Single-ish.... that limbo state of knowing you're in a relationship, but it's still kinda new and it's not actually legally recognized as a relationship.
I've become very used to being single. Some things maybe have been easier, but most things were definitely suckier. I've resented, but become used to, being a 'single mom'.
I saw a post in a group a while ago about a woman going through the transition of being in a new relationship after 5 years single, but still identifying as a 'single mom' and wondering when it's appropriate to start admitting you're not.
It's a good question. Because legally you're single until you're married. Some said it wasn't until they were married to their new partner that they felt they could say they weren't single. Others suggested that they didn't feel 'not single' until they and their new partner had a kid together, regardless of if they were married or not.
It's a complicated feeling: knowing you're happy and 'not single', but still having this voice inside warning you about becoming too attached. Everyone can be happy and getting along, but you still know somewhere inside that you're still a single mom.
And maybe that's just how will always be. You and this kid have a history that even the best partner won't really be a part of. The future may look great, but it's still only your kid.
It's interesting being in a position to choose the person that you want to help you raise your child. You think you're doing that when you get married before kids, but having a kid can change everything. So many things I'd said I'd do/wouldn't do have changed drastically based on experience and further reading. I've seen for myself relationships that become rocky after having children because of differing views that you thought you could compromise on, but now can't. It can be hard.
In some ways having a new person around is even harder than having no one.
You're trying to keep things normal while your kid is being a maniac and showing off everything he knows how to do. Outings, meal times, bed time, breakfast time are all now accompanied by these bi-polaresque mood swings that go from fun to nightmarish in a matter of seconds. Not that this didn't ever happen before, but it just seems amplified now. It's hard just wanting to spend time with your partner while the child demands all the attention.
Which is what parenting is, right? That's what happens. Just usually you get a few child-free years together before that.
It's hard because part of you assumes that this new person will just fit in to your parenting style and know what to do because YOU know what to do. But in reality they have to do what you did year ago... give up everything and learn from the beginning. Which can't be easy for them either.
But then, the fact that they've chosen to do this speaks volumes.
Because you know how shitty the shitty days are. You know how loud and stubborn and messy your child can be.
And yet, they stick around. On purpose. Even though those are the days that you yourself want to run away.
Which is nice, because having someone there to share the crap burden, as well as the fun times, makes you feel like you're part of something.
Love ought to be shared. I love having someone else to share it with.
I'm not single, but I think I'll still feel single-ish for a while. Which is ok. Those four and a half years made me into who I am right now and they don't deserve to be forgotten.