By Angie Seth Contributor @kateygoalie
Getting divorced is worse than losing a loved one. Your heart feels dead, you feel helpless. Getting out of bed is too hard. For me if it wasn’t for my daughter I would still be in bed. She gave me the strength I needed to get through each day. Getting re-married is like a re-birth. Finding that one person who understands you, puts up with all your quirks, is willing to go to the end of the earth and back for you, loves you unconditionally, loves you for you, just as you are … Its like winning the lottery. I won in 2006.
Now before I could get to the winning part, there was a very important person I needed to consult with. That one amazing being who kept me breathing day after day – my daughter – my first-born – my best friend. Talking to your teen about divorce and re-marrying is hard, but I had to do it.
Re-marriage was never in the cards for me. At least according to the hand I was holding. But two years after my divorce, things changed. One of my closest and dearest friends took the plunge and asked me out on a date. I had known this man since 2nd year university. We knew everything about each other. He has known my daughter since she was born.
I was a divorcee with a child, and yet this man was willing to take a chance on me – on us. So here I am dating. But this time it was different. Rather than me dating it was “we” were dating. I was a package deal and my future husband at the time knew that. I wasn’t dating him just for the sake of dating. I started dating this wonderful man because I was looking to the future.
A future for me and my daughter. So since the tender age of 5, my little girl was completely involved in my relationship. As she got older we talked about everything. I wanted her to understand that this man was not a replacement for her father, but rather an additional person and eventual parent she could look to, she could count on, she could trust. So Communication, with a capital “C”, was so important. I constantly asked her how she felt. I asked her if she was happy.
I tested my future husband by having him and my daughter spend the day together. Yes I tested him. I needed to know as my relationship with him was flourishing, so was his relationship with her. And it did. He quickly moved up the ranks from “Uncle” status to “Tata” (that means Daddy in Serbian – my husband is Serbian and my daughter asked to call him something else other than Uncle – Tata was perfect. It was a true sign of her acceptance). But the road was a long one.
We dated almost 8 years before getting married. Knowing marriage was in the cards once again, I made sure I had regular conversations with my little girl about this new life she and I would be embarking on. It was never about me, it was always about us. And when my husband proposed, he proposed to both of us. I still remember she and I waking up the next morning and looking at the ring on my finger squealing “he proposed!!”
We were embarking on a journey that was both frightening and excited. I constantly thought about my daughter, reassuring myself she was happy with this decision. At our wedding reception I got my confirmation. That night, my daughter confidently said she wanted to give a little speech. We figured she just wanted to thanks and congratulations. Not quite. Instead she blew the room away. I don’t think there was a dry eye in the room. I was so proud. She had expressed in front of hundreds of people how happy she was to have another dad – her own Tata.
She expressed her true feelings of love and admiration for her Mother, and of the amazing man, the Tata in her life. She told the room she was the luckiest girl in the world. I was floored and my heart was bursting with pride. My daughter was just 11 years old when gave that speech. It was completely off the cuff! Re-marriage is not easy, especially when there is a child involved. It takes a lot of patience, sacrifice, understanding, listening, compromise, and of course communication. I would have never re-married if I knew it wasn’t going to work for my daughter.
That was an important conversation my husband and I had many times while we were dating. We took things slow for her sake. We wanted to respect her feelings and make sure she was comfortable – after all this was her life too! In June we will be celebrating 7 amazing years of marriage. My daughter is 18 now. Like any teenager we butt heads. But putting aside the attitude, and teenage hormones, I know that she is happy. On a regular basis I remind her that just because I am married and she has 2 younger siblings who can be very demanding, I always have time for her, I will always, be there for her, she can come to me night or day, and our bond can never break but only get stronger. The most important thing is to talk to your child.
It is critical you talk to them about their feelings, your feelings, your relationship – encourage them to ask questions and to honest, no matter what. 7 years ago I won the lottery – we won the lottery. I married my knight – or as I refer to as my elephant – although he doesn’t remember everything like I do, he does remember the important things, he is completely loyal, keeps us safe, and loves us just as we are. It can’t get any better than that.
Have you had a similar challenge with your teen or child? Share your tips with us below!
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