture and nothing on the walls, so he told me to ‘go nuts’ with it. I had so much fun starting over from scratch. Losing all of my belongings had been so terribly painful, and I got a lump in my throat when I thought about my things just being tossed out like trash.

I shed millions of tears over the things I would never get back. However, it ended up being a blessing in disguise. I had a blank slate so that we could start OUR home. Funny how life works out sometimes.

We talked about getting married just to make things official, and I started researching courthouse weddings. I knew we needed a photographer to capture our special day, so I emailed a husband/wife team to check their availability. Well, they had 1 available date for a wedding. August 15. Wow. This was less than 2 months away and my heart skipped a beat knowing this was actually happening. I called Steven and asked him what he was doing on Saturday, August 15. He said, ‘Marrying you.’ That was all I needed to hear in order to make this happen.

We decided to elope on August 15, 2015, which was about 4 months after our first date.

I could not believe how my life had changed in those few months. I survived a failed marriage to a con-artist, moved back in with my parents as a single mom, and was now planning my wedding.

The plan was to keep our marriage a secret until our Halloween Party, and then surprise everyone by dressing as a bride and groom and showing off our wedding pictures. However, Steven refused to take off his wedding band and we just couldn’t keep it a secret longer than 2 weeks.

We got ready for our special day in a hotel room at the Peabody and walked to Court Square Park where a family friend performed the ceremony. Our little blonde girls were the flower girls and the bridesmaids. My new husband and I danced to our song playing on his phone in his shirt pocket. ‘Fall Into You’ by Brantley Gilbert. Yes, it’s cliché that we live in Tennessee and danced to a country song, but have you heard it?!

Courtesy The Kennys Photography

The girls went home with my new mother-in-law for a slumber party so we could spend our first night as a married couple, kid-free. We had an amazing dinner, laughed over drinks in the Peabody lobby, and I could not wipe the smile off my face. This was not a dream, but my real life. The entire day was perfect.

We eventually bought a bigger house with a pool, and then right after my 35th birthday in 2017, we found out that we would be adding an ‘ours’ to the mix. We had our 3rd daughter, Junebug, and completed our family. We had our little blonde bookends, and this brown-eyed baby girl is the perfect caboose.

Courtesy of Becca Goedecke

Some people will tell you that our marriage is doomed. We both have extremely stressful jobs (his more than mine). We are both divorced and got married 4 months after our first date. We both have ex-spouse drama and are currently involved in a custody battle (I am winning). We have all the odds against us, but we are going to beat those odds.

People are always curious to hear our story, so we just look at each other and smile. Usually, our story goes, ‘We met on a blind date and got married 4 months later.’ In the end, love wins.”

Courtesy of Becca Goedecke

The post Becca’s Story: A Message Of Hope And Love On Mother’s Day For All Single Moms appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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