Snapshot: When a single mom gets remarried

by singlemomseeking on April 29, 2010

“You sure do have a lot of self-help books.”

That’s what Chris said to me when I had him over to my house for the first time, as he browsed my bookshelves. Yes, he seemed a bit unnerved.

“I’m NOT like that,” I said defensively. “A lot of publishers have sent those books to me to review.”

“Oh,” he said, slightly skeptical. And the truth is, although the know-it-all language in some self-help books rubs me the wrong way, I often turn to experts when I’m stuck. I’ve always been that way. When I’m scared or unsure, I reach out to others. That includes friends who’s listen, authors I’ve never met — and other bloggers, too.

So, perhaps it’s no surprise that as my life slowly changes (read = I’m getting married!), I’m turning to those who’ve gone before me. Over the past few weeks, I’ve been seeking out single moms who’ve gotten remarried. I’m going to start profiling these super women off and on here as “snapshots.

For starters, please help me welcome Tinamarie Bernard, aka Modern Love Examiner.

Tinamarie

Tinamarie and her first husband got divorced after almost nine years together “because, in a nutshell, our core philosophies, values, and expectations were way off from one another.”

Their son was two when they broke up, and she started “to do some serious soul searching.” This included finding a spiritual path in Judaism and deciding to convert. Within the year, at age 38,  she started to date an older man long distance, “but he was just too broken for a relationship.”

“One night, feeling really blue, I went to a single’s event with friends. That’s when I heard this guy with luscious lips say in a funny accent, ‘I want to meet the woman with the beautiful eyes.’ ”

“H” was from Israel and he was immediately smitten about Tinamarie — although she was the first single mom he’d ever dated. After dating for JUST eight weeks, he took her to Israel to visit his family. Still, she was cautious. “He proposed after three months, and I said, ‘Yes, but not now.’ Three months later, he proposed again.”

At first, her son was jealous when he saw his mom holding hands with H. After they got engaged, Tinamarie started to let H. spend the night — and bring some of this belongings over. “We started with his cat. Over the course of a month, H. started to stay in the morning, and we talked to my son about how we were all getting married. As in the three of us. Not exactly spelled out, but my son would say things like, ‘When we get married, blah blah.’ ”

Listen to this! Tinamarie, H., and her son have since moved from San Diego to Israel together. And on Leap Day, 2008, they welcomed a baby girl into their lives!

What has been the best part about blending your family?

“We have a really cool family tradition. We call it the mosh pit. We all lay down somewhere together, under lots of blankets an just snuggle and wiggle and eek out a comfortable spot between squirming little kid bodies trying to get the best position. Which usually means in between both of us. It lasts all of five minutes, but still, those are my five minutes of family time.”

And what has been the most challenging part?

“Two things. One is that my family isn’t Jewish and my mother, in particular, has a hard time with the fact that I am now living in Israel. She only has two grand kids and they are 7000 miles away. Here, we’ve got loads of cousins and can feel part of the mainstream culture. In San Diego, it was a constant issue. To this day, my mom still wishes me Happy Easter, etc, but doesn’t mention one Jewish holiday unless prompted by my dad.

Also, H. and I do have differing philosophies at times about parenting. He tends to be stricter, and gets into power struggles with my son…. But the truth is, they both love one another as much as any biological father/son. H. does a fine job of balancing his role with my son, as well as with his biological father, who still lives in San Diego and talks to our son several times a day.”

Tinamarie writes about intimacy, relationships, erotica and sacred sexuality for the Examiner, and is the Eco-sexuality columnist for Greenprophet. You can also find her on twitter @ModernLoveMuse.

