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.
Your fiance is a lucky woman Graced Teacher. I was very touched by the part of your story that she wanted to change parts of the home which you and your wife had designed together, and how you handled it. And thank you for the reminder that there is not a magical point at which it is easy to move on.
Thank you, you are so right, I don't know that this will ever be easy. As you know there are waves and although I feel unbelievably blessed those waves still come. I truly wish you the best as you discover the path for you.
Well, yet another perfectly nice man has asked me if I'd like to meet and even though this is what I signed up for, even though this is what I think is necessary to move forward in my life after 3 years, I find myself unable to do it. It's too easy to say, I'm not ready. I feel like I have a wall in my heart, and it just won't open. It was maybe easier for me when the whole trying to meet someone wasn't working, but now that I've got the hang of it, I get a fair amount of opportunities, and after a while you do get so good at recognizing the scammers, they become like background noise, not even bothersome.
I am teetering right now between taking my profile down and thereby admitting to myself that I need to do another hard year of lonely mourning to get in a better place emotionally, or keeping it up and just waiting to see if its my instinct keeping me from saying yes to these guys because I am picking up on something I can't even express that makes me know they would not be good for me. I've got this small idea that the right one would just kind of hit the right chords and it would all just happen. That following my instinct might actually be a good thing, even if I am still quite dateless.
I've not joined a dating site and don't plan to, but a widowed friend wanted to introduce me to a friend of hers. I initially declined her offer to join them at a local lounge with dancing (a big no from me to dancing when just meeting). But six weeks later she called again and suggested the three of us meet for drinks. And I agreed. I was rather surprised at my change of heart, but think timing was responsible for it. The day before I had to go to a concert by myself because I couldn't find anyone who wanted to use the extra ticket I had. I enjoyed the concert but my thoughts during the drive there and back were not pleasant ones. And the date she wanted to meet landed on my birthday, so the thought of not having to be alone that day seemed enough to take a chance.
I didn't feel any sparks or a connection, but he is a very nice man. The next day he asked our mutual friend for my phone number and she called to see if it would be ok to give it to him. I hesitated but told her yes and he contacted me later that day to ask me out for dinner. And I said yes. The only way I'm going to know whether I want to date is to take this first step. I told him I haven't dated since I was 18 and I've been widowed since 2010 with no desire to date. But if he's willing to let me see how this feels, then I'd be happy to join him. He responded that we can go as slow as I need to be comfortable. Dinner is this Friday and I will meet him there rather than having him pick me up. I have no idea how this will play out. He said some lovely things about me which felt quite nice, but if I don't feel anything towards him then I hope I can be honest. Perhaps we can have a friendship, or perhaps that's just not possible these days. I have a ton of emotions going on over this: Feeling scared, nervous, old, excited, fat, guilty, ugly, beautiful ... hopefully will work thru them all by Friday evening. Wish me luck.
Wow, good luck! I can see how the fact that the proposed meeting landed on your birthday made a difference in your decision to accept it. And I really related to your post, especially the list of adjectives, feeling scared, nervous, old, excited, fat, guilty, and both ugly and beautiful. (That was beautiful.) Please let us know how it turns out, how you work through your feelings, and how it goes on Friday. I think it helps all of us who are struggling to know how others handle the complicated intersection between heartbreak and wanting more.
Good luck, Dianne. Remember us widows and widowers root for each other, no matter what we do! I think I'm going to take a break from pursuing a relationship for a while, especially after recent events, but I like this thread and the support we get here. If something happens, i will be sure to let you guys know. Last week this young woman carrying a six pack probably to a friends house, flirted a little with me as I sat on my front porch and offered me a beer, but I turned her down. Not now and probably way too young for me.
Wow, good luck! I am very curious to see how this all works out for you.
Well, I had my first date and it was a nice evening. He's led a very interesting life and our dinner conversation was comfortable and easy. But I felt no attraction to him at all - and it appeared to me that he wasn't feeling any either. No compliments, not much asking me about my story. We went to one of those Japanese Hibachi steakhouses where a large group surrounds the grill as they prepare your food. We joined a group of 10 who was there to celebrate a graduation, which actually made me a bit more comfortable, rather than being in a secluded restaurant booth. We met at 6pm and left around 7:30. I had worried beforehand that he would want to go somewhere else after dinner for a more intimate conversation. He did not. We walked outside the restaurant and he shared he was going to be traveling for the next six weeks and would call me when he returned mid-July. I thanked him for being my 'first date' and understanding my trepidation. He gave me a hug and went to his car and I walked down to mine. And that was it. (I had also been concerned beforehand that if he walked me to my car there could have been an awkward moment - the hug, a kiss?, I didn't know what to expect. I was grateful that didn't happen.
