I’m back from my very productive college campus trip – if any of you have tips on working with your ex on helping your child choose a college, I’d love to hear what worked, what didn’t and what helped to make it a smooth process.
A big thank you to Swati of The Single Mother Chronicles and to The Divorce Encouragist for their guests posts on the Universal Truths about divorce – you guys helped to make my life easier and I truly appreciate it.
Before my trip, Vivianne was sharing her story and I have a couple more posts in this series. You’ll recall that Vivianne blogs at Vivianne’s Vista and covers domestic violence and abuse for Examiner.com in the New Jersey area, that’s in addition to her regular work as an attorney. Vivianne’s choice of reporting topics comes as a result of her firsthand experience and the desire to help other women deal with abuse and find safety.
Vivianne’s divorce recently became final although she actually filed in 2006. She has two children who are now 11 and 5. She was married for 11 years. Her traumatic marriage and its dramatic end, it didn’t stop Vivianne from falling in love again. Vivianne is now remarried and I asked her to talk about how she met her new husband and how her children adapted to him. Here’s Vivianne:
It was a little scandalous, I guess. He was actually a neighbor of mine back in New York and we initially started as friends. He was also a great support when I moved and it just progressed from there. We were falling in love.
I was very concerned how he would handle the situation between my ex and I because it’s a lot to take on and I had children. He’s been through a divorce as well and has children too. He has absolutely risen to the challenge. He is very calm and it’s just the total opposite from my ex-husband, very peaceful. Whenever I get hyper, he knows exactly how to calm me down and to get me to see the saneness, the practicality, of whatever decision I need to make.
He’s very unconditional in his love which is exactly what I needed. When I first started dating him, there was just so much going on with the move and my children readjusting, I kept my relationship very quiet. I was fortunate that my ex was taking the children at weekends at that time and that’s when our relationship started to flourish.
When my ex stopped seeing the kids it made it difficult for us to see each other but we found ways. We would meet sometimes in the city where I was working and have lunch. Sometimes, if my parents were in town, I would take the kids over to them and they would babysit while we went out on a date.
My daughter was very possessive with me. There was one Valentine’s Day that I wanted to go out with him and she didn’t like it at all. She didn’t know where I was going or who I was going with; she just didn’t want me to be away and that was hard.
I found myself agonizing over how to explore this relationship while keeping my commitment to my children. I knew with time, her anxiety would go away and it did. Then sometime last year he started to come over for short visits to get them acquainted with him and we built from there, just very slowly.
I wanted the children to have an easy transition, to learn to like him and for me to see how it was going. I was so apprehensive about telling them I was in love and getting married that it shocked me when they took it so well. My daughter was so enthusiastic and that surprised me. I realized then she really wanted me to be happy and there’s a melancholy in that. She wanted to see mommy happy and she was happy to see that I was happy. It made me wonder about the sadness I’d been carrying; was it so palpable before?
My son is pretty content and happy with the way things are now. Both my son and my daughter have bonded with my new husband and now they see what it’s like to be in a normal family.
My husband’s children are older than mine and they’ve come to visit us. They’ve welcomed me with open arms, his entire family has welcomed me which is wonderful. We haven’t experienced any step-parent issues as of yet. That might come out in time. We have a family vacation coming up where we’re all going to be together. Hopefully that will strengthen the bonds.
Who doesn’t love a happy ending? What makes this love story so special is the trauma of Vivianne’s first marriage and the strength it took for Vivianne to leave that. She will never forget that experience – she is now reporting on domestic abuse for the Examiner.com and wants to do more to help women dealing with abuse. Tomorrow, in the final post in this series, she’ll talk about her mission.
Kristi, who shared her Divorce to Happiness story on Since My Divorce, has also recently remarried. She has a great series of posts on telling your children you’re getting remarried. It’s in three parts and is another feel good story.