 

~~~

If you’re a single parent, do you ever imagine getting remarried someday?

And if you’re a single parent who has gotten remarried, what has been the BEST part? And how about the most challenging?


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{ 37 comments… read them below or add one }

Jenni April 29, 2010 at 6:57 pm

I am nowhere near ready for the subject of remarriage. But I LOVE this post. =)
.-= Jenni´s last blog ..Words Are Abstract =-.

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Heather {Desperately Seeking Sanity} April 29, 2010 at 6:59 pm

I’m getting married in 17 days…

And we’re combining children… 2 of his, 2 of mine…. all full time…

and it’s weird. I’ve been on my own for a long time. (I divorced 9 years ago…)

But this? this is different. We just fit. :D

Best of luck as you transition… :D
.-= Heather {Desperately Seeking Sanity}´s last blog ..And We’re Moving Right Along… =-.

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Tinamarie May 9, 2010 at 11:47 am

Good luck and congratulations!

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Kelli April 30, 2010 at 6:30 am

I am engaged. We have set the date for June 25, 2011- so well over a year but truth be told I am worried about all the changes. He wants to adopt my 2 y/o daughter, he loves her as his own (this is a whole different subject). I am so used to doing it on my own, I am having a hard time letting him help me w.her. My initial response is “Ive got it”. I know this is my transition time… This is just an issue I have to get over.
.-= Kelli´s last blog .."Something I Always Have…" =-.

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singlemomseeking April 30, 2010 at 8:04 am

@Kelli: I’m still learning how to get over this one, too… giving up some control and knowing that he really does want to step in and take part in everything, from play date pick ups to making school lunches.

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Tinamarie May 9, 2010 at 11:49 am

It’s difficult to do this. I don’t know if we ever fully get through transitions. Each day brings a new challenge in this area for us. The best gift is seeing the growing bond between my son and his step dad. It’s remarkable how kids take us places we’d never imagine in our hearts and minds. Good luck!

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T April 30, 2010 at 6:55 am

Wow. Israel?

And here I can’t even fathom moving 3 hours away…

I like that you’re doing this, Rachel. These will be very inspiring.
.-= T´s last blog ..Blended =-.

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Susan April 30, 2010 at 7:58 am

The best part is having a true partner, someone I can count on. And someone who will cook dinner for me! :)

We’ve had some challenges trying to fit our lives (and closet space needs!) together, for sure, but mostly those have worked themselves out. Because J. does not have any children from a previous relationship we do not have blended family challenges in the traditional sense. However, blending families in general can be challenging. Our families get along well, but his parents are elderly and in increasingly poor health — and more needy in temperament than mine. At times he feels torn between his “new” family and taking care of his old. Sometimes it’s not so easy for me either. I guess you could say we have the sandwich generation challenges. The good news is that my kids and J. have grown to love each other and have adapted beautifully.

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Joy April 30, 2010 at 8:19 am

I’m a newly single parent. I’m nowhere near ready to remarry but I do dream of the possibility of finding someone whose values, hopes, and dreams are similar to mine. I look forward to meeting a man who is as smitten with my beautiful daughter as he is with me.

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Nicki April 30, 2010 at 8:32 am

As you know, I’m newly engaged. And I’m thrilled to be a planning a wedding I’m excited about. I’m thrilled to be a planning and building a life with the man I love and have dated for the better part of two years. The kids are on board…more than thrilled with the entire situation. And we seem to have blended really well. Obviously we still have many challenges to face, much more to look forward to, but it’s a solid start.
.-= Nicki´s last blog ..Sandra Bullock’s surprise… =-.

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Michele April 30, 2010 at 10:56 am

I can’t imagine getting married again. But Tinamarie’s story was beautiful.
.-= Michele´s last blog ..Press 626 =-.

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Tinamarie May 9, 2010 at 11:49 am

Thank you Michelle! :)

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Tinamarie April 30, 2010 at 12:08 pm

Dear Rachel, and all the readers who commented: Thank you!

