Single & Surviving: Life after divorce

By Single Mama

After working my part-time job for 9 months, I decided to go back to college and earn a degree in education. I’d earned a business degree 15 years ago so this would be my second time in college. But this time around, managing time took on a whole new meaning.

I worked during the day from 7:15 a.m. until 3:15 p.m. Then I came home with the kids and helped with homework while cooking dinner. Then we went to all their extracurricular activities.

I took advice from a friend who told me “Take your books with you everywhere.” I studied during my daughter’s gymnastics lessons and my son’s soccer and football practices. I earned my second degree largely because I studied while cheering from the sidelines of fields all over town.

On the rare days that I was caught up on homework and my kids didn’t have a sports practice, I went to the gym and worked out. Exercise was the way I managed my stress. I’m not saying it cured everything. It didn’t. There were plenty of nights I cried myself to sleep because of everything I was trying to carry on my shoulders. But working out certainly helped me feel stronger and like I was doing something to take care of myself.

For two and a half years, I juggled work, kids, homework, housework, sports and night classes. I earned my advanced degree in exactly two years. And I’ve got to tell you — graduating with that second degree was even more exciting than the first time. I really appreciated the level of accomplishment this time. I’d done it all by myself. All the hours, sacrifices and prayer had paid off. I was on my way into a new career.

Despite the truly crazy, jam-packed schedule, I did begin to date again and it was SO different than it was in my early 20’s. I didn’t go on that first date until I’d been separated from my husband for a year. The timing wasn’t deliberate. That was just when I decided I felt ready.

Going on your first date after a 17-year break from the single’s scene is so scary that I almost backed out. During the five-minute drive to meet my blind date, my mind kept saying “Turn around! No, wait! I need to throw up first!”

But I showed up anyway, despite the panic. I think I may have looked up at the guy twice the whole time because I was no nervous. But after that first date, things got easier. And I learned a lot about myself by dating again.

I decided not to introduce my kids to any man I dated unless I thought I might marry that person someday. That first date ended up turning into an eighteen-month relationship, but he didn’t meet my kids until we’d known each other for six months. I was still dealing with finalizing the divorce so I was clear with my boyfriend about the need to take things very slowly.

That relationship ended after 18 months, but it taught me a lot about myself and what I wanted and needed. Once the relationship was over, I knew with much more clarity what I was looking for in a man. I knew what my “deal breakers” were and I didn’t compromise on those.

The journey through a divorce and building a new life hasn’t always been a pretty one. But I do feel good about the fact that I kept going, even when I didn’t think I could. I didn’t give into the pain and give up. Sure, there are still difficult days, but I have friends and family around me. I am blessed. I still pray — a lot. I’m almost five years away from that terrible day when he told me about his affair, and I’m a stronger, better person today than I was then.

To my fellow moms, I hope you never walk the road I’ve been on. But if you find yourself there, please know that this journey is a difficult one but not impossible. You will find help along the way. And you can do it.

This series, Single & Surviving, is written by a Northwest Arkansas mom who is writing anonymously for now. Click here to read her first post.Please post comments for this writer by clicking the orange comment button below.

1 Comment

  1. Pursuing education is a great way to build or rebuild your self confidence. Whether your ego has been shattered by an affair, or you just feel like you are a failure because your marriage failed (you’re NOT, by the way), there is nothing like earning a degree to restore your confidence and create a better, brighter future for you and your family.

    If you’re thinking of going back to college, help is available. Residents of Carroll, Madison and Washington counties can apply online at If you live in other areas of Arkansas, visit to find your local Single Parent Scholarship affiliate.

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