This February The Huffington Post UK is running Making Modern Love, a fortnight-long focus on what love means to Britons in the 21st Century. Built on the three themes of finding love, building love and losing love, HuffPost will feature human stories that explore exactly what it is to be in love in modern times
I joined Gingerbread in 2014 after becoming a single parent, and life was pretty tough to say the least. I had been left with two children, debt and on top of that I was being made redundant too (like I didn't have enough on my plate at the time)!
My life as a married man wasn't always bad, it started off great but over time things started to take a dramatic turn for the worse, I discovered that I was in a violent and abusive relationship and I was made to feel that I wasn't respected, loved or even cared for. As long as I kept working as hard as I was and the money kept rolling in, that was the first of my two purposes in life, a walking wallet and my second purpose being a verbal and physical punchbag, and I have the physical and emotional scars to prove it!
For a man who just wanted the best for his family, I carried on living that mere existence for years because that's all I was lead to believe I was worth. When my ex left I had no idea what I was going to do, the worry about the affect this was going to have on my children and our lives made me feel physically sick, unable to sleep and that feeling of being totally alone had to be swept aside because I still had to face whatever else life was about to throw at me in day to day life! I left my first post not knowing which way to turn and the amount of support from totally random strangers made me dust myself off and pick myself up and be strong for my two children and myself!
I started reading people's posts and made a few comments along the way (I always like to have my 2p worth)! I battled through the best way I knew how, I had to stay positive and this site followed by the people that contacted me helped me so much! 10 months ago I met and started chatting to a single mum in virtually the same situation as mine on this very site, she lives just 19 minutes away from my house! I couldn't believe it - after chatting through messages our first phone call lasted over two-and-a-half hours. We'd never met before but it was almost like we had known each other for years!
After being in contact with her, we decided to meet in a local country park. We expected nothing more than friendship from our meeting, just nice to put a face to our messages and chats, I was blown away when she arrived because I didn't think she would, just goes to show that you can't tar the opposite sex all with the same brush! We hit it off straight away, clicked in every way possible! The same outlook on life, morals and standards but also we shared a similar background when it came to relationships, nothing but grief, hassle and disaster!
The last 10 months have been filled with laughter, smiles and good times, as always we still have our bad days, when either people or everyday things get us down, but that's just life and we're only human! I'm a 33-year-old man of the world, I've been married, been in relationships but nothing compares to the way I feel about her, I thought I'd been in love before but obviously not if this is what it actually feels like! I genuinely believe I've found my soul mate, the way we see it is that everything happens for a reason and we had to go through all those hard times to get to where we are today, happier than we ever thought possible and so in love!
Whatever your current situation, there is always somebody worse off than yourself and also we never know what's just round the corner in life either! We're perfect for each other, she's crazy and I'm out-of-my-mind but together we're a force to be reckoned with, she's beautiful, intelligent, funny and an amazing mum/dad/friend/girlfriend and individual, we're so lucky to have each other in our lives!
My advice to other single parents would be to never give up and never give in! We're the lucky ones, some people spend their whole life looking for that special someone that'll treat you right and appreciate you for you, we've found that now and our old chapter of life has been closed and a new one started, of course it's still there but don't let your past ruin your future, we're writing it as we go along and loving every second!
Remember to keep smiling, good news always has an unexpected beginning and if you wait for the right time to grab hold of all the happiness when it arrives, all the heartache, sadness and dark days will all be worth it, it's just a matter of time!
Stay strong and have your voice heard, don't be afraid to ask for help, it's not a sign of weakness, it's actually a sign of true strength, knowing you're willing to do whatever it takes to survive, because we all need a little help sometimes! Life is never going be easy but if you stick at it and give it your all, I swear it'll be totally worth it!