When my kids were 8 and 5, my wife decided she wanted out of the marriage. She has spent the time since focused on her career, dancing, drinking, and doing things that tend to happen when you're out dancing and drinking.
When the wounds were fresh and the kids were with her, I dated a few times, probably to convince myself that I was still desirable, but I discovered that while on a date, I was thinking about my kids. So, I stopped dating. The divorce agreement specified shared custody, but I made sure it also stated that the other parent had the first right of refusal when a babysitter was required, and I soon found myself with the kids evenings, then overnight, then weekends, and within a year, the kids were with me full-time. It was a big job, but despite what friends and family told me, I wasn't being "noble," and I wasn't thinking that I would find a new love "someday." I wasn't looking, and that could wait. Every decision I made, I viewed first through the lens of what was best for my kids. They grew up knowing that I put nothing and no one before them. But it wasn't out of nobility. I sacrificed nothing and I lost nothing and the time I invested in my children will pay dividends the rest of our lives. My kids are in college now, and I often think of your line about whether your "future self" would be proud of the decisions you make today. I guess I'm now my "future self," and I'm proud to know that I did the right thing.
Remember, allof you can send me "letters
" too - by email! Just sign into (or sign up for) the Dr. Laura Family - it's free - and tell us of your experiences.