I know this is strange but...thoughts?

I’m only 18, a long way off from kids and a family, but this has been on my mind a lot lately.

I desperately want to be a mother someday, but I’m not too keen on the husband part. I think its because of my dad. When he is happy he is a very nice, easy going guy, but when he’s mad he turns into a raging bull. He’s not a very educated man and does’t have good communication skills. He gets frustrated very easily at the smallest things (usually he its when he can’t find something), and if you say or do one “wrong” thing he starts screaming and yelling at the top of his lungs. He gets in your face and spits and threatens to slap you (one time he actually did). It’s terrifying. My mother is usually home during his “fits” and she usually does nothing to stop it. When I ask her why she says because she can’t undermine his authority. They have to present a united front and if he’s “punishing” me then she can’t stop him or it would send mixed messages. I honestly am fed up with this response because my sister and I are not children anymore (18 & 14). We don’t talk back or misbehave like we used to. We just say something that he doesn’t like and suddenly its World War III.

I am totally repulsed by my father. I cannot stand him and his antics anymore. The problem is I think my disdain of him has spilled over onto other guys. I can’t imagine being in a relationship with a guy. When ever someone flirts with me I immediately shut him down. I feel like the guys I know must think I’m so mean because every time I’m around one I feel like I need to show that I’m in control of the situation. I don’t want to end up in a relationship like my parents where one is walking on eggshells around the other. My father was totally charming, happy, even tempered guy before my parents had kids. His ugly temper only showed up when I was old enough to misbehave. My mother has admitted to me that if she had seen his horrible temper when they were dating she would never have married him.

I am so terrified of ending up in an abusive relationship I’m seriously considering being a single parent, either through adoption or IVF. But I know its really hard to adopt as a single parent and I know both options are really expensive, especially for one person. So my questions are…

Is marriage really the way my mom says? [name]Do[/name] you have to go along with whatever punishment your partner is using, even if you know its not right?

[name]How[/name] do you know that your partner is who they appear to be? [name]How[/name] do you know they aren’t going to change after having kids?

[name]How[/name] do I loosen up around guys?

If I chose never to get married, how hard do you think it would be to raise one or two kids on my own, starting in my late twenties?

I know this is a strange thing to ask but I just can’t imagine my future without kids in it. If I don’t learn how to trust men then how will I ever have a family?

Is marriage really the way my mom says? [name]Do[/name] you have to go along with whatever punishment your partner is using, even if you know its not right?
[name]Every[/name] marriage is different. I am not married yet, but I live with my fiance and we have a child together, and our relationship is equal and good. If he acted the way you say your father do, I’d throw him out. There are abusive men out there, and I’m not saying the women who are with them are having an easy time, but there are also a lot of women out there who seems to think that the man is the boss of them and they need to do what they say and want. That’s not the case, women are just as valuable and strong and worthy.

[name]How[/name] do you know that your partner is who they appear to be? [name]How[/name] do you know they aren’t going to change after having kids?
A lot of things change when you have children. The dynamic and energy in the house shifts. I believe living together before marriage is a good idea, you get to know the other person and know all their habits and get used to being around them. If you live together it’s difficult to hide a part of yourself.

[name]How[/name] do I loosen up around guys?
I honestly don’t know, I’ve always been pretty loose. Okay, that came out the wrong way. I’ve been a flirt since I was a toddler, I honestly don’t know how not to attract and flirt with men. You need to be comfortable in your own skin though, you need to like yourself. I suggest moving away from your father as that kind of negative energy is no good for you.

If I chose never to get married, how hard do you think it would be to raise one or two kids on my own, starting in my late twenties?
That depends on you. I have friends who are single mothers, and there are some awesome ones on here (amydomsmom for example), and they handle it very well. I think having a stable economy and a place to live as well as a solid group of friends are the keys. You need a support system. But I do think it’s more difficult as a single parent, all the responsibility is on you.

I know this is a strange thing to ask but I just can’t imagine my future without kids in it. If I don’t learn how to trust men then how will I ever have a family?
Adoption, insemination or just a jolly good time out. You’re 18. When I was 18 I couldn’t imagine ever being in a stable relationship, but time changes things. Make guy friends, that should be the best way of starting to trust men.

