After being widowed, dating is a challenge to say the very least. First, there is no right or wrong way to do this. I had great advice to not start even thinking about dating for a year.
I knew a widow who hooked with someone three months after her husband died. I couldn’t relate I was still in fog and grieving. How could she? Maybe she was lonely? I have no idea, she got married and moved away. It took me over a year and half to even contemplate the idea seriously.
What follows are a series of excerpts on dating from my upcoming book about my grief journey.
I started with an online profile at the urging of my single friends. My first experience was EWWWWW, YUCK. 40-50yr old people should NOT be doing this.
There were SO many FREAKS out there to sort through. Here’s who “liked /winked” at me - a man who still lives with his mother, asking me will you raise my kids, a 20 something wanted me teach them "things", a hurting, will you heal me guy - just - freaks.
I made a HUGE error and put widow as my status. I was inundated with infatuated lovers from the world over. It felt so sad to be stalked for being a widow. I felt like there were predators everywhere. Where were the decent men? Way too many nut jobs and gross icky people. I gave up and deleted my profile. Too early to try dating. Check the NO box.
Another year later, a recently divorced gal pal of mine and I start going out for dinners, to listen to live music, and meeting other singles. We joined some meet-up groups for single 40-50 year old's. It felt SO weird to be going out and meeting people, men especially.
Getting hit on, in my mid forties felt very strange and awkward. I sure didn’t want to be the barfly sloppy drunk. I saw enough of that to turn my stomach. 40-50 year old's should NOT do the bar scene. It was GROSS. The same old lame pick up lines, “Hey, how are you? What’s your phone number? Can we have dinner? You look so good, I want to eat you up.” The sad pick up scene was filled with skanky dressing men and women who were too old and fat to be wearing that in public and still helplessly attempting to be cool with alcohol flowing. Ick...I felt like I was back in college watching re-runs of bad frat parties.
I did meet some nice people and a few decent men. I got to a point I actually contemplated accepting a date with a man. I found I actually liked the attention from men. I learned that I liked feeling attractive. It still felt weird but I was starting to embrace it.
A few months later my single gal pal and I tried online dating again. I figured what the heck, I wasn't getting any younger, the music scene, church, nor meetup groups had provided any men I could attract for more than 5 min. Oh, I did have some flirtations. I could get a guy to dance with me and engage in conversation. They seemed interested and then…. something I said or did would put them off. I seemed to repel more men than I attracted. Apparently, being a smart, independent, and outspoken female was not something most men I met wanted to see again or date. I seriously considered giving up on meeting a new man to spend time with. I was just about to call it quits.
Until Bill came along and I took a chance with an online dating match. We started chatting on line, then talking late into the night phone calls. He asked me for a date to go on a walk. I flipped - that was my secret want from a date - to see if the right guy really was serious. We instantly clicked in a very strange spiritual way. We had a lot in common thanks to the online dating matching. It seemed unreal.
That walk was the beginning of a whirlwind romance that blossomed into an amazing partnership for life. We are happily married and living the dream. We both think that learning to love ourselves first, dealing with the past hurts, issues and learning to live alone happily is key to our success. We've been together over four years now.
Words to widows on dating. The above excerpts are my experiences - period. No two people experience the same thing in life. Only you know if you are ready and what is right for you.
Be careful, use your intuition, go out with a friend(s), and try new things. Online dating can work it can also be a disaster. Use caution and be smart.
Consider why do you want to date? What do you want from dating? What do you want to give?
Waiting at least a year is sound advice. Don’t rush into it, even if you are lonely. Eventually, God willing, you may find yourself dating again. If not, that’s OK too.
If you know a widow, support them and listen. Please don't force them out, on dates, or for God sake set them up on a blind date. Let them be the one who initiates that next step.
Most importantly - Remember it is YOUR journey.
Do you want some support during a life change? Maybe you know someone that may benefit from support? I partner with motivated people that have been knocked down by life changes and losses who want to become more resilient and move forward in life. It can be unnerving to wonder what do I do now? Check out Now What? ® 90 Days to a New Life Direction if you’d like support or contact me about coaching.
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Sending you much love, peace & blessings,
Teresa Bitner, PMP, M. Ed, ACC
Resiliency, Change, and Loss Specialist
Original Posting from my blog for Torn in Half - Widow's Resource:http://torninhalf.com/dating-widowhood-in-your-forties-oh-my/