I don't have to hide a new outfit I've bought for myself, I don't have to justify watching back to back American TV on a Saturday night and no one sulks if I go to bed at 9pm. I don't have to be anyone's ideal weight, a domestic goddess or intellectual equal. I can have as many Blond days as I like and all my victories are mine alone; I can self-congratulate and be as self- satisfied as I like because know one will even notice my smugness.
Of course the downside is that all the responsibility for the family falls onto me and at times it is a heavy yoke to bear because there is no one to share that?
I asked the children what I should look for in a new partner as, I have observed from other people's new relationships, Post Marriage; that it is foolhardy to not involve the offspring in the selection process. "A wrestler" pronounced J with no hesitation "He needs to be strong to pick you up". Thank you, my son. "Someone rich" said the gloomy teenager only briefly raising his head from Nuts magazine, "So you stop borrowing my birthday money!" Ouch.... tell it like it is why don't you! My daughter however took this question very seriously and after a lot of thought and referring to her Ladybird 606D Fairy Tales, said " A Prince; a tall one, who s not mean and is not obsessed with Hi Fi!" perhaps I shouldn't have asked? But then I've listened to far too many children complaining, about their parent's new squeeze, to risk it?
So far my children have had to put up with the "almost" evil stepmother, fondly known in our house as "Boring Dora the Explorer" whose obsession with minimalism and materialism left no room in her heart or mind for a personality. The children were unforgiving and still talk about their Father's error of judgement and taste, despite her exit over a year ago! I feel that anyone that was even willing to take on me and the children, should have pre dating counselling because my children could give the X factor panel and Anne Robinson, a few tips.
And frankly there has been no pressing sense of urgency on my agenda? I felt it was perfectly respectable to be quietly single, while my Ex made a Grade 1 prat of himself galloping through unsuitable partners, like a blindfolded dog on heat. But then inevitably, he has, of course met a lovely woman. So lovely, that I actually prefer her to my ex husband. She is beautiful, witty, wise and battle scarred like me and most importantly, she loves my children...and they love her. In fact if I could have hand selected the woman to "replace" me, I would have chosen her, hands down, no contest. I can see us becoming good friends.
Which is wonderful. It is great for the children because they finally get to share their father with a woman who is not me, but is worthy of their affection. It's wonderful except that it feels as though someone has broken me all over again. I feel like I've been turned inside out and every raw nerve ending, is exposed to the outside and every single wall I built around my emotions to protect me, has been decimated. Why? simply because I have to share the only thing I have left for me, which is my children's undivided and misguided conviction; that I am the ONE and ONLY, greatest woman that has ever walked the earth. And frankly I needed that because no one else thought it?
I know now that I am completely over the loss of my marriage because I feel a profound sense of relief that someone has taken the children's Father in hand and concluded his embarrassing and selfish quest for happiness, but I not sure I will ever recover from having to share my children with another mother?
It is, of course, utterly pathetic to sit and wallow in self pity, but my inner 4 year old is jumping up and down on the sofa in full melt down with her hands over her ears! I have never been competitive or driven in my life, but suddenly I feel a terrible need to find an unbelievably wonderful, supportive, handsome and solvent Step Father for my children, simply because I've been horribly out done by my Ex in the, "Find a Fabulous Partner" stakes. Mind you I think any man I meet, would practically have to be Bear Grylls crossed with the Dalai Lama, to even match up to the loveliness of their Dad's new girlfriend.
Of course there is the other more-than-obvious problem that I am a single,working, full time parent with custody of three impossibly challenging and wonderful children, which leaves me with next to zero opportunities for actually meeting someone? Unless I ran him over on my way to work or he comes to fix my boiler/mow the grass/ bait the rats/serves me in Tesco's? I work with only women and socialise with women and therefore actually rarely meet any men and they are always married... or Gay? So where does a slightly unhinged 30- something run into her Prince Charming when Kate Middleton's snaffled the last rich one on the market?
Therefore I have resolved to not look, on the off chance that fate will deal me the upper hand and drop one in my lap/in front of my car? Preferably one that isn't Married, Psychopathic or Muslim? Meanwhile I will remain Hopelessly Devoted... to me.