My advice to you: Move out, go to university, make guy friends. Find a therapist to work through your issues with your father. If you’re not ready to date you’re not ready. If yous started dating now you’d probably date the wrong guys.

Oh, and buy Women Who Run With the Wolves: Contacting the [name]Power[/name] of the [name]Wild[/name] Woman by [name]Clarissa[/name] Pinkola Estés. [name]Every[/name] girl should read this one.

Thats a lot to think about…

Is marriage really the way my mom says? [name]Do[/name] you have to go along with whatever punishment your partner is using, even if you know its not right?

No. [name]Every[/name] marriage is different and sadly a lot of women do end up in extremely unhealthy abusive situations. Mutual respect is probably the single most important thing in my opinion…and DH knows if he ever treated me in the way you describe, he’d be out the door.

[name]How[/name] do you know that your partner is who they appear to be? [name]How[/name] do you know they aren’t going to change after having kids?
Well, I don’t think anythings a guarantee, you don’t know how you’ll change either, you can just know that you’ll both do your best. I guess I’m not all fairytales and unicorns about marriage, you hope it will be forever, you work at it all the time, but if we ever grew apart to the point that the relationship was making one or both of us miserable, I wouldn’t see walking away as a failure.

[name]How[/name] do I loosen up around guys?
Maybe try focusing less on dating guys and more on making a few good male friends. My guy friends during high school and college definitely helped me learn a lot about how guys think and what I wanted in a potential husband. Plus I ended up marrying one if them in the end.

If I chose never to get married, how hard do you think it would be to raise one or two kids on my own, starting in my late twenties?
It’ll depend on your financial situation and support system when the time comes. Yes, being a single parent is hard, but if its what you want, all you can do is work hard at making it possible.

I would try not to worry too much about having a perfect plan now. You never know how things will pan out–you sound like you’ve learned some important lessons from your parents marriage and I hope you can direct those lessons into wisdom (instead of fear) that will help you build a healthy relationship and/or family when the time is right.

Is marriage really the way my mom says? [name]Do[/name] you have to go along with whatever punishment your partner is using, even if you know its not right?
Absolutely not. Your parents have communication issues. I agree with her that parents do have to support each others decisions and respect their partners authority, but they also have to be on the same page and agree on those things before the kid comes.
For example, my DH and I discussed punishments and discipline when I was pregnant on [name]Amelie[/name]. I said I wasn’t comfortable with slapping/spanking whatsoever, under any circumstances. He said he’d been occasionally swatted as a child, and it didn’t do him any harm, and he saw it as an acceptable form of discipline in extreme circumstances.
But he understood I felt passionately about not doing it, and to this day, we’ve never used spanking etc. as a form of punishment.
Now, on the other hand, if he lost his temper and spanked her out of frustration I would absolutely step in and I would not be happy at all about it. I would be angry that he went back on a parenting decision we made together.
If my DH did to my daughter what your father did to you, I wouldn’t be able to take it.
But those kinds of decisions should be made in advance. I don’t step in when my DH is appropriately disciplining our daughter, because I have to support him, but if he went against something we had agreed on (such as spanking) I would definitely get involved. Know what I mean?

[name]How[/name] do you know that your partner is who they appear to be? [name]How[/name] do you know they aren’t going to change after having kids?
You have to spend a lot of time with them, trust is key. If you are going to doubt the safety of your child every time you leave them alone with their own father, then you are really going to have to reconsider whether that relationship is working for you.

[name]How[/name] do I loosen up around guys?
I totally agree with PP’s suggestion of just making friends. I was friends with my DH for a long while before we got together. If you are friends first, everything comes naturally and its far, far less awkward.

If I chose never to get married, how hard do you think it would be to raise one or two kids on my own, starting in my late twenties?
I think its definitely doable, some of the best mothers I know are single mothers. So long as your level headed and financially and emotionally stable I see no reason why you shouldn’t be a single parent.

