10 Ways Children Who Grew Up With a Single Parent Love Differently

Let’s just begin with: all single parents deserve gold f*ing medals. Raising a child with a partner is hard enough, but to do it on your own shows strength and courage. So, thank you to our powerhouse-parents who have stood solo.

Although it is entirely possible that our parents elected to raise us alone, sometimes being a single parent isn’t always by choice. We all have different stories: single parenting can result from separation, divorce, death, or parents who never married.

Either way, we didn’t exactly grow up with a poster of what love looks like, so we searched for mother-figures, or father-figures in other people as children, and sometimes in partners as adults. All in all, we have a different sense of love and what relationships are like:

1. We may have some trust issues.

Whichever parent it is that we didn’t grow up with, left a big gaping hole in our hearts starting at a young age. If it’s a father who we didn’t grow up with, relationships with men have become hard – or vice versa with a mother and women. And even if we’d like to think that we don’t have reservations with trust, there is still a sense of doubt somewhere deep down in our subconscious.

Because they left. On some level, in some way or another: they left. And a part of us thinks that you will too.

2. But once we trust you, we trust you with our whole hearts.

We have a hard outer shell; it will take a lot of time for us to finally let that guard down, but when we do, we will really let you in. We feel the same way about trust as we do about love: when we love someone, we love with our whole hearts.

3. Loyalty is at the top of our list.

Once we let you in, let me just say, don’t f*ck that up. There are a very select few who we decide to let deeply into our hearts, so if you break that trust, it will absolutely crush us. We give what we expect in return, which means that once our wall is down, you can trust us with your heart.

4. Don’t make promises that you can’t keep.

Doubt has taken the best of us. If you make a promise, we’re already expecting you to break it. Unfortunately, innocent until proven guilty isn’t something that we’re capable of doing with new partners, so you’ll already be in the category of ‘disappointment’ in our minds.

Keep your promises. Make us change our minds. Prove us wrong.

5. We are more independent.

Most single parents work long hours in order to provide for the household which forced us to be more independent from a young age. We have learned to rely on ourselves during needy moments, instead of turning to others. We will be self-sufficient in many ways because self-sufficient is what we know.

6. Rejection is our deepest fear.

Although we were brought into this world by one loving parent, we were also rejected by the other. If we feel rejected or dismissed by you, we may shut down. Don’t be alarmed if you see us go into autopilot – it’s something that we’ve done for a long time now.

7. Abandonment is even worse.

We may, on some level, be filling a void in our hearts with the love that we get from you. When an old wound is ripped open again, it bleeds more; it bleeds from deeper within. The moment we feel neglected by you, our hearts will ooze the pain from both your desertion and our parent’s desertion.

8. We have vowed not to be single parents ourselves.

We sometimes see our childhood as “missing one parent” rather than “having one parent.” As sad as that sounds, it sometimes felt like our cup was half empty instead of half full. Because we so deeply felt this missing piece, having a second parent for our children is something that is extremely important to us.

9. We are skeptical of lasting love.

We have doubts about happily ever after because we saw our one parent without love for so long. And, no, Moms and Dads: we aren’t saying that you didn’t have a life full of love, but we didn’t get to see you IN love. We are almost just waiting for our love to end one day, the way our parents’ love did.

10. But I think deep down we really believe in it.

Having a lasting love is something we have wanted our entire lives. We don’t take love lightly, and because we want our children to have a second parent, we look at our partners in a futuristic way. If we had to choose only one thing to have for the rest of our lives, some would say success, adventure, security, or happiness.

We choose love.

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