Thank you for the encouragement, the support and the reminder that love comes in shades and shapes that don’t fit the norm. It surprises, it delights, it challenges, and when we are courageous enough, it can change us for the better. My best wishes to all the single moms on this path – my wish is that you all find your ‘H’ when the time is right! And that he falls in love with your children, and they with him.

Day by day, T

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Avigail74 April 30, 2010 at 4:35 pm

Rachie,

Just a short note to let you know that you are an inspiration for many of us. We may not be engaged (perhaps, yet) but it sure does make us feel good knowing that it’s possible to find a loving, sweet and generous man. BTW—I’ve met Lucky Guy—he and Rachel really are great match!

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Lisa April 30, 2010 at 6:52 pm

Wether you know this are not you have let so many single moms off the hook of eternal singleness mortardom.You would be surprised at how many single moms feel guilty or made to feel guilty for even wanting to date let alone marry. It’s hard to break away from the tribe that has supported you emotionally from the time you choose to do it alone until…

Again congratulations!

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Anna May 1, 2010 at 7:44 am

We’re heading that direction. We’ll be talking about long term when he comes to visit next week. We already have some challenges: He lives 14 hours away, we have a substantial age difference (which hasn’t been an issue yet), and I have an 8 yo son, who likes my boyfriend, but is still a little confused. I am confident we can work through these things together. We had a major test of our relationship this week, and fortunately it made us stronger than ever.

I never thought I’d be in this place, but it’s so completely different. We just know this is right and good for both of us (actually all 3 of us, son included!).

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Stephanie Lynch May 1, 2010 at 2:19 pm

i just don’t think i could ever imagine getting married. i’ve never been married–and now that i have my son to worry about–i just can’t imagine “blending families, although i’m so happy to hear success stories!

personally, i just don’t want to get married. that is to say–i didn’t plan on being a single mother. i didn’t WANT to be a single mother–but that’s how it is. and, now that i’m a single mother–i’m just starting to appreciate identifying as that. i can’t imagine wanting my life with my son to change. he and i are a team. i certainly don’t judge anyone for choosing to re-marry or get married. but, it’s not something i’ll consider for a very long time. maybe after my son graduates from high school. but, then again–he’s only two. maybe i’ll feel differently in a few years.

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Lucy May 10, 2010 at 11:48 am

I’m exactly the same. Never planned on being a single parent, but I am. My daughter is almost 15 and I am the only parent she has ever had and known. I decided shortly after her birth that I would raise her on my own and not bring a man into our lives. When she first started school, she was probably the only one in her class who didn’t have 2 parents. But, that changed rather quickly, and year after year, many of her friend’s parents were splitting up. My daughter saw many of her friends go through great sadness in their lives and many of these kids still struggle. Over the years, I’ve had so many women tell me how much they envy me and my daughter. I have no regrets in my decision to raise my daughter myself, but I do have to admit that the fact that I have always made a good income plus have had family and friends close by to help has made it all easier for us. My daughter has grown up in a house where she is free and not exposed to adults fighting and making each other miserable. I do not want to bring a man into my life as long as she lives with me since I always want her to feel free and secure in her home. Many people ask me about missing the company of a man, especially the physical parts, and I do have to admit that yes, on occasion I do. However, I can’t have it all, can I, and I have chosen to put what I believe are in my child’s best interests ahead of mine. In my opinion, she has developed into a beautiful, confident and well-rounded young lady, and I’m confident that one day she will look back on her childhood with great memories. However, all this being said, I don’t purport to claim that my family’s dynamics are for everyone, but I just wanted people to know that being a single parent has been a great phase in my life and my family is happy!

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Katherine SOLO dot MOM May 1, 2010 at 4:53 pm

This is a great idea, I agree with T. I need these inspirations. I am not ready yet to take that plunge but I want to be ready someday. Someday, yeah.
.-= Katherine SOLO dot MOM´s last blog ..Little things I’m proud of lately =-.

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JD May 1, 2010 at 10:03 pm

