Prev Next
Single Mom: Where Is The Love?

Single Mom: Where Is The Love?

By Kristen Chase

Last night I googled “How do you know when you’re in love” which by all counts (including 2 marriages and plenty of short- and long-term relationships) I should know the answer to and yet, there I was asking the Internet the answer to what right just be life’s unanswerable question.

I even asked a friend, who was sort of left speechless and rightfully so because, um, what do you say?

Being off the dating scene for a couple of months has given me time to reflect on my relationships. Well, and catch up on The New Girl and The Good Wife. But also a lot of time to think about love.

I’ve had “the feeling” a lot, at least what I thought was “the feeling” which everyone sort of says is how you know but now I’m led to wonder if it was just the feeling of something else.

The feeling… that I want to get laid. The feeling… that I wanted to be wanted. The feeling… that I don’t want to be alone.

You get the idea.

I don’t think I ever particularly liked anyone I was with (yes, even the ones I was married to) at least as a friend anyway. I never really ever felt like I could just breathe. Relax. Be myself.

And if I did end up feeling that way, I didn’t want to have sex with them.

I remember people telling me that their boyfriend or husband was their “best friend” and I’d roll my eyes in a sort of “yeah right” kind of way because now I know I just had no comprehension of what that meant.

Male friendships were pretty much non-existent in my life because I always got the sense that no one really want to be “just friends” with me. (I realize that sounds incredibly self-centered, vain, and possibly inaccurate, but if anyone was ever like “let’s just hang out” I thought was a little weird. Yes, issues, I have them. I get it).

And on my end of things, dating was always sort of a game; as much as I might have felt objectified, I was doing the same thing in reverse, which does not lend itself well to finding someone compatible with you beyond a few fun nights in the sack. Fast forward a bunch of years and I have more acceptance over the value of those passing, fleeting trysts, even relationships and the feelings that aren’t actually “THE FEELING,” but back then, I was determined to make things work, even when things really shouldn’t work.

I found myself losing track of what really mattered to me.  I found myself married for 10 years with four kids to someone who I should have ditched after a couple months.

Recently, I thought that I was in love. I had “the feeling” but I also enjoyed being around him like everyone always said it should be and then we broke up and I was completely heartbroken — which I’d never felt before upon a break up — so it must have been love, right?

Or was it?

Our time together was mostly spent bitching about our exes and having sex, and the loss I felt wasn’t necessarily about him but the idea of what we had, what I felt like I finally had, and so losing that was devastating to me.

I’m not even sure it was love for him. Or the idea of what he represented to me.

If you’re wondering, Google was absolutely no help. Apparently, you’re supposed to feel comfortable farting in front of someone and meeting their family, and about 20-30 other things that sound more like a good babysitter than a lover.

In my heart, I still want to believe that love gives you some sort of rush. A combination of wanting to be together and not wanting to be apart. But in my head, I’m struggling to understand if that’s a reality. Like maybe I just don’t know what love is. What if it was right in front of me and I had absolutely no idea?

Do you love someone even though they’ve hurt you? Or they’re not good for you?

As much as we say the heart doesn’t choose who it loves and just does, doesn’t the head have a say as well? And shouldn’t it be obvious enough that you’d know?

The love I’ve experienced in my life from my parents and supposed loved ones was so askew, and combined with challenging relationships I’ve had over the years, a very large part of me feels like I wouldn’t know love because it would seem so foreign. Like the opposite of what I’ve felt and been hurt by in my life.

Whatever love is, I want it. I know I can have it.

I just hope I realize when it when it happens.

Kristen Chase
About the Author

Kristen Chase

Kristen Chase is a writer, author, and a single mom of four. It’s as exhausting as it sounds (at least the mom part). Also, awesome.

Kristen is also co-founder of

Kristen Chase is a writer, author, and a single mom of four. It’s as exhausting as it sounds (at least the mom part). Also, awesome.

Kristen is also co-founder of Cool Mom Picks and author of The Mominatrix’s Guide to Sex.

 

icon icon
chat bubble icon

Comments

  • Athena

    Infatuation is a rush. Real, lasting love is not. Oh, if things are going well you’ll still get the feelings too, but the kind of love that lasts isn’t so much an emotion as a choice. A conscious *choice*, made each day, to love your partner and to always keep working on things, even if you don’t like them very much in that moment, even as you both change over time.

    It’s actually quite similar to kids, in that while you always love them, that love is not always an active *feeling*. You only really feel it when things are going well. When things are going badly, you need to remember the love, rather than expecting to feel it.

    You can’t live with someone for years and be wildly in love with them (or even like them) for every single one of those moments.

  • Honestly, in my case, I just knew. I was in my late 20s and enjoying my single life in NYC. Finding a husband was the last thing on my mind, but when I met my now-husband, I just knew. I seriously just knew he was the one. Six years and 2 kids later he is still the one, and always will be. And yes, he IS my best friend. I, too, would roll my eyes at people who declared their partner their best friend and somehow thought that was lame and that maybe they didn’t truly understand what a best friend was. But actually, if you think about it, why wouldn’t you want your best friend to also be your one and only life partner? Sure, there is romance and many other layers to marriage or a significant relationship, but friendship is at the core. It means we are there for each other, we forgive, we try to be kind, and we can see the humor in our lives right now with our two young children. 

  • Claire

    Until my husband I didn’t know.
    I thought I did. I was in a hideously toxic relationship for nearly 7 years. It made me a bad person.
    Then I met him. And it made sense. I jacked it all in. And I don’t regret a second. I can be myself around him – hell, he’s just been plucking hideous pube hairs from my head. I can be my worst around him – he supported me, carried me; and us, through three miscarriages and two pregnancies I never believed would result in real, live babies. I still want him, and he gives me tingles and butterflies daily – even 7 years and two young children later.
    It is there, it is real, and you can find it. Good luck.

  • K

    So good to see so much honesty. I was thinking about this the other day (our anniversary was a month or so ago). Our lives have changed dramatically over the past several years, and this past year has been especially challenging. A friend showed me this passage, and it makes complete sense to me. I too, thought that I couldn’t possibly know what love was, what it looked like or how a relationship could last in a meaningful, fulfilling, partnership type way until this past year (and we’ve been married for a bit, so there’s that…it actually took me a while to even recognize the difference in my own relationship!) Anyway – passage from CS Lewis:

    “But, of course, ceasing to be “in love” need not mean ceasing to love. Love in this second sense – love as distinct from “being in love” – is not merely a feeling. It is a deep unity, maintained by the will and deliberately strengthened by habit; reinforced by the grace which both partners ask, and receive from God. Being “in love” first moved them to promise fidelity: this quieter love enables them to keep that promise. It is on this love that the engine of marriage is run: being in love was the explosion that started it”. There is more to it, but the point is that enduring love is not a feeling, it’s a conscious decision and commitment. I decide to love him every day, even when he is driving me mad, and he has the patience and good humor to do the same. I still get excited to see him, I miss him when he is away, but there is something else that happens too. I choose to not get hung up on the little things. I choose to see him as a person who needs affection and support, and I choose to give him those things even when I’m tired, angry or sad. This choosing is what “love” is, beyond lust. At least that’s my two cents (so long winded, sorry!!)

    • Thanks for sharing that, K. This is so helpful.