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My 5 Biggest Fears as a Divorced Parent

Image source: S. Bielanko Private
Image source: S. Bielanko Private

These days, a few months into my divorce, I keep mumbling in my own ear, second-guessing my own heart. The questions that I ask myself are always the same basic questions, ones that perhaps have no real answers. But I keep trying to answer them, all the same.

1. Has divorce ruined love for me?

On my nights alone without the kids, on days when I’m cruising in the Honda headed to the day care or headed to grab some groceries or whatever, this is the gist of my entire inner conversation. I wonder. I talk to myself about it. I drive myself crazy.

As a fairly standard human being with fairly standard hopes and dreams and fears and desires, it seems to me that it’s probably normal to wonder about my own heart. Especially here, especially now during a period when I’m pretty much holding it in my hands, you know?

2. Am I incapable of making love last?

Part of me gets so angry, so ridiculously frustrated when I think about the people whose love affairs/marriages/great romances are still trucking on after so many years. How come other people figure out how to make love last and I couldn’t? It’s such a selfish, egotistical thing to ask myself, and yet there you go. I’m asking it all the time, not to you or anybody else; just to myself.

3. Am I hopelessly, permanently, damaged?

Sometimes I think that the bruising is too bad, too deep, and that it’ll never go away. I’m the kind of guy who feasts on dreams when I ought to be more pragmatic and practical. I fall in love hard and remain tried and true, even if I end up in staunch denial of dead love laid out all over the place right there in front of my eyes. So what does that make me? A hopeless romantic? Who’s got time for that, right? I’m 43.

4. Was I deluded about the kind of husband I was?

When someone you love or loved is gone from you and your soul is banged up and your Zen is giving you the finger from deep down in your guts, you end up wondering stuff. I do anyways. And what I wonder is if maybe I’m not the guy I thought I was. Maybe I’m not any good at love, at grown-up love. I’m a good dad, I give good dad love, but that’s a whole other thing and we both know it.

5. Are there other divorced parents out there who feel the way I do?

Love dies and people walk through some kind of bizarre, scary wilderness up in their head, all alone, until they don’t. I know in my bones that I’m not the only dude who has felt this way. And there is comfort in connection, even in the mere sharing of random thoughts on a warm spring morning when the whole world seems so seriously promising until I hear that same gravelly voice whispering in my ear.

Falling in love again is something I can’t even wrap my head around. Just like tip-toeing into the world of dating is something I can’t fathom either. Headlong into a slew of one-night stands? That’s just not for me, I don’t think.

One day, I hope that the winds of change reward people like me just for sticking around, just for plowing through the tough stuff and living their goofy little lives the best they could.

At least, that’s what I tell myself. And who can say I’m wrong, you know?

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