[name]Hope[/name] that answers everything xx

Everyone has their flaws and their hot buttons. Part of the long, dating & discovery process is to find out both what you absolutely require in a partner, and-- the part everyone overlooks-- the downsides & negative features you decide that you can live with. For you, because of your negative experiences with your dad, you probably cannot put up with someone with a bad temper or a yeller. I mean, nobody wants someone with a temper, but some people (like your mom) have just decided they can put up with it.

Once you’re out of the house (likely permanently) for college & work, your dad’s dominance over your conceptions & relationships with men will fade dramatically. You will meet lots of people, and hopefully at least one will be a kind, gentle person [who will definitely have his own flaws, we all do] but won’t be domineering or short-tempered.

There are obviously lots of single mothers out there who do a brilliant job, but I would never want to be one.

There is some stellar advice here so far.

I will say that I had a pretty tainted view of men during my teenage years as that is when my own parents were going through a messy separation and my dad turned into a raging alcoholic. And my mom took it. If anything, it made me have less respect for my mom, since she was never able to stand up for herself- or my sister and I and just say “enough is enough, fuck off!” I continued to have trust issues throughout my college years, never really commiting to anyone for fear that it would all go awry. And I wondered if I never wanted to get married, did that also mean I would never have children?..

Things change.
You grow up. You move out! You meet guys that you aren’t interested in romantically and build from there.
I never wanted to get married. I’m still unsure if my SO and I will ever go that route, but I have warmed up to it quite a bit. He has not pressured me in any way. And in the beginning I was very firm in saying that I wasn’t interested in marriage. He knows my whole back story and has been nothing but patient and respectful about my boundaries and misgivings.
You definitely do not need to be married to have a family with someone. And men can surprise you - both in good and bad ways.
I think those of us who have a less than optimal family life growing up have the chance to say - I’m not going to be like my mother, i’m going to be strong and independent and live my life, and if the right guy comes along, cool. But if not, that’s fine too, i’ll still keep doing what makes me happy in other facets. It sucks you’re in such a nasty situation, but you’re still very young. There is no need to worry that life will never get any better; that you won’t find your way.
Step one: remove yourself from the negative. Focus on that. I think you’ll find that once you’re in a more positive environment, you are much more able to make clear and conscious decisions and have a more optimistic view of the future as a whole.

I’m 23, and except for a few years when I was in a serious relationship (engaged), I’ve always felt the same way - I’d rather be a single parent. Now I’m single and having a baby (unplanned, however, if I didn’t get pregnant now, I’d likely be looking into adoption in as few as 2-3 years, hoping to be a mom by 27-28). My parents have also always had horrific relationships. My biological parents were married for 11 years, but I rarely saw my dad and have no relationship with him now, and I love my stepdad (who mostly raised me) dearly, but he and my mother do have a terrible relationship.

I am so terrified of ending up in an abusive relationship I’m seriously considering being a single parent, either through adoption or IVF. But I know its really hard to adopt as a single parent and I know both options are really expensive, especially for one person. So my questions are…

Is marriage really the way my mom says? [name]Do[/name] you have to go along with whatever punishment your partner is using, even if you know its not right?
it is if you choose to have a relationship like that. It sounds like your parents have very, very traditional ideas of gender roles in marriage (and that’s putting it kindly…it sounds more like your dad is controlling and abusive and your mother is afraid to stand up to him, TBH). Some men and women still believe that a man is in charge of the household and his wife, or that he should be in charge of discipline and decision-making. Many don’t. You need to find a partner with similar values to you, who feels strongly about compromise, and does not react in anger the same way your father does. Someone who, when upset with his children, will say “your mother and I need to discuss what the punishment will be” and then will do that with you.

[name]How[/name] do you know that your partner is who they appear to be? [name]How[/name] do you know they aren’t going to change after having kids?
you will never, ever, ever know 100%. But while having children can be a drastic, life-changing event, and will possibly change some people’s habits and personality traits, for the most part they’re still going to be the same person. Someone who is easy-going is not likely to become completely neurotic when they have kids, and someone with terrible reactions to their anger isn’t going to suddenly ‘get better’ at that because of a baby. If your mother knew your father for any period of time before they married and had children, I’m sure she was able to identify that he was a very domineering, reactive, unwilling individual.

