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.
I'm at 15 going on 16 months, and I cannot even stomach the idea of dating at my age (I'll be 53 on June 8th)! I confess, I did try OurTime for a month when I was at the 8 month mark, but I just cruised through it and never replied to anyone who liked my profile. It felt disloyal to my husband, if that makes any sense to anyone? I still wear my wedding and engagement rings, so I guess I'm not ready. More power to you brave souls who are out there dating, I haven't been on a date since 1982, so I would have no idea what I was doing. I met and married the best man in the Universe, and not everyone has the chance to do that, so I should be grateful for our 12 years together.
I was a long term carer left with strict instructions not to find anyone else after 28 years of marriage, two months short of my 50th birthday. I think I am going to be able to comply with this; indeed I promised I would. He was a really quirky one off genius and I think that every day which passes is a step closer to my seeing my one and only again. And yet, and yet ... I really miss caring for someone and the companionship that comes with them caring for you, wanting to make them feel valued and feeling valued in return. Definitely not marriage and not the nursing element of caring as frankly I have no idea how we managed everything that we did in those last months. Thank goodness for love and adrenaline, because the last three months had us on our knees exhausted and I'm not sure I have adrenal glands left anymore, as I can't deal with a lot of stress. I am so sad he isn't here, but genuinely so relieved he is no longer in physical, mental and emotional anguish. He'll always be my hero.
I know what he asked, and what I promised, and I'd probably have made him promise the same without realising how tough that request was and is. I fall in love with him again every day when I think of him, and I still wear my wedding ring. I have a sadly happy life full of friends, work and I keep busy, so I'm not actively looking and I wouldn't join a dating website, for example. But I'm aware that I am human, probably quite a lonely human despite appearances, and not a saint, sadly.
Speaking of scammers, I had a funny experience on facebook. Once I changed my "status" to "widowed" on there I started getting a LOT of men I didn't know, mostly living or claiming to live on the other side of the world, wanting to "friend" me. Several of them claimed they were soldiers in Afghanistan. At first I just deleted all these, but eventually I decided "what the heck" and started talking to one of them over Messenger. We were texting back and forth and it quickly became apparent that English was probably not this guy's first language. It also creeped me out when he started calling me "my dear" etc. So I blocked him. Later I got another friend request from a soldier and my first thought at his photo was "wow, that guy's got a lot of medals on his uniform." Then I thought he looked familiar, but I didn't know why. It eventually dawned on me that his photo was a photo of retired General David Petraeus!! So I decided to talk to him and confronted him on his fake photo. His take? "Oh, so you've been scammed before, eh?" NOOO. But I do keep on top of current events and you're not going to trick me into thinking your General Petraeus, LOLOL! Just thought I might put that out there so you all could have a good laugh. After that I deleted my "relationship status" on fb and only rarely get friend requests from men I don't know since then.
Brianne posted this response in the Widowed in 2013 group. It has some valuable safety tips for those who are just venturing into the online dating sites, so I asked for her permission to share it in other dating-related discussions here in the Village:
I am happy to share my experience on Match. I was careful to protect myself, first and foremost. I created a new email account which would not reveal my name. This is easy to create on Gmail. That was the email account I used on Match so that all communications from Match went to that email instead of my personal email. I also did not use my real name in the profile. In my profile comments I was honest as I wanted to find someone who closely aligned to myself. I had initially thought that finding someone who was also widowed would make it easier. I indicated my status as widowed. In my comments I did say that I had a long, 39 year marriage and was looking for someone who also had experience of a long relationship. I said that as our past experience makes us who we are today, I wanted to be able to speak freely of my past and expected who I met would also be free to talk about their spouse. For me it was important to include I wanted someone who was financially stable as I heard from widows who indicated men chased them for their money. When someone contacted me and I felt we may have something in common from their profile comments, I made arrangements to meet at very busy coffee places like Starbucks, in a district not close to my home. In my case I could park in the Walmart parking lot and walk over to Starbucks. I used my profile name in that first meeting. I never gave out my phone number. Some men asked for it so that they could text me in case they were late but I resisted, again to protect myself. By using a 'persona' I didn't feel like they could find me if they turned out to be a risky person. I honestly never met anyone who I was scared of. I met some very nice men and after coffee we would both be honest on whether we wanted a second date. Dave, who I am with now was the 10th man I met for coffee. We sent messages back and forth thru Match until we realized we knew people in common and then we exchanged email addresses and continued to talk every other day for a month before we met. I never revealed my true identity until we were going to meet. He fully understood why I used another name. I know that everyone has a different experience but for me it has worked. I am in love for the last time in my life.
Hi Mary, I understand I lost my husband of 21 years on June 12th 2016, he had Congestive Heart Failure and Diabetes. He was a good man just a lot of stress over life in general he was high strung he also had short-term memory a disability he was hard to reason with although we got along real good we loved each other very much we had a Son together he turned 22 this passed July, life is sometimes hard to understand and to deal with sometimes but we take baby steps and also take one day at a time, with God's help that is how I made through this first year with his help. I have also tried dating sites they are not like they used to be of course I met my husband through a friend but you have to be careful on these dating sites there are a lot of scammers that you don't want to talk to anyone online thinking they are up to no good and some of them are. Hope you have a good weekend. Your Friend, Lisa C.