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Originally Posted by DonH
Originally Posted by Newborn
Has anyone dated as a single parent with full custody? How did you do it?

You've got so much going on right now and on top of it you've got a little guy. A little guy who's having a meltdown. Many would say, and I would agree, that he is JOB #1 for you - not dating. A man should be the very last thing added to the equation. Yeah, that stinks. It's not what was planned but this small child didn't plan to be born into all of this either. Things need to stabilize before dating comes into the plans. That will likely take years, not months and certainly not weeks.

I partly disagree with Don. When you feel it's ethical and you feel whole and ready--those may take time--I suspect you can be a great mom AND date. That time after your little one goes to bed is your unwind time. If Netflix is your thing, great. If chatting on apps with attractive guys into similar things is you, great too. Balancing you time and baby time is critical to be your best. Even before you date, I encourage setting aside time to talk to friends or other adults you can hold meaningful conversations with. Baby talk only can drive you nuts! I agree go glacially slow introducing dates to your kids.



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Thank you for the differing views, I appreciate the responses! Agreed the kiddo is #1, and agreed it's also important to not put my life fully on pause. That being said I have no immediate plans to have men over to my place, not just for the safety of my baby and I, but also I don't feel the need to rush into anything. I'm pretty happy where we're at but I have the dating FOMO I guess. It's kind of like (and I acknowledge how foolish and petty this is) if ex can develop feelings for someone else enough to be like "i'm out" why can't I? Of course that's not fair to anyone in this but it does make me, I don't know, hope I could feel that way about someone else soon.

In regards to GAL and not just sitting around: Fortunately I have an awesome tribe of women, some of whom have also been divorced, and I've been able to rely on them for fun outside of work - we've taken the baby to a couple breweries, wineries, my friends' houses, restaurants, wherever. I also have a close male colleague who surprisingly had a WAW, he has a 3 year old, so the two of us hang out with our kiddos. (Not romantically!) I'm really lucky to have close friends at work and we're able to take breaks and go for coffee, lunch, etc. My family lives in another state but are also incredible and would fly down at the drop of a hat if I needed them to. I really want to acknowledge the amazing people in my life making me be much more stable/strong than I would be otherwise. I think I'll take up sailing lessons soon or scuba diving since those are bucket list items. Thanks again for the GAL advice, both on my thread and others' that I'd been reading for the past few years at this point.

The ex is here today actually since he hasn't seen the kiddo in a few weeks (COVID, also whatever else he does). He found an apartment, and while I know everything truly is real (divorce papers are in, lawyers are in, court date set, blah blah) it just feels so weird having the person who seems like pre-MLC fog husband here but it's not him, you know? Because this guy who's being nice and caring and loving time with our son still just walks out the door and has no plans to be a family again.

Then while he's here I can't help but to think - am I crazy? Clingy? Is everyone else on this board dealing with a WAW/WAH and I just 'can't let go'?

But then I look back at him being like "I don't want to be a father, I'm going to go on trips with my young friends, and try to hook up with 25 yr olds, and quit my job and become a personal trainer" and think ok maybe it's not all just in my head. Also the stuff he did while in the relationship - diminish me to not being as fun as his friends or not being as deep as him, accuse me of 'always thinking he would cheat on me' (which was never the case but he was falling into the EA at that time so obviously some projection), the abrupt change from kind/normal husband to cold shoulder/insulting/ditch me etc, maybe it's not just all in my head.

Who knows. But I'm like a ping pong ball, hoping he'll turn around to hoping i'll find someone else to thinking there IS noone else to thinking I don't want to be with him and then I want to be with him?

I know y'all talk about the roller coaster but I was hoping it'd get much better. Of course a few days ago my post was like "I don't miss him at all!", so maybe there is truth to that.

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Hi Newborn, sorry if I missed some details of your sitch. I am sorry to hear about your situation and what you are going through. It is never easy but you sound like you are getting there.
Originally Posted by Newborn
Then while he's here I can't help but to think - am I crazy? Clingy? Is everyone else on this board dealing with a WAW/WAH and I just 'can't let go'?

But then I look back at him being like "I don't want to be a father, I'm going to go on trips with my young friends, and try to hook up with 25 yr olds, and quit my job and become a personal trainer" and think ok maybe it's not all just in my head. Also the stuff he did while in the relationship - diminish me to not being as fun as his friends or not being as deep as him, accuse me of 'always thinking he would cheat on me' (which was never the case but he was falling into the EA at that time so obviously some projection), the abrupt change from kind/normal husband to cold shoulder/insulting/ditch me etc, maybe it's not just all in my head.