[name]How[/name] do I loosen up around guys?
don’t. Honestly, you don’t want to be with a man that shares traits with your father. They don’t all. If you stay open minded, and you meet a guy who’s qualities and traits are compatible with yours and are what you’re looking for, you will recognize that. [name]Don[/name]'t sit there and believe 100% all relationships are terrible or all men are controlling…but you don’t need to try to convince yourself that ones who are aren’t, either.

If I chose never to get married, how hard do you think it would be to raise one or two kids on my own, starting in my late twenties?
hard, but probably not any harder than handling a relationship on top of children. Single parents with healthy attitudes towards themselves, parenting, and being single do perfectly fine. And kids raised by single parents do perfectly fine as well…there are different hardships than traditional parenting, but they aren’t any more challenging than trying to raise kids alongside someone else.

Thanks, everyone. It’s kind of comforting to know that people can relate to my situation. All my friends are “daddy’s girls” and have them wrapped around their fingers, and its painful sometimes because I have never been a daddy’s girl and I never will.

My father has made it clear that it’s us (me, my mom, and my sister) who have the problem and not him. He thinks his anger is totally justified because we don’t show him the respect he deserve. He doesn’t get that respect is earned, and won’t agree to counseling.

I think I made a mistake in staying home for college. My mom kinda talked me into it because staying home was cheaper and she could keep an eye on me. I wanted to go away but I’m really shy and have bad anxiety so I thought it would be a bad idea. But now I see that not only am I stuck at home with my dad for at least two more years but I have very little chance of meeting new people because I’m too timid to force myself into making friends. If I’d went away I’d have to force myself to make friends. Any shy people out there have tips for me?

Being a single parent is sounding better and better to me. It’s really hard for me to connect with boys, it always has been. Maybe that will change in college, maybe it won’t, and that’s okay. I would love to have a relationship just once in my life, but I’ve realized that what I’m really craving is love. I’m not really feeling much of that right now from my family, so I want to create it with a new one. I just want to be able to love on somebody, it doesn’t matter if their an SO or an LO. My family (bot sides of it) is a very “get married and then have kids” kind of family. There are no women on either side that have ever had kids out of wedlock and I just know they wouldn’t be very happy if I became a single mother, even intentionally, but I don’t really care what they think. I have to do what makes me happy. Believe it or not that’s a very hard thing for me to do. I’ve always taken other people’s feelings and opinions into more consideration than my own which I need to stop doing, but its hard.

Sorry that was long, but I can’t talk about this to anyone else.

hugs This sounds really hard.

Why can’t you move? You’ll probably have to take out loans, but it’s better than living at home. Find a cheap studio or one-bedroom apartment. You might still be able to get a dorm. At school, ask the people you sit next to if they want to do a study group. Meet for lunch, then study. You might make some friends. Join a club or two.

ETA: My university has some really excellent counseling and psychological services. Maybe yours does too? They might be able find some resources and provide help and support.

[name]Violet[/name], I was shy growing up, I’m still a rather quiet person, but more quiet introvert than quiet afraid if that makes sense.

Honestly, if you can afford it, living on campus was the best experience for me. Never will it be easier to meet new people and make friends! And really, I’ve found that all you need is one good friend to feel comfortable going out and meeting more new people together.

I’d see if its still possible to live on campus, or as pp recommended, look into affordable housing close to school to get a little space. If you have to stay at home for now, at least try to spend a lot of time at school, at the library, getting involved in activities, etc…use home for sleep only if you can?

I’m sorry your home life is so difficult right now.

It’s good to be thinking of all this early on. [name]IMO[/name], the earlier you start self-reflection the better. Some people never do, so you’re a step ahead of them! Here’s the thing, you have a long time to figure it out, and that’s a good thing. If you’re 18, you have 20 years before the window for babies starts closing. That’s longer than you’ve been alive, and gives you lots of time to figure yourself out. You’ll change, and then change again during that time. I’m not saying wait until you’re 38, I’m simply saying you have time. Especially starting the process as early as you are.

