Last weeks post about Children of Divorce got me to thinking about my life since the divorce. A lot of women fear what their life will be like after they divorce. And a part of me did. But a part of me also became strong, and knew that I could do it on my own. I had done the majority of caring for the children and running them to all of their activities. It was the finances more than anything that worried me. In the previous post I made mention of why I left my ex-husband, seeking to leave an unhealthy relationship and find happiness for myself. When I filed for divorce I had no intentions of getting into another relationship right away, or getting married anytime in the foreseeable future. I filed for divorce in August, the divorce was final in December. And out of nowhere, a few months later I met my soul mate. At a birthday party of all places. Thanks to a former neighbor who was at the time celebrating her 30th birthday, and a good friend of his, we ended up at the same party. And the rest is history! I have always firmly believed in fate, and that you just never know when you will meet someone. And it is often when you least expect or plan on that happening. That night I was just out to have an enjoyable evening with some friends. I never thought that I would meet the man that I would later marry.
Jeff had gotten divorced several years prior, and never had any children. He knew that I was fresh out of a divorce, and that I had a 5 and 9-year old. That would scare a lot of guys away. And I’m sure to some degree it did scare him. But we both knew immediately that there was something special between us. We had an immediate connection, and bonded not only in a dating relationship, but became the best of friends.
I never wanted my children to be around different men in my life. I wanted them to have stability and know that they could count on me. So we waited several months after we began dating to make sure that the relationship was more than just something casual, before Jeff met my children. They all hit if off from the very beginning. Not to say that there weren’t some rocky days as in any situation like that, the kids were certainly going through many emotions, but they took a liking to Jeff very quickly, and he took a liking to them as well.
In the very early months of our relationship Jeff received an offer to move to Florida and accept a well paying job. Even though we hadn’t been together but a few months, he turned down the offer, knowing that if he wanted to be with me, he couldn’t move to Florida. Because of my children I needed to stay. I was floored to think that he would turn down an opportunity like that to stay in Missouri and be with me. And my two children. That was just the beginning of the sacrifices he would make.
A year and a half later we said “I do” in front of our family and close friends on a beautiful September afternoon (well, beautiful after the rain showers passed!). The wedding was just exactly what we wanted. Compared to the big weddings we both had previously, this small garden ceremony meant more to us because we both knew we had found our soul mate, and we were surrounded by those that meant the most to us. Not hundreds of people. The park setting was beautiful, and we were able to mingle with everyone at the BBQ and Shrimp Boil we held at our home. Really, it was perfect. Right down to using a family friend who is a retired judge to officiate the ceremony. I honestly don’t think there is anything I would do differently. It was about us, and sharing our life event with those we are close to. It was about committing to each other, knowing what we had both been through in the past. It was about looking to the future, and forward to what we would experience together. A new beginning.
Now, 2 1/2 years later, we have added a child to our family, Brett is now 15 months old. Although it is a struggle at times having two much older children, it is wonderful to see how much they love their little brother, and have really bonded with him. It really has drawn us all closer together as a family. Jeff always wanted to have a child of his own. He has always treated Garrett and Lydia as if they were his own, and has sacrificed for them as if they were his own, and he never refers to them as his “step” children. They are just our children. But still, there is something to be said for having a child that is of your flesh and blood. Although I would have never dreamed of having another child at this point in my life, I also knew that I couldn’t imagine my life without my own children, and that it was something that I wouldn’t want Jeff to miss out on, and regret one day.
When I look back on the past 5 years of my life, they are certainly not how I would have ever imagined them to be. But with that being said, I wouldn’t change a thing about what I have experienced, and where my life now is. The divorce was a very difficult time, and the process of later going through a custody modification was even worse. But through all of it, I learned a lot, and became much stronger for it. And I stood up for myself and for my children, and for what I knew was in their best interest. And in the end, justice prevailed.
I never would have dreamed that I would have met my soul mate and gotten married so soon after I divorced. But when you know, you just know! I knew from the moment I met Jeff that he was a special person. He has a very kind heart, and loves with all of his being. I couldn’t ask for a better father to my children, partner, and friend. Of course we have our disagreements and things that irritate us about one another, just like any marriage, but we also have learned from our prior experiences how to compromise. And honestly, disagreements are few and far between. We are really just on the same page most of the time.
Family is one of the most important things to Jeff. He isn’t out at the bar drinking with his buddies or hanging out with his buddies all the time. He is most generally home, spending time with his family. I know from experience that this isn’t a quality that a lot of men have. But Jeff wouldn’t have it any other way. He is dedicated to me and the family we have created. He is dedicated to the children seeing him being there for them, and at home. He is dedicated to spending time with his wife.
When it comes to finances we have the same beliefs and values. Jeff strives to provide his family a nice life, but to not have a lot of debt. We have worked extremely hard to pay down the debt I had to assume from my prior marriage, attorney fees from the custody modification, and to not acquire further debt. It is truly a great feeling to not have unnecessary credit card or other debt hanging over our heads. I lived that life far too long and have no desire to EVER return to it. Many marriages struggle with finances and being in agreement of how they are handled. Fortunately this is not something we have to worry about.
I know, without a doubt, that Jeff is in love with me as much as I am with him. I know that he would go to the ends of the Earth for me and our children. He has made so many sacrifices for me and my children, and he has never once complained about it. I am very fortunate that my second marriage is what a marriage should be. It is built on love, compassion, trust, and friendship. We truly enjoy spending time together and neither one of us choose to be anywhere else. I know that not everyone is fortunate enough to find their soul mate. I am very thankful that I get to share my life with a wonderful partner who happens to be my best friend. Divorce happens. A lot. And some people make the same mistakes in secondary marriages that they made in the first marriage. I am grateful that I have found someone who has the same values, respects me, spends time with his family, and supports me whatever I want to do. I am grateful that I am not making the same mistakes that I made the first time around. I am grateful that I have a husband who loves me.
Divorce can be scary. But life after divorce can really be what you dreamed your life would be, and you can have a second chance at love, and to find your true soul mate. Life after divorce, for me, is wonderful.