This sounds like my (STBX) H. He complains that he was never given his space, he wanted to do things for himself and somehow I (and his child) stopped him. I was also accused of being suspicious that he would cheat on me (which he did anyway). I have just accepted that he had red flags that I didn't take seriously throughout the relationship and he was just not fit for a relationship for me.
What took a while for me to 'let go' was the idea that our 13 year relationship was dead; with it include all of the time, feelings, the shared experiences and all that I invested in it. Once I learned to separate the person from the relationship, it was a little easier to let go.

Originally Posted by Newborn
Who knows. But I'm like a ping pong ball, hoping he'll turn around to hoping find someone else to thinking there IS noone else to thinking I don't want to be with him and then I want to be with him?

I know y'all talk about the roller coaster but I was hoping it'd get much better. Of course a few days ago my post was like "I don't miss him at all!", so maybe there is truth to that.

Take it easy on yourself. It is all part of the process. I get the roller coaster too, but I realise that maybe when I miss anything, I miss the stability and the comfort of the relationship. I don't miss the insecurities, the cheating and betrayal of the individual I had the relationship with.
You deserve better than your WAH, and life will get better.

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Originally Posted by AnnKay
This sounds like my (STBX) H. He complains that he was never given his space, he wanted to do things for himself and somehow I (and his child) stopped him. I was also accused of being suspicious that he would cheat on me (which he did anyway). I have just accepted that he had red flags that I didn't take seriously throughout the relationship and he was just not fit for a relationship for me.
What took a while for me to 'let go' was the idea that our 13 year relationship was dead; with it include all of the time, feelings, the shared experiences and all that I invested in it. Once I learned to separate the person from the relationship, it was a little easier to let go.

AnnKay, thanks so much for replying - I know your time is precious and i appreciate it all the more.

You're so right. I think my problem is that his mean energy has turned around quite a bit. Now he's seeming to be warmer again, more similar to when he was a husband. He seems to enjoy spending time with us so what gives? Maybe he's just not attracted to me anymore? He still has this wall up I guess. It feels like he's really done, and I'm just some part of his past to him. He can talk warmly about our past, including vacations and such.

But that's a really good way of looking at it: The 13 year relationship is dead, over and done. Maybe this is kind of like the ghost of him.

Originally Posted by AnnKay
Take it easy on yourself. It is all part of the process. I get the roller coaster too, but I realise that maybe when I miss anything, I miss the stability and the comfort of the relationship. I don't miss the insecurities, the cheating and betrayal of the individual I had the relationship with.
You deserve better than your WAH, and life will get better.


Thank you. You're right overall. He never had a PA, just one-sided EA (more like infatuations, and when he developed these are when he would bomb drop) so I keep thinking maybe he's a better guy than the other ones on here. If the women had feelings for him would it have been a full blown EA or PA? Who knows, maybe.

But no matter what: None of us deserve to feel like we're second best, or live in that hell of someone trying to decide if you're worth sticking around for.

Really proud of you for moving on and being so strong for your kiddos.

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Today STBX came over and we took the baby out for the local parade. He offered to carry the kiddo so I could relax and then we went to brunch where he held the baby the whole time. We laughed and talked about our travels - since a certain president got elected we had spent all 4th of July's abroad - and how weird it was to be here for the 4th.

He didn't try to hug me or make physical contact with me at all. He seems completely chill with me spending time with other people, including other men (talked about going to a guy friend's place the other day).

He talked about going on a guys' trip again, maybe a "destination trip" this time. He has a small group of friends he plays D&D with and they will go on trips where they'll mostly play D&D and do a small thing like hike or something. I remember how stoked he'd be about prepping and looking at places for trips with the guys but getting him to go with me abroad - including the places we discussed - was like pulling teeth.

I remember one time getting upset with how much effort he put into trips with them when he wouldn't for ours, and him saying "Well I'm willing to go with you places too." Another time he admitted "I would rather spend time with other people than you to be honest".

He doesn't say that stuff anymore and talked about how much fun it was to go out on this outing today. It just really doesn't make sense! I know I sound like a broken record but why wouldnt' you fight for custody at all for the son that you didn't want but you love? Why wouldn't you try to make a marriage work if there's love there? He's been in therapy for years but his therapist was a-okay with him hiding the pregnancy for 6 months, not telling his parents until like 6 weeks before the baby was due. It doesn't matter I guess, and there's no point in trying to be in his head.

The more I DB the more I get it though. This distancing really isn't to try to get him back, it's just for me to fully move on. I don't want to be sitting around hoping he changes his mind. It's not fair to any of us.

It really may be best for me to just not hang out with the STBX at all anymore.