I’ve had some really terrible experiences with men. I’ll go ahead and be totally open with you because I want you to know there’s hope in learning to love and trust men. I was abandoned by my birth father; sexually, mentally and physically abused by my adoptive father; my first love ended up being married; I was raped at 23 by two men at a party. I had major, major issues with men. I too came to the conclusion that I’d never learn to trust them, and that I’d end up being a single mother. I even tried a relationship with a woman in hopes it would fill the need I had to love and be loved; she didn’t (I had to learn to love myself first), and it turned out women can be just as damaging as men. We’re all just people.

What worked for me? Therapy. And more therapy. And then some more. I’ve done one on one, group therapy, online therapy, books, self-help, shamans and new age therapy… I’ve tried it all. I can’t say one form worked better than the other, and obviously it’s different for everyone. Talking, and thinking, and self exploration, that’s all it’s about. And it’s so important, because what if you have a son? [name]How[/name] will you show him what it means to be loved, to be proud of his gender, if you can’t trust men? There’s so much more our children learn from us than just what we tell them; it’s how we interact with the world around us that teaches them. Whether you decide to be a single mother or not is your decision, but regardless of the conclusion you come to, it’s so very important to learn to trust and love men.

Start by befriending them. They’re really not that different. [name]Just[/name] like not all women are like your mother (you’re proof of that), not all men are like your father. I eventually fell in love with a friend. It was an exclusively online friendship, and we talked for years before meeting. For me, that worked. I was able to learn to trust him without having to be with him. We’ve lived together 5 years now, and we’ve had our bumps and learning curves, but I trust him, both with myself and with any children we may someday have, which was always my biggest fear with men. I’m still learning. Right now, I don’t fully understand what a healthy father-child relationship is, and that’s something I’ll have to learn when we have kids, but I’m not afraid of it anymore. I’m more curious, and a little excited.

Take it slow. If someone wants to rush you, move on. Let that be your number one rule when befriending or romancing someone. You’re in charge of the pace. A person who cares about you, or wants the opportunity to grow to care about you, will allow you that. If they don’t, that’s a pretty good indicator that they’re not worth your time. [name]Even[/name] if you’re living at home, you can make new friends in college. Get involved in something you care about, a political group, saving animals or the planet, an art group, a math group, wherever your interests are. That’s one thing about college, there’s a group for everything!

I can’t say much on the shy front as I’m not very shy, but I imagine it’s similar to not being able to trust a gender. You have to push yourself to open up, because it’s worth it. It’s going to be hard; do it anyway. Make an effort to start smiling at people, look them in the eye, ask questions, answer questions, find things to connect with. If you haven’t been very vocal in your classes, start doing that. If another student says something you liked in class, go up to them after class and let them know. If you disagree with what they say, go up to them and tell them you’d love to hear what more they have to say on the subject because you’ve always thought differently. Once you make a group of friends, you can start looking for alternative housing.

Yes, it’s going to be more expensive than living at home, but if you want to heal, I strongly encourage you to leave your parent’s house as it sounds like it’s been toxic for you. You say you’re repulsed by your father, and it sounds like you resent your mother. You have to leave. You’re number one, and until you’ve done some healing, how can you expect to raise confident, happy, well-adjusted little people? You can’t. You’ll just pass on your own issues to them until someone breaks the cycle. Why not be the one to break it, and start showing your sister what it means to be in charge of your own destiny?

I can honestly say that I appreciate men now. I don’t make friends easy (male or female), but the handful I have are wonderful, and they include people from all walks of life, both male and female. We’re all a work in progress, and we’re all flawed or damaged in ways we can’t easily change, but we’re all just people.

I do think that once you are married you become a team and especially once you are parents you have to have a united front when it comes to discipline so that boundaries are clear and the child/children don’t get mixed messages or find holes in the system…but at age 18 my advice is to find a group of girls that you could split rent in if you have an income, or find a job so you can eventually get out. I managed to move out by working as a waitress & bartender one summer, once school started I bartended the weekends and lived very frugally and got by in a place shared with 3 other girls. That way you can distance yourself from your parents. I didn’t ever live in dorms because it was more expensive/less freedom.

