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.
Ha! It's a little different for men in this area. I gotta be careful how I word this, because it could sound flippant or demeaning, but dating women not that much younger than yourself can have unintended consequences. Last year I had lunch with a woman who was 46 who had an 8 year old. There are other women in their 40's who have focused on work and career and want to settle down and have kids before their biological clock strikes midnight. Past experience tells me that when you date a woman who is older than say 35, you are also dating their family. Second, I'm 57. Do I really want to be 70 with a 13 year old? Under the right circumstances, yes. After the issue has been talked about and we are both on the same page. People tend to like babies, but teenagers, not so much. I've been out with women younger than me, but I also try to remember the long term consequences of such a relationship. Really I think I would prefer someone around my age who wanted to volunteer and travel.
Yep, man I know, 58 or 59, widowed after I was, now getting remarried and either planning a baby or a baby on the way. I think its pretty much the cost of doing business in marrying a much younger woman who hasn't had children yet. I also think it's sad because not only does he have teenaged daughters who lost a mom, he's now upping the chance of another child experiencing the too early loss of a parent.
Me, I've just been concentrating on raising my own too young when it happened children. Two in college now, one still 14. I also feel a lot better for taking the time to do everything right, and putting dating in the I-hope-to-meet-someone-someday box. My family is doing very well for it, and my own happiness has increased a lot. It's almost 4 years for me now, and I am just beginning to feel more like myself again. Which now that I think about it, is something I always should have put first before even thinking about moving on. And for Riley, personally, I've made the decision that I too am going to make a personal stand against an unreasonable age difference. I understand where the older men are coming from. They don't want to be getting older and they can deny it is happening if they date a younger woman. But what's in it for the woman? Right? Why do the men get to buy an extra 20 years at the expense of the women involved? I think too many women are acting out of desperation and fear, that's why.
I like what you wrote. Men act out of fear and desperation too, instead of love. I've dated as young as 35, but I agree. I'd rather be with someone in the same age and situation as myself. I was lucky to be able to retire at 56 and would prefer to be with someone that wanted to explore the world with me, not have more kids. I have an adult daughter and we spend a lot of time together. I've been pretty much working on creating a new life after work. I run two widowed support groups, I joined a local government board here in Los Angeles (running for re-election in April) and I volunteer at church (count the collection plate money on Mondays, lector at Mass and so on.) I'm pretty much as busy as ever. I wonder if I even have time for a girlfriend.
I think It is true that some men and women act out of desperation and I think we all act towards fear mitigation and avoidance. As far as men wanting younger women, perhaps it is an attempt to stave off the inevitable aging process but I believe it is just simple biology. Men's brains are hardwired to find suitable partners to procreate no matter how old they are. Women of childbearing years are hardwired to find the most suitable (best provider/strongest/whatever she believes) to father their children. Simple biology. The fun (?) starts when women start reaching the end of their childbearing years and the pool of single middle-aged and older men increases dramatically (internet dating) .
I dated quite extensively when I was younger; married my Bob (a widower) at age 29 and lived a happy partnership for 27 years. Knocking on the door of 60, it's easy for me to get overcome with thoughts everlasting loneliness. I do want another partner in my life. I'm active, healthy and have lots of Life yet to Live!
I did have a very intense love affair earlier this year. It was very chemical, it was very emotional and it was absolutely devastating when it ended....it literally plunged me back into the early grief days. I am so grateful for that love affair and for that man.
I haven't tried internet dating yet, however, I did sign up with a matchmaker last week. We will see how that plays out. I put my age range for gentlemen from 50 to a young 75.
I read somewhere that it takes a special soul to accept an individual that has chosen to love again after a great loss. I hope that each of us find what we are looking for. Thanks for reading!
I always love to see the stories of the intrepid women out there really going for it, and I hope that you find what you are looking for as well, and that you keep checking in and letting us know how its going for you along the way.
You're right of course,.. I saw my father, widowed in his early 60s pair up out of fear of loneliness with the first woman who would have him. She was 10 years younger, but she was also mentally unbalanced in some kind of hard to define way and she made his life hell for all the years they were together until he died. When he was in his last hospital bed, he wanted me to help him divorce her and he was thinking about my mother. And it wasn't that he wasn't a good catch, he had a lot of positive points, it was just that he jumped into something new before he was really okay. I think it is possible to get super lucky and to have things work out when you meet someone when you're freshly grieving, but its a lot more likely to be a good choice and to work out if you've come to a better place.