The mutual friend called to ask how it went and I told her I was glad I had that 'first date' behind me but I didn't see a second one coming with him. And I shared that it appeared he wasn't interested either so that was a good thing.
A couple of days later she called again. And shared what he told her about our date. Good grief ... how could I have read that evening so wrong? He likes me and definitely plans to call me when he gets back in town. Ack! So now I don't have the easy way out and will have to say that I'm not interested. I have some friends in my local widow group who I think could really love his companionship, but how do I handle this in a kind way? Luckily I have six weeks to figure it out.
This was a good experience. But it brought out a whole lot of emotions that nearly wiped me out - and the next day I was exhausted! I just do not see me dating just for the sake of dating. It's too much work! If I become friends with someone I meet locally and there's an attraction, then I would enjoy dating them and see where it might lead. But at this point, I don't see another date in my future and I am ok with that. I guess the good thing about all of this is that I've opened myself up to the idea of dating when previously I was pretty adamant that it would never, ever happen.
I have written this under my Soaring Spirits profile (as site administrator) because I wasn't born in the 60s so this wasn't my group to post in. But I was enjoying Mary's sharing of her dating site adventures and wanted to participate. So for full disclosure, I'm Dianne in Nevada, just turned 67, married for 41 years, haven't dated in 49 years.
Your date sounds like the first date I had with my husband. I was certain that I didn't want to see him again. We had a nice dinner, but no spark, no attraction, nothing. He asked me out again and I went, I didn't want to hurt his feelings and I had nothing better to do, so why not? And then I went again, and again, and before I knew it It was all over, I was hooked and I never saw it coming. We were married 18 months later. He died in 2014. I look back and I realize that I came so close to never knowing this wonderful man :)
Thank you so much for sharing all of that Dianne. I have been doing so much thinking about all of the issues you've mentioned, about breaking that 'first date' barrier, and the issues of attraction and whether someone will ever be able to sneak in around the barriers surrounding my heart. I was married for 20 years, and had known and loved my husband for 25, and we were so solidly a part of one another and so much in that sweet spot of love which can only come over time, the unquestioning love and trust, that I can only imagine how much more difficult all of these things must be married 41 years and having met when you were so, so young.
I think we all have to remember how it was when we first met our spouses and they were strangers to us, and to realize that no matter who we meet now, even if we met our spouses now, it would all have to start at that beginning where you aren't close yet, and there aren't those mutual understandings, and where you don't know how it will all turn out. And all of that without the same initial level of attraction that has so much power that it can pull even people who are wrong for each other together. It has to be so much more an act of faith, and a decision, as much as anything, which is why I think that so many women (and so many women even more than men) opt out of even trying. Why try when there's not as much pushing us, and it's awkward and potentially hurtful, and there seems so little chance of meeting another one in a million?
The one thing I've learned from this site is that when there is mutual trust and kindness, deep love grows, and that makes it definitely worth trying again for. And yet, I can't seem to make myself try. This is something I realized while I was learning the ropes of online dating, over time I began to get more successful at it, and men started wanting to meet me, and then, finally, a man good enough that if I was being rational, I would have given a chance. When I couldn't make myself say yes to that date, I knew beyond doubt that the problem wasn't with the men, but with myself, and I quit the site. My husband is still too much in that spot, regardless of the fact that I know I would be happier if I could find a way to start again. I am hoping, hoping so much that I will be able to let someone in again someday.
I wrote about person #1, that I sorta dated in 2016, she used to tell me all the time that I was still in love with my wife. What am I supposed to do, stop? Too cosmopolitan and in love with a dead woman. Yep, that's me.
Great and insightful response Mary H. It is hard to overcome the fact that we were once so comfortable with our spouse but we forget that it wasn't always that way. We only remember the recent when there was a long history of mutual trust and a deep love that only comes with time. There is so much fear along the way, my head understands and reasons through it but my heart is another story, it is so much slower to move forward. I do not think we ever "get over" our late spouse, hopefully (at least for me) we are able to move forward. Each step, from signing up for online dating (which is scary in and of itself) to the actual date and then the second date is such an adventure. Then the real scary stuff starts when we have feelings and we wonder if it can be even close to as good as it was. Then the fear that maybe we are being taken advantage of while still vulnerable. The list goes on. We all have to move at our own speed. I think what has kept me moving forward are two things, one my late wife made it clear that she wanted me to remarry and move forward with life ( we have a son who was 6 at the time) and secondly as you said " I know I would be happier if I could find a way to start again." We inherently know how much it can add to our lives because we have lived it. Unfortunately we (or at least I) forget about how much work it took to get there. All of those initial dates not to mention all of those difficult discussions (and even those occasional fights) that lead to that deep love that we experienced. As I have said before, hang in there and try to keep moving forward at your pace. I am getting remarried next week and all of those fears pop up their ugly head in my mind, it is a journey. May God bless each of us on this journey.