[name]Hi[/name] there,

I see that you’ve already gotten so much great advice and sympathetic stories but your post really struck a chord in me so I wanted to comment too. But I’ll try to keep it short!

Most importantly, please know that things will get so much better once you move out. Whenever that may be, whether it’s a couple of months or 2 more years, your life will drastically improve once you can step away from the negativity and drama you face at home and can be on your own. I know it can be really hard to see that at this point but believe me, it’s out there waiting for you. My parents fought like cats and dogs when I was a teenager and it was hellish to be around. But do not, for even one more minute, think that just because this is the life your parents are choosing to lead that you will end up stuck on the same path. You are clearly very intelligent and thoughtful and you are in control of how your future turns out - the kind of relationship/marriage you have (if you choose to have one), your children and your relationship with them, etc… That’s not to say it’s ever easy - but it is within your control.

Someone has already mentioned therapy, I also second that completely. Find a good quality therapist that you feel comfortable with and it can completely change everything. I’m 34 and I’ve been in therapy since I was 19. Over the last couple of years, it’s really begun to make huge changes for me, in very positive ways. I can’t recommend it enough - just be sure to find a good therapist. There are lots of lousy ones out there, keep looking til you find one you like!

Lastly, there are many, many wonderful men out there that don’t act the way your father does. There are plenty of men that are loving and kind and in control of their emotions and temper and that will treat you as wonderful as you deserve. And they’ll be fantastic fathers too. And once you find the guy that does catch your interest, you become a team and you work at it (“it” being everything) together. Again, does this mean it’s easy? Never! But you make a commitment to each other and you work it out, together, as you go. That’s what a real, adult, loving relationship is about. My husband and I have been through plenty of tough times but we love each other and we’re a team - and when things get really hard, we go to counseling together and keep working. And it’s amazing and he’s my best friend and the best thing that’s ever happened to me.

So you have a lot on your plate and I’m so sorry that you have to deal with all of this. [name]Just[/name] keep an eye on the future and know that it will get better - because you deserve better and you’re fully capable of making it happen for yourself! <<hugs>>

Is marriage really the way my mom says? It certainly doesn’t have to be

[name]Do[/name] you have to go along with whatever punishment your partner is using, even if you know its not right? It generally is best to present a united front with punishment, but if one of you goes to far, it is absolutely correct to step in and stop them. My mother has stepped in before and said, “Dad, that’s too harsh. Stop!” Then explained later just to me, “You should not have done X and Y, but what he did was wrong also and he needs to take responsibility for his actions.”

Punishment should be discussed ahead of time between partners. Often times it will be different for different children, or you’ll have to alter the way you handle situations based on knowing your own tendencies and limits.

[name]How[/name] do you know that your partner is who they appear to be? [name]How[/name] do you know they aren’t going to change after having kids? Everyone changes to some degree, no one stays the same. However, if you are helping each other to grow in a positive direction, that change can be a good thing. Marriage is the closest friendship you’ll ever have. Your spouse knows you better than anyone and if you allow them can be a great source for positive growth in your life. They can show you your weaknesses in a loving way and encourage you to become more and more who you truly want to be.

[name]Don[/name]'t rush into things, and make sure you’re looking at a partner’s life as a whole and not just at what they say or how they act. [name]How[/name] does he act when someone cuts him off while driving? [name]How[/name] does he talk to people who are serving him? What are his goals? Is he willing to work hard for what he wants? Would he use vaguely unethical methods if they were available? [name]How[/name] do his friends talk to him when they don’t know you’re around? All of these things can give you hints as to who someone really is and not just what they say when directly questioned or when he want to impress you.

[name]How[/name] do I loosen up around guys? This I can’t answer. I was a total spaz around almost every guy I met, until I met my husband. It was the weirdest thing. It was like, suddenly, around him, I felt calm and collected and fabulous.

I will say, don’t freak out. If your primary goal for hanging out with guys is, “I have to find a guy so I can get married and have kids!” That’s gonna throw off huge wafts of freakish crazy that guys will pick up on. [name]Just[/name] focus on, “Is this guy nice? Is he fun and sweet?” You can worry about the rest later.