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Newborn,
Originally Posted by Newborn
He didn't try to hug me or make physical contact with me at all.
Not surprising based on what we know about the situation.

Originally Posted by Newborn
He seems completely chill with me spending time with other people, including other men (talked about going to a guy friend's place the other day).
Any chance you brought that up purposefully to test or get a rise out of him?

Originally Posted by Newborn
I remember one time getting upset with how much effort he put into trips with them when he wouldn't for ours, and him saying "Well I'm willing to go with you places too." Another time he admitted "I would rather spend time with other people than you to be honest".
Maybe some of your LBS rose colored glasses coming off? Reminds me of Jason Segel in "Forgetting Sarah Marshall" when he finds a new interest who treats him better and realizes Sarah only wanted him around to hold her purse and would completely ignore him at her premieres.

Originally Posted by Newborn
I know I sound like a broken record but why wouldnt' you fight for custody at all for the son that you didn't want but you love?
No clue on the custody front. As a father I can't relate to that at all. But lock it in while you can. You can always relax it and give more time later if he comes around.

Originally Posted by Newborn
Why wouldn't you try to make a marriage work if there's love there?
His actions are pretty clear. He had a good afternoon spent with your baby, but has other priorities most of the time. When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.

Originally Posted by Newborn
It doesn't matter I guess, and there's no point in trying to be in his head.
Very true. Don't spend your energy trying to figure him out - focus on yourself and your baby.

Originally Posted by Newborn
The more I DB the more I get it though. This distancing really isn't to try to get him back, it's just for me to fully move on.
Yes, exactly.

Originally Posted by Newborn
It really may be best for me to just not hang out with the STBX at all anymore.
If you can be completely detached and spend time together with your child, that's fine, but easier said than done - most can't. Space helps with detachment.


Me:39 Ex-W:37
M:7 T: 9
S:6 D:3
BD/IHS/Confirm EA/PA: Feb '20
OM1 affair ends: May '20
W/OM2 & moves out: June-July '20
W files for D: Jul20
OM2 confirmed: 9/2020
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Originally Posted by BL42
Newborn,
Originally Posted by Newborn
He didn't try to hug me or make physical contact with me at all.
Not surprising based on what we know about the situation.

Originally Posted by Newborn
He seems completely chill with me spending time with other people, including other men (talked about going to a guy friend's place the other day).
Any chance you brought that up purposefully to test or get a rise out of him?

Nah, it was accidental. We were talking about a kid's movie that took place in a vacation spot I planned for us and I said how the movie took place there so it was good we visited prior to the movie. He asked when I'd seen it and I said with my colleague/his daughter since it was odd for me to watch it (I'm deliberately avoiding kids movies since I know the kiddo will make me watch them ad nauseum in no time! Better call Saul for the meanwhile)

Originally Posted by BL42
Originally Posted by Newborn
I remember one time getting upset with how much effort he put into trips with them when he wouldn't for ours, and him saying "Well I'm willing to go with you places too." Another time he admitted "I would rather spend time with other people than you to be honest".
Maybe some of your LBS rose colored glasses coming off? Reminds me of Jason Segel in "Forgetting Sarah Marshall" when he finds a new interest who treats him better and realizes Sarah only wanted him around to hold her purse and would completely ignore him at her premieres.

I think so. He's usually a really kind guy to everyone so the coldness toward me was super unusual and made me wonder why I'm such a horrible person to deserve that ire.

Originally Posted by BL42
Originally Posted by Newborn
I know I sound like a broken record but why wouldnt' you fight for custody at all for the son that you didn't want but you love?
No clue on the custody front. As a father I can't relate to that at all. But lock it in while you can. You can always relax it and give more time later if he comes around.

Oh yeah. Everything's filed. I don't want to cause pain, both for the baby and for him. I don't like hurting people so no matter what I wouldn't cut the baby off from his dad, so if STBX wants to see him, he can call and let me know. That being said if he becomes toxic for my little guy (flaking on visitation, abusive, whatever) I'm fine with cutting off contact. My little man comes first always.

Originally Posted by BL42
Originally Posted by Newborn
Why wouldn't you try to make a marriage work if there's love there?
His actions are pretty clear. He had a good afternoon spent with your baby, but has other priorities most of the time. When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.

Good point. And no matter how crappy of a partner I may have been there's no excuse for not wanting to be a dad.

Originally Posted by BL42
Originally Posted by Newborn
It really may be best for me to just not hang out with the STBX at all anymore.
If you can be completely detached and spend time together with your child, that's fine, but easier said than done - most can't. Space helps with detachment.

Yeah, I don't want to hold myself back from completely moving on.


