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Changing how a man looks good on my paper

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I now have a map with all the places with hidden mines that I have to avoid in my love life. These mines are charming, exciting, intelligent men, that had unloving mothers.

I also have in my map a destination: a man with his feet on Earth, capable of love, (since he received lots of it when he was a kid, he has lots to give too). I also want my destination to be a man similar to me, with strong instincts to love his children, like a do. I want him to have at the top of all his priorities his own children. Just as I am a motherly kind of woman, I want a fatherly kind of man.

I am separated, looking for a divorce, and getting to this conclusion (the one that I just mentioned in the previous paragraph), has been very hard. I know that single mothers instinctively look for a father for their kids, but I didn’t considered my self single until recently. I was married for fifteen years (I’m not counting the time that we have been separated) and my ex husband is very present in the lives of his kids (although not as I expected him to be).

I’ve come to the painful realization that the great dad that I thought he was, was due to my controlling him (telling him what to do with his children). Now that I am not doing that, he is drifting away little by little, in almost imperceptible ways for the untrained eye, but not for me. After telling my therapist some recent facts concerning him and the kids, he said: “If he continues like that, he won’t have any relationship with your youngest child when he’s a teenager. Parents have to reach out to have a relationship with their teen children, not the other way around. If your ex husband is grabbing any chance he gets to skip having time with the kids, that’s what will happen. Children reach for their parents while they are kids, but when they become teens, they don’t do that anymore”.

Several other things have happened around that issue, but the most significant one was a comment he made to the dad of one of our son’s school friends, during his birthday party. My ex husband was explaining that there were a couple of kids from their older school, and that that was the reason why they were not familiar (our children started a new school last September). In mid sentence, he stopped, and asked me: “What was the name of the school where they used to go?”

WOW. I could not believe my ears. He did not remember the name of our kids’ previous school.

The fantasy that I had sustained for so long, the one that believed that he had his kids as a top priority, finally evaporated.

Since I’ve been thinking about my relationship patterns, it suddenly occurred to me that I have never had in mind, as my ideal man, a father for my kids. A comment that a teenage friend of mine made once (back then, twenty-five years ago), suddenly rushed to the surface of my consciousness: “I was in love with you, and so was my brother and other boys at school. But you would only go for the self-centered guy, the cool guy”. That statement totally startled me because I never had seen it that way. I was just attracted to interesting guys, that was all. Were those boys, self-centered, cool guys? That had escaped me, I just knew they were interesting and made me feel awesome.

Until they didn’t anymore, that is.

When I met my husband, he got attracted to me, then threw the fish hook into the water, and I bit it. That is how it has always happened with all my relationships. If the fish hook was shiny, I bit it, otherwise I didn’t. All the other fish hooks were unseen by me. Really, I just didn’t even consider them for a second.

To change patterns, first, I am going to start fishing by myself. Second, I will stay away from shiny hooks, and third, I will go check out the opaque ones, to see what happens. I have to train my eyes to see them, though.

I am learning this lesson at the age of forty-three, and even though one can always wonder what would have happened if I hadn’t married my ex husband, reality is that, even if I suffered a lot, I don’t regret anything. I don’t want to repeat my past story, but the decision to be his partner shaped eighteen years of my life. First of all, my two kids are exactly the kids I love and want, and they exist because he was my spouse. Also, this exciting, rather unstable man, is the reason why I have lived in six countries. I cannot imagine my life without living in any of the cities I’ve lived. I love all of them, along with the experiences that I had, and the people that I met. I just can’t imagine having lived all that time in just one country or two, or anything less. The unwanted secondary effect was, though, that I ended up with no career. Still, I wouldn’t have done anything different. I always tried doing my best, I even tried to bend our reality so I could manage to have some sort of income (that was a futile effort given the circumstances). In any case, that is my past and I own it.

But my present and future are another story, a story without him.

What kind of man do I want now, in my forties? Do I even want a man?

Yes, I do want a man, sorry, but I’m not the powerful confident woman that doesn’t need a man. I am the woman that has love as her first priority in life. First I love my kids and me (I can’t tell much the difference, and this is an issue that I always have to analyze for every decision I make) then, I would like to love a man.

I have no idea if I will find him, but one cannot live without hope.

That is my hope for the future: having a man that can also be a father figure for my kids, because I know that my ex husband’s role as a father is starting to fade away, subtly and slowly, but relentlessly. Also, because I want the stability of a guy that stays with me when I get close to him, or when I show my dark side (not one that builds walls to defend himself against me, or simply runs away).

I have to train my eyes and soul to see deeper than appearances.

I have to continue hoping for a better present and future. It’s the only way to go.

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Sabrina
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