If I chose never to get married, how hard do you think it would be to raise one or two kids on my own, starting in my late twenties? Hard. Not impossible, but hard.

I know this is a strange thing to ask but I just can’t imagine my future without kids in it. If I don’t learn how to trust men then how will I ever have a family? Honestly, if distrust of men and a burning passion to have kids is your obsession, then you’re putting yourself on a downhill track. There ARE wonderful, kind, loving, happy, fun, good men out there–but you usually find then when you’re not focused on “the hunt”. Go on a service trip to help fix up an orphanage, go to the local soup kitchen and volunteer, get involved with a local charity that helps kids, help walk dogs at an animal shelter nearby—good guys are out there doing good things so meet them where they are, not in dodgy bars or at the market. Find a passion and then match your passion to someone else’s. That’s a firm foundation for a friendship and a marriage!

I agree with so much advice on here.
My situation is similar except my mom is the one with rage issues; she yells, screams, punches, slaps, andnoften says she wishes I were dead.
My dad is generally calm and level headed with the occasional moment of pure fury. I always received physical punishments. It didn’t hurt me so I’m not opposed to them in extreme situations but I would never spank my child while angry. My dad also likes to scream and my mom invariably interrupts or negates punishments which is very confusing. Honestly if one parent disagrees with a punishment they need to discuss it in private and later come to the child as a “united front” and explain why the punishment is being changed.
I had serious trust issues from previous relationships. Try to make a male friend. I lucked out and my male friend wound up being extremely gentle and found ways to work around my trust issues. I’m now engaged to him and our relationship is great.
I would definitely live with someone before marrying them. Like someone said, its hard to hide parts of yourself when you’re in constant close contact. I’m forgoing the living together due to circumstance and relying on the fact that I’ve known him for almost 6 years and have seen him at his best and worst.
You could definitely be a single mom. I know quite a few and they’re normally great. You just have to be willing to try to be both mom and dad. But it can and does work.
If you decide to have kids with someone you’re in a relationship with make sure they know what parenting style you have and you know there’s. Make them as close to one style as you can. OH thinks that physical punishment is always okay. I think it should be used sparingly. So for small children who can’t or won’t reason a light smack on the rear is okay. For excessive energy that’s disruptive a lap around the house or a few push ups is okay. Most 18 year olds don’t have a style but we’ve been babysitting together (ages newborn to 14) for 3 years. We’ve learned how the other works.

My parents relationship is similar to yours, and I also thought that there was no way I would ever get married. But then I met my husband, who is the most patient, laid back, sweetheart of a man. We hadn’t been dating for very long when I accidentally locked his keys in his car in the middle of the night in rural GA. This is the sort of thing that would have turned my dad into a raging maniac. I was trembling in fear. But my future husband just said, “[name]Don[/name]'t worry! It’s not a big deal.” Then we just to a gas station (neither of us had a cell phone) and called a locksmith, waited several hours, and eventually got back into the car. That is pretty much when I decided I was going to marry him. We have been married now for almost twelve years, and been through every sort of turmoil and crisis and he really has stayed that way. He is such a wonderful father to our one and a half year old son. There really are gentle men out there.

But if you don’t want to get married, you don’t have to. I would suggest taking some time for yourself, don’t try to date right away. [name]Don[/name]'t worry about men at all. It took me some time to figure out who I was when I moved out of my parents house and didn’t have to walk on eggshells all of the time anymore. If you are going to college, many colleges provide free counseling for students. This can be very helpful when working through these things.

As to being a single mom, you can do that, too. I do think that it is hard, very hard. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t worth it. The single moms that we know have backup people, close friends they can call for help when they need it. I mean, we have backup people, too. Nobody raises children alone!

You can adopt as a single mom. I think that a domestic private adoption might be more difficult, you might wait longer. But it is possible. And I know single moms who adopted through the state. I am not going to say that is easy, but the state won’t deny you placements just b.c you are single. If you look at adoptuskids.org, which is the listing of kids legally free for adoption, there are many children that the posting will specifically say that they are looking for a single mom for this child. There is a great blog of a woman who is doing foster-adoption as a single mom, called fosterhood.tumblr.com.

