We can all understand the heartbreak others feel on losing their spouse, regardless of their age. We know that the youngest, still overcome by the overwhelming rush of new love, feel keenly cheated of all the years they might have had, and the oldest feel as every year was a journey which brought them even closer together, they feel as if they had become a single soul. Those of us widowed in mid-life can find ourselves awkwardly in between, uncertain where to turn, uncertain of how to go on. The choice to look for a new love can be especially traumatic in mid-life because we spent so many years in the worlds we created with our partners, and yet there are so many years left ahead. Some of us have still got it going on, and some of us may have gotten so “comfortable” in our marriages that we find ourselves unwilling to face the rejection we suspect we might find out in the dating world. Whatever your story is, and whatever your choice is, you can help others by sharing it here.
It sounds to me like your friend was, like so many of us are, wanting her pain to be over and trying to get herself to move on, but that she just was not ready. That's what I see here. I've read somewhere that on average, men generally remarry (if they will) in one year, and women in four. That's a big difference. It might just be that women need a little more time.
On the dating site I've been using, there is a question, would you date a widow? And most men don't answer it one way or another, but the one answer I did see was from a man who wrote, "No, never again." I am sure it is for reasons like this. That widows can be so unpredictable emotionally. I feel the potential for something like you have described in myself.
Mary, I would just be upfront about the fact that you might back out due to being emotional and the fact that you are new to this.. Your new guy should be patient and understanding, I hope. Just don't make plans to do things that involve getting tickets to things ahead of time, like a concert, play or a sports team that has a big following. Dates don't have to be elaborate. You are trying to get to know someone better, that's it. Lunch at a favorite hole in the wall Mexican Restaurant or meeting for coffee or tea can be perfect dates that don't involve a lot of pre-planning. And can be easily backed out of if you aren't up to it. Even just sitting on your or his front porch and having a long chat can be a great date. And definitely don't do a cruise early in the relationship. That was so dumb of me.
I feel exactly the same Suzy B! And we have very similar back story. I have just turned 57, I lost my husband 3 years ago, and he was only 51 when he died. (And so, a couple of years younger than I was.) I completely agree with you that when you age up with your husband, you don't notice the changes in them, and it is very difficult when you are first dating not to think that all of the men look old. Let alone to face how you have aged yourself, and figure out where you belong. This is a tricky subject, and one that women think works against them from the man's perspective, but as you've pointed out, it honestly goes both ways. I have found that online dating, even though I have not gone out yet, just the act of looking through the profiles, has been very good for helping me to adjust where I see myself in the world.
I get that she probably wasn't ready yet, but apparently eventually she was ready for someone else, which is fine. I even told her I was happy for her. I still think she could have told me when she started dating this guy, so I didn't start making plans and could have sold the concert tickets on line. As far as the online dating goes, I'm happy to hear that it isn't just me, its probably the website and their algorithm.
OK, now that I am five years out (we had a mass for Lupe yesterday to commemorate the milestone) this is what I have found about myself. I have no problem with going on dates. I enjoy being out. I like sporting events, movies, concerts, plays, fun bike rides, going out to eat (probably too much,) It's in my DNA. Getting out of the house is no problem for me. Whether I was with a date or my daughter, friends, family or out by myself, I would still be doing the same things. It's the next step that i can't get to. Kissing, holding hands, love and yes, sex. As I was driving across the country last week my mind seemed to go in two directions. One was that I should focus on someone that will like or love me who I am. A fat, bald middle aged guy full of contradictions and faults or the other is maybe I had the love of my life and I should just be happy for what I had for 18 years and live an independent life from now on. Maybe I shouldn't have stayed as long trying to milk something from semi relationships that weren't going anywhere and the women just weren't that interested in me. . If I find someone that interests me, try to find out early on whether they are really interested in return. And not be afraid to pursue it.
I just don't know. I will just live my life and see what happens. I hope God has some kind of plan for me in this area. But I'm Ok with it either way. I have to be.
Wow, it is so very interesting to hear how everyone is doing in this area. I want to be ready for dating but I know I am not. I have signed up for online dating but nobody seems interesting or interested in me. I imagined that maybe I could possibly meet someone that I could go out with once in awhile to go to a movie, walk on a beach or a road trip. But also not sure if I could actually go through with it, because I am pretty sure I would break out in tears during that first date as I compare them to the one I really want to be with. I thought maybe another person who also lost the love of their life so at least they could relate to the pain and at the same time understand the longing for a companion. But there is no local groups that I can even go to meet people like that. Very interested to follow this discussion and hear about other people's experiences.
My experience is that I would not put widows on some kind of pedestal. They can have the same faults that a non widowed person can have. I haven't been emotional on dates, but if anything ever got beyond just a date, then yes it could get emotional for me. That's when I think it would be better to be with a widow because on some level I would figure they would understand. But not all widows are like that.
I was going to add to my last post that I think that in both semi relationships, I was just this cool guy to hang out with until they found a man they wanted to be in a relationship with. I think in both cases, they were both preferred men that were more conservative than I am..
Silver, you can check under "Events" to see if there is a group in your area. Also you can ask Dianne in Nevada the site administrator. She has a wealth of information.