I lost the love of my life 15 months ago now. About 3 months ago I signed up for online dating, not because I was ready or really wanted to date but to try and get my mind used to even the idea of another person in my life. I have gone on a couple of coffee dates - and each time it takes me days to recover (crying, feeling heartbroken). But I will keep doing it, even if it is just for a simple cup of coffee - because I am hoping the more I get myself thinking about it, the quicker the pain will lessen and hopefully my heart will be ready when I do meet someone interesting. I am not in any rush to be in a relationship but I do get lonely sometimes. Not sure if any of this makes sense or not :) - I just do what I can to survive and patch my soul as much as possible. I'm 53 and the majority of messages I get online are from men in their 60's.
Everything you are saying makes sense Silver55, I think a lot of us think we ought to pick ourselves up at the year point and try to live again. I wasn't able to do it myself, I couldn't face how sad it would make me, but the thought of doing it did cross my mind, of just acclimating myself before it was for real. (That's why I started this discussion!) As different as we all are, there are so many similarities in our grief. At almost 4 years I am honestly getting to the point where I think I could see the man across the table for who he is instead of who he isn't. Realizing that I just need to let enough time go by is what is working for me, but its certainly not the only way! One way or another, we are all moving forward.
I applaud your courage, silver55 and your insight Mary H! It does take courage to keep putting yourself out there..I truly know what you mean about it taking days to recover from a coffee date! And Mary, I love your line "see the man across the table for who he is instead of who he isn't"! We all have our journey. I am just very grateful that we have this place to share. ((HUGS))
My story... I hope it can help guide you
I want to share my story, as a piece of advice for those of us who are in this awkward stage of life. We aren't really in the bar scene anymore, and we aren't in the senior circuit either. Online Dating sucks! But, how else to meet people?
I posted a while back, that I started dating a widow in April last year. She was, like me, 4 years out from losing her husband and ready to start hitting the circuit again. Long story short, we hit it off immediately and started dating. I was concerned early on because she had not dated anyone else. She was not concerned and told me she would let me know if there were any concerns.
At the end of the summer a lot of different things were hitting her regarding our relationship. Essentially my fears were coming true, but by this time I had truly fallen in love with her and before this, I was under the assumption she loved me. I did not feel like she ever quit loving me, and there was something more that caused her to end it. To this day, I still feel this way. I fought hard and we reconciled for 6 weeks. In late November we were finally intimate with one another once again. When I left her house that day, she voluntarily told me she loved me.
The next day there was once again distance. This went on for the week and on Saturday, I asked her to talk to me. She called and told me that she just couldn't do it. She thought that she could overcome everything, but realized she didn't love me anymore. I did not fight her on it and it was a clean break up and we are still friends to this day. Two weeks later she called to tell me she was seeing someone else. She assured me that she never did go out with him while we were together, they just got to know each other and she didn't want me finding out through Facebook.
It has now been 6 weeks and I still miss her, I am fighting depression and hurt and pain that I felt only once before.... when I lost my wife. As soon as I get done posting this, I am going to search for a counselor as I am not moving on in any fashion. I am sure this hurt is somehow connected to losing my wife.
My point is this. Be prepared while dating of how it will effect how you are feeling. Take things slow, especially if dealing with another widow(er). Make sure you are both ready for this if you think it could possibly be "the one".
I am going through a second time of grieving a loss in a relationship. It doesn't get any easier, especially when I know she is just a few minutes away this time. In fact, this one came out of the blue, while I had time to prepare for my wife, so in a way it is harder.
If my story can help anyone understand and keep you from hurting, I have done my job.
Wise advice - thank you. I wish you well on your healing journey. Professional counseling is a big help to me too right now.
Well stated. Exactly captures the mid-life loss. My partner died suddenly at 53 years old. I will turn 50 this year. We were together for over 25 years. So much shared life together. Possibly so much life left ahead for me. I have everything headed in a good direction in terms of putting together an adjusted life and a new purpose. But as for a new partner? The jury is still very much out on that.