September 28, 2012 in Features

Seek integrity and set priorities

Washington Post
 

Dear Carolyn: I am 36 and soon-to-be-single mom of two daughters. I am having a difficult time with friends and family telling me I should not and won’t be able to start over.

I really don’t want to end up alone for the rest of my years. I have been told that since I will be divorced twice (first marriage ended due to abuse), I am not meant to be with anyone and will find flaws in anyone I am with. Is that fair? – Looking to Start Over

Please stop, breathe, think. You are the mother of and primary influence on two children – girls, no less. Do you want them to tend to their clothes and bodies and dating mechanics, then consign to the desperate hope that men will save them from being alone?

Or, do you want them to tend to their minds, character, interests, senses of self, and physical and emotional hygiene, and to feel empowered to make good choices from there?

If you want the latter, then you need to teach your girls by living that way yourself. And that means some perspective changes:

• Make choices that fill in the blank in this sentence: “I will – – – – because it is the best I can do for me and my kids.” And, throw away this sentence: “I will – – – – because that’s what guys look for and I don’t want to end up alone.”

• Take the comments of friends and family not as orders to be followed or defied, but as reflections of you worth considering carefully. Weigh them against what you both know and believe about yourself; weigh them against any biases these friends and family have. Heed or ignore the comments accordingly.

• Forget “fair.” Fairness is a luxury; reality and prudence are necessities. Applicable not just to dating, but to everything.

With choices that reflect sound priorities, you have two things of great worth: a baseline against which to measure the value of anything – or anyone – you add to or subtract from your life, and integrity. Hard to go wrong from there.

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