Are Single Mothers Raising Their Daughters to Be Single, Too?

Are Single Mothers Raising Their Daughters to Be Single, Too?

Alex Wise ponders why so many daughters of single women are also single.
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When I announced on my blog that I didn't believe in marriage, I expected the typical reactions: Don't you want a ring and proposal? (No.) Will you ever trust your partner's commitment to you? (Yes.) What about children? (What about them?)

I got those questions, along with some comments in support of my views. But what I didn't quite anticipate was that a random commenter would insinuate my beliefs were "f**ked up" because of the way I was raised.

I saw CNN published a piece suggesting that single mothers are teaching their daughters to embrace independence by staying single, but I wonder just how true that is. My mother, who was in an unhappy marriage for nearly 20 years, has always wanted me to be in the kind of relationship she didn't have. A fiercely independent woman herself, she recognizes that self-sufficiency is important, but it doesn't mean that one has to do without love.

My parents grew up in poverty and married in China with the understanding that my father would first seek his fortune in America before coming back to take my mother with him. I know that their marriage was not without love, but I also know that my mother's understanding of it is different from mine.

Throughout college, I dated with reckless abandon, looking not for stability but for a partner who "got me." My mother never did understand what I expected from my relationships. For my parents, love was a luxury that they could not even begin to comprehend after a childhood without potable water or meat. Marriage meant stability, but it didn't mean passion. After they immigrated to America, they slowly began to make a living and a life together.

They first had me, then my sister, and soon it became clear -- to just about everyone in my family -- that they were incompatible as life partners. Yet both sets of grandparents were insistent that my parents stay together for the sake of tradition and family honor. For a time, my parents did stay together because of financial considerations. Their impoverishment a lifetime ago was still too recent a memory. But eventually, as family finances became more stable and the living situation untenable, my mother initiated divorce proceedings. In doing so, she took control of both her happiness and my father's. Nobody but the children knew until the ink was dry.

Today, my parents are more content without having to live together, their respective families have more or less come to terms with their separation, and they are perhaps the most cordial divorced couple I've heard of. Had my mother not acted sooner, I have no doubt that our family life would have deteriorated to the kind of "f**ked up" dynamics the disgruntled commenter referred to. When they both attended my graduation from college last May, I worried about many things, such as how to conceal my sex toys. What I didn't worry about was whether my parents would get pissed at each other and embarrass me in some grand fashion. Now that they don't have to live together, my parents actually like each other. It's as functional as family dysfunction gets.

My mother, despite being divorced, still believes in life partnerships and entertains many romantic ambitions for her two daughters. She's happy that I've found someone with whom I can co-exist for lengthy periods of time. She has also come to accept, despite her deeply conservative upbringing, that it's OK if I don't want to get married; marriage, as she learned firsthand herself, is not necessarily all that it's cracked up to be. We both recognize from personal experience that many marriages don't work out, that simply getting married doesn't imbue relationships with special meaning, and that loving freely is a privilege I have today only because of the sacrifices that my parents made to their personal happiness years ago.









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An Open Letter To My Boyfriend's Mom

A simple thank you is not enough.
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Your son and I have been dating a while now and I just wanted to thank you for everything.

Wow, where do I start? Ever since the day your son brought me into your home you have shown me nothing but kindness. I have not one negative thought about you and I am truly thankful for that. I first and foremost want to thank you for welcoming me with open arms. There are horror stories of mothers resenting their son's girlfriends and I am blessed there is no resentment or harsh feelings.

Thank you for treating me like one of your children, with so much love but knowing exactly when to tease me.

Thank you for sticking up for me when your son teases me, even though I know it’s all in good fun it's always comforting knowing you have someone by your side.

Thank you for raising a man who respects women and knows how to take responsibility of mistakes and not a boy who is immature and doesn’t take responsibility.

Thank you for always including me in family affairs, I may not be blood family but you do everything you can to make sure I feel like I am.

Thank you for letting me make memories with your family.

There is nothing I value more in this world then memories with friends and family and I am thankful you want and are willing to include me in yours. I have so much to thank you for my thoughts keep running together.

The most important thing I have to thank you for is for trusting me with your son. I know how precious and valuable he is and I won't break his heart. I will do everything I can to make him happy. This means more than you could ever imagine and I promise I will never break your trust.

The second most important thing I must thank you for is for accepting me for who I am. Never have you ever wished I looked like another girl or acted like another girl. You simply love and care for me and that’s all I could ever ask. Every person in this world is a unique different person and understanding that means a lot.

The third most important thing I must thank you is teaching me how to one day in the future treat a potential girlfriend that I may interact with as a mother. I am not a mother, but I one day plan to be. If I ever have a son it is because of how you treated me that I am able to be a humble loving mother to this new face that could one day walk into my door. How you have treated me has taught me how I should one day be in the future and I thank you for that.

This may seem all over the place but that’s how my brain gets when I try and thank you for everything you have done for me. It’s all so much and even the little things are so important so I promise my scattered thoughts are all with good intentions and not meant to bombard you. I just want to get the idea across to you that you are important and special to me and everything you do does not go unnoticed.

Sincerely,

Your Son’s Girlfriend

Cover Image Credit: Christian Images and Quotes

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We Spend So Much Time Talking About How Much Men Suck In 2019, That We Forget Girls Are Just As Bad

I always talk about how awful guys can be, but let's take a second to talk about how awful my own sex can be, too.

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In our culture, we tend to place all the blame on guys in most relationships by saying how "all men suck" but what about girls?

Girls can be just as bad.

I'm constantly saying how bad guys can be but yet I never stop to analyze things I've done that weren't okay or things my fellow female friends have done that was awful.

I'm not innocent either, I've done some terrible things to really nice guys in my life.

There was one man in my life that genuinely cared for me and wanted to date me but I didn't feel the same at all and lead him on. I honestly didn't think I was leading him on at first but the minute I realized it I tried to nicely let him down. To this day I feel awful about it because I hurt him the way many other guys in my life have hurt me.

I tend to defend my own gender a lot in conversations and I now understand that I really shouldn't. I've seen so many of my female friends treat great guys terribly and have ignored it for so long because I want to believe that females can't be that awful. I was wrong.

I've had some of my best guy friends get treated like absolute garbage by girls that wanted to just party and partake in the hookup culture rather than be with a great guy. I don't get it.

If you have a great man that you're attracted to and loves you unconditionally why would you want to throw it away to chase after boys that won't remember your name the next day?

I've had to keep secrets for friends before that ate me up inside. I had a friend who cheated on her boyfriend by kissing another man in front of me and kept it quiet.

It is NEVER okay to do that to someone, especially a guy that truly cares about you.

It is NOT OK to be on dating apps while dating someone. If you are dating someone, you're exclusive. There is no need to continue talking to men that obviously don't want to just be your friend. There is no good excuse and if you have to try and justify it to yourself, then it's probably not a good idea.

I honestly made myself believe that females didn't play the games men play with our hearts, but we can be just as bad if not worse than a lot of men.

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