Last week we started the dating after divorce series with When is Time to Date Again?. This week Sarah shares her story of dealing with divorce, finding new love, and becoming a step mom. If you have a story that you would like to share please email me.
Florida, July 2007, I was 20 years old and thought I was marrying the man of my dreams and was about to embark on my new life as a wife and begin my own family. Growing up in the south, getting married and starting a family is pretty much the norm. At that point, most of my friends already had kids. Immediately after we got married, we moved to Orlando and I worked with my sister as a Sales rep, while he went to school full time to finish his Associates Degree.
Within the first 6 months, he cheated, boy did I feel dumb! Not wanting to give up on this new life and feeling like it was partially my fault, I stayed and I tried harder to be a better wife. Things went about the same for the next 3 years, I supported us financially, while he eventually graduated and then worked here and there. We struggled financially for years, I started Couponing and even my blog in 2008. I looked for so many ways to cut costs and enjoy the money I was making, but I was married to someone that didn’t care and hated the process of cutting coupons. I would catch him cheating a few more times within those years, again I decided to stay for the fear of starting over.
Then, we got a new chance at life. He was offered a job at Apple, and we moved to California. For the first time he was going to be making more than $8/hour, and I would be able to transfer with my company. We were finally going to be making some great money and we both agreed to a new life, dedicated more to each other. We moved out to California, the Bay Area, and we started our new life. Fast money, and a fast life style, he soon started spending almost as much as he was making. A new car, new clothes, new hobbies….there was no room for me, and again he decided to cheat. Divorce was never an option to me, I thought there was such a bad stigma with divorce and who would want someone who was damaged goods?
Now I had to make a decision, I always knew in Florida if he cheated making all the money I could kick him out and do fine. But now, he was the income, and leaving would be committing financial suicide, I would be giving up the stability that I worked through 4 years of struggling for. After connecting to an old friend back home and explaining my situation, I decided it was time to leave!!
We had talked divorce many times so when I brought it up he wanted to just separate and test it out before committing to a full on divorce. After getting to the point where I knew I wanted out, I said “no” and I filed for divorce. It was so scary, I was making about $50k/year in a sales job but bills were so expensive out here in California. My family tried to convince me to move back home but I decided I wanted to try and make it on my own. Florida would always be a fall back.
I got a room in an older lady’s home that I rented for $600/month. It wasn’t much but it was big enough for me, and my dog ChiChi.
Now going through 4 years of cheating, I had gained weight, I was down and I had very low self esteem. I think it’s only natural. Well it was time to make a new life, after all I was starting over. I started working out, and I started going on dates right away. Now I knew I wasn’t ready for a marriage again, but I wanted to feel sexy, wanted, and desired by someone. I needed it! And I got it. I joined Match.com and met a lot of nice, crazy, and weird people. I went on a lot of first dates, and just enjoyed my new found freedom and got my sexy back!
After almost falling for another loser, I decided it was time to just spend time with my dog, and enjoy being me. J I got a 1 bedroom apartment and I was working hard at a new job and making a little more money. And then, I met Patrick….
Patrick and I met on Match earlier that year. We were both casually dating others so we knew nothing serious would come of our meeting. We met a couple times for dinner but just stayed as friends. Calling each other occasionally to check in and say hello. Afterall, he was a Single dad of 3, 10 years older than me. I had never dated anyone with kids and wasn’t really interested in being someone’s #2. I wanted to marry someone that we could have kids for the first time together. Then September 2011, I decided to take him out to dinner for his birthday, saying good night, we kissed….
We dated for about a year before he proposed, and we’re getting married in August of this year. We’ve been together now for 2 years. It’s so exciting! My fairytale came true. We work together to get things done, we’re both very happy and we agree on most important decisions in life.
The biggest adjustment really is being a step-mother to 3 kids. I have 3 amazing step-kids, 2 sons 10 and 11, and a 4 year old daughter. Since the very beginning I have had such an amazing relationship with them all. I never tried to replace their mothers, yet am respected more than just a friend. They come to me for advice, share secrets with me, and love me unconditionally. The hardest part really has been getting their mother’s on board.
As you can imagine, they had a problem with Patrick being with someone 10 years younger than him. Plus they seemed to have some emotional ties to him so seeing him move on has been a bit tough. But through each hurdle I try, harder and hard for the kids. I want the kids to see me have a great relationship with their mother’s too so they don’t feel forced to act differently during certain situations.
Over the last 2 years, I have worked very hard at getting the mother’s to accept me and really work with me to get things done, like pick up and drop offs. 2 out of 3 have come along, and I’m hoping eventually, maybe once we’re married #3 gets on board. We now work together to get things done as a parenting unit.
You see the one thing that I didn’t realizing becoming a step mom, is I have to be okay with my fiancé talking to his ex’s on a regular basis, and I have to have a relationship with these women myself. After all, we are all going to be in these children’s life.
I never would have expected to be 26, about to be married for the 2nd time and have 3 step-children, but I have to say I am happier now than I have ever been. I have the love of an amazing man and his 3 children. It was a scary thing to divorce my ex-husband and start over, but if I didn’t make that first step I wouldn’t know what true happiness was. You see being with my fiancé now, I can say I have never loved someone as much as I love him. (Even my ex-husband) So had I not took a leap of faith, I would have never experienced this true love. J
Sarah Townes, lives in Milpitas, California with her fiancé Patrick and step-kids Daylan 11, Elijah 10, Kella 4, and dog ChiChi. She is still in sales at a small start up and has her own Couponing and Savings Blog. She blogs about her life as a step mom and shares her own tips and tricks on ways to cut costs and save money. They plan to buy their first home in early April 2014