Good point, I guess I just yearn to hang out with somebody that gets it, maybe I'm just wishing for something I can't have, who knows. I am not the boo-hooing type of person - but I am afraid that it will come upon me when I don't want it to LOL. I guess I am missing male companionship but don't want a relationship either. I think I have a long way to go :) Thanks for your suggestions!
It has been fascinating to read these updates on my e-mail. I have felt like I should reply at some point but just haven't had the time. So many of your feelings and thoughts I can relate to because I went through so many of the same feelings (and still do). I say that because I feel fortunate to have found someone online and as I posted a while back I want to encourage each of you. I read what Lupe's Husband said as well as what so many of you have posted. I've already told some of my experience with the online dating world. I corresponded with probably 20 or more ladies at various times, (not more than two at a time because I am not a player). Just like many of you I was overly picky but I would say that I tried to be open. I spoke with probably half of them on the phone at some point and met about 6 or so for lunch or dinner. I also saw the profiles that made me wonder if they were super woman, like Lupe's Husband said. I saw the fake profiles with spelling and grammar errors and got messages from the 25 - 30 year old girls with super hot pictures which always made me wonder what they could possibly want with a 53 year old guy with an 8 year old son. By the way I always passed on those messages, never replied. I honestly got to the point where I looked at this as a process and like the old saying you have to kiss a lot of frogs (didn't kiss any of them except who I am currently with) or as a salesman you have to knock on a lot of doors that was my approach. I tried to be gracious to all because I figured most of the people on these sites were hurting in some way. The good news is like I posted a couple of months ago I met someone who had been through a very public divorce in a bad situation, like many of you I tended to think I would be better off dating a widow who would understand but this lady and I hit it off well. We got engaged a month ago and will be getting married this summer. We met 17 or so months after my late wife passed away and will be married just after two years from her death. I still sometimes ask myself if I am ready, I did that frequently while dating. I like how Lupe's Husband put it and I told this lady (Rebecca) on our third date that I didn't honestly know how I would do as things progressed, I joked that when we finally kissed I might lose it. Actually our first kiss went great (as have the subsequent ones). It is a strange journey, sometimes there's a little guilt but as I have written before I know my late wife would want me to remarry, she told me herself right before the end. By the way, that was such a thoughtful gift from her. Back to the journey, I have been honest at each step with Rebecca and told her that some things are tough. I am also trying to be thoughtful of Rebecca as she will be moving into my house. My house burned 15 months prior to the passing of my late wife, we rebuilt and she was in the house one night before she died, I could write a book. Anyway, I have told her to make the house hers and a few weeks ago she asked about painting some of the rooms, I hesitated as my late wife and I chose the colors but a few hours later realized this is part of the process of moving forward. There is some pain but that is part of building a new life. I have come to realize that living out the reality is difficult. Just as many of you have said (in different ways) I realized early on that I have lived a blessed life and had everything a guy could want in a marriage. The problem is that life died with my late wife, I realized it early, but living it out is difficult. So many of you have questioned if you are ready, I did the same thing. I decided early on (mentally) that I had to build a new life. My late wife wanted me to and if we think about it that is what we would want if the roles were reversed. Realizing that mentally and living it out however are two very different things. The head sometimes moves far faster than the heart (at least in my case). I take great consolation in knowing that others go through the same mixed feelings and journey. It is ok to have mixed feelings, it is ok to wish for my former life and be thankful and appreciative of what I had. Unfortunately there is no way that I can bring that back no matter how much I want to. There are still times that I am in disbelief that this is my life as are many of you I am sure. I took the first year to work on me and grieve, read, learn and feel. I made no apologies for the fact that I would just start crying when I remembered what I had lost, and make no mistake we lost us. I have told my fiance' I am still discovering me. There was me and us, I not only lost my late wife but I lost us, so that is 2/3 of me, and the me I remember before getting married is from almost 30 years ago! Anyway, as usual this is far too long but I want each of you to know that your journey is normal and I am still on that journey. God has blessed me with someone and I will soon remarry, I will tell you what I told her when we had a long discussion not long ago. I am scared because unlike 30 years ago I know what is involved in marriage and I know what it takes to be successful, and it is a heck of a lot of work and vulnerability. I also have to believe that it can be better (which is so difficult for me to believe) because if it can't be better why try. I am also scared because if we are unsuccessful it will break my heart and if we are successful one of us will likely have to go through what I have been through the last two years. So to try to draw this to a close, hang in there. I know how many times I thought "ok God, I tried but this is ridiculous, it's like looking for a needle in a haystack." I know how many times I looked at profiles and thought "you're not even real" or sent a message and got no reply. The journey stinks and what really made me angry at times was I had already made my choice and Damnit I made a really good one, I shouldn't have to be doing this ever again. And like many of you have said, at this age do I even want to try. And yet...hopefully I will live another 25-30 years, do I really want to give up on the possibility. May God bless each of you in this journey, it's no fun. Believe in yourself, trust your instincts. I truly wish all of us the best.
How wonderful for you! What a process...it sounds so familiar. I can appreciate your vulnerability in deciding that another relationship is worth it. Thank you for sharing your perspective and your process. It's much appreciated.
Thank you, wishing you the best in this difficult journey as you figure out the right path for you.
Thank you so much for the encouraging story. I wondered if there were others afraid to go through this again. I am petrified of that thought. Guess we all probably are.
Thank you, and yes it is very scary. I truly wish you the best in your journey, may God bless and comfort you.