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Lethbridge Herald Newspaper Archives

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Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - February 22, 1975, Lethbridge, Alberta wife and I separated she was quite a heavy drinker and I feel I owe him a lot now. Sure, I'm lonely. But I'm busy, too. I work during the day. I do my housework and laundry at night. By the time I've done that, and cooked dinner, well, there's not much time for anything else anyway." Some single parents who are anx- ious to pick up the strings of their social life begin by joining one of the single parents' groups that are mush- rooming all over the country. They are found everywhere in YVVCAs, church basements, mental health clinics and on campus. They .provide a gamut of services from child care and food co-ops to consciousness- raising and parent education. But probably at the top of the list, though it may remain unwritten, are the mate- finding opportunities such groups may provide. Michael Kenny heard of One Parent Families seven months after he sepa- rated from his wife: "I went along to one meeting. It really changed my life. Through the group I was gradually able to put my life into perspective. People do need counselling after a divorce. They need to be shown that it's not the end of the world." Today as national president he devotes five nights a week to the or- ganization. He agrees many members join with an idea of meeting a new mate and he can name several who have remarried. Many single parents who have been -through bad marital experiences both yearn for and shy away from a second marriage. "Every day is said a Hamilton woman who was divorced four years ago and is raising four chil- dren alone. "One day I want to be totally independent to find myself, make all major decisions, to depend on no one. Other days all I want is to be married and never be alone again." As a less painful alternative to mar- riage, she tried living with a man. because she felt if their feelings changed if would be relatively easy to get out of the situation. It hasn't worked out that way. "I am still living with that person but my heart is she admits. "It is only a question of the lease we share and then I will be gone with my chil- dren. I discovered that Irving together is not the same as marriage and it definitely is not for me. Also emo- tionally it is not any easier to get out of than a marriage." But another divorced young woman I spoke with envies the Hamilton woman's options. "Maybe he's not perfect, but at least they were compat- ible enough to want to live she says. "At least he was willing to make that much of a commitment to her. The men I meet are only inter- ested in me sexually. There's no willingness to give, to understand. Where are we supposed to meet a second husband? And I'm not a prude, I have my own sexual needs which are in desperate, need of fulfillment. But I can't do it through a sordid one- night stand I meet in a singles bar. Besides, at 34 with three children I feel downright silly in one of those places." Dr. Benjamin Schlesinger, of the University of Toronto's school of social work, has studied the problems of single parents for years. He is espe- cially sympathetic towards this wom- an's problem. "In our society we seem to go along with sexuality for single, married and elderly people, but there's a real gap for the Schlesinger says. "We seem to assume as single parents they have no sexual needs of their own. Even if she has the oppor- tunity for her own sex life, a woman is often afraid to enjoy it for fear the children's father may use it against her and have the children taken away from her. She's a mother and therefore should have no sexual needs." Schle- singer readily admits the same often applies to the single father. The single parents I spoke to all agreed there are problems in bringing up children alone, but they also agreed there were certain rewards, some of which would not be found in the two- parent home. With the growing distrust of the institution of marriage, single parenthood may become not merely an accidental way of child rearing, but a deliberate plan. Some women, though not 'married, are deliberately becoming pregnant be- cause they want a child but not the permanence of marriage. The Hamilton mother of four prob- ably summed up the single-parent situation best of all: "I am glad that I chose to divorce and free myself of a very unhappy and unhealthy mar- riage. It was a difficult choice and it is even more difficult to be single again. However, the happy days are more numerous now when I can see the progress the children and I have made together. I am very happy to see my children adjusting well in school, in social situations, and well on the road to becoming independent peo- ple. It is a real reward to come home and find supper on the stove, cooked by a 14-year-old son. It is a joy when my 16-year-oW son says, 'Let's go for a walk. Mom, and talk.' Susan Canon is a Weekend Magazine staff writer. Her most recent article was A Real love Story. WEEKEND MAGAZINE EtMor: FRANK LOWS MAXWWTON TM HcMKII SMXbnl IMM. H nol iroaiumi to Km w SPECIAL 12" W-MINUTE BODY CYCLE Lets You Lie Down. Relax And Lose Pounds Ana Inches! Fabulous New LAZY Way Helps 1b Trim Ybur Hips, Ratten Vbur lummy And Get Back Into Shape GUARANTEE Ma ntf Mr Mr MOM TV w Hiintij M Mfc, to TWO WURS mm km iMH III MnM! MM, ttaffc jumtH mitlM ittHHin wMi uzy AiMWtfliniiVHif wnQonn cyohiij BMnoo ji oow.TtMiMy MUVOH MUrVt IMMI MUMIlC pHMMMMIWr ttooountfy, M you do ito WBrt MI UM pouncliy, diMytjtyil Yo-yi ttiriiad wMh ttw hn Mart mtf CVCtCMOOOnSOKOUT WHMEfOMDUaV This I ilMMB MJHC. PMl> 1 taiiMitt, I Illl HANOVER HOUSE Ml rt. MM 11 ;