There are some countries that allow single moms to adopt as well, so international might be a possibility for you as well.

Anyhow, hang in there! It gets better, I promise.

[name]Hi[/name] [name]Violet[/name],
I’m not sure how much advice I can give, however, I would like to say that I can completely relate to your situation. My father is a hot-tempered and very emotionally/psychologically abusive person. He has been this way all throughout my parents’ 32 year marriage. And, honestly he got even worse after my twin brother and I were born. Growing up in such an emotionally toxic environment has left me a bit jaded about men in general as well.

That said, I am now in a long-term relationship with a wonderful and kind-hearted man who has shown me that not all guys are like my father. And, as much as I love my boyfriend, I am still unsure if marriage is worth it and I’m leary of the whole concept in general. In my opinion, marriage is not and should not be the end-all, be-all of a relationship. I think in today’s world it is perfectly acceptable to have children on your own (through a sperm donor or adoption) or to be in a long-term relationship and have children with your partner.

s marriage really the way my mom says? [name]Do[/name] you have to go along with whatever punishment your partner is using, even if you know its not right?

Absolutely not. It sounds to me like your parents are (putting it kindly) a very traditionally-minded couple. Parenting should be an equal responsibility between both partners, and if one parent disagrees with the other on discipline, they should definitely be able to have an open discussion with the other parent in order to come to a reasonable solution. Also, if at any point you do become involved in a serious relationship, things like this might be worth discussing with your partner. For instance, I already know that my boyfriend and I have similar views when it comes to raising kids; and I have no doubt that he would be a wonderful father if we ever choose to have children.

[name]How[/name] do you know that your partner is who they appear to be? [name]How[/name] do you know they aren’t going to change after having kids?

There is always some degree of risk that your partner may change at some point in your relationship. [name]Every[/name] situation is different, and some people do change after having kids. In my parent’s case, my father has always had a fiery temper and low self-control, my mother ended up staying with him because she thought that either she could “save” him from his problems or that one day he would become a better person. When they first got married, she was under the impression that he would be a wonderful father because he was so loved by my cousins (who were all under 10 or so at the time). He was always playful, fun and kind towards them and she thought that surely this would be the case with his own children, unfortunately, it wasn’t. He has never been able to handle the responsibility of being a father, and honestly I think it would have been better for him to remain childless. My point is that you will never know how your spouse/partner will react to being a parent until they are in the midst of it. I think it’s very important to discuss having kids thoroughly with your partner before TTC and make sure that is something that both of you want and are ready to handle.

[name]How[/name] do I loosen up around guys?

My answer is this; just be yourself. :slight_smile:
[name]Don[/name]'t worry too much about being involved in a serious relationship if that’s something you’re not interested in. You can casually date around, or have lots of guy friends to hang out with. I met my current boyfriend at 18 (we’ve been together for 2 1/2 years now) and in the beginning I made it very clear to him that I was in no way interested in a long-term relationship. We became close friends and remained that way until we started officially dating nine months later. Most guys in their late teens and early twenties aren’t generally interested in serious relationships anyway (at least in my experience), so just allow yourself to have fun and explore your options.

If I chose never to get married, how hard do you think it would be to raise one or two kids on my own, starting in my late twenties?

I think it depends upon many factors. The most important thing is to make sure you have a solid support system to help you so that you don’t have to do it all alone. I’ve known single moms with little to no support and it was very, very hard on not only them but the kids as well. Secondly, it would be a good idea to have your career under way and preferably in a field that can be relatively flexible and well-paying. Lastly, I would suggest getting some of your own personal goals accomplished first; travel, graduate studies or other life experiences that are important to you.

I know this is a strange thing to ask but I just can’t imagine my future without kids in it. If I don’t learn how to trust men then how will I ever have a family?

I think it’s absolutely possible to have kids on your own. If you feel that marriage or life with a partner isn’t the best option for you, having a wonderful family is still a viable option. I have a friend who is a university professor and single mom, she has a great relationship with her kids and has spent the past six months with them in [name]Italy[/name] teaching a semester abroad. She has said that she will never marry again and seems very content with her circle of close friends who have become family.

Wishing you the best of luck in all that you do.