Anyone who knows me is aware of my obsession with love stories– I love learning how people met, when they first had their “ah-ha” moment, and how they got engaged. I’ve spent the last 14 years gathering love stories- if they come to me for a prenup consult it is a story with a beautiful ending; if it is for a divorce consult, it is a story with a sad middle part, but the way I see it the end has yet to be determined. Many, in fact most, are able to part ways amicably, and within 2-5 years they rebuild a new life with someone else. So the way I see it, my job is simply to guide people along their love journeys, and I am eternally grateful for the insight everyone has given me into the joys and challenges of a love story.
So, what is it with my obsession about love stories? Well, perhaps it stems from the fact that I was not the product of a great love story– in fact I was never even told the story for almost half my life. For the first 19 years I was told my father was dead, and let’s just say no one painted him out to be a war hero. Putting aside all reasons for this deceipt, whether well intentioned or not, the point I am making today is that perhaps because my own parents failed to provide me with a love story that I have gone out of my way the last 14 years as a divorce lawyer to gather all the stories possible from those around me. By sharing your stories, you have filled me with hope and inspired me to go on my own journey to find love.
This week, while surrounded by friends that were remarking at my commitment to helping couples and families, a stranger asked me why I failed at my own marriage. He went further and asked me why I would choose to be a single mother with an infant 7 years ago. Excellent questions, and so here is my answer: You can marry the love of your life and have it not work out. To raise a child in a loveless marriage is not something I was willing to do. My primary job as a parent (aside from providing basic necessities) is to raise a well-adjusted, happy child that believes in love. How can you do that when you are modeling a dysfunctional relationship? Given the choice of raising a child in a comfortable economic environment where I was miserable, or as a single parent where I was at least happy and stood a chance of finding love again, I picked the latter.
Everyone around me thinks I’m so brave– but it is not about being courageous, to me it is about doing the right thing. We have to teach our children about love and prepare them for their own journey in search of a life partner. To give them every possible chance at success, single parents especially have a duty to teach kids that sometimes you may have to spend years alone, until you find the right one– but you never lose hope of finding that one. Until then, you are all just gathering love stories. 🙂