I’m just starting the process of being a single mom. I didn’t want to be one either, but I don’t really have much of a choice. I think I’m going to be okay, but I worry about meeting someone new. I loved being married and being in a relationship, so I think one day I’ll be open to it. It’s hard to imagine though – I have three little boys (all under 7) and I wonder how many good men would want to take on me AND them. I guess time will tell…

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LH May 6, 2010 at 5:18 pm

JD – I too have 3 little boys and have been doing this one my own for 4 years. I find most guys shy away from 3 kids, but that’s ok, because I wouldn’t want them in my life if they don’t love my kids too.

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Helen F May 8, 2010 at 5:40 am

Hold on in there, and make the best of what you have. If there is a Lucky Guy out there, he’ll want you AND your lovely sons. If he doesn’t, then he’s not the right guy. And yes, I’ve been alone for quite a few years.

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The Ringleader May 2, 2010 at 10:11 am

JD, we are in such similar boats. I too have 3 little boys, 9 and 5 yr old twins. I have that same concern about finding a partner. I try to profile what demographic would be most open to my situation when looking for a boyfriend. I have no problem getting dates, the problem comes in finding someone suitable for a relationship. Time will tell…..

Rachel, I do hope to get married again some day. I know that it will create many challenges as well as joys. I’m so glad you are profiling these other single moms. I hope to learn so much from their experiences and yours.
.-= The Ringleader´s last blog ..Just Having Fun =-.

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JD May 2, 2010 at 4:17 pm

I fell you – my 7 year olds are twins. Very scary for those who don’t understand that multiples don’t necessarily equate to multiple responsibility.

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Kat Wilder May 4, 2010 at 6:40 am

Well, I’m happy for Tinamarie but … where is her kid’s father in this picture? She moves to Israel with a new husband, but her child’s father lives …. where? I’m sorry but I can’t ever feel good about a parent taking a child miles away from the other parent.

As for me, I have no plans to get married again — I’m not having babies with anyone, I have my own home, so I don’t see the need (marriage is a financial arrangement, and if anyone doubts that, just get divorced and you’ll understand!) However, if it was important for my BF, I would. We’re just trying to figure out if we will ever live together one day, when the kids have moved on with their lives.
.-= Kat Wilder´s last blog ..Technology and dating — a happy couple? =-.

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Tinamarie May 9, 2010 at 11:53 am

HI Kat – I appreciate your concern here. For the record, it was actually a good thing for my son. I won’t disparage anyone here, and his father loves his son. But as we all know, it takes more than love to be a good parent. Now my boy gets the best of all things – two fathers, 3 sets of grandparents, and more love and support than he did when his father lived 10 minutes away. Rachel respected me by not including certain private details about our move, and for that I am grateful! She’s quite a wonder, isn’t she!?

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Kat Wilder May 10, 2010 at 7:17 am

Thanks for writing back, Tinamarie. I certainly don’t want to sound judgmental — wasn’t my intent, especially when all the details aren’t known (nor do I expect them to be and, yes, Rachel is a wonder indeed!) I do know in many situations, a parent can not or should not be present in a child’s life.

That said, I know teens and adults who did have a parent move away, and the abandonment issues are painful and long-lasting. Of course, divorce alone can do that!
.-= Kat Wilder´s last blog ..High times at high school =-.

Lovebabz May 4, 2010 at 8:01 am

You know Rachel I have been blogging every inch of my life. And you know I am a big believer in LOVE! Hell YES! I am getting married again! and if Mr. Love will have me then its a GO! I am done with being afraid. I am done with having 1st Mr. Hubby be the blueprint and shadow for the next Mr. Hubby! I love this man. We’ve been friends since we were 11 & 12 years old. He is beautiful with my 4 children. He is wise and kind to them. It is lovely to see him interact with them. Listen I too was very much wedded to my singledom…Capatain of my ship yada yada yada , but when I am sailing into the sunset I want someone standing there with me admiring the view. Life is too short not the know the love of a good man/partner. God knows we spent a lot of time on the bad ones!
.-= Lovebabz´s last blog ..E. N. D. =-.

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MC May 4, 2010 at 11:07 am

Cool story, thanks for sharing, Tinamarie!

This post resonates….my BF of almost a year is really ideal, and he’s made it clear he hopes we’ll eventually decide to get married (by which he means, he’s hoping he’ll convince me to consider marrying again despite my bad track record with that institution!) Although I wouldn’t be dating him seriously if he thought differently, and even though he’s an absolute dreamboat in every way with no red flags anywhere, I’m still very on the fence about remarriage to anyone. It’s good to hear of another single mom who has made another marriage work, kids and all.

My BF has 4 grown kids (so no kids that we would be living with) but I have 2 elevenyear olds (yes, I also have twins). I worry about disrupting my kids’ lives, and about making yet another disastrous mistake with my life and dragging them through it, I worry about destabilizing their teenage years. I worry about losing my “safe if very boring” life that I put together at great cost after my divorce. I know that me and my kids can get along OK as my life currently is–even though I miss having a real partner.

My plan was to enjoy dating or not without putting everything at risk of a romantic partner’s whims, but hey, plans change and sometimes “just dating” isn’t really what you want or need.

I thought it was interesting that Tinamarie’s husband proposed so early on–While this would be a red flag for a 20-something couple, I think people making their intentions clear very early is more typical and normal for 2nd marriages where the people involved are more experienced mature.

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Tinamarie May 9, 2010 at 11:55 am

Congrats!
You are right – if we were 20 something, the timeline would have been very different. Since we were both married previously for 9 years (which means that between us, we had 18 years marital experience) we circumvented lots of the fluff of dating and got down to the nitty gritty of love and relationship. Do I recommend it for everyone? Not necesarily. But I do recommend listening to that small, still voice inside that knows the best answer for YOU.

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littlemansmom May 4, 2010 at 1:42 pm

Well…not married yet, but talk to me in 2 1/2 months! LOL

Most challenging? How about learning to share the role of parent! When you are the good guy, the bad guy, the safety and the everything to a little one for 9 years, it’s really hard to share those responsibilities! I find myself repeatedly biting my tongue because I would have done it differently when TBM gets involved with littleman.
.-= littlemansmom´s last blog ..It Was Moving Weekend! =-.

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singlemomseeking May 4, 2010 at 4:36 pm

Oh, yeah, @littlemansmom, I hear you about having another adult in the mix when it comes to parenting, after you’ve been doing it on your own for years. I’m finding this challenging, too!!

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SDMktg May 5, 2010 at 11:43 pm

I’m still “considering” it. I wish it could be like the first time when I “just knew” it was right…except it wasn’t.

My GF is great with the kids and they love her very much. It’s inspiring to see others make it work. I hope I can get to that point where I know exactly how I want to spend the rest of my life. I spend so much time surviving that the future is really hazy for me.

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BlueBella May 6, 2010 at 1:07 pm

I’m recently engaged and suddenly getting married in 6 weeks (what was I thinking???) . . . and having little panic attacks about how it will all fit together.

I know deep down this is the best thing to ever happen to me, but like many of the previous comments I’ve been doing it alone for such a long time it’s hard to let go.

I think part of it is also being able to let go and having some resentment that I’ve had to carry on so long by myself now that I see what it ‘could’ have been like. It’s like I can finally let my guard down a little bit and all these feelings I’ve been stuffing down and ignoring are now demanding to be reconciled. Ouch.

It’s a good process to be going through, but it sometimes takes nerves of steel. And we have each other to talk to, and that’s worth a lot!
.-= BlueBella´s last blog ..Ok, Ok =-.

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Naked Girl in a Dress May 9, 2010 at 6:01 am

I love this series you are starting. Can’t wait to read other interviews.
.-= Naked Girl in a Dress´s last blog ..Audrey Hepburn’s Beauty Tips =-.

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Shannon May 16, 2010 at 6:38 am

Hi Rachel, I’m so excited that you’re getting remarried! When I first discovered your site, I was a single mom and then became BsMommy at Former Single Mommy…after my remarriage two years ago. Full time step-parenting and blending the family has been a fun challenge, but sometimes frustrating as well. I wish you all the best and will definitely continue to follow your blog for years to come.

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Single Mommy Makin It June 19, 2010 at 2:22 pm

Oh man. I’m just trying to get past the third date…

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