My number one reason is expecting help and not getting it. I feel marriage should be a team effort, a partnership if you will. But I hear so many married moms complaining that their husbands don’t help with chores, grocery shopping, the children, nothing. When I was married, my husband left for work early, came home late, then had to “de-stress” by watching television well into the night. I had to talk over the television in order to have a conversation about the kids, life, etc. And if I asked him to do something, he just wouldn’t do it. So clocks weren’t set, light bulbs weren’t replaced, things weren’t fixed, and the kids came to me with their cries and needs because he ignored them. Nagging annoys me, begging didn’t work. If it didn’t benefit my narcissistic and selfish ex-husband, he didn’t care. As a single mom, if something needs to be done, I do it myself or hire someone to do it. If it doesn’t get done, at least it’s not because I’m waiting for someone to do it.
2. Arguing. I know married women who often seem to have a grudge against their husbands. They argue about every doggone thing, from who’s picking up the kids, to discipline, to money. Some of their husbands pull the “head of the house” bulls--t, and the women feel powerless. My ex used to pick fights with me. He’d undermine me with the kids, complain about my parenting skills, insult my family members, and intentionally make me late for functions. I walked on eggshells to avoid his attacks. Now, I don’t argue with anyone but the television. My home and life is more peaceful without an angry and miserable man living in it.
3. Control over the money. My Narcissistic Ex used to check the accounts every week and would berate me if I spent more than he felt was necessary. I was the avid saver, he was the avid spender, but I’d have to justify buying diapers, wipes, the cost of dog food, gas prices, or my buying an inexpensive hot lunch each day at work. He, however, would use a credit card for various expenses that he would justify because he had a high salary. Towards the end of the marriage, I discovered he’d spent thousands on his hobbies, taking thousands out of our investment accounts to pay for them. Now, I know what comes in and what goes out. I’ve saved more money now since the divorce was final than we did annually as a married couple. And this is despite my still paying legal bills. And I still enjoy the daily hot lunches.
4. Self neglect. As a single mom I have met and befriended many other single moms. And I must say, the single moms look hot! They look younger, dress better, eat healthier, and are just cuter than the married moms. Many (not all) of the married moms I know look sluggish, wear “mom” jeans and clothes, and complain about their weight all of the time. I looked at some old photos of myself from when I was married. I had a hard time losing baby weight, ate on the fly, wasn’t getting any sleep, and took care of everyone but myself. But as single moms recovering from abuse, we’re encouraged to focus on our healing and ourselves. This involves meditation, prayer, and good nights sleep. It requires putting ourselves before our kids, and understanding that we can’t help our kids if we’re broken down. It means taking up hobbies, going back to school, traveling, setting and achieving personal goals. This is so much easier to do when we don’t have a mean husband preventing us from doing it.
5. Sex. I know, you’re thinking, “why would I not envy sex”! For those of us who suffered marital rape, sex is not something to envy. At least not the type we were forced to have. I hear many married women complaining about how sex isn’t fun, how they’re not into it, how they don’t do it anymore, etc. Now, I’m free to have sex if I choose to, and don’t if I don’t want to. I enjoy an empty bed and the sexual freedom that comes with it.
6. Fear of divorce. There are some married moms who do everything they can to “please” their husbands. From their hairstyle to clothes and cooking skills, they try to capture their husbands so they won’t stray. I hate the saying, “if you had done your job at home he wouldn’t have strayed.” It’s so demeaning and sadly the mistress usually says it. I don’t have to fear infidelity or divorce. Been there, done that. Divorce is way better than being married to a man who doesn’t love me.
7. Holidays with the in-laws. While I hate not having my children on every holiday, I admit I enjoy not having to share mother’s day with his raggedy mom, or make string bean casserole for his family's annual Easter lunch, or shopping for gifts for his parents “from the kids.” I don’t have to take road trips to visit his abusive, alcoholic relatives, nor remember his parents’ birthdays, or drop everything I’m doing to attend a family barbecue. My ex-in laws were nice, but I didn’t form natural friendships and bonds with them. My N-Ex didn’t allow me to. So I dealt with it each time I was around them. Nope, don’t miss that, or them.
8. Being friendless. My Narc-Ex disliked my friends and they hated him. As a result, some of my friendships became strained. It got to the point where he was my only friend, and that was a hellish existence. Basically, if I only had him it meant I had no one. After divorce, I have friends and single mom friends who understand my life. I go on play dates, hang out with my gal pals when the kids are with their dad, talk on the phone for hours after my kids are in bed, and text all day to my buddies. I meet them for coffee on Sundays and we take our dogs for walks together. Life is good when you have friends. I wouldn’t have had them if I’d stayed married.
9. Envying “happy” moms. When I was married I’d see other married moms in loving and wonderful relationships, bragging on social media about being married for 15 years to the best husband and father in the world. And I’d envy them. Not knowing their personal stories, I’d assume they were married to great men who were their equal partners, enjoying happiness and freedom, and thriving as women. I’d hate my own marriage even more because I was abused, my husband disrespected me, and I felt like a prisoner. As a single mom, I’m nobody’s prisoner. I don’t envy other moms because I know that I can learn from my past and one day have the relationship of my dreams, if I choose to do so. So when I see happy moms with partners, I smile because I’m looking at my future. And my future looks doggone good.
There is no #10. But I want you to create a number 10 of your own. Embrace the positives of being a single mom. It’s easy to pick out the bad stuff, but when we focus on the good parts we move further away from darkness.
(originally posted by a community member - First Wives World is a private, free community with women supporting women through troubled relationships, abuse, divorce and more.)