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  • by Jamaal

When it's over...


Good news! It's only been two weeks since my last blog post. I'm getting a whole lot better at this thing. I told you that I was going to start writing more frequently and "poof" here ya go.

So first of all, thank you all for reading my blogs. I received a lot of good feedback to my last post about dating, and how much I hate it. Turns out, a lot of you all hate it too. And that sucks. No one wants to sign up for the crazy cat lady or creepy old guy at the club life. But on the flip side. People suck. Dating sucks. The time invested into meeting someone, getting to know someone, finding out they're nuts, rinse, repeat is tiring. And when you have kids, it's even worse because then you have to manage the little time you have with them, work, and life in general is just exhausting. Maybe I'll just get some Fubu jeans and hit the nearest club this weekend and get a head start on my old creepy man stage.

Before I get to my blog post for today, let me clear up one major point from my last post:

When I said, "If you think I'm talking about you, I probably am..." well a few of you all took that a bit too literally. Really, I wasn't talking about one any person in particular. That Lucy reference I made was very general. And how I view my personal life in very broad strokes. No one person has been my "Lucy". Have there been people that I really got excited about to have stuff happen outside of my control to jack things up, absolutely. However, I wasn't talking about anyone in particular. Channeling my inner Carly Simon "You're so vain...you must think this blog is about you..."

Now to our topic today...When it's over...

I was going to write a part two to my dating blog, but someone who reads my posts asked me to write about how the girls and I deal with breaking up with someone. Thank you for giving me ideas for blogs! Now I got two ideas.

First of all, full disclosure:

As some of you all know, I was in a relationship with a woman for the last few months. We have recently broken up. Now I will put a pen here and say this is not about her in particular at all. (If you need to, please reference the Carly Simon reference above) I have zero ill will toward that woman. Things didn't work out between us and if you have questions about what happened, then feel free to ask me and I WILL NOT TELL YOU! Nosy ass. I do not make it a practice of putting all of my business out there even though I have a website dedicated to my full business. Get it... got it... good.

Okay. Now that is out of the way.

Someone once told me that when you break up with someone, then that failed relationship takes a piece of you with it. No matter what happened, there is some sadness that you have to deal with about the relationship failing. Most times, you put your all into someone and then things don't work out. Honestly, it's the worst part of dating. Because you're back to square one. After you get done healing, you have to jump back into the dating pool all over again. Rinse and repeat. There have been relationships that I've stayed in way too long because I really didn't want to have to start dating again. It's like dealing with an old car with issues. Would you rather keep fixing that old car just to have something else break again or would you rather buy a new car and have a car note? Just to have that car break down again after a while. I kept trying to put a new engine, transmission, and brakes on a relationship that wasn't supposed to last this long. And I know I'm not the only one who does this. Some of you are probably debating the same thing. And honestly, there really isn't a hard and fast answer of what to do. Do you. Pray. Follow your gut boo boo.

Now you have to mix your kids into it as well. Because that person isn't just dating you. They're "dating" your kids as well. And you are probably "dating" their kids too. You buy into the whole idea of family. Vacations, cookouts, homework, sporting events are all done as a family. You're trying hard to win Stepdad/Stepmom of The Year. You want to put your best food forward because as a single parent at the end of the day, you want a family. Okay, maybe that's just me. Maybe I just want a family. It ain't perfect. But dammit it's mine.

So now its over. And not only do you have to manage your own jacked up emotions, but you also have to man/woman up and deal with your kids' questions as well. "Why aren't we going over so and so's house anymore?" "Will so and so still come to my game?" "Can we still talk to so and so kids?" But most of all, since my kids are older, I always get the dread, "What happened? Whew. That's a hard one.

What I do for my kids is what I do. It may work for you. It may not work for you. You may think I'm crazy. And if you have the lost copy of "How to Raise Kids As A Single Parent" authored by Jesus Christ, please return it to the library. Because I need to check it out.

1. I'm honest with my kids...but not too honest. Because they're kids! They don't need to know everything. Nor do they have the ability to process everything with a frame of reference. They don't need to know that Suzy is an alcoholic. They don't need to know that Tyrone cheated on you. But I will tell them straight up that we broke up. And take time and answer their questions to the best of my ability. I'll say things like, "We broke up. I don't hate that person. And things didn't work out. And that we won't be going on to their house anymore." "Why?" Because we just didn't work out."

2. The why to me isn't as important as the "What do we do now?" I always try to be the focal point in my kids' lives. In my situation, I'm the only constant in their lives. Their moms are not around. It's only me. So I'll say, "No matter what happens, we have each other. I'm not going anywhere. I'm your Daddy and I love you and I won't ever stop loving you." I always let them know that I'm going to be around. People come and people go. And as a single parent, there are some life lessons that your kids learn earlier than what you would want for them to learn. But it's a true lesson nonetheless. People come and go. And when their season is over, we have to move on and focus on what really matters.

3. I try to give them hope. Again, ultimately my overall goal is to have a traditional family. Mom, Dad, kids. And really that is the ultimate goal of my girls as well. They want to be a part of something bigger than themselves. Do I have a family now with them? Of course. Duh. Shame on you to think I'm that shortsighted. However, I do realize (as do my kids) that there are some things that Daddy can't do or relate to because...I'm a man. My girls want to have that female role model in their lives. But on the flip side, they ain't just gonna settle for anyone. Their future stepmom will have to be awesome. So I tell them that even though me and so&so didn't work out, I'm not going to give up. We crave connection. I crave connection.

So that's it. I know it's not a magic bullet. It may not even be the answer that you were looking for. But it's what I do. Breaking up sucks. It really really does. Dating sucks. You gotta kiss a lot of frogs before you get to that princess. However, I believe in my girls enough to be real with them. Because at the end of the day, I'm the one that's raising them. And I believe in me too.

Now let me go find my Cross Colours overalls and get my Eastbay catalog. (If you remember those, you old!)

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