Well, I was called tonight by my colleague who doesn't live here anymore but maybe will come back one day. He moved right when I went on maternity leave. To be completely honest I'm kind of catching feelings for him - we would spend hours hanging out at work or on the phone when he worked here. When stbx did BD#2 he spent a ton of time with me and was super kind. He even met my family and told them how amazing of a doctor I was, and he sent really cute, thoughtful gifts for the baby. we talked about dating apps as I've been kind of meh about mine. He talked about how it's difficult for both of us to date since we're both super alike and weird and it's hard to fit our personalities with these generic dating apps (just as an example: one time we were both covering the hospital and he had the operator overhead page me as a prank, so I had the nurses overhead page HIM during a crazy weekend to pretend to send a bunch of fake hospital transfers with really filthy names. I'm glad we got along so well with all the RNs so nobody wrote us up for this stuff). STBX wouldn't find this stuff that funny.

To be honest he and I are waaaaaaaaaay more alike than STBX and I - if I get cranky about something, he does too and vice versa, and we run medical decisions by each other and are almost always on the same page and agree. We just think the same way in a way I've never connected with someone else. But I think it's too early as yall have said and I don't want to try to get involved with anyone especially as I'm trying to get past everything. Also I don't even know if he'd be interested in me - I did complain about the exMIL being super toxic and I'm like...whyy did I bring in negativity. I don't know.

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The key to dating is that, to be fair to a new partner, you have to be 100% sure you would never take your H back. If your H were to come crawling to you on his knees, begging forgiveness, and promising you the moon, would you take him back? If so, you're not ready to date someone else, because that's not fair to them.

If, on the other hand, you're completely sure that you would never want your ex back, I don' think there's a problem dating. But until your divorce is settled, you're likely to be very distracted.

I did date early after my ex left, but I had a long history of DBing him (he had cheated, we had reconciled and had a few good years, then he went off the rails again as he approached 50). So I felt like I had done everything and was truly done. Even so, the guy I started dating a few months after ex left lived an 11 hour drive away so I only saw him occasionally when I would drive up for a weekend - and that was good, it was an escape from what I was dealing with in the divorce, and it didn't distract me too much from what I had to get done. I've often thought it wouldn't have been good to have a local boyfriend at that time.

Do you still work with this colleague? That's the other thing to consider - if you're working with him and you date him, how will you feel if it doesn't work out? Is it worth risking losing the friendship? Is HE completely over his ex?

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Originally Posted by kml
The key to dating is that, to be fair to a new partner, you have to be 100% sure you would never take your H back. If your H were to come crawling to you on his knees, begging forgiveness, and promising you the moon, would you take him back? If so, you're not ready to date someone else, because that's not fair to them.

If, on the other hand, you're completely sure that you would never want your ex back, I don' think there's a problem dating. But until your divorce is settled, you're likely to be very distracted.

I did date early after my ex left, but I had a long history of DBing him (he had cheated, we had reconciled and had a few good years, then he went off the rails again as he approached 50). So I felt like I had done everything and was truly done. Even so, the guy I started dating a few months after ex left lived an 11 hour drive away so I only saw him occasionally when I would drive up for a weekend - and that was good, it was an escape from what I was dealing with in the divorce, and it didn't distract me too much from what I had to get done. I've often thought it wouldn't have been good to have a local boyfriend at that time.

Do you still work with this colleague? That's the other thing to consider - if you're working with him and you date him, how will you feel if it doesn't work out? Is it worth risking losing the friendship? Is HE completely over his ex?

Really great points. It's why I haven't done the dating thing yet, especially with anyone I've worked with.

I like to think I'm at the place you were since it feels like this has dragged on forever too but you're probably right. I'm likely not, though I feel like I'm getting there. And nothing is worth losing this friendship over. He's amazing and I'm lucky to be friends with him. He's actually pretty far away. He seems over his ex but you never know.

Good points all around. Thank you as always for your wisdom.

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Well, the week was tough. Really busy and filled with MD appts for the kiddo so kept running behind on work to the point that I called my colleague for work-life balance advice. On top of this, I was pulled into the hospital since my coworker got COVID. It was bittersweet - a lot of the people I ran into (haven't seen them since maternity leave) know my exh, and I did my training there where it felt like I had so much hope for our future family. They were wonderful to see but reminded me of happier days.

We also had new trainees come in this week, and I was introduced as a single mom by my colleague. It was a little jarring, especially as so many of them were recently married or had young families. I'm sure all of you know the feeling: seeing everyone else have a happy family unit, cutesy family photos, hearing about family activities/vacations as you're stuck as a single parent without a partner.

How do you all deal with these situations and keep moving forward?

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