Melissa Carter

Melissa Carter: A difficult confession

There are some things you just don't want to admit to, but it's time for me to confess something. A big lesson I've learned in media is, the more authentic you are, the more you connect with your audience. Even if you’re not cool with doing it. And I certainly don't feel cool right now.

Katie Jo and I called it quits. After 9 years together, we couldn't make our relationship fit in a comfortable groove that would propel us into a lifelong relationship. This isn't a new development; I just needed time to adjust to two major changes in my life that occurred at exactly the same time.

Katie let me know she wanted out as we travelled to bring our son home from the Oregon hospital where he was born. Our relationship had been deteriorating for some time, having nothing to do with Mr. Carter. In fact, in hindsight I think he helped us stay together longer than we would have without the hope of him. But knowing it was over when our family had just begun was surreal, and something I don't think I completely believed at the time. We both are equally at fault for our unraveling, but I naively thought things might get better once we got more sleep.

We decided not to change how we lived before the holidays. We faked it with our families so everyone could focus on Mr. Carter's first Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. But by the time spring arrived, Katie was out of the house and we were co-parenting.

To say this year has been a difficult one is an understatement. I have, on the one hand, had the most incredible experience of my life getting to know and care for my son. At the same time I've had to grieve in private a relationship I thought would last much longer, and simply endure the comments from others about how excited they are for us as a couple.

The hardest time came when the United States Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage. My activist's tears of accomplishment were mixed with those that saw a personal dream unrealized. Good wishes poured in from people trying to guess when Katie and I would get engaged. Just last weekend several people referred to her as my wife, and I simply let it slide.

So, it's time. It's time to speak the words I never expected to; I'm a single parent. Katie and I are committed to raising our son in an environment of incredible love and support, and I'm grateful that our end can transition into something more meaningful than us. Moving forward, though, I have no idea what to expect from my new dating life. I'm sure it will be the normal mix of Hey She's Got Potentials and the Oh Hell Nos. Regardless of what comes my way, I can finally